A former sound wave engineer for the British Admiralty, music-loving Roger Mayer was bound to put his scientific know-how to good musical use. The inventor of the Octavia guitar effects and the improved “wah-wah” pedals, his list of elite
"The orange velvet jacket is the item that reminds me the most of Jimi. He often wore it to his gigs. It also reminds me of the times when we’d be jamming and experimenting in his room. But I think what other people and I remember most about Jimi is the music. It’s a little bit like listening to jazz. You can listen to the same song over and over again, and each time you can hear other things that you didn’t first hear. The actual makeup of his songs is textured and has much more to it than meets the eye. In a way, his music is like the early James Bond films. When you start to look at the background, there are a lot of things going on. They are very cleverly put together. This is also true of Jimi’s music. He takes people on a musical journey and it’s never the same journey, even if you’ve been on it several times."
A former sound wave engineer for the British Admiralty, music-loving Roger Mayer was bound to put his scientific know-how to good musical use. The inventor of the Octavia guitar effects and the improved “wah-wah” pedals, his list of elite collaborators includes Jimmy Page, The Isley Brothers, Bob Marley and Stevie Wonder – but his longest and best-remembered collaboration was withJimi Hendrix.
It was in 1967 when Mayer and Hendrix met in the now-legendary Soho club The Bag O’Nails. They got on so well that, within two weeks of meeting, they were in the studio recording the solos for Purple Haze and Fire.
Mayer recalls: “Hendrix was easy to work with and great person to hang out with. He was quite quiet but he had vision: great at painting a musical picture of what a song could be.”
To mark the 40th anniversary of the death of the celebrated musician, the Handel House Museum on 25 Brook Street is holding an exhibition (August 25 – November 7) featuring Hendrix’s personal items, including his favourite orange velvet jacket and Westerner hat, scrawled travel directions to the Isle of Wight, handwritten lyrics to Love and Confusion, a sketched self-portrait, and his British work permit.
Next door at 23 Brook Street was Hendrix’s London flat, the only home, he once said, “I ever had.” Moving here on the top floor in 1968 with his girlfriend Kathy Etchingham, it served as his main residence in the UK. The flat is now part of the offices of the Handel House Museum, but for 12 days, from September 15–26, it will be open to the public.