February 3, 2013

"He just looked unusual - stunning really.... He was fresh and he had a very soft sort of American accent."

Writes Kathy Etchingham meeting her long-ago boyfriend Jimi Hendrix (who was not a star at the time).
[One evening] Etchingham was trying to make mashed potato and not doing a very good job of it.

"He comes along and tastes them with a fork and says they're all lumpy," she recalls. "I knew he couldn't cook himself and that's how the argument started. It ended with my screaming and shouting, throwing the plates on the floor and marching out."

Etchingham spent the night at a friend's and Hendrix missed her so much that he sat down to write one of his biggest hits, The Wind Cries Mary.

Mary is Etchingham's middle name and the guitarist would sometimes use it to wind her up.
"The Wind Cries Mary" is about an argument over mashed potatoes!

A broom is drearily sweeping
Up the broken pieces of yesterday’s life potatoes
Somewhere a queen is weeping
Somewhere a king has no wife
And the wind, it cries Mary


Ann Althouse said...

Here are all the lyrics to the song.

Comments idea: Write an additional verse for the sone and make it about mashed potatoes.

Shouting Thomas said...

Jesus, if every groupie of Hendrix writes a book, and every drib of studio outtakes gets released, we've got at least several more centuries of Hendrix to live through, for a guy who had an effective career of about six years!

Jimi was a natural, normal human being!

No, he wasn't. He did nothing but play guitar 10 hours a day, take drugs and chase tail. I mean, I've got nothing against any of these pursuits, but that hardly qualifies as normal.

I know guys who worked with Hendrix, and Hendrix did his turn in Woodstock, practically living at the old Cafe Espresso. There was nothing normal about this guy. I'm not saying he was a villain. His life was absurd and all out of proportion, which is why he is dead.

Shouting Thomas said...

The Old Dawgz are thinking of covering The Wind Cries Mary, and no, it isn't about mashed potatoes, although that bit may have given Hendrix a bit of inspiration.

It's about loneliness, which Hendrix was dying from. He was such a bigger than life personna that he was effectively sealed off from the rest of the human race.

Anonymous said...

A previous song already tried to bridge the divide:

"Goodbye twist
Hello mashed potato"

ricpic said...

Flipped out because he criticized her lumpy spuds? Touchy lady.

LarryK said...

Well I sit down next to a potato
And I chop it up with the edge of my hand
Well I sit down next to a potato
And I chop it up with the edge of my hand
I whip up all the pieces, and mash the islands
Smash the Brit bits that are lumpy and bland
'Cause I'm a tuber man
LAWD KNOWS I'm a tuber man

LarryK said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shouting Thomas said...

Your clue about how serious a girlfriend this woman was is that another "girlfriend" walked right into the motel room while she and Hendrix were screwing.

He kept as many going simultaneously as he could.


Hell, I used to do the same thing when I was young, handsome and single.

Telling the groupies that you've written a song about them is a surefire way to keep them hooked. You can use the same song to achieve the same outcome with a couple of dozen girls.

LarryK said...

So, under this interpretation, Jimi waited to write the next verse until he snapped out of his blue funk over the spud fight. "Vodoo Chile" became a defiant assertion of his own potato-mashing virility.

Michael said...

ST probably has the story right. Or quite possibly the woman made it up. Completely.

Chip Ahoy said...

I do not understand Hendrix. He's one of those people who I just flat don't get. So a girl dated him, crap happened and he died shortly after, quite badly. But my favorite part of that whole thing was Mr. Twister. Because it reminded me of this guy who I can hardly remember at all. Except he wore a white t-shirt with large primary color dots to an outdoor party. He greeted me and I went, "Left hand red" and planted the palm of my hand on his pectoral and left it there. "Oh, I'm sorry. I thought you were offering a game. Right hand green." Whap. The women in the immediate vicinity thought that was hilarious and did NOT leave the guy alone thereafter. But frankly, I don't even know what song you're talking about.

No wait that's not it
The wind cries Maria
Never mind then
The wind knows potatoes
Have lumps sometimes
when mashed up in completely
It's a textural thing
A matter of interest
Maria's my queen after that.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

I hate it when Brits leave off the ES in 'mashed potatoes.'

Wince said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chip Ahoy said...

This automatic thing changed incompletely to in completely without my permission or noticing.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

I'm wondering if Hendrix ate his mashed potatoes upside down and backwards.

Chip Ahoy said...

I leave the es off mashed potatoes because I often mash one.

Or for a gathering, search out the largest potato possible, so for a large party look for a potato the size of a watermelon.

Wince said...

The secret to mashed potatoes is a little milk.

Mashed Potato Time.

Follow the bouncing breasts.

Shouting Thomas said...

Not long ago, I got a call from a black blues guitarist and vocalist who wanted to know if I could cover keyboard on a couple of his gigs in the northeast. I have no idea where he got my name and number.

He's really good. I was quite impressed. In the past couple of years, he's won several W.C. Handy Blues awards. Coked out to the gills and impossible to deal with, too. I did one gig with him, and then just refused after that because his coked out life was too damned crazy.

He had a blonde, white "girlfriend" in every town where he played a gig. Free lodging and meals, and the girl usually helped him to score coke, too.

Not the first black musician I've seen playing that racket. I call it the "blonde bed and breakfast tour."

Wince said...

Mitchell the Bat said...
I'm wondering if Hendrix ate his mashed potatoes upside down and backwards.

Wouldn't it be ironic if the vomit Hendrix choked to death on was comprised of mashed potatoes?

virgil xenophon said...

As long as they're garlic mashed potatoes..

Strelnikov said...

I guess "The Wind Cries Kathy" just didn't have the right ring to it.

David said...

A Mashed Potato started long time ago
With a guy named Sloppy Joe
You'll find this dance is so cool to do
Come on baby, gonna teach it to you

KCFleming said...

Her description of his hair and skin during his addictions was poignant.

AllenS said...

Too bad he didn't find a nice black woman like Michelle Obama. She would have made sure he ate better. He might still be alive today. Golfing and shooting guns.

jr565 said...

Well I do know that Bob Seger wrote Strut about Jane Fonda.

jr565 said...

Actually Crosstown Traffic is also about this Mary person.
After the whole potato incident Hendrix wanted nothing more to do with this Mary chick. But getting through to her was like getting through Crosstown Traffic.

William said...

There's a Lerner & Lowe song "They Call the Wind Maria". Ir expresses the same sentiments as the Hendrix song. Perhaps that was as much a part of Hendrix's consciousness as the lumpy mashed potatoes......I like both songs. I wonder which one will make the posterity cut.

joe said...

Johnny's in the basement
mixing up potato
Jimmy says they're lumpy
gotta make the next show

And the wind whispered dog vomit

Known Unknown said...


The Beautiful South's Song For Whoever

You'll get a kick out of the lyrics, I'm sure.

Known Unknown said...

I'd just rather write a new song called "The Wind Cries Lumpy"

About Clarence Rutherford.

Known Unknown said...

OT: Welcome to The Beautiful South album cover (where "Song for Whoever" came from.)

"Jan Saudek's album cover originally depicted two pictures, one of a woman with a gun in her mouth, and another with a man smoking. Woolworths refused to stock the album to, in the words of the band, "prevent the hoards of impressionable young fans from blowing their heads off in a gun-gobbling frenzy, or taking up smoking";therefore, an alternative cover featuring a picture of a stuffed toy rabbit and a teddy bear was made."

Don said...

A very good recent (July 2010) rendition of the song is here:
(by Nikki Yanofsky)

btw @LarryK, @ChipAhoy roflmao!