Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series, “The 27 Club Edition” where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore psychedelic tunes from the 60’s and 70’s. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!

When Jimi Hendrix’s debut album, Are You Experienced? was released in 1967, it turned the music world upside down. With its crackling feedback and ground-breaking guitar playing, Are You Experienced? fused the psychedelic sounds of the late ’60s with the classic traditions of rock, blues and soul.

Released first in the United Kingdom and a few months later in the United States, the album propelled Hendrix to international fame.

Today Are You Experienced? is regarded as one of the greatest and most influential debut releases in rock and roll.

“It’s still a landmark recording because it is of the rock, R&B, blues… musical tradition,” notes Smithsonian musicologist Reuben Jackson. “It altered the syntax of the music, if you will, in a way I compare to, say, James Joyce’s Ulysses. You read a page or two of Ulysses and then you listen to just “Purple Haze,” and you think, my goodness, what is this?”

The recording introduced the world to the guitar virtuosity of Jimi Hendrix. A master at the instrument, he pioneered new techniques in distortion, echo and volume.

“We were experimenting,” says Eddie Kramer, the audio engineer for the album. “That was the exciting part. Whatever he did in the studio we had to just keep up and try to figure out how to record it in a halfway decent fashion.”

But musician Vernon Reid says that Hendrix’s guitar skills have often obscured his other gifts: “I think Jimi’s singing, I think his lyrics have often been given short shrift in consideration of his guitar playing, because his guitar playing is so overwhelmingly powerful. See, there was no dividing line in Hendrix between a song, the improvisation, the singing. It was all one thing.”The question “Are you experienced” was commonly interpreted as Hendrix asking if you have experienced drugs. He said that this song was not necessarily about drugs, but about being at peace with yourself.

Guitar, bass and drums were all played backward as part of the effects. The part at the beginning may have been ahead of its time, as it sounded a lot like the record scratching Hip-Hop DJs began using years later.

Hendrix played the piano on this.

Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore psychedelic tunes from the 60’s and 70’s. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!

Thirty one years ago, Jimi Hendrix died of a drug overdose in London. He was 27 years old.

For more than three decades, this music has inspired and humbled guitar players everywhere.

Jimi Hendrix once said, “When I die, I want people to just play my music, go wild and freak out, do anything they want to do.”

As a kid in Seattle, Jimi Hendrix taught himself to play by listening to blues greats Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf.

The Song Purple Haze is one of Hendrix’s most widely known personal anthems.

Jimi Hendrix Experience Rarezas Galleria Arizona Circa 1968

Part of the lyrics were formed from some of Jimi’s free verse ramblings that he jotted down from time to time.

Hendrix claimed this was inspired by a dream where he was walking under the sea. In the dream, he said a purple haze surrounded him, engulfed him and got him lost. It was a traumatic experience, but in his dream his faith in Jesus saved him.

At one point, Hendrix wrote the chorus as “purple haze, Jesus saves,” but decided against it.

This song was written under the guidance of Hendrix’ manager, ex-Animals bassist Chas Chandler. They had just released Hendrix’ first single, a cover of Tim Rose’s “Hey Joe” and were looking for a follow up. Chandler was impressed when he first heard the riff, and inspired Jimi to finish writing the song. On the original recording, you hear the line up of the Experience with Noel Redding on bass and Mitch Mitchell on drums. The opening chord of two riffs then an interval of flattened fifth is the d5 or “tritone,” which has long been regarded as the “Most imperfect of dissonances” and was generally avoided in composition for that reason.

Hendrix claimed this had nothing to do with drugs, but it’s hard to believe they weren’t an influence. The lyrics seem to vividly portray an acid trip, and Hendrix was doing plenty of drugs at the time.

Jimi and producer Chas Chandler used some unusual studio tricks to get the unique sound. To create the background track that sounds distant, they put a pair of headphones around a microphone and recorded it that way to get an echo effect.

Hendrix wrote the lyrics on the day after Christmas in 1966. He wrote a lot more than what made it to the song. The track was developed at a press function that he attended at East London’s Upper Cut Club, run by the former boxer Billy Walker. Hendrix launched into the scorching riff in the club’s compact dressing room and every head turned. “I said, write the rest of that,” said Chandler. “That’s the next single!” It was premiered live on 8 January 1967, in Sheffield in the north of England.

For one of the guitar tracks, Hendrix used a device called an Octavia, which could raise or lower the guitar by a full octave.

This contains one of the most misheard lyrics ever, with “Scuse me while I kiss the sky” interpreted as “Scuse me while I kiss this guy.” Hendrix added to the confusion by sometimes singing it that way and pointing to one of his band members.

A month before Hendrix died, he opened a recording studio in Greenwich Village called Electric Lady. One of the studios is known as “Purple Haze” and contains a purple mixing board. The studios have remained active with The Clash, Weezer, Patti Smith and Alicia Keys all recording there at some point.

This song is apparently referenced in an episode of The Simpsons. Homer is shopping (for useless garbage, of course) and finds a back massaging chair called the Spinemelter 2000. Homer sits in the chair and orders the store clerk to put it on full power. As the chair begins to massage Homer, he tells his family, “Excuse me while I kiss the sky…”

When the recording was sent to Hendrix’s American label, a note said, “deliberate distortion, do not correct.”

The track was the penultimate song Hendrix played in concert, on September 6, 1970, days before his death.

Psychedelic Lunch

Did Jimi “Kill” Clapton?

Who shows up to a Cream concert and request to jam with Eric Clapton? NO ONE… unless of course you’re Jimi Hendrix– and that is exactly what he did.

At a time when Cream was at the top of the food chain, they were untouchable. Clapton was a mere mortal among his peers. A Rock God if you will…

Jimi plugged in and blew the entire band away. He ended up playing a song (Killing Floor), that even Clapton had expressed he had not been a fan of playing because of it’s difficulty. Jimi played his bum off, and owned the entire song. He had played with his teeth, behind his head- Jimi had quickly become a force to be reckoned with.

He had come on stage, and cutoff Clapton. CUT OFF, CLAPTON. Who was this kid? Did Jimi kill Clapton, or was he simply honoring one of his idols? You be the judge.

 

Killing Floor Lyrics Below

I shoulda quit you, a long time ago,
I shoulda quit you, baby, a long time ago,
I shoulda quit you pretty baby, and went on to Mexico.
If I had’a followed, my right mind,
If I had’a followed, my right mind,
I’da been on the border, my second time.

If I had’a went on, when my best friend come at me,
If I had’a went on, when my best friend come at me,
Lord, I wouldn’t be here tonight, down on the killin’ floor.

If I had’a went on, when my friend come at me,
If I had’a went on, when my best friend come at me,
I wouldn’t be here tonight, down on the killin’ floor.

God knows, I shoulda went on,
God knows, I shoulda went on,
And I wouldn’t be here tonight, down on the killin’ floor.

Did Jimi Kill Eric Clapton?

Written By Braddon S. Williams

Jimi Hendrix: Electric Ladyland

Jimi Hendrix was so much more than just a gifted guitarist. With his final studio album, 1968’s double disc opus Electric Ladyland, Hendrix exploded the boundaries of what was possible in a recording studio.

Assisted by ace engineer Eddie Kramer, Hendrix was able to utilize every aspect of the limited (though state of the art for the time) amount of tracks available, seemingly inventing sounds out of thin air and panning them left to right and surrounding the listener with a dense array of sonic textures.

Jimi had influences just like any other artist, but what set him apart was the fact that there was really no precedent for much of what he did in his short career. He had such a vivid musical imagination, and he found ways to make his visions come to life. Guitar effects pedals were invented from ideas he had and was able to communicate to the manufacturers.

In addition to all this innovative playing, the Experience also gathered some top notch guest stars, like Steve Winwood, Jack Casady, Chris Wood, Al Kooper, and Buddy Miles.

Jimi’s writing and singing always lived in the shadow of his playing, but he both wrote and sang some great stuff on Electric Ladyland. Voodoo Chile, Voodoo Child (Slight Return), Gypsy Eyes, House Burning Down, Crosstown Traffic, 1983 (A Merman I Should Turn To Be), Burning Of The Midnight Lamp, and Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland) were all great pieces of work, but of course his iconic cover of Bob Dylan’s All Along The Watchtower was the song that drew the most attention. It was so good that Dylan himself started performing Hendrix’s arrangement of it in his own concerts.

Electric Ladyland stands as a monumental achievement of the psychedelic ’60’s, and a testament to Jimi Hendrix’s lasting status as one of the greatest guitarists (and musicians) in history.

Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind

Written By Braddon S. Williams

JIMI HENDRIX: RAINBOW BRIDGE

Rainbow Bridge by Jimi Hendrix was the second album released following his death in 1970.

It was compiled of odds and ends, some of which were intended for a double album he was working on before he passed away. This was actually the very first music I ever heard of Jimi.

I bought it out of a bargain bin along with Muswell Hillbillies by the Kinks.

I paid $1.99 for the Kinks album and got Rainbow Bridge for a penny. Pretty good haul for 2 dollars, even back in the day!

I will never forget dropping the needle onto the vinyl and

hearing the opening track, Dolly Dagger, for the first time.

Absolutely mind blowing…Hendrix was preparing to enter the new decade with a hard rocking funk edge to his playing and the groove on that song is totally SICK! It still ranks as one of my all time favorite songs by the master of the Stratocaster.

Other monumental songs included an epic 11 minute live version of Hear My Train A Comin’, a multi-tracked studio version of The Star Spangled Banner, a couple of songs recorded with Band Of Gypsys (Earth Blues and Room Full Of Mirrors), plus a completely sublime instrumental track called Pali Gap, in which Jimi weaved two tracks of himself playing lead that intertwine throughout the song.

The final song on the album was obviously a work in progress, but Hendrix’s rough cuts were better than most people’s finished products.

This one was called Hey Baby (New Rising Sun).

Needless to say, that was the best penny I ever spent, because it was my introduction to one of my biggest musical inspirations of all time.

Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind

Okay, so I was only 5 years old when it came out, but Axis: Bold As Love by The Jimi Hendrix Experience has influenced my entire adult life as a guitarist, songwriter, and musician. It is rather mind boggling to conceive of the fact that Jimi released this album in the same magical year that produced his debut, Are You Experienced? I chose the second album for various reasons, but both are monumental in the development of rock music. Some of the songs on Axis that resonate most powerfully with me are the ballads; Little Wing, Castles Made Of Sand, One Rainy Wish…these are great compositions by a man who is known primarily for (justifiable) guitar heroics. Up From The Skies, Spanish Castle Magic, and If 6 Was 9 feature some subtle blues, harder rocking, and psychedelia. The crown jewel of the album, though, is the glorious title track, featuring some of Jimi’s best lyrics ever, and some soaring lead guitar for the ages.

Written By Braddon S. Williams

Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind