When Spock met Hendrix: ‘Trek’ icon Leonard Nimoy’s cosmic moment

May 09, 2012 | 7:12 p.m.


leonard nimoy and jimi hendrix When Spock met Hendrix: Trek icon Leonard Nimoys cosmic moment

Noel Redding, left, Leonard Nimoy, center, and Jimi Hendrix, second from right, in Ohio not long before the guitar hero’s death in September 1970.

We’ve just posted the second episode of “Hero Complex: The Show” on the Nerdist Channel on YouTube and it’s an exciting one for us:  Leonard Nimoy is the guest.

We visited the sci-fi icon’s Bel Air home a few weeks ago to talk about “Star Trek,” his evolution as a filmmaker and photographer and his philosophies on family and career. We also talked about a very special photograph — the one that shows him meeting Jimi Hendrix not long before rock’s greatest guitar hero died in 1970 at age 27.

Full coverage: Leonard Nimoy

“Hero Complex: The Show” premiered two weeks ago with our visit to the offices of Ridley Scott and picks up again May 23 with the conclusion of our Nimoy visit. (And just to make sure you check back, chew on this thought: In Part 2, he gives us a William Shatner impression.) But here’s that first installment:

“Hero Complex: The Show” features the great work of  video journalists Jeff Amlotte and Myung J. Chun, and as host my goal is to bring you insightful conversations with the biggest names and brightest thinkers in sci-fi, fantasy, horror, comics and gaming and deliver it to you in a way that always respects your intelligence. Let us know how we’re doing, and please, don’t hold back. We want to improve every episode and the feedback helps. I’ve been writing for the L.A. Times since 1991 but the on-camera world is a new (and frightening) frontier but it’s also exciting because I’m pretty passionate about pop culture and love talking about it.

If you liked watching the show, check out some of the “Star Trek” coverage below; I’m really proud of the Benedict Cumberbatch story that we published earlier today, for instance. And if you’re going to be in Southern California between May 18-21, take a look at the lineup for our Hero Complex Film Festival, we’d love to see you there. (We had Nimoy as a guest our first year, back in 2010; you can check out video from that and notcie he hasn’t changed a bit while I’m looking like a crewman from episode No. 41.)

— Geoff Boucher

Follow me on Twitter: @LATherocomplex


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16 Responses to When Spock met Hendrix: ‘Trek’ icon Leonard Nimoy’s cosmic moment

  1. Joe Cogan says:

    Nimoy's "The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins" was a clear influence on Hendrix's music!

  2. @gms1969 says:

    The LA Times should hire a pop culture reporter who knows things like when the greatest guitarist of all time left the planet…. p.s. – I'm available http://www.popmatters.com/pm/archive/contributor/

    • Geoff Boucher says:

      Yeah i had vapor lock there for a moment: I didn’t want to guess and be wrong. (And I would have been wrong, too, I thinking it was 1971.) This actually works out well, though, since I also consider you a disappointment as an engaged reader since you couldn’t even finish that sentence you started.
      Anyway, here’s a story I wrote about Jimi for the front page of the paper a few years ago, you might enjoy it: http://articles.latimes.com/2010/jan/11/entertain

      • John says:

        Finally… Revenge of the Writer. It always annoys me when I read mean-spirited (and often times unfounded) criticism directed at authors by grammar-challenged readers. "…who knows things like when…"? Come on, @gms1969, if you're going to bash at least bash with coherence.

  3. MourningStar says:

    where is part 2?

  4. Yazid Manou says:

    I'm Yazid Manou, a french Jimi Hendrix fanatic : The Jimi Hendrix Experienced played in Cleveland (Public Music Hall) on March 26th, 1968. The night before Jimi was already in town and played at Otto's Grotto jamming with local band Good Earth. Leonard Nimoy attended. Later on, they met at the club and talked for hours. They even ended in Jimi's hotel room and talked again until 2 or 3 am ! On the photo, the guy between Noel Redding and Leonard Nimoy is DJ Chuck Dunaway.

    Jimi died on September 18th, 1970. He would have been 70 next November 27th.

    Very best regards
    Stay tuned
    Yazid Manou

  5. Douglas Leftwich says:

    Jeff, you did a great job. I really enjoyed this interview and I feel you elicited some wonderful responses from Mr. Nimoy. Star Trek was so much more than a sci-fi television show: it was a pop culture phenomenom. It is interesting to note that because of the cultural impact of the show the powers that were at Paramount felt that both Leonard and Bill Shatner should record music. The results of this venture are up for debate but it is a very interesting footnote to a spectacularly popular era, one that Mr. Boucher obviously has a passion for. Great work and I look forward to the continuation of this interview!

  6. Steve Rodham says:

    Great interview.

    The date of the photo must be 26 March 1968. If, that is, Mr Nimoy is sure that it was Cleveland. That is the only time the Jimi Hendrix Experience played Cleveland. They played 2 shows that night so food between shows would seem likely. Looking at the length of Jimi's hair and his clothing, that seems about right.

  7. Mom, Nimoy fan says:

    Not that a mother enjoy's embarrassing her son,BUT, I was fooled by the JH photog–looked like my son with his cronies–(who is that dressed as Jimi Hendrix? GOOD JOB!) but in watching the video I learned different and had to look again. Interesting interview, I'm looking forward to part two. Anyway, I do see why my kid won best prize for his costume but I won't offer it and embarrass him further.
    Love Wm. Bell (Belly, on Fringe)

  8. Ellen says:

    Absolutely wonderful!!! What an amazing guy!! I've always loved him, but had never seen an interview with him. I also hadn't seen any of his photos before… they're beautiful!! And I LOVE how he came into them!! I'll be googling a lot today. :) Excellent questions as always too! Perfect interview!

  9. XxRacheygirlxX says:

    Great interview! Lots of fun! You nailed it when you addressed cast chemistry on TOS. Honestly, that was the secret behind ST IV's success—not the whales. ;)


  10. @Benkarkis says:

    As the guy said above, this was not September 1970. Noel Redding completely left the group in the summer of 1969 on bad terms.

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