Andre 3000 aka Andre Benjamin as Jimi Hendrix in a still from forthcoming biopic

Speaking to Rolling Stone, producers of the forthcoming Jimi Hendrix biopic All Is By My Side, starring  Andre 3000 as a young Hendrix, revealed important details about the use of music in the film, which came under fire from the Hendrix Estate (AKA Experience Hendrix, LLC , which controls the rights to the rock star’s catalog) before shooting had even begun. Producer Sean McKittrick explained that the filmmakers never contracted Experience Hendrix because they never intended to use any compositions actually written by Hendrix, instead asking Benjamin to record new versions of songs by the Beatles, Muddy Waters and others.

“This is the story of Jimi being discovered as a backup musician and how he went to London and became Jimi Hendrix,” says the producer. McKittrick says that focusing on early stories about Hendrix – like the times he jammed with Cream and met Eric Clapton – is preferable to a biopic about Hendrix’s full life story. “That would be like making a movie about Kurt Cobain,” he says. “We all know how that story ends.

Covers of “Wild Thing,” “Hound Dog,” Muddy Waters’ “Mannish Boy” and Elmore James‘ “Bleeding Heart,” were recorded for the film, as well as two songs (“Future Trip” and “Driving South”) that Hendrix played as a backup musician for Curtis Knight & the Squires. Sessions took place in Los Angeles, where Benjamin was backed up by a trio comprising Waddy Wachtel (who’s played guitar for Keith Richards, Stevie Nicks and Linda Ronstadt), Leland Sklar (bassist for James Taylor, Jackson Browne and Phil Collins), and Kenny Aronoff (former John Mellencamp drummer). Music industry insiders confirm that the filmmakers are absolutely in the clear as long they have licensed the material in question, and don’t need any permission from the Hendrix estate to record new versions of other artist’s music. Offering an update on the status of the film itself, McKittrick revealed that:

Principal photography is expected to wrap this week, and producers then hope to take the film to Sundance in early 2013 for possible release next year. A soundtrack album featuring the Benjamin-sung covers is also in discussion. “Andre has been Jimi for four months now,” McKittrick says. “He speaks and walks like Jimi. He dropped a ton of weight. The transformation has been amazing.”

props to RS

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