I moved the previous content of this Home page to the bottom of my About page as I’m getting back into my music and am picking up where I left off a few years ago by putting together performance themes / musical essays such as Country Gentleman: A Tribute to Gentleman Jim Reeves and Country Gentleman Chet Atkins, Beatlemaniac: A Musical Portrait of Lennon’s Soul, King of the Crossroads: Robert Johnson (King of Delta Bluesmen) vs Blind Willie Johnson (King of Guitar Evangelists), The 27 Club, The Hapi Hendrix Experience, 6-String Psalms, that sort of thing.
My focus is on creating musical and psychological portraits of musicians, charting the spiritual trajectory of their souls. A goal is to aid in discerning among soul mates and defining or locating the home of one’s own soul. I don’t identify with the ‘modern’ musicians cited below, nor do I share Bono’s distorted perception of “echoes” of David’s Psalms in Robert Johnson’s song Hellhound on My Trail (Introduction to The Pocket Canon series edition of The Book of Psalms), which describes a voodoo practice, and which Sting implicitly associates with winter (his favourite season) in his cover version. Greil Marcus: “Johnson’s vision was of a world without salvation, redemption, or rest”. (Mystery Train, 19) Bono may have been exemplifying William Blake’s comment: “as the sayings used in a nation mark its character, so the Proverbs of Hell show the nature of the Infernal wisdom.” (Marriage of Heaven and Hell) Sting’s musical prayers fit this analogy: “Expecting me to treat you well / No matter what you say.” (Oh My God); “Make me chaste but not just yet.” (St. Augustine in Hell) “Devil to pay, on judgement day / Would Jesus strike me down if I should pray? / This cowboy song is all I know / To bring me back into your arms” (This Cowboy Song) Stewart Copeland: “Sting thought he was the Devil.”
The title of Sting’s memoir, Broken Music, seems an apt description of modern music in general. In 1962: “I also like to hammer away at the piano in the front room, which sits beneath a picture of the Sacred Heart, a portrait of Jesus with his organ of compassion glowing luridly and exposed within his chest and surrounded by cruel thorns….Agnes’s upright seems a perfect sounding board for my unspoken confusion and anger….I close the sitting room door and draw the curtains across the window. With both pedals hard to the floor I attack the keys with a decidedly unmusical ferocity. Sweet harmony may be what I am seeking in my damaged world, but that is not what my unschooled hands are producing. It sounds like hell and strangely gives me some comfort….I can see my grandmother now, slowly opening the door to the front room. She is peering nervously over her tortoiseshell reading glasses. I stop mid cadenza, as if I’ve been caught at something shameful.  ‘Eh, son can’t you play something nicer than that – ‘ she struggles to find a word to describe my efforts – ‘that . . . that broken music?’” (Broken Music, 52-3)
Hendrix on The Experience in 1967: “We are not ‘nice boys,’ and we do not play ‘sweet music.’…there are no rehearsal halls who will accept us anymore. They say we play too loud!” (Zero, 83) His grandmother Nora, founder of Vancouver’s first black church and life long chorister, after he dedicated Foxy Lady to her: “The way he was picking that guitar, oh, my gracious! I don’t see how he could stand all that noise.” (Mirrors, 232) Milton: “disproportion’d sin / Jarr’d against natures chime, and, with harsh din, / Broke the fair music, that all creatures made / To their great Lord, whose love their motion sway’d, / In perfect diapason, whilst they stood / In first obedience, and their state of good. / O may we soon again renew that song, / And keep in tune with Heaven, till God, ere long / To his celestial concert us unite, / To live with him and sing in endless morn of light.” Hendrix’s use of a whammy bar made it difficult to keep in tune with his bassist, let alone with Heaven.
I am honing my material in Vancouver street churches – Hallelujah all praise to God – with the aim of leading listeners from what I see as the confusion of contemporary culture, which I associate with spiritual winter, to a spiritual spring. I regard Mehldau (a professed Gnostic), Bono, Hendrix, and Coltrane as confused souls, unlike Beethoven, for example, whose tonality was cadential to the end, although I could be wrong about that. Like Blind Willie, Handel and Bach (Hendrix’s superego composers) my tonality is cadential; therefore, I don’t identify as a bluesman for I share good news or a jazzman as my music serves salvation’s story wherein my shadow surrenders to my Saviour, my flesh submits to the divine Spirit; these entities / Persons are not equals in my soul.
Words of Modern Musicians:
Brad Mehldau: “The relationship between any creative mind and the citadels of religious devotion is fraught, and this troubled mix of dick-wagging swagger and piety is the history of modern music – it’s Beethoven, it’s Coltrane, it’s Jimi Hendrix; it’s everything you want to hear. The composer, the improviser, the singer, the guitar player – they all say, ‘Look at me, look at what a badass I am!’ And at the very same time, they say, ‘I am in the service of something higher and greater than myself, it is not corporeal, and I am humbly transmitting that to you.’” (Coltrane, Jimi Hendrix, Beethoven and God) Compare with soli Deo gloria, Latin for glory to God alone, used by Bach and Handel.
Wynton Marsalis: “[In] the late seventies, early eighties….Malcolm X’s ghost was riding the wind, and Black Nationalism was the chosen philosophy of every young black person of consciousness….Most black intellectual conversation I had experienced centered around black and white – black versus white….in the sixties and seventies…Black Nationalism was the language of the young and hip.” (Moving to Higher Ground, 55, 57, 99) Marsalis’ poem about drummer Art Blakey: “I invoke the intuitive intelligence / Of the immortals / I am Abdullah Ibn Buhaina / Icon imperial of the divine instrument / Of independence I am”. Abdul in Arabic means slave and Allah is an Arabic noun meaning the god, in contrast to a personal name, for example Jehovah, the unchanging name of the Abrahamic God as revealed to the “very humble” Moses (Exodus 3:13-15; Numbers 12:3). “The Israel Institute of Biblical Studies contends that in the original Hebrew, the authentic meaning of Jesus’ name is “The Lord” (Yeho) “is salvation” (Yeshua).”
Griffin and Washington: “John Coltrane and Elvin Jones played  with a force that was sonically equal to that of the rock bands of the era. They were much like guitarists who followed Jimi Hendrix’s lead with distortion and electronic feedback, creating the noise that spoke against the sentimental norms of yesterday.” (Clawing at the Limits of Cool, 239-40) Amiri Baraka: “But Trane clawed at the limits of cool / slandered sanity / with his tryin’ to be born / raging / shit.” (AM/TRAK)
Jimi Hendrix: “I bring you a message from the mirrors of my hand…I am what I am thank God. Some people don’t understand; help them God.” (Nine to the Universe) “Musically, ‘freak-out’ is almost like  playing wrong notes. It’s playing the opposite notes to what you think the notes should be.” (Zero, 68-9) “I Don’t Live Today was dedicated to the American Indian and all minority depression groups….That one is a freak out tune.” (81) David Henderson: “The beat is a 2/4 tom-tom American Indian war dance with lots of accents.” (‘Scuse Me While I Kiss the Sky, 184) “The idea is get your self together so you can be ready for the next world….Electric Church Music Part 1.” Part 2? In 1970: “I like Handel and Bach. Handel and Bach is like a homework type of thing.….People want to be taken somewhere.” (H on H, 251) Hendrix: “here I am fighting the biggest war I’ve ever fought in my life – inside, you know?…I’d like to get something together with Handel and Bach and Muddy Waters and flamenco – that type of thing. If I could get that sound. If I could get that sound, I’d be happy” (Sky, 353) ” Here Comes the Sun 2 In contrast to this “homework” Hendrix’s father called his music “lazy.” Cross: “Jimi’s father….had six ﬁngers on each hand at birth, which his mother considered a bad omen.” (17) As a boy Hendrix’s “favorite gesture” from his father was when he “softly rubbed his knuckles on their scalps.” (45). Cross: “Jimi had been born left-handed, but his father insisted he write with his right hand. Al felt the same principle should apply to the guitar. ‘My dad thought everything left-handed was from the devil,’ Leon recalled.” (55)
Hendrix lived next door to Handel’s former house in London and owned two copies of Messiah, both of which show signs of wear and tear. Engineer Eddie Kramer: “He had a huge pile of albums. There was Bach and Beethoven, and Handel. I said, ‘I didn’t know you were a classical music fan Jimi.’ And he said, ‘Yeah man, I get a lot of my inspiration from that stuff and I listen to that.’” Musicologist Christian Lloyd: “Visitors to the flat recall he’d play along to them. He played along on his guitar to Handel.” Hendrix quoted Handel’s Messiah at his Winterland concerts in San Francisco in 1968. I follow this precedent by assimilating classical music in my hapi portrait of Hendrix.
Don Short of Daily Mirror in 1969: “It is in this house in fashionable Brook Street that Handel is said to have composed ‘Messiah’ and the ‘Water Music.’ Hendrix promises not to let tradition down and says he, too, will compose here. Music he defines as ‘twenty-first century’ and that ‘sort of scene.’ Hendrix is 26, an electric man with a 240-volt electric guitar. When he plays it onstage, he may set it on fire, smash it or play it with his teeth, depending on his mood. His music seems an uninhibited collection of jarring sounds without melody. The grandson of a pure Cherokee Indian, he looks a rebel, and a man many could hate without meeting – someone you’re sure smokes pot, has a lust for birds, and likes his hooch. Hendrix pleads guilty on all counts – or the experience of those happenings. He laughs: ‘That’s how I got the name of my group, the Jimi Hendrix Experience.’” (267). “I don’t want anyone to stick a psychedelic label round my neck. Sooner Bach or Beethoven.” “The time I burned my guitar it was like a sacrifice. You sacrifice the things you love. I love my guitar.” Rene Girard: “The word ‘sacrifice’ – sacri-fice – means making sacred.” (Hidden, 226) In 1969: “I only want to play the acoustic guitar from now on.” “He kept it [a Bible] open in his house, and he was reading it closely.” Al Hendrix: “I taught Jimmy and Leon to kneel down at night to pray….I taught them the same prayers that my parents taught me….Jimmy also knew the Lord’s Prayer, and I taught him to always bless his food: ‘Thank you for what we are about to receive for the nourishment of our body, for Christ’s sake, amen.’ We also had a family bible at the house.” (My Son, 77)
Keith Richards: “One guy can ruin an instrument. Jimi Hendrix, bless his heart – how I wish he was still around – almost inadvertently ruined guitar, because he was the only cat who could do it like that. Everybody else just screwed it up, and thought wailing away (on the guitar) is the answer. But it ain’t; you’ve got to be a Jimi to do that, you’ve got to be one of the special cats.” “There’s only one song and Adam and Eve wrote it; the rest is a variation on a theme.” Dimitri Ehrlich: “when I met Keith Richards and told him that his music had changed my life, he raised his plastic jug of beer and, cracking a leathery crocodile smile, said, ‘As long as it’s for the better, darling.’” (Inside the Music, xiv) Terry Eagleton: “spiritual and material development by no  means always march side by side. One has only to look at Keith Richards to recognize that. There are many kinds of material affluence which spell the death of the spirit.” (Why Marx was Right, 91-92)
Prince: “He made the fruit upon the trees / When He saw, when He saw that it was good / He made a man…. / Wake up children / Dance the Dance Electric / There isn’t much time / Who screamed? / Was it you?” (God – Love Theme from Purple Rain)
Kurt Cobain: “We’re white boy guitar oriented rock, nothing new.” He grew up with “top 40 radio; really white bread, white pop music….there was some great music, finally I got to hear Black Sabbath, the harder stuff they wouldn’t have played on the radio. I was instantly a harder rock and roll fan.” Cobain was right-handed, yet played guitar left handed. Charles Cross: “In many ways, Kurt Cobain was the last rock star.” (Here We Are Now, 161) Cobain: “’I want to be rich and famous and kill myself like Jimi Hendrix’.” (Cobain Unseen, 19). Cobain: “‘Maybe [In Utero] will inspire women to pick up guitars, and start bands – because it’s the only future of rock ’n’ roll.’” (Here We Are Now, 59) Crucified Barbara? T.S. Eliot: “This is the way the world ends / Not with a bang but a whimper.” (The Hollow Men) Colin Godbout: “This is the way rock & roll ends / Not with Elvis the King but Kurt the Wimp.” (Global Guitar Meditations, Volume 1)
Janis Joplin: “I want to be the first black white person.” Amy Winehouse: “They tried to make me go to Rehab / But I said no / Yes I’ve been black but when I come back you’ll know….I’d rather be at home with Ray [Charles] / I ain’t got seventy days / ‘Cause there’s nothing you can teach me / That I can’t learn from Mr. [Donny] Hathaway” (Rehab)
Bono: “Music is Worship; whether it’s worship of women or their designer….the smoke goes upwards . . . to God or something you replace God with . . . usually yourself.” (Introduction). “Gonna go where the bright lights and the big city meet with a red guitar on fire – desire.” “I ran into a juke joint when I heard a guitar scream / The notes were turning blue I was dazing in a dream / As the music played I saw my life turn around….I was there when they crucified my Lord / I held the scabbard when the soldier drew his sword” “Birdland on fifty-three / The street sounds like a symphony / We got John Coltrane and a love supreme / Miles, and she’s got to be an angel….An angel in Devil’s shoes / Salvation in the blues / You never looked like an angel / Angel of Harlem” “Tall, blonde, blue-eyed… boring.” Bono is a fan of the ‘Father Of Christian Rock’, Larry Norman. In 2008, Christian rock historian John J. Thompson wrote, “It is certainly no overstatement to say that Larry Norman is to Christian music what John Lennon is to rock & roll”. This statement seems ironic given that Lennon abandoned rock music. Bono seems to accept Black Nationalist’s reversal of traditional metaphysical associations of black and white, whereas Joni Mitchell, for example, views this reversal ironically or cynically, as in Goodbye Pork Pie Hat and God Must Be a Boogie Man. However, she never made peace with the traditional / Western view of God, as in The Sire of Sorrow (Job’s Sad Song).
Jocelyn Godwin: “The modern artist, crucified between [degradation and spirituality], in turn is the prototype of modern Man.”
Notes and Excerpts from The Hapi Hendrix Experience
Joni Mitchell on meeting Hendrix in Ottawa in 1968: “He was tired of being phallic Jimi, you know. It embarrassed him. He was shy by nature.” Leon Hendrix: “He was very timid and soft spoken offstage. He only went crazy onstage.” The Gospel According to Jimi at Winterland in 1968 during which he paraphrased Chorus – Luke 2:14 of Handel’s Messiah (“Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth, good will towards men.”): “Peace and goodwill towards everybody….We’d like to do a frustrating song called Manic Depression. Story about a cat wishing he could make love to music instead of same old everyday woman.” Same old seems a phrase representing the circus and mirrors of his touring life, and is repeated in his “best” song, below: “same old fireplace…same old explosion…same old lamp”. The implicit new experience of love seems to be manifest in sacred classical music like Messiah.
To the tune of Manic Depression: Classical music alters my will / Thy will not my will I aim to fulfill / Spirit is willing flesh is weak / Classical music is making me work / Classical music inspires my soul / Psychedelics have taken a toll / Classical music I really like / Is that of Beethoven Handel and Bach. Leon thought Manic Depression “related Jimi’s frustration in trying to chase his musical  dreams. For me, the lyrics explained how he’d been trying to touch and feel his music from the day…when we were boys.” (Brother’s Story, 125-6) Leon: “The spirits function much like the wind and are gone almost as fast as they come. Even God calls the wind a spirit. It is 100 percent real but it has no body. It has no substance. Just as my brother would go on to write about how sweet music dripped through his fingertips, he wanted nothing more than to caress and touch music, feel it, and grab it as if it were material.” (81)
Henderson: “In a recording studio, while playing around with a harpsichord he had found a haunting, classical-like theme. He had used a Mellotron; its various loops of prerecorded tapes were able to concoct a female choir. ‘The Burning of the Midnight Lamp’ was released in England as Jimi flew back to London. He loved that song and played the recording over and over.” (‘Scuse Me While I Kiss the Sky, 182) Hendrix: “‘I don’t think that people really understood it.’” (Sky, 193) Another comment: “That’s really a song I’m proud of. Some people say this is the worst track we have ever done. I think it is the best. Even if the technique is not great, even if the sound is not clear and even if the lyrics can’t be properly heard, this is a song that you often listen to and come back to. I don’t play neither piano nor harpsichord, but I had managed to put together all these different sounds.” This song seems to represent Hendrix’s ideal of integrating classical music, represented by a formal harpsichord melody, with his wah pedal guitar. Hendrix: “‘The wah-wah pedal is great because….there feels like that, not depression but that loneliness and that frustration and the yearning for something. Like something is reaching out.’” (Sky, 214) Hendrix was doubtless influenced by a record he owned, E Power Biggs: Bach on the Pedal Harpsichord. The juxtaposition of these instruments may have a verbal counterpart in the original title Purple Haze – Jesus Saves, suggesting two poles of the Hendrix Experience: sex, drugs, rock, and Christian sacred music.
Eric Clapton covers Burning of the Midnight Lamp on the tribute album Power of Soul; a parallel in Clapton’s repertoire is Presence of the Lord, with a similar Baroque riff countering Clapton’s exiled wah pedal guitar solo, reminiscent of Tales of Brave Ulysses. These musical motifs confirm Heiner Ruland’s view that “musical people of our century often reach back into the paradise of Renaissance and Baroque music, times before the tones fall from grace, in order to preserve their musical experience,” by which he means an experience imbued with metaphysical significance, where the cadence signifies reconciliation to the divine Keynote. (Awareness, 50) Such an experience is implied in contemporary American poet Adrienne Rich’s At a Bach Concert: “This antique discipline, tenderly severe, / Renews belief in love yet masters feeling, / Asking of us a grace in what we bear. / Form is the ultimate gift that love can offer – / The vital union of necessity / With all that we desire, all that we suffer. / A too-compassionate art is half an art. / Only such proud restraining purity / Restores the else-betrayed, too-human heart. (4-12)
These songs, as well as McCartney’s Let it Be, seem to be influenced by Whiter Shade of Pale. Ray Coleman describes an episode at a party at Brian Epstein’s, just before the release of Sgt. Pepper: “We spoke a little about the state of the music scene, and he (Lennon) said there was one ‘dope’ record which he couldn’t get off his mind. He couldn’t remember the title. All other pop music of that period was ‘crap’, one of his favourite words at that time. Next day John phoned me. ‘I remembered after I’d gone what record it is that I can’t stop playing,’ he said. ‘It’s that dope song, Procol Harum’s ‘Whiter Shade Of Pale’. It’s the best song I’ve heard for a while.’” (Lennon: The Definitive Biography) In Scorsese’s documentary George Harrison: Living In the Material World, there is an interview in which Derek Taylor, ‘the fifth Beatle’, describes travelling to Brian Epstein’s home in Sussex. Taylor recalls: “We were swept outside of Heathrow Airport where John’s Rolls Royce like a Romany caravan was waiting for us – George in his Mini and us in the Rolls Royce with Procol Harum playing ‘Whiter Shade of Pale’, driving along the English roads from Surrey to Sussex.” Mind Games?
Whiter Shade of Pale was influenced by Bach’s Air on a G String and recorded by Procol Harum, whose live debut was opening for Hendrix. Cross describes the concert on June 4, 1967 during which “Procol Harum had wowed the crowd with the debut of ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’ before “Jimi smashed what he called ‘my darling guitar,’…during ‘Are You Experienced?’ after Jimi switched guitars and grabbed a Strat he had hand-painted. A poem was on the back, which he dedicated to Britain. It read: ‘May this be love or just confusion, born out of frustration, wracked feelings of not being able to make true physical love to the Universal Gypsy Queen of true, free expressed music. My darling guitar, please rest in peace. Amen.’ As his set ended, Jimi smashed the guitar in pieces and kicked the shards out into the audience.” (Mirrors, 187, 189) The wood shards may be viewed as a precursor to the glass shards he would later fashion into his roomful of mirrors framed work of art. A few weeks later he repeated this ritual at the Monterey Pop Festival. Cross: “Jimi had painted the Strat for the occasion….he told the audience, ‘I’m going to sacriﬁce something right here that I really love. Don’t think I’m silly doing this because I don’t think I’m losing my mind. This is the only way I can do it.’ Launching into ‘Wild Thing,’ he called the song ‘the English and American combined anthems.’ Two minutes into the number, he grabbed a can of Ronson lighter ﬂuid and set the guitar ablaze. He straddled the instrument as he shot the ﬂuid on it, and eventually knelt over it, moving his ﬁngers like a voodoo priest.” (194) After motioning to the audience to plug their ears he begins playing the guitar upside down. At 2:50 he cites the melody of Strangers in the Night. Cross: “As a Seattle adolescent, Jimi had worshiped crooners like Dean Martin and Sinatra. To outsell Sinatra was a milestone that he had never imagined was within the realm of possibility.” (Mirrors, 203) That he had painted both guitars suggests a ritual offering of a work of art. This rite can be seen as a form of a witch burning; see first paragraph of Axis, below. At the beginning of this song Hendrix directs the audience to plug their ears, yet moments later motions to invite them to sing along to his wild song. Hendrix’s intro to Wild Thing in 1967 at England’s BlackPool Opera House: “We really care for your ears, that is why we don’t play so loud. I’d like to do a group therapy song, everybody join together and hold hands…and everybody sing together, please sing together or else we’re going to put a curse on you and all of your kids will be born completely naked.”
Jimmy Webb describes Hendrix at Monterey: “a warrior poet standing alone in front of a stack of amplifiers that towered several feet over his head, played like a demon. ‘Purple Haze’ reverberated over the Monterey Peninsula and I found myself looking at him in awe. How could one person create so much goddamn sound?…The guitar’s destruction was audible in head-rending impacts and shrieks of protest from the pickups and amps. After a few hefty swings there was a pile of kindling and guitar strings in front of him. The crowd was rabid, he had gotten them in the mood, and now they wanted to break something.” (The Cake and the Rain, 177-8). After describing the sexual perversion of Lennon and the effects of a drug overdose Webb ends his memoir: “I could play any song I had ever heard or any song I ever would hear. The warm tears cascaded down my face and onto my chest….my fingers moved through the chords of ‘Amazing Grace.’” (295) Lenny Breau on “the psychedelic movement”: “at times it gets a little wild, like when the band ends a show and they break their instruments on the stage and kick their amplifiers….it doesn’t really have anything to do with playing music.” Hendrix in August 1970: “‘I’m so fed up with playing,’ he said. ‘They want me to do all these shows. I just want to move to the country. I’m so sick of burning my guitar.’” (322) Cross: “That night at the concert hall, Jimi was late because he was serenading Kirsten with his acoustic guitar.” (323) A few days later: “He told Kirsten he wanted to take two years off. ‘I only want to play the acoustic guitar from now on,’ he announced.” (325) The dismembered guitar may represent the Black Knight, famously dismembered in Monty Python, and the acoustic guitar Prince Valiant.
Eric Burdon describes watching Hendrix at the Monterey Pop Festival “paint his guitars for that night….I saw him out there with a bucket of paint, a paint brush, and two of his axes . . . the one he was going to sacrifice that night. I thought this is like some Navajo chief . . . burning sage . . . getting ready to commit himself to the forces. It wasn’t until later that I discovered that there was a lot of Indian blood in Jimi’s family.” (Hendrix on Hendrix, 330) Burdon: “I think that he was living a hallucination that he was Jesus, and he was inside a passion play, and that, in a way, he manufactured his own crucifixion….if you do enough acid you start to think that. It is an awesome drug and he did do an incredible amount. LSD figures into Jimi just as much as the Stratocaster does. It was just as important to rock-and-roll music….The whole movement was pushed by Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, which came out with a bottle of Sandoz [LSD]….If you go to a Catholic school, you never forget the bleeding hands and the bleeding feet . . . those images are with you forever….I think that was the root of Jimi’s problems. For me, to see that final note . . . it’s about as good an interpretation of struggling for the Christ head [as] can be.” (337) The night before he died Hendrix wrote a lyric The Story of Life, which begins: “The story of Jesus”. Sgt. Pepper may have been the first music recording to feature Aleister Crowley, whose picture is on the album cover and whose philosophy of Thelema is summed up as “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law”, in contrast to Jesus’ prayer, “Father, not my will, but yours be done.”
If the souls of these icons of the counter culture were inclined to Christian sacred music their audiences seem opposed, as is suggested by Traffic’s song Dear Mr. Fantasy, featuring what Ryan Reed of Ultimate Classic Rock calls “Winwood’s Jimi Hendrix-like solo” (How ‘Dear Mr. Fantasy’ Became Traffic’s ‘Milestone’ Song) and covered by Hendrix. Dear Mr. Fantasy seems the inspiration of Jagger’s Sympathy for the Devil, as the chords are the same and several writers have noted the similarity between Winwood’s and Richards’ solos, which may epitomize what Urban Dictionary calls Guitar Wanker. Richards’ solo counters his advice cited above that Hendrix “was the only cat who could do it like that. Everybody else just screwed it up”. Culture editor Tony Sokol: “Richards’ playing on that song doesn’t sound like any other solo he ever recorded. He’s never played like that. His vibrato is never like that….His attacks are manic. He throws up his opening line like he’s got a snake caught in his throat….Richards has no problem letting his fingers fly, sometimes in seemingly opposite directions. He bends blues phrases into 12-tone babble as his passing tones step over the hot rocks of hell itself. The remainder of the song is a duet between Richards’ guitar and Jagger’s vocals. They tease each other, mock each other, sing and play in unison as Jagger flings toss-away falsetto at Richards’ pentatonic punches.” (The Occult Influences of Sympathy for the Devil)
“Rocky Dzidzornu entered the London rock scene at the invitation of producer Jimmy Miller, having met Rocky in Tangiers with Brian Jones. He had recently passed on a chance to play in The Jimi Hendrix Experience when Miller promised him greater fortune and sexual fulfillment as a percussionist at Olympic Studios. Though Keith Richards favored having “a spade” in the Stones, Jagger was unconvinced. As Jones became more withdrawn and openly distraught, Rocky filled the void with spectacular conga work on “Sympathy for the Devil”, thus signalling what is now considered the start of The Stones’ greatest era. Richards dubbed him “our African connection”. Rocky stood front-and-center at the Rolling Stones’ Rock and Roll Circus, most eyes diverted only by Jagger’s clumsy gyrations that ironically were copied directly from a cruel comic send-up of Jagger performed by Rocky for kindred spirit Taj Mahal. On the first day of taping, Rocky promised to teach Jagger some “real moves” in exchange for moving Brian Jones and his rig to the rear of the stage, where he eventually played unplugged. Many feel that Jagger felt upstaged by the shirtless and near-primordial Dzidzornu,” whose conga playing Jagger mimics with his arms at 7:55 of Sympathy. This mimicry / cultural appropriation in this context seems more racist than Justin Trudeau’s blackface video. Henderson: “Rocki’s father was a voodoo priest and the chief drummer of a village in Ghana, West Africa….One of the first things Rocki asked Jimi was where he got that voodoo rhythm from. When Jimi demurred, Rocki went on to explain in his halting English that many of the signature rhythms Jimi played on guitar were very often the same rhythms that his father played in voodoo ceremonies. The way Jimi danced to the rhythms of his playing reminded Rocki of the ceremonial dances to the rhythms his father played to Oxun, the god of thunder and lightning. The ceremony is called voodoshi. As a child in the village, Rocki would carve wooden representations of the gods. They also represented his ancestors. These were the gods they worshipped.” (Sky, 273) Little Richard: “A lot of the beats in music today are taken from the voodoo drums. If you study music in rhythms, like I have, you’ll see that is true. I believe that kind of music is driving people from Christ. It is contagious. I believe that God wants people to turn from rock ‘n’ roll to the Rock of Ages – to get ready for eternal life.” Derek Prince@19:30: “Sorcery uses certain things to gain control of people. And another thing that witchcraft uses is music, and you take the hard rock culture of today with its drugs – it is a perfect example of sorcery. And as far as I know most of it came from Africa by way of South America to the West. The beat of the drum in Africa has been an instrument of sorcery or witchcraft for hundreds and hundreds of years. The real achievement of a witchdoctor is to know how to get people taken over by a demon….One of the main instruments that was used was music…Wherever you encounter what’s called hard rock and drugs today you are encountering sorcery. That is the right name for it.”
The term pentatonic wanker is used pejoratively of guitarists who need to progress beyond the confines of the five note blues scale, as Hendrix sought to progress from Purple Haze to Jesus Saves. Heiner Ruland deprecates the ‘incomplete’ pentatonic scale when stating that “the developing life forces and the destructive death processes comprise the two sides of a polarity and so mutually intensify one another. Just this sort of ‘polarity between life forces and death forces’ is to be found musically in the scale of seven tones with its two halftones. If the part of the scale in which the death forces make themselves felt is omitted, namely the two halftones [a tritone apart], the result is the scale which is the most natural expression of the primal human being, or of the young child not yet conscious of its own soul: a pentatonic scale containing no halftones” (Expanding Tonal Awareness, 145). Trumpeter John McNeil agrees: “‘The pentatonic scale is harmonically ambiguous. It doesn’t have the harmonic direction that we use in Western music.” (Ratliff, 149) McCoy Tyner: “The blues is really based on a five-note scale, which is African….This music, the blues, is based on African music. There’s some talk about the American or European influence on our music, but again, the five-note scale is African. Africa is the mother of civilization and all else is, obviously, based on that.” (McCoy Tyner: An Interview; from Kofsky, Coltrane, 405)
Hendrix’s Dear Mr. Fantasy solo is also based on the blues / pentatonic ‘wanker’ scale, which often replaces the perfect fifth tone with the flatted fifth, the bottom note of the cycle of fifths, and thus of the scale (from Latin scala, meaning ladder, so the bottom rung), therefore having some analogy to the bottom, or “badass”, to use Mehldau’s term, of the spine, or the top of an inverted spine. George Russell states that “the Blues Scale is simply a funky version of the Major Scale. The Blues Scale occurs when the 3rd, 5th and 7th degrees of the Major Scale are flattened.” (Lydian Concept, 38) Paul Carter Harrison states: “the contemporary black artist attempts to preserve the [African] legacy by…stretching a C-major dominant into a flatted fifth, and yes, Jesus walks and talks and is a damn good lover.” (The Drama of Nommo, 61) The flatted fifth is often associated with sexuality.
Pete Townshend in 1973 on Hendrix’s influence: “It’s just changed the sound of the electric guitar completely. Turned the whole rock world upside down.” Compare with Jagger: “As heads is tails just call me Lucifer / ‘Cause I’m in need of some restraint.” This poetic identification invites a comparison with Hendrix’s “idiot” demon that he sought to exorcise: “He says I am him and he is me. And I say ‘Yeah, okay, I’ll accept that, that’s very nice’, since I had nothing else to do.” (Mirrors, 164; Mirrors @ 3:30, 8:00) Cross notes that in 1967 Townshend and Clapton “developed a friendship that winter based almost solely on discussing Hendrix and what they might do in response to him.…as they watched Jimi play an intense version of ‘Red House,’ their fingers accidentally brushed. Clapton grabbed Townshend’s hand, and they clasped together the way two schoolgirls might while watching a particularly gripping film.” (Mirrors, 178)
Daniel Seah of Guitar.com cites guitarist Ritchie Blackmore: “When [Hendrix] came to England, Jeff Beck came up to me and said ‘Ritchie, we’ve got to do something about this guy’,” Blackmore said. “And I said ‘who are you talking about?’ And he said ‘Jimi Hendrix, he’s killing everybody over here – he’s upsetting everybody!’” “And I’m like ‘well Jeff if you can’t do it, nobody else is going to do it’ because I always thought of Jeff as being the best rock player.” Carmine Appice@4:15: “I find a lot of English guitar players have the same traits, which are being insecure and egotistical at the same time.”
Sympathy seems to have inspired the long coda of Hey Jude, which Lennon believed was about himself: “I always heard it as a song to me. If you think about it…subconsciously he was saying, Go ahead, leave me. On a conscious level, he didn’t want me to go ahead. The angel in him was saying, ‘Bless you.’ The devil in him didn’t like it at all because he didn’t want to lose his partner.” This seems to me a very insightful interpretation, as the first half of the song is the angelic, with it’s classical/cadential/diatonic tonality, with which McCartney gives a superficial blessing. The demonic coda, with its blue notes and screams recalls Jagger in Sympathy to evoke McCartney’s disapproval; the concluding scream sounds like devilish laughter followed by “mama”, perhaps mocking Lennon’s attachment to his “mother superior”. Lennon to David Sheff on Get Back: “I think there’s some underlying thing about Yoko in there. You know, ‘Get back to where you once belonged.’ Every time he sang the line in the studio, he’d look at Yoko. Maybe he’ll say I’m paranoid. You know, he can say, ‘I’m a normal family man, those two are freaks.’” The original lyrics, about London Pakistanis, would be branded as racist if released today. McCartney and Eastman chose Whiter Shade of Pale as ‘their song.’
The advice in Hey Jude to make it better follows the middle verse of the song Getting Better about Lennon’s abusiveness. Harrison’s tambura drone over this one verse relates it to Within You Without You, where Harrison’s spiritual advice may be intended for the likes of Lennon, Brian Jones, and Hendrix, who had planned a supergroup together. Joseph Niezgoda: “The words ‘lose their soul’ are printed directly across the beltline of John Lennon on the back cover of Sgt. Pepper.” (Lennon Prophecy, 86) In Getting Better Lennon sings: “I used to be cruel to my woman / I beat her”; he described this song as “pure Beatles…we’ve all written it and we’ve all turned it into sort of pure Beatle.” Lennon’s abusiveness invites subconscious significance to the beat in Beatle / mania. Niezgoda describes Lennon in 1958: “Women became a focus of John’s anger, and he particularly targeted the young girls around him. He told Seaman that he ‘felt betrayed by all womankind’ and he began having violent fantasies in which he would torture them. ‘He would imagine crucifying women,’ Seaman writes, ‘actually nailing them to a cross, and then disemboweling them.’…A national newspaper, People, featured an article about ‘beatnik crazies,’ and accompanied it with a picture of John and Stuart in their apartment. The caption stated they were ‘on the road to hell.’” (Lennon Prophecy, 24) In 1960 Lennon met “an English cover version of Allen Ginsberg — one Royston Ellis, known as beat poet.” Ellis: “I told them to spell it Beatles with an A as I was a beat poet and they liked the beats of the USA and played beat music.”
Lennon@6:00: “I don’t like many of the Beatles records either. My own taste is different from that which I’ve played sometimes, which is called cop out to make money.” @7:00: “We made it very very big, but we sold out. And the music was dead before we even went on the theatre tour of Britain….As musicians we killed ourselves then to make it.”
Lennon likes to quote from Ellington’s Don’t Get Around Much Anymore (ends of Help and Ticket to Ride); perhaps he was also influenced by Ellington’s A Drum is a Woman. The third song poses the question: “It isn’t civilized to beat women no matter what they do or they say, but will somebody tell me what else can you do with a drum?” (What Else Can You Do With A Drum) W. T. Lhamon Jr.: “When beats could not connect with white fathers – symbolically when orthodox mentors proved inadequate – they adopted black jazzlore.” (Deliberate Speed, 70) Lennon’s confession follows in the blues tradition of Robert Johnson: “Me and the devil was walkin’ side by side / And I’m goin’ to beat my woman until I get satisfied.” Hendrix’s music accompanies a man hitting a woman in a scene from Forrest Gump. This sort of male violence toward women is increasing in urban centres, including Vancouver.
Rock Star as Fascist / Shadow of the Collective / Anti-Christ
Niezgoda on the Beatles in 1964: “Lewisohn writes that The Beatles likened the enormous Australian crowds to the type Hitler attracted in Germany, and John responded accordingly: In one video, he is clearly seen performing a Nazi salute to the masses.” Later that year in Liverpool: “In video clips, John can once again be seen performing the Nazi salute.” (Lennon Prophecy, 49) In a 1976 interview with Playboy David Bowie stated: “Rock stars are fascists, too. Adolf Hitler was one of the first rock stars. Think about it. Look at some of his films and see how he moved. I think he was quite as good as Mick Jagger.” Bowie’s comments recall Justin Trudeau’s admission: “There’s a level of admiration I actually have for China. Their basic dictatorship is actually allowing them to turn their economy around on a dime.” Similarly, Bowie advocated a “totally dictatorial tyranny and get it over as fast as possible. People have always responded with greater efficiency under a regimental leadership. A liberal wastes time saying, ‘Well, now, what ideas have you got?’ Show them what to do, for God’s sake. If you don’t, nothing will get done.” Later that year Bowie responded to these comments in The Daily Express: “I’m Pierrot. I’m Everyman. What I’m doing is theatre, and only theatre….What you see on stage isn’t sinister. It’s pure clown. I’m using myself as a canvas and trying to paint the truth of our time on it. The white face, the baggy pants – they’re Pierrot, the eternal clown putting over the great sadness of 1976.”
The Guardian cites fellow pupil of Tony Blair, Hugh Kellett: “Blair as we knew him absolutely modelled himself on Mick Jagger. I think we felt he copied Mick Jagger so brilliantly that he became Mick Jagger. His whole appearance, demeanour and desire suggested he wanted to be a rock star.” Alan Collenette, Blair’s business partner in the music business venture Blair-Collenette Promotions, which promoted bands and organised gigs in 1971 and 1972: “If 75% of being a rock star is looks and personality and charisma – which is that elusive beast that we all wish we had but half of 1% do – you know, Tony had it. And the other 25% is some talent he could have faked.” The movie The Ghost Writer features Pierce Brosnan playing a role seemingly based on that of Blair as charming politician acting on behalf of CIA. Many contemporary politicians fit this model of charismatic star as politician acting on behalf of uncharismatic totalitarian globalist elites. Bowie’s comment to Playboy in 1976, “Television is the most successful fascist”, needs modification, for it now seems that global media giants have the potential to become the most successful fascists.
To the tune of Castles Made of Sand: I stand up next to a mountain / And chop it down with the edge of my hand / I pick up all the pieces and make an island / Might even raise a little sand / I didn’t mean to take up all your sweet time / I’ll give it right back to ya one of these days / If I don’t meet you no more in this world / I’ll meet ya on the next one / And don’t be late / ‘Cause I’m a voodoo child / Lord knows I’m a child / And so castles made of sand sink in the sea eventually
To the tune of Red House: There’s a prayer house over yonder way up on the hill / If my baby don’t love me no more I know my Saviour will
To the tune of Purple Haze (The original dream/lyric was titled Purple Haze – Jesus Saves and ended with: “Through the haze I see 1000 crosses / Scratched in the”.): Jesus saves from LSD / lust sin and death’s decree / Once a stoner now I’m free from a false identity / Jesus saves he’s my ground / Once was lost now I’m found / Once was blind now I see / God is one Triunity / Jesus saves he’s out of sight / Leads me from wrong to right / Renews my heart soul and mind / Faithful friend to the end of time
Hendrix on Purple Haze: “The key to the meaning of the song lies in the line ‘that girl put a spell on me.’ The song progresses from there.” (Starting at Zero, 59) The progression seems absent in the recorded song, aside from some cries of “Help me.” Cross: “He later complained that the version of the song that was released— and became the Experience’s second successful single—had been shortened. “The [original] song had about a thousand words [and “1000 crosses”],” he told an interviewer. “It just gets me so mad, because that isn’t even ‘Purple Haze.’” (Mirrors, 176) “Most of the songs, like ‘Purple Haze,’ and ‘Wind Cries Mary’ were about ten pages long, but then we’re restricted to a certain time limit, so I had to break them all down, so once I’d broken the songs down, I didn’t know whether they were going to be understood or not. Maybe some of the meanings got lost, by breaking them down, which I never do any more.’” (247)
Leon Hendrix to Geoffrey Giuliano: “Purple Haze – what he’s talking about is having a spiritual experience. Purple really being the colour of the royal blood of our Lord. ‘Excuse me while I kiss the sky’….he was saying there is something else out there, there is the unseen; all the things that are in the universe that are unseen are the most powerful things….I won’t compare him with a Jesus or anything like that, but what he was saying was that there’s a world and a realm that nobody cares about. It’s out there, but nobody even cares about it, because they’re held down by gravity….He was talking about there’s another world that was full of life and filled with fantastic things. I don’t know if he had the right road or the right way, because there’s only one way to that. I can only know by that last poem when he said, ‘The story of Jesus so easy to explain. After they crucified him…’ Then I got it. What he’s talking about is himself. He says, ‘I speak and speak and nobody hears, but when I’m dead then they’ll hear.’”
Drew Wardle: “Hendrix dreamt that he was underwater, surrounded by an impenetrable purple haze. He believes that the purple haze was a spiritual and religious awakening and was perhaps protected by God. Initially, the refrain to the song was, ‘Purple Haze, Jesus saves’….‘Purple haze’ will always be the anthem for the outcasts and the misunderstood.” (The Story Behind The Song: Jimi Hendrix’s game-changer, ‘Purple Haze’) Prince seems to borrow this significance in his song Purple Rain: “When there’s blood in the sky – red and blue = purple… purple rain pertains to the end of the world and being with the one you love and letting your faith/god guide you through the purple rain.” The title track of Prince’s previous album, 1999, also included similar references to an ominous purple sky (“could have sworn it was Judgment Day, the sky was all purple”.
To the tune of Foxy Lady (Santana describes Hendrix wearing several medallions with the Virgin of Guadalupe image at one his last concerts): She knew she’d be a blessed mother Virgin / She knew she’d be an immaculate conceiver Virgin / Found in many homes some see a wrong / In her sacred shrines Virgin Mary / She’s seen in nativity scenes Virgin / Many say the rosary Virgin / Made up my mind to stop wasting time / Praise the fruit of her womb Virgin Mary Little Drummer Boy. Silent Night
Some of my thoughts after reading the book Roomful of Mirrors: As a child Hendrix and his brother jousted with brooms in the roles of Arthurian Knights Prince Valiant and The Black Knight. Hendrix’s broom became an imaginary air guitar he’d strum to the beat of radio hits. His brother stated: “‘My dad thought Jimi’s idea of playing music was crap,’ Leon recalled. ‘He literally said that music was “the devil’s business.”’” (Mirrors, 79) Cross: “Jimi fell in love with…the movie Prince Valiant. The villain in Prince Valiant was called the Black Knight, and Jimi and Leon would charge each other with brooms in make-believe jousting matches each arguing over who got to play the role of the dastardly Black Knight….That same broom used for jousting was also fashioned into an  imaginary guitar…Almost every day after school, Jimi would listen to Al’s radio and pretend to play along with the broom….’Jimi would be screwing around playing the broom,’ Leon recalled, ‘and my dad would come in, so Jimi would start sweeping again. Then my dad wold see straw from the broom on the bed and get mad.’” (42-3). Hendrix seems to have regarded Dylan as a sort of a mentor. Sheila Weller describes Hendrix playing along with “‘Frankie Lee and Judas Priest,’ riding the rest of the song home with a near-religious intensity.” (Hendrix on Hendrix, 229) Two Hendrix songs that stood out for Dylan were The Wind Cries Mary and Dolly Dagger, which are the only Hendrix songs mentioning brooms: “Been ridin’ broomsticks since she was fifteen / Blow out all the other witches on the scene.” The song is about groupie and friend Devon Wilson. In the form of a syllogism, if the guitar is a broom and if the guitar/broom is set on fire, therefore the guitar burning rite is a kind of witch burning. From The Wind Cries Mary: “A broom is drearily sweeping / Up the broken pieces of yesterday’s life….Will the wind ever remember / The names it has blown in the past?” Dolly’s “blow out” counters the wind blowing Mary, perhaps an allusion to the unique Incarnation.
Al Hendrix: “Sometimes my sister and I used to call Jimmy’s dog ‘Prince Valiant.’ That was my favourite comic strip in the newspaper, and that was one reason why I took that particular paper. Jimmy and I liked to read the same comics.” (80) Caption to a sketch from Hendrix’s youth: “A battle between the Indians and Cavalry – Jimmy was rooting for the Indians!” (My Son Jimi, 80) Caption of a sketch from 1955: “Here’s a battle between a couple guys to see who’s going to take over the throne. Kind of reminds me of ‘Prince Valiant,’ one of my favourite comic strips.” (82) On the side of the clean shaven Prince Valiant figure is a shield with a cross on a wall near ascending stairs; on the side of the bearded Black Knight figure is a flaming carrot shaped torch on a back wall. In 1967: “‘In five years I want to write some plays, some books. I want to sit on an island – my island – and listen to my beard grow. And then come back and start all over again as a bee – a king bee.’” (Kiss the Sky, 186). Al Hendrix: “On a good night Jimmy and I would go outside once in a while and sit out there and look at the stars….Sometimes we’d look at the sky at night and think about how infinity goes on and on. I’d tell him, ‘Thinking about it could give you a headache. Look up at all the stars twinkling, and imagine you could just go, go, go, and you don’t come to an end. It’s not like you come to a wall or something. Infinity just goes on and on.’ Jimmy said that thinking about it gave him a headache too. Jimi was interested in the supernatural….He was fascinated by an incident that my mother said had happened to my dad. Apparently some woman had put a hex on my dad, causing him  to feel that a lizard was in his arm. He said he could see a fine image of the lizard right under his skin. The lizard was moving around and irritating him, so he got somebody else to break the spell” (82, 83-5)
Hendrix: “I used to see the numbers one, nine, six, six in my dreams. I had very strange feelings that I was here for something and I was going to get a chance to be heard. I got the guitar together because that was all I had.” (24) Cross: “[Hendrix] had come to England knowing nothing about the nation’s history except what he’d absorbed through ‘Prince Valiant’ comics.” (180) Guitarist Mike Bloomfield: “‘Jimi said that he went to England to wipe them out, and he did….Jimi is the blackest guitarist I’ve ever heard. His music is deeply rooted in pre-blues, the oldest musical forms like field hollers and gospel melodies.’” (216-7) Henderson: “Jimi took out his stage prop for that night, a Confederate flag the size of a handkerchief, and blew his nose.” (Sky, 248) Henderson describes this concert in 1968: “Jimi ends his set by charging the amps like a knight, with his guitar as the lance. He skims the fretboard against the felt covers of the amps, achieving a frenzied bottleneck effect. Then he squats over his white Stratocaster and swirls it around and around under him while still playing.” (250) Hendrix in 1970: “‘There’s no reason why the huge crowds should not be entertained by side attractions as well. They should make them like three-ring circuses, booths, movies – even some knights jostling.’” “’You mean jousting?’” “‘Right – and Freak Shows!’ He added as an afterthought.” (Hendrix on Hendrix, 271)
Cross: “His favorite board game was Risk, the game of world domination. ‘He was very good at it, and he played to win,’ remembered Etchingham. By late spring , on the eve of the release of Are You Experienced in the United Kingdom and Europe, another kind of world domination came into Jimi’s focus: Chandler and Jeffrey were beginning to plan how to take the Experience worldwide.” (183) Hendrix about Monterey Pop Festival, 1967: “I felt like we were turning the whole world on to this new thing, the best, most lovely new thing. So I decided to destroy my guitar at the end of the song as a sacrifice. You sacrifice the things you love. I love my guitar.” (Zero, 89). About his second album: “I just thought about the title. There might be a meaning behind the whole thing. The axis of the earth turns around and changes the face of the world, and completely different civilizations come about or another age comes about. In other words, it changes the face of the earth, and it only takes about a quarter of a day. Well, it’s the same with love. It can turn your whole world upside down, like the axis of the earth. It’s that powerful, that bold. People kill themselves for love. But when you have it for somebody or something, an idea maybe, it can beat anger and time and move the sea and the mountains. That’s the way it feels. I guess that’s what I’m trying to say.” (Zero, 119). Matthew 21:21: “Jesus replied ‘…if you say to this mountain, “Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,” it will happen.’” Interviewer: “‘What’s your New Year’s resolution?’” Hendrix: “‘To keep the axis turning so that love follows music as the night the day.’” (Zero, 128)
In 1967: “‘The Cafe Au Go Go in New York was great because the ceiling was really low and dusty. I’d stick the guitar right up into the ceiling. It was like war. You didn’t even need a smoke bomb . . . it’s a freaky, funky scene.’” (187) Henderson: “Jimi talked about ‘the Axis’ long before he formulated an album around the theme. The Axis is like the Christian cross or the voodoo peristyle – a link between the heavens and the Earth. The axis of the earth holds everything together. If the axis of the Earth was altered, everything would be different….Jimi also felt that a record spinning on a turntable was directly related to the Earth’s spinning on its axis.’” (Sky, 200) Henderson: “Flying to London and then flying to California for Monterey, Jimi had experienced a mystical peace up above the Earth. He had understood something deep about the Earth just being above the clouds, looking down upon the land and upon the waters. As if the Earth itself was moving him to and fro, back and forth toward recognition. Making it possible for him to be able to transmit the blues on a higher level, just as Muddy Waters had done with the Mississippi Delta blues. Jimi was now extending the blues into universal dimensions, axis of the Earth, balance of the solar system. For he loved the music more than he loved himself, and for him to be able to lift it up and give it to others was the greatest gift he ever imagined receiving.” (200)
Henderson: “Mike Bloomfield noticed that Jimi used two basic scales: ‘The blues minor scale (E minor) and its relative major. If Jimi played A minor, he would go to C major and make it a major seventh scale. ‘All Along the Watchtower’ is a perfect vehicle for minor- or blues-scale improvisation, while ‘Bold As Love,’ ‘Little Wing,’ and ‘The Wind Cries Mary’ are perfect vehicles for major-key explorations.’” (217) Hendrix’s brother describes his brother’s fascination with the Western tonal system of a seven note scale and the primacy of the major chord: “When I told him my feelings on the track [Bold as Love] he went into detail about some of the thinking that went into the writing of the lyrics. Jimi was interested in the relationship between emotions, colours, and musical notes….Jimi was fascinated by the connection of the seven notes in a musical scale to the seven colours of the rainbow. Not to mention the interesting fact that red, yellow, and blue – the first, third, and fifth colours of the rainbow – are primary colours, while root, third, and fifth – the first, third, and fifth notes of a major scale – make up a major chord. If there was such a thing as ‘hearing in color’ or ‘playing in color,’ that was exactly what my brother was intent on accomplishing”. (A Brother’s Story, 184)
Henderson: “Jimi’s whole conversation was full of things that sounded one way yet meant something else….He would talk ‘backward,’ saying something was bad when he meant it was good….Jimi’s concept of the Axis was like a bridge or crossing over a threshold from one reality to a deeper reality, or from one dimension to another. He looked upon the Earth as a single creature. Jimi wanted to help the whole world, the entire universe. The wars and the bloodshed were terrible to behold – the wounds and the swords and the poverty. But just as the Earth turned on its axis, the people turned on to the music; even the image of a record on a turntable was a representation of the Axis. It was like the Axis itself was a living form of energy music, a mass of love and creativity all rolled up into one thing that came out positive. The Axis was like a stepping-stone to a greater understanding. …He saw music in the sky. He saw his music as a living life form that had the potential to give people a direct feeling, a direct understanding – that would open their eyes to cosmic powers by simply directly experiencing his music.” (Sky, 223)
Hendrix later wrote a song where good and evil lay side by side while electric love penetrates the sky. He called groupies electric ladies and called his music electric church. He viewed the concert stage as a room full of mirrors reflecting his image. He complained that the world complimented him whereas he needed help to escape his image. He represented his self conception in a two by four foot frame with ﬁfty pieces of a shattered mirror set in clay and pointing towards an unbroken plate size circular centre; see Mud and Mirror Artwork. In Dec 1967 he described allowing a woman to perform voodoo rituals on him resulting in sickness; in Roomful of Mirrors Recital he describes allowing a demon to enter his soul resulting in torment and madness.
Hendrix called composers Strauss and Wagner good and wanted to mix their music with the blues, which he identified with. Wagner’s Tristan chord represents the adulterous love of Tristan and Isolde, as the Hendrix chord mixes major and minor thirds, whereas Strauss’ Sunrise Fanfare separates them, as Prince Valiant defeated The Black Knight. Hendrix: “I cut my hair, and they say, ‘Why’d you cut your hair, Jimi?’….Maybe I should grow my hair back. It’s something to hide behind.” (Starting at Zero, 209) Hendrix to International Times in 1969: “That’s what made me cut my hair off because of this being a slave to the public….people start trying to prostitute that idea, and it gets to be a hang-up” (Kiss the Sky, 282) Noel Ignatiev: In “the early 1970s….young people were creating a special community, which became known as the counterculture. In particular, long hair for males became the visible token of their identification with it. It was a badge of membership in a brotherhood cast out from official society – exactly the function of color for Afro-Americans.” (Race Traitor, 22) Santana: “In 1972 your long hair was not just a mark of honor – it was your identity and your strength and your connection to a way of life that said, I’m done with the old way of doing things.” (Universal Tone, 322)
What is the Experience?
This home page will have to be put in a separate page as I woke up with an insight into the nature of the Experience. It’s mentioned in Joe Rogan’s podcast, and I see it advertised as Joe Cocker Experience. For Hendrix it was a spiritual experience of the soul, which he articulated, but didn’t realize in my opinion. To Dick Cavett on electric church: “It doesn’t actually hit through the eardrums. We plan for our sound to go inside the soul of the person and see if they can awaken something in their minds. There are so many sleeping people.” “Our music is just as spiritual as going to church….Our scene is to try and wash people’s souls.” (Starting at Zero, 183) “There are basically two kinds of music. The blues is a reflection of life, and then there is sunshine music, which may not have so much to say lyrically but has more meaning musically….I want to play sunshine music now….I’d like to get into more symphonic things, so the kids can respect the old musical traditions the classics.” (233). This ideal as wise man contrasts with the reality described by Henderson: “Jimi conducting his special orchestra: each chick in the place had some kind of instrument (mainly elementary percussion), and Jimi was on guitar, conducting them in a special concerto.” (239) Blues conforms to the natural / fallen human state, not connected to the divine ground, analogous to concordant key center. Sunshine music is cadential, resolving discord, as in Western classical tonality. This music expresses the reborn soul centred on a transcendent ground analogous to the tonal key center.
Hendrix uses Bach as an example. “There’s a lot of lost people around, and there are a few chosen people that are here to help get these people out of this certain sleepiness that they are in. There’s going to be sacrifices. You have to go down into a really bad scene before you can come up with light again. It’s like death and rebirth. After you’ve gone through all of the hell of dying, you’ve got to find out and face the facts to start a nationwide rebirth. The whole past is going towards a higher way of thinking….There’ll be a renaissance from bad to completely clear and pure and good – from lost to found.” (237). “I’m working on music to be completely, utterly a magical science, where it’s all pure positive. The more doubts and negatives you knock out of anything the heavier it gets and the clearer it gets, and the deeper it gets into whoever’s around it. It’s contagious. Bach and all those cats, they went in there, and they caught a whole lot of hell. The deeper you get into it, the more sacrifices you have to make. It means I’m going to have to strip myself of my identity, because this isn’t my only identity. Really I’m just an actor.” (238)
Hendrix’s Electric Church music goes into the souls of electric ladies / groupies as sexual erotic energy in a symbolically submarine world described in 1983 A Merman I Should Turn To Be (“we mustn’t be late for the show”) and Drifting, with very similar harmonic structures, also resembling Burning of the Midnight Lamp, where D major represents Christianity, A blues chord his part time love, other key centres other loves. This music is analogous to Mehldau’s “badass”, The Black Knight, the pleasure principle, the freak, Dylan’s joker and Frankie Lee, who must be sacrificed for the sake of genuine church music which enters the souls of listeners as spiritual energy conducting listeners to a divine source, where the musician assumes the sacrificial role of humble transmitter, in Mehldau’s phrase, or Prince Valiant, to use another metaphor, or the reality principle, a Christian, or Dylan’s good thief and St. Augustine. In the poem he wrote the night before he died called The Story of Life and beginning “The story of Jesus” he states: “I wish not to be alone, so I must respect my other heart”. The loneliness of Burning of the Midnight Lamp seems similar to that of Lennon in Yer Blues (“even hate my rock & roll”, where suicide seems to be metaphorical for a spiritual rebirth), as the absence of divine Spirit, or not enjoying the presence of God. Hendrix’s divided heart contrasts with the greatest commandment of Jesus, to love God with all one’s heart, soul, and strength. “My goal is to be one with the music. I just dedicate my whole life to this art….I’m not sure I will live to be twenty eight years old….The world owes me nothing.” (Zero, 249) Moral: don’t ally yourself with idiotic spirits, but rather cultivate a relationship with the divine Spirit of sunshine music.
On Classical Music
Viennese music theorist Victor Zuckerkandl describes folk music as “a primitive model, a humble seed, showing no trace of the splendor of the organism when fully developed…only…in composed masterworks…does music reveal its true essence and full range” (Man the Musician, 14). Yehudi Menuhin: “We will always return, if we survive, to the music of the great classical composers, to restore ourselves in body, mind, soul and heart.” (Compleat Violinist, 80) Robert Rosen on Lennon in 1980: “The only music he listened to these days was soft classical or Muzak on the radio, and even that was dangerous, ‘cause he never knew when they’d play a song by…McCartney.” (Nowhere Man, 131) Lennon a year after releasing the album Rock ‘n’ Roll in 1975: ‘I’ve diarrhea’d on rock ’n’ roll.’” (Lennon: The Definitive Biography, 646) Ray Coleman: “John ignored rock music completely during the mid-1970s.” (667) Tricia Rose: “Instead, and perhaps because of, the blackening of the popular taste, Western classical music continues to serve as the primary intellectual and legal standard and point of reference for ‘real’ musical complexity and composition.” (Black Noise, 65)