"I had the great opportunity to meet Jimi Hendrix between 1968 and shortly before his death in 1970. I photographed with a super 8 camera his concerts in Stockholm and I was allowed to hang with Jimi after the concerts. One night, he passed on a large joint to me in a holder made out of a bullet from the Vietnam War; Jimi was a paratrooper in the American Army and the Vietnam War was still going on.
As I was then a strong anti-American, like most in my native country of Sweden, I was shocked to hold this bullet in my hand. I did not care about the joint as I felt the history of the bullet; Jimi said, “Keep it if you want;” I still have it in my safe, but the story does not end there.
When I had Roman Polanski for dinner in my home in Paris 10 years ago, I said to him, “We are going to make history;” he looked at me with fear, thinking I was going to ask him for a part in his next movie. Then I brought out the joint holder with a new joint in it and said this was given to me by Jimi Hendrix in 1970. The equally legendary man, Roman Polanski, shrunk down and looked up, “Ohh, Jimi…” Roman was human after all. Yet, still, the story doesn’t end there.
As I told you I was a FNL activist and was often in demonstrations against the war in Vietnam; I have been filmed marching just behind the North Vietnam ambassador and the prime minister of Sweden, Olof Palme. One night, a few years ago, my mother shouted to me; “Look, there you are with Palme in 1968!” Now, the story goes that Olof Palme was assassinated, shot in the back outside what was then my art studio titled XYZ in Stockholm. He died just outside both my studio and the store where I bought the colours of my art. I had met Palme a few months earlier, by coincidence, as I happened to sit next to him in the Opera during a ballet performance. In the interval I asked him if I could come and take a photo of him for my art; he said “We can arrange that, just call my secretary and we can set up a time during my lunch hour.” Unfortunately, it never happened, as Palme was assassinated shortly after. The story doesn’t end here either.
Years later, I was visiting Stockholm and happened to sit next to the assumed killer, Christer Petterson. He was looking at the TIME Magazine I was reading, as it had a gun on the cover and the text “Guns of America.” He moved closer to be able to see what I was reading; I remember his cowboy boots, his shirt and his yellow fingers from smoking. We were travelling in the Stockholm Underground, and he asked me about the next stop we were travelling. I pretended not to speak Swedish, to which he said, “Hasta la vista baby.”
Christer Petterson died a few years later, but was convicted and later freed from the assassination conviction on the basis of poor proof material. We all know, like in the OJ Simpson case, where they were guilty but managed to escape justice. Charles Manson brings up a similar situation, that I have portrayed in my short movie “Black Bird,” which brings us back to Roman, rock music and bullets.
New art works based on photographs on Jimi Hendrix taken by Thomas Dellert in 1968 and 1970 for prints on paper mounted on aluminium and plexiglass by order only.