With the help of a psychic, Barry Fey reconnects with some old friends and one bitter adversary
Michelle Houchens: 'Man, we had more good times, really interesting talks... He wouldn't just, like, pick me up and then tell me about how many tickets we had sold and concerts we had sold out. Like, he'd talk to me. He really knew me. He really tried to get to know me. Like, not many people, man, tried to get to know me -- that is what I'm saying. I felt like a black man in a white world, but this man was colorless. He is colorless.' Who else, Barry?
Barry Fey: I'm just thinking about what you said.
MH: Yeah, he could go on like that for hours.
BF: Yeah, pre-heroin we used to talk a lot, yeah...
MH: He told you that: 'Like, you don't look at color, Barry. Like, man, everybody looks at color.'
BF: Yeah, green [laughs]. He made me a lot of money.
MH: Yeah, but you didn't look at him as color...like he was some freak, some weirdo. Like, you treated him as a human being.
BF: Yeah, but Jimi was so...unusual and so unique...
MH: He's different. He's esoteric.
BF: To call him a racial name would be absurd.
MH: But he didn't understand why people were like that. And you weren't like that, Barry.
BF: Oh, no, I was never like that in my life. Not just with Jimi, but with anybody.
MH: That's what he's saying to you.
BF: I grew up in a very mixed neighborhood.
MH: Yeah, but you didn't see colors...what he wanted...I'll just channel him: 'Barry, you didn't see color, man. You saw me. You saw who I was. I told you that. You saw me. Like, we didn't talk about color... Many people talked to me about color -- like, "You're this black guy. How can you play guitar like that?" Man, you never did that.'
BF: I remember coming home from the Red Rocks performance. We went to the Casa Carlton hotel and talked and talked, and he wrote the liner notes for his next album there, right in front of me. Yeah, Jimi was Jimi.
Photograph by Dan Fong ©2012 Barry Fey and Michelle Houchens at Red Rocks
MH: I heard he did that twice. He's telling me he did that twice. He wrote lyrics to very big songs twice with you.
BF: In my presence?
MH: In your presence.
BF: In the same night, or two different occasions?
MH: Two different occasions.
BF: I don't remember the second one.
MH: He was high. Well... [both laugh]
BF: The reason I say that was because that was September 1, 1968...
MH: Yeah, it was about five years later.
BF: No, he was dead.
BF: He died in '70. But the next time I saw him was at the Denver Pop Festival, and he barely talked to me or knew.... That was the day that Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell told me that they were gonna quit, and they couldn't take Jimi anymore, but we hardly talked.
MH: Yeah, that there was four or five years between the two, Barry, but he wrote two songs with you. That's what he's saying. Well, lyrics to two songs; he didn't write the whole songs. He wrote the lyrics.
BF: No, but I'm saying I met him in '68 and he died in '70. I didn't even know him five years.
MH: That's what he's saying to me, so I'm just gonna channel...
BF: I don't argue with a guitar player like that.
MF: Let me ask. You're right, he's not, but that's what he's channeling to me, so that's what I'm saying. Now, how much does he remember? That's interesting. I'm asking him how much does he remember on the earth: not very much.
BF: He was never on the earth.
MH: Yeah, he doesn't remember a lot on the earth.
BF: Earthly things, man...
MH: That's what I'm asking him: How much does he remember? Not a lot. Felt like five... He felt like he was on the earth a lot longer than he was.
After channeling for Fey, for fun, Michelle did a little more channeling to get some perspective and advice from legends who weren't especially close with Fey (though Fey did have professional relationships with Joplin and Pryor).
Advice from Richard Pryor: "Laugh at life."
Advice from Janis Joplin: "Love yourself." And musicians: "Write your own fucking music."
Advice from Tupac Shakur: Get rid of your anger: "Put down the guns, put down the knives, put down the colors and, man, fucking walk away." Also, most of the conspiracy theories around his death are true.