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Yesterday's News

Sample Minnesota's rich history, courtesy of a microfilm archive

Nov. 3, 1968: A bad Jimi Hendrix experience

How much would you have paid to see Jimi Hendrix perform at the Minneapolis Auditorium in his prime? Well, the Tribune paid its music critic to be there, and he wasn’t happy about the assignment.


Jimi Hendrix Show Plays at Auditorium

Minneapolis Tribune Staff Writer
  Jimi Hendrix on the Isle of Wight in 1970.
The Jimi Hendrix show at the Minneapolis Auditorium Saturday night was billed as “an experience,” and that’s a good name for it. It was an experience, an undesirable one.
For those of you who are not yet aware of this shining new talent, Jimi Hendrix could be best described as a black Elvis Presley.
That is to say, he doesn’t sing too well, and he doesn’t play his white guitar too well, but he does have a lot of sex.
HE HAS long hair. He wears a pink, flowery shirt and pink pants and white shoes. He twists and moves around a lot as he sings and caresses his guitar.
So his talent is really not significant and neither is that of something called [Mother] Cat and the all night newsboys, the rock band that preceded Hendrix before intermission.
The things that made the Hendrix experience an experience was the behavior of the love-oriented (remember) hippie types in all their conforming nonconformist costumes who crowded and forced themselves up to the front of the stage when Hendrix came on.
THE MUSIC by Hendrix and his two white sidemen was loud but not too clear. Among his songs were “Foxy Lady” and “Are You Experienced,” which he dedicated to “all the narcotics agents and detectives and a few other bastards.”
People sitting in the balcony probably had no trouble seeing Hendrix. For those sitting up front it was quite difficult because of those rude, smelly long-haired kids who pushed their way up to the stage, completely intimidating law officers and Andy Frain ushers.
It was possible to see if you stood up, but Jimi Hendrix isn’t worth standing up for.
Here’s what the Minneapolis Auditorium looked like in 1966, two years before the Hendrix concert — and nine years before I witnessed Rod Stewart kicking soccer balls into a crowd there in the fall of 1975. (Photo courtesy

Feb. 8, 1922: Indian reputed to be 137 years old dies at Cass Lake

Ga-Be-Nah-Gewn-Wonce (variously known as Kay-bah-nung-we-way, Sloughing Flesh, Wrinkled Meat or plain old — well, really old — John Smith) was reputed to be 137 years old when he died. Whatever his precise age, his well-lined face indicates a man who led a long and full life. He had eight wives but no children. He fought, he fished, he counseled, he rode horses and trains, he appeared in moving pictures and he sold postcards. The Minneapolis Morning Tribune’s page-one obituary featured a two-column photo of Ga-Be-Nah-Gewn-Wonce:



Oldest Man in Country Was Active Until Week Before Death.

Cass Lake, Minn., Feb. 6—Ga-Be-Nah-Gewn-Wonce, also known as John Smith, a Chippewa Indian reputed to be 137 years old, died here today after a week’s illness with pneumonia.

Smith, whose Indian name means “Wrinkled meat,” had been very active in late years. A year ago he became totally blind, but his mind remained clear to the last, and he often recalled the days when he was a scout for the Chippewas in the wars with the Sioux. He also remembered events of the war of 1812. One of his boasts was that he had never fought against the white man. 

John Smith


Up to four years ago he had never visited a big city. His first trip of this kind was to the Twin Cities. Later he visited the Automobile show at Chicago.

A year and a half ago he returned to the north woods of Minnesota to spend his time fishing for sturgeon in Lake of the Woods, in the same waters that he fished more than a century ago.

Ga-Be-Nah-Gewn-Wonce had been married eight times. He had no children and the only survivor is Tom Smith, an adopted son at whose home he died.

The “old Indian,” as he was generally known among the white people, was active until six months ago, since which time he had not been seen outside his adopted son’s house. Before that time he had made it a practice to meet all trains entering the village and offer postal cards for sale.

He claimed to have met the Schoolcraft and Cass exploration party which passed through here about 100 years ago, and recalled the changing of the name of the lake, then known as Red Cedar Lake, to Cass Lake, in honor of one of the leaders of the expeditions.

Two years ago he took the central part in moving pictures taken of Indians, called the “Recollections of Ga-be-nah-gewn-wonce,” which have been exhibited all over the United States.

Soon after the prohibition was put into effect, some bootleggers sold “Old Indian” what they claimed to be a quart of whisky, but which proved to be water. “Old Indian” did not say anything, but three years later the same bootleggers purchased a hind quarter of “venison” from him. This turned out to be a portion of an old horse which had just died.

To illustrate his vitality, it is related that seven years ago, when 130 years of age, “Old Indian” was knocked down by a switch engine, while crossing the railroad tracks. His injuries confined him to a hospital for only three weeks after which he suffered no ill effects.

Pagan rites will be omitted at the funeral of John Smith. He will be buried from the Catholic church here, which he joined about eight years ago.