Friday, December 10, 2010

HBH 212

Music's a time warp:
Twenty years, forty years back;
Channelling Jimi.

I grew up without Jimi Hendrix.  I relied on my (much) older brother to introduce me to rock music, and he gave me my first taste of a lot of good stuff (even though, at the time, sibling rivalry dictated that I should affect to be scornful of his tastes): Pink Floyd, Zeppelin, Creedence, Queen, Bowie.

But there were some conspicuous omissions.  Nothing of The Who.  No Janis.  And no Hendrix.  Maybe he'd been just a little bit too young to get into them in their heyday.

So, although I'd heard of him (most notably Queen drummer Roger Taylor's adulatory name-check of him in the fade-out to his song Drowse), I don't think I heard any Jimi until I was a student at university.  And I didn't immediately get him.  His playing seemed a bit rough and raucous, a bit violent, not melodic enough for me (I'd been weaned on Mark Knopfler!).  I'm ashamed of myself now.  The breakthrough moment for me came when I listened to an entire album of his (it was Axis: Bold As Love) while very, very drunk (and perhaps a bit stoned): suddenly it all clicked.  Over the next few weeks I bought everything of his I could find.  It was the (belated) beginning of a love affair with one of the music greats.

Over here in China, I don't hear him nearly often enough.  So, whenever something of Jimi's comes up on a bar's playlist, I experience a little swoon.

And I was pretty buzzed - very buzzed - last night after hearing the very decent Hendrix cover outfit Purple Smog play again at one of my local haunts, the VA Bar.  It's threatened to be their last-ever gig.  I hope they'll reconsider.  (Martin, stop being such a pussy!)

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