Jimi Hendrix, Still My Idol! (Part 1)
So, I’ll be honest; the summer of 2013 will always be known as the pilgrimage of music for me. Why, you might be asking? Because I gave myself a complete overhaul in music categories and artists! Some of you may have initiated your own musical/spiritual coming of age, and to you fine people I say, kudos! But despite the different sounds that I’ve allowed my eardrums to consistently rock to every morning — Led Zeppelin, Animals as Leaders and, of course, Periphery — I always find myself coming back to the late Jimi the Jam Hendrix.
The first musical conquest that I’d ever found on the Internet was Common’s Finding Forever album on iTunes. I might have only been 13, but my knowledge of the Internet in the early 21st century was still basic and untamed. I hadn’t yet had my first system crash, or even a false file download for that matter. So, it’s not peculiar to me that Common’s song It’s your World opened my mind to a completely different world of self-expression. Common spoke as a people person, much the same that Madvillain and J Dilla did. However, unlike all the rest, Jimi Hendrix struck me as the guy more likely to play Pokemon on a Friday night than count a large fold of cash.
That and Jimi Hendrix was primarily a guitarist and vocalist.
Getting used to that new combination of artist wasn’t entirely different to me than what I’d listened to with The Isley Brothers or Led Zeppelin; but Jimi’s rifts let me know that it was completely okay to be down and out. Was it because Hendrix was a hippie?
Well, of course! But by the time Hednrix had made his debut, well past Woodstock and European tours with his band, Ray Charles and Ronald Isley had already released their music to freebird audiences. Jimi Hendrix didn’t strike as much as an innovator as he did as a pioneer.
But, what of it?
Well, freedom for starters. Hendrix carried with him an entire history of drug issues and past experiences that would influence him, whether negatively or positively, in his decisions to become an amateur guitarist to a full-blown 60s rock star. Jimi came from a broken home by today’s standards. Hendrix’s father Al had been charged at the time with going AWOL, but his superiors locked him in the Fort’s stockade to avoid the full penalties of that violation. All the while Hendrix’s mother Lucille dealt with money and alcohol issues trying to raise a child on her own.
When his father finally did show his presence in his son’s life, it was with a cloud of alcohol abuse and verbal fighting with his mother that Al would bring with him. Consequently, when his mother died at the age of 33 from liver disease, Al would feed both Hendrix and his brother Leon shots of whiskey to numb the pain. With all these things considered, Al did try to provide support for his son’s talents.
Most sources will tell you that he was a troubled young man without much direction given to him by any mentor. Be that as it may, Hendrix let go of the social restrictions of his time and consoled his feelings in playing the ukulele, from which he would be given by a wealthy landowner that had no use for the instrument.
After all, it did only have one string.
We’ll continue this in the next blog post, and until then, let me know what you think of Hendrix as well!!!