The anniversary of Jimi Hendrix’s death is coming up next Saturday (18 September), which I guess accounts for the recent surge of Jimi Hendrix articles in the music press.
Brad Schreiber’ On Becoming Jimi Hendrix has hit the shelves. I have not read a Hendrix biography to date, but David Dean’s article in ShortList has inspired me to explore the Hendrix body of knowledge. I’ll see if I can order Schreiber’s book in the next day or two.
Music wise I only have two Hendrix CD’s. My favorite Hendrix tunes can be found on the Smash Hits CD. My favorite tracks include: The Wind Cries Mary (with it’s haunting images of loneliness), Hey Joe (the dangers of messing with another man’s woman), All Along the Watchtower (whenever I listen to it I imagine it being a conversation between God and Satan), Manic Depression (haunts me with the line ‘I know what I want/but i just don’t know how to go about getting it), and Red House (which I spent the summer of ‘96 singing with a German rock band called Frank the Tank Meets Speedball).
Here’s the thing about the Hendrix story that has me transfixed. He dared to be an individual, a free-thinker who refused to accept someone else’s story as his own. The other attraction, which is mildly dark, is Hendrix’s death. He died at 28, locking himself in time as a legendary Sixties icon who will forever embody what the sixties purported to be about – sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Perhaps proving that it is indeed better to burn out than to fade away.