JIMI HENDRIX by Frank Lemmen and Richard Karsmakers
"What the..." might now be one of your most spontaneous
reactions when you read the above title. Why would computer
freaks ever wish to write an article about this phenomenal guitar
wizard in a COMPUTER magazine (disk-based or not?). Why do dim-
witted nutheads get it into their misty brains (or what remains
of it, anyway) to write about Jimi Hendrix in ST NEWS?
Well, something utterly weird happened to us some time ago - we
experienced (please mark the choice of words) the late sixties
psychedelic rock of Jimi Hendrix - in an era that can best be
described as troubled, confused, violent, assertive and demanding
("More titles from the original sound track of the feature length
motion picture 'Experience' by Jimi Hendrix" quote). Frank is
momentarily playing guitar with a small wooden chair while Jimi's
"Blue Suede Shoes" (on the "Hendrix in the West" album) sounds
throughout the room. He's feeling really psychedelic right now,
and so am I (don't worry - we haven't used any lumps of sugar
with acid on 'em - having listened to "Moon turn the
tides...gently gently away" suffices). Where is my water pipe?!
Sure could use some LSD-coke right now, so that I will be able to
read the orange on orange of the "Rainbow Bridge" inner cover
(accidentally creating some impressionic psycho-flower-drawings).
Please allow me to quote a small "Rainbow Bridge" excerpt here; a
small flower-powery talk between Jimi, co-actor Pat Hartley and
director Chuck Wein...
Chuck: Did you ever have a feeling of being totally out of your
body? Actually going somewhere but not taking your body with
you? Outer space? Tibet?
Jimi: Yes, have you?
Chuck: Where do you go, when you go?
Jimi: I don't know man it seems like there's this little center
in space that's just rotating, you know, constantly rotating,
and there's these souls on it. And you're sitting there like
cattle at a water hole and there's no rap actually going on.
There's no emotions that are strung out, so you're just sitting
there and all of a sudden the next thing you know you'll be
drawn into a certain thing and the light gets bright and you
see stuff, a page being turned, and you see yourself next to a
Vietcong, you know, a soldier being cut down. You arrive at the
scene of a soldier being shot down, and all of a sudden you feel
like helping that soldier up, but you're feeling yourself held
in another vibe, another sense of that soldier, it seems like
the soul of him, you know, and then you whisk back to the
waterhole or the oasis and you're sitting there and you're
rapping again or something eating a banana cream pie and sitting
on the grey hardwood benches and so forth and all of a sudden
somebody calls out again. But this is without words, that whole
scene and all of a sudden the next thing you know you see
yourself looking down at the left paw of the sphinx and the tomb
of king Blourrr and his friendly facions and these all night
social workers with their mattresses tied around their backs
screaming: Curb service! Curb service! Curb service! Curb
service! You know with a third eye in the middle of the pyramid,
aha, then we find ourself drifting accross the desert sands dry
as a bone but still going towards home and then finally things
look up as Cleopatra is here giving you demands, and the same
time begging for fetishes. Invent something or else I'll kick
your ass. Those kind of scenes, a girl who claims to be Pio
Cleopatra, Pio what? And all of a sudden the Hawaiian mountains
open up and rise another 13 thousand feet, and we go higher and
higher and Cleopatra has this beautiful raven hair and what are
you supposed to do man except lay there and play the part and so
I'm laying there playing the part and grape chokes me almost.
But I can't let the choke come out. Because, you know, I have to
be together, right? So I say pttt, groovy grape wine you have
there, Cleo. Ah, hell, I mean let's get it on, forget all about
that stuff back there and forget you and your scene. Let's just
go up in the hills and relax and live, no I have the conscience
I must do this. I must do that, I must... Oh forget about it
Cleo, man, you're a woman, I'm a man, come on, let's get it on.
Let's go out and get ourselves a grapevine out in the valley
somewhere in the side Mt. Vesuvius or something. I don't know,
hell. No, no, no, my parents, my tradition, my snake, ogh. You
bit me in the ass again you naughty asp... Then we found
ourselves wrapped up in carpets which was fine. And here I am.
See, sometimes it gets too strenuous for instance like when you
try and clear marijuana with steel, metallic tea strainers, sin!
Sin! You die like a rabbit run over by a Mack truck, sin, but
then again out threw away your wizard's head and I got a book of
matches in my back pocket. We can...what's your name? I like
you, you know what I mean?
Chuck: You think those people cared about human suffering?
Jimi: The statue of liberty is a prostitute, excuse me what were
you saying? What's this about your being a wizard and all this
throwing in your hat. What is this about?
Chuck: That's what I was asking her. I said I want to give up my
wizard's hat and she said you can't do that.
Jimi: Well show me a trick that shows you have enough guts to
give up your wizard's hat.
Chuck: Give me a beer.
Jimi: A beer? Oh great, now I get to play the tricks oh, see this
top? Flop! Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard and pulled out a
nice bone dry beer... For the lady of course.
Hartley: Oh, thank you but don't let him trick you into taking
Jimi: You think I'd put on somebody's hat? That's his gig, not
Chuck: You told me anyone who wanted to could be Jesus.
Jimi: I told you that?
Chuck: Yeah you told me that.
Jimi: Well right, pick up on it then.
Chuck: Venus, markab!
Jimi: I thought there was death going around here. I see a dead
hat laying over there that somebody...
Chuck: Death of the ego.
Jimi: Death of the...?
Chuck: I'm going to take you for a stroll down memory lane now.
Do you remember anybody who sat next to you in third grade?
Jimi: Yeah, my teacher sat next to me in third grade, you know,
like in the front desk. Little things about how this is an
example, and at the same time she's saying this is an example,
she's touching my kneecaps under the table of course but you
know I was there, I never could sit with everybody else. Cause
she'd say how are you feeling? I'd say something kind of spacy
like well that depends on what the people on Mars are doing,
she'd say, well, you go to the front desk for that so I'd go
into a little cubbyhole just like the gestapo motorcycles, you
know, the little driver sits on the motorcycle and the commander
sits in the cubbyhole, you know?
Chuck: That's the favourite position, though.
Jimi: Well, I didn't know that then.
Chuck: You thought you were from Mars?
Jimi: I didn't think it actually, I just didn't know what else to
say to her. I got tired of saying fine thank you.
Chuck: Did you ever dream you were in a pyramid?
Jimi: I got high one time over in Florida I thought I was
something that had something to do with a pyramid, I didn't
know, maybe in one of my past lives or something, whew.
Hartley: Listen if your past lives ever did you any good you
wouldn't have to come back and do that again, you wouldn't have
any past lives one this one.
Jimi: Is that all you care about this one?
Didn't you think this was pretty much psychedelic? I suppose
Jimi really was feeling kinda high above the ground at the moment
that this little 'interview' was made.
Hendrix is (or rather: was - unfortunately...) the kind of
guitar sound wizard, raving into most peculiar walls of noise and
boosting his volume up to such high levels that his valve tubes
really burst into nothing all the time. He was THE man that could
combine sound effects that would make all guitarists go puke
together with swell zoundz. Ever heard him play the "Star
Spangled Banner" back on the Woodstock festival? Well, he sure
got some great effects from his stringed-upside-down Stratocaster
there, and I have spent many hours trying to imitate this - after
too long a time realising that I only had one of those Japanese
nylon-stringed things and no pedals to meddle with. Shame (yet
another guitar hero will remain undiscovered).
Jimi's music was in stride with the times. Although he was
extremely theatrical, he was a master of the guitar, using its
sounds and even feedback, to obtain effects never before realized
by any musician. The electronics utilized by the group resulted
in an experience never before imagined. Just listen to the sounds
that make us close our eyes in Jimi's best guitar masterpiece
ever: "1983 (A Merman I should turn to be)", gently floating into
"Moon, turn the tides...gently gently away". He makes his Fender
sound like seagulls and these sounds strike the listener right
into the heart.
Born as John Allen Hendrix in Seattle, November 27th 1942,
Hendrix would turn out to be the most innovative and influential
guitarists of the sixties, together with ol' time hero Eric
Clapton. He was a mixture of negro-and cherokee blood, that
manifested itself in his split character, too. His father changed
his name to James Marshall Hendrix when he was four. His father
also bought him his first (acoustic) guitar when he was thirteen,
and he got his first electric guitar one year later. From that
time, he played guitar all the time and he would continue to do
so for the rest of his life. Early in the sixties, Jimi joined
the 101st US Airborne, but when his parachute wouldn't open
properly he got injured and dismissed - thus missing the war that
he would speak out against so plainly later. In 1966, Jimi is
'discovered' by ex-Animals guitarist Chas Chandler. Chandler:
"Someone said you'd better listen to that new guitar player. I
crossed the street and saw him and on that evening he knocked me
off my feet right where I stood! I didn't even fetch my guitar.
H-Bombs exploded, guided missiles flew around, I heard the
roaring of the ocean..I wish I understood how he did it. He was
right in front of me. I didn't touch my guitar for over a year."
After "Hey Yoe", things went rapidly but the Jimi Hendrix
Experience always had problems with their amps. Even the heavy
Marshall amps blew up all the time, until one Tony Francis helped
them out and rebuilt some of the equipment so as to outlive the
Experience violence. Jimi Hendrix grew to be a male sex symbol
and the biggest rock'n'roll danger of Europe, and extensive tours
were planned throughout Europe - everybody had to see this new
sensation of the man miraculously creating all the sounds with
but a single guitar and virtually no pedals or other equipment.
His career, however, turned out not to last long. He died on
Friday, September 18th 1970 in the appartment of his West German
girlfriend Monika Danneman in London. He would leave having made
just five official albums, featuring some world class evergreens
like "Hey Joe", "Purple Haze" - not even "Voodoo Chile" that was
not published until after his death (accidentally giving him his
first No. 1 hit - be it posthumuously). Everybody must now
remember the words..."I stand up next to a mountain, and chop it
down with the ledge of my hand...I'm a voodoo chile". In a note
to Monika he wrote on the night he died, he wrote: "The story of
love is hello and goodbye. Until we meet again..."
Leaving the prototype image of the intoxicated guitar player,
heaving his eyes to the sky and using his typical tremolo style
on his upside-down Stratocaster with the equally typical heavy
Marshall amps. Flowers, psychedelia, sex, drugs and rock'n' roll.
That was Hendrix. Burning his guitar in front of an audience.
That was Hendrix. Busting his white Stratocaster through some of
the heavy Marshall amps. That was Hendrix. Playing the six
stringed monster with his teeth, on his back or using a
microphone stand as a bottle-neck. That was Hendrix. Lotta bad
things can be said about him, but he was no doubt the best guitar
player of his time. Jimi has said, "I feel guilty when people say
I'm the greatest guitarist on the scene. What's good or bad
doesn't matter to me; what does matter is feeling and not
feeling. If only people would take more of a true view and think
in terms of feeling. Your name doesn't mean a damn, it's your
talent and feeling that matters. You've got to know much more
than just the technicalities of notes; you've got to know sounds
and what goes between the notes."
And so he did. That's the reason why Frank and myself discovered
his talents anew, and are now eagerly trying to get our hands on
as many of Jimi's good records as possible. I have now found the
record already that I sought in the previous issue; it turned out
to be side C and D of the Polydor 1968 record set "Electric
Ladyland" - Jimi's third official album.
Selective Discography of Jimi Hendrix (1942-1970). The albums
marked with an asterisk (*) have been listened to by us, and can
suffice to form quite a complete picture of Jimi as we see it.
The ones with a "#" behind it, are extremely bad!!
Are you Experienced? - Polydor 1967 (also on CD)
Are you Experienced? - Reprise ???? (also on CD - import)
Axis: Bold as Love - Polydor 1967 *
Smash Hits - Polydor 1968 (also on CD)
Jimi Hendrix - Saga 1968
Electric Ladyland (2LP) - Polydor 1968 (also on 2CD) *
This album is also brought out on two seperate records:
Electric Ladyland Part 2 (Sides A and B) * and another one *
Band of Gypsys (live) - Polydor 1970 (also on CD) *
The Isle of Wight (live) - Polydor 1970 (also on CD - import)
The Cry of Love - Polydor 1971 (also on CD - import)
Hendrix in the West (live) - Polydor 1971 (also on CD - import) *
Rainbow Bridge - Reprise Records 1971 (also on CD) *
War Heroes - Polydor 1972 *
Experience Volume 2 - Ember 1972 *
Jimi Hendrix at his best Volume 1-3 - Pantonic 1972
Soundtrack from the film 'Jimi Hendrix' - Reprise 1973
Loose Ends - Polydor 1973 *
Re-experienced - Polydor 1975
Crash Landing - Polydor 1975 (also on CD - import) *
Midnight Lightning - Polydor 1975 (also on CD - import)
The Essential Jimi Hendrix Volume 1 - Reprise 1978
The Essential Jimi Hendrix Volume 2 - Reprise 1979
Nine to the Universe - Reprise 1980
The Legendary Jimi Hendrix - Polydor 1980
The Jimi Hendrix Concerts (2LP) - CBS 1982 *
Live (live) - Polydor 1982
The Singles Album (2LP) - Polydor 1983 (also on 2CD) *
Jimi Plays Monterey - Polydor 1986 (also on CD)
Live at Winterland (live 2LP) - Polydor 1987 (also on CD) *
Jimi Hendrix in the Beginning - Premier ???? *#
Kiss the Sky - Polydor ???? (also on CD)
OST 'Experience' - Bulldog ???? (also on CD - import)
The Box (live 5LP) - ?? ???? *#
Johnny B. Goode - EMI ????
Voodoo Chile - Galaxy ???? (also on CD)
Band of Gypsys 2 - EMI ???? (also on CD)
Woke Up This Morning And Found Myself Dead - Red Lightnin' ????
(Also on CD)
Videos: Plays Berkeley (50 minutes)
Rainbow Bridge (72 minutes)
"A musician, if he's a messenger, is like a child who hasn't
been handled too many times by man, hasn't had too many
fingerprints accross his brain. That's why music is so much
heavier than anything you ever felt."
Jimi Hendrix (1942-1970) LIFE Magazine Interview, 1969
Thanks go to: Henk Lemmen, Marieke van der Werf (Music magazine
"Oor") en Wietske (that's Willeke's sister!).
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.