In an interview to TRIP, photographer Ricky and singer Serguei, two of her Brazilian hosts, reveal the glory and embarrassment of one of the greatest singers of all time, whose stay in Brazil went almost unnoticed. She made an obscure performance at a Copacabana hellhole, was kicked out of a hotel and almost arrested at the beach, incidents that caused her to declare to Rolling Stone magazine, after her return: "If you have long hair they'll toss you out and never let you back in again. Cops rape people, set dogs on guys' balls. The best were some nights when I sang with friends at a whorehouse ". We present one of the few women who literally took the Medici dictatorship head on. Photographer Ricky Ferreira hosted Janis in his apartment and was her tour guide through Rio's alleys and parties. Ahead, he reminisces amazing stories drenched in lots of Fogo Paulista.
She was voted the ugliest boy in school. Since youth she'd get shit-faced with a vengeance: whisky, weed, amphetamines, acid, tobacco, vodka, cocaine, methadone, heroine and cookies and jam (find out more about this ahead). The only real boyfriend she ever had died in Vietnam. She'd tear off her clothes on stage and used to complain that after "making love" to a thousand people at a concert, she'd go back to her room and sleep by herself.
When she came to Rio de Janeiro for the Carnival, to chase away the blues and take a break from heroine (which, at the time, was unavailable around these parts), Janis Joplin was about to release her ultimate accomplishment - Pearl, a posthumous album released in 1971. She would die eight months after her stay in Rio, at 27 - the same age at which Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix and Brian Jones said their farewells.

TRIP How did you meet Janis Joplin?
RICKY I passed her by at Avenida Atlântica and recognized her immediately. So I went and talked to her.

TRIP Did no one recognize her?
RICKY
Very few people did. A few journalists and some artists and musicians. When I saw her, she was crying. She had just been expelled from Copacabana Palace (for skinny-dipping in the hotel swimming pool). It was Carnival and there were no vacancies, she didn't know where to go. I invited her over to my place, a humble kitchenette in Leblon. She accepted right away. Then started a full-fledged festival of drugs, booze, everything...
TRIP Sex, too?

 

RICKY No. I never did it with her. I just wanted to please her. You know: want some pot? Let's get some. But she didn't like marijuana, it gave her the jitters. What she really liked was booze and heroine. (more...)

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