SALT LAKE CITY, Utah. The Osmonds, the wholesome musical group known for its family-friendly fare, takes to the state fair circuit next month with a new repertoire that will come as a shock to long-time fans; an entire set devoted to the music of Jimi Hendrix, the acid-rock guitarist who has come to be recognized as the one genuine musical genius of the “psychedelic” era.
“Manic depression–has captured my soul!”
“In retrospect, Jimi was right,” says Donny Osmond, the only Osmond brother who has forged a successful solo career. “Drug abuse apparently can be of valuable assistance to an artist during the creative process.”
The Osmonds are members of the Mormon Church, a denomination whose members refrain from using stimulants and depressants, including alcohol, tobacco, coffee and cola drinks. According to music industry legend, the Osmonds were booked to appear at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, the event that launched Hendrix to prominence, but decided not to perform after Donny Osmond went backstage. “Guys were doing Coke,” he recalls, ”and Pepsi, Dr. Pepper–even Mountain Dew. I went back to our bus and had a Sprite, the refreshing lemon-lime soft drink.”
Hendrix died in 1970 in a basement apartment in London under circumstances that have never fully been explained. He choked on his own vomit after a night of drinking wine and taking sleeping pills with his girlfriend Monika Danneman, but a subsequent autopsy listed the cause of death as Yoohoo Chocolate Soda.
“We’re thinking of doing a little experimentation before we go on at some of the bigger venues,” says “Little” Jimmy Osmond, the youngest member of the singing family. “Like maybe drinking a Diet Coke really fast through two straws.”