When I first encountered the name Jimi Hendrix, the information presented to me said that he did fantastic things on the electric guitar and that his music had changed rock and roll. I was a curious 15 year old who grew up listening to the sappy sounds of The Carpenters, the infatuation of The Beatles and followed the billboard charts like a religious fanatic.
As I was trying to shed my wholesome image of playing the piano by learning to play guitar, Jimi Hendrix seemed like the best example to follow. So I went to the music store and bought a cassette tape of Jimi Hendrix and was pleased that the cover featured him with his eyes closed in a pleasurable trance, thinking that was what made him appealing to girls.
When my cassette player started, I heard a man who basically rambled during a song, with occasional spurts of singing. The guitar was out of control with feedback wailing like a sound check gone terribly wrong and I thought to my 15 year old self "Did I just waste $10???" Bear in mind, my virgin (yes I was a virgin) ears had never been exposed to loud music except when I turned the volume up on Donna Summer's "Hot Stuff". Terribly disappointed, I put the cassette tape on my shelf and backslided to the soothing strains of 'Billie Jean is not my lover..."
I don't recall how it happened but in less than a year, chart music became as banal as sliced bread to me. It just wasnt enough to sit down to listen; I needed music that would cause me to jump off furniture and slide on my knees. One hot afternoon during a community barbeque, my father requested that I manage the music while everyone was mingling - bad move. As I pondered how I would punish them, the Jimi Hendrix cassette tape jumped out at me from the stack on the shelf and I immediately grabbed it.
The mild mannered barbeque was instantly transformed into an unruly orgy. Well, not really. While everyone turned to each other with bewildered expressions for a moment, everything about Jimi's music made sense to me. He was a god wielding aural feedback and a range of guitar tones, creating out of chaos a music that rendered me quite aerobic.
In 2008, I decided to pay tribute to that time of discovery and preserve one of the memorable images of Jimi on glass. I present to you, The Jimi Hendrix Experience.