Jimi Hendrix haunts me


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.