Nov 192011

Sounds of the Hall in roughly 33 1/3 minutes!

In this week’s edition of Saturday Night Shut-In a thankful Mr. Moderator plays a varied mix of old, not quite as old, and even fairly new, reflecting along the way on electronics and Jimi Hendrix, who would have had a birthday later this month.

[audio:|titles=RTH Saturday Night Shut-In, episode 54]

[Note: The Rock Town Hall feed will enable you to easily download Saturday Night Shut-In episodes to your digital music player. In fact, you can even set your iTunes to search for an automatic download of each week’s podcast.]

Jul 142011

OK, I’m the wiseguy who put Jimi Hendrix‘s Axis: Bold as Love in the current “best post-peak album” poll. Although there are some keepers on his subsequent albums and although his playing did not diminish, I actually do feel that Hendrix peaked on Are You Experienced? His next 2 albums with the Experience would have benefitted from a visit by The Cutter (ie, editing). Once Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding split all bets are off. I’m a huge fan of “Dolly Dagger,” for instance, but my enjoyment of the song rests solely on the joy of that main chord riff that runs under the verses.

As with “Dolly Dagger,” there’s enough great guitar work on Axis and Electric Ladyland that I can get over the fact that a lot of the songs blow, but as my close personal friend E. Pluribus Gergely and I were discussing over plates of “shit on a shingle” at a famed Roxborough diner this morning, Axis, in particular, would have benefitted from a serious reduction.

EPG suggests it should have been edited down to a single of “Little Wing” b/w “If 6 Was 9.” I suggest an EP, including those 2 songs along with “Castles Made of Sand” and “Wait Until Tomorrow.” I’m a sucker for any Hendrix song that’s in the “Wind Cries Mary” vein (ie, the former) and any Hendrix song that sounds like it could have been done by Otis Redding (ie, the latter, “Remember,” “Crosstown Traffic”). You may be able to twist my arm into including “Up From the Skies” for a 5-song EP, especially since I had to study it a few months ago to prepare for arrangement ideas on one of my bandmate’s new songs. I can do without all the sub-par “Purple Haze” workouts.

So what do you think, single or EP?

Jul 142011

From the desk of E. Pluribus Gergely.

Steven Roby and and Brad Schreiber‘s new book, entitled Becoming Jimi Hendrix, sheds new light on Stones’ guitarist Keith Richards. During the spring and summer of July 1965, Richards’ girlfriend, British model Linda Keith, found herself in Greenwich Village, making frequent visits to Cafe Wha ?, where she first saw Jimi Hendrix perform. After frequent visits, Hendrix became romantically involved with Keith (Linda, that is). When Richards found out about the affair, he called Linda Keith’s parents and warned them that she had become involved with a “black junkie.” Keith’s (Linda’s, that is) well-to-do father immediately flew to New York and dragged her home.

Simply put, Richards’ reputation as Bad Ass Mother No. 1 is at stake. RTH is asking that Richards come forth to tell his side of the story. Continue reading »

Jul 072011

"Go ahead, try to mock my sense of fashion!"

As Townsman junkintheyard hinted at in response to a recent piece by E. Pluribus Gergely and RTH Labs on the profound weakness of any man wearing an earring, Jimi Hendrix may have been immune to not only the debillitating effects of the earring but a host of questionable rock fashion choices.

Think about it. Hendrix may be the only rocker to get a pass for wearing a headband. It’s debatable whether fringe was ever cool, but no one calls bullshit on Hendrix for wearing it. You wanna cut up on bare-chested rockers wearing vests? Leave Jimi out of it. The kimono? Kimono Jimi’s house! I have not yet located a photo, but I bet Hendrix in a pancho would settle all debates over the potential coolness of that item of clothing.

Rock dudes bedazzled in jewelry? Jimi made it work. Floppy hats posed no hazards for the man. I bet the inside of that bad boy had been soaked in acid!

A Stars and Stripes jumpsuit for anyone not named Evel? Not even Elvis could pull that one off.

Sure, Jimi was black, but not even black guys are assured of pulling off the dashiki.

In terms of avoiding fashion faux pas Jimi had the good fortune to die young, and to die before the 1970s got underway. Jimi had already eclipsed the new decade’s attempts at achieving a larger-than-life Rock God persona. Similarly, Sly Stone, Miles Davis, and then Funkadelic would spend the decade chasing the man’s Psychedelic Pimp Look. Might he have flirted with asexual space-age glam fashions? Probably, and he probably would have picked up some cool backing singers along the way. Would Jimi have surprised us and opted for the down-to-earth denim ensemble of a singer-songwriter? Would he eventually identify himself with the punks and new wavers who owed something to him? Eventually Jimi would have been confronted with the satin siren call of disco. Although trecherous, somehow I think he would have made it work.

As a Rock Dandy who likely would have stayed that path, Jimi would have strutted a treacherous path as the decade came to a close and led into the 1980s. The long-term prospects of a Rock Dandy are fraught with pitfalls. For instance, black or white there’s only so much that can be done with long hair on a dude before he looks like he should be excitedly checking underneath his seat in the audience for a taping of Oprah. Could Jimi have found a way around Miles’ eventual downfall?

Nowhere to run, baby, nowhere to hide… Continue reading »

Feb 052011

Buck Munger is one cool dude! Nearly 12 minutes of extensive research tells me that he worked for guitar and amplifier manufacturing companies. Check out his memories of working with Sunn amps and hanging with the likes of The Who, Jimi Hendrix, and The Buckinghams. Our friend Townsman Hrrundivbakshi, who will be hosting tonight’s special Thrifty Music edition of Saturday Night Shut-In, will be happy to read that Billy Gibbons was yet another intimate. I need to see if we can reach Mr. Munger. He seems like the type who would play well in the Hall.

I’ll tell you what: a 13th minute of research led me to this next video gem. Check it out…after the jump! Continue reading »

Apr 172009

As a lead-in to a piece that Townsman KingEd is working up that touches on the influence of Jimi Hendrix on a well-known Friend of the Hall, I thought it would be a good time to revisit this discussion, initiated by Townsman Hrrundivbakshi almost 2 years ago. We’ve fawned over the magic and majesty of Hendrix before, and Ed’s upcoming piece probably won’t be the last time. While we await our next related Hendrix-centered thread, think about what HVB and others said way back when.

This post initially appeared 6/24/07.

Today’s burning question

Why do we love Jimi Hendrix so much?

That’s not a trick question, by the way, or a snarky way of letting the universe know that I think he sucks major ass. ‘Cause I don’t. I think Jimi Hendrix was an astonishing, timeless talent — one of the few “rock” musician types that truly deserves to be placed in that awkward “genius” category.

For me, Hendrix is simultaneously forward-looking and free; focused and intense; hippy-dippy and sweet; brutal and bludgeoning. He was avant-garde without being precious, snide, or academic about it. His virtuosity never — and I mean that literally — never ceases to amaze me. There’s always something new and unbelievable to hear in a Hendrix song, if you’re listening with those kind of ears. And if you don’t, or can’t, listen as a player, it don’t matter, ’cause his songs are strong.

He also had a dynamite Look — man, that (pardon me, and insert 1974 Rottun Teef Keef “tracksssss…” voice here) “super spade” thing, combined with a stage presence that turned him and his guitar into one giant, raging rock hard-on, was just fucking unbeatable. Think of Mick Jagger or Robert Plant or any other white front man contemporary of Hendrix’s — in their rock posturing prime, on their best night — and they all seem positively tea cozy and cardigan sweaters compared to this dude.

But look — I’m opening up this thread because I just want to know how and why you love Hendrix as much as you do. I’m also looking for those spine-tingling recorded moments that make you wait in eager anticipation — like the hair-singeing opening notes to “Foxy Lady” or the moment when “Ezy Rider” comes roaring back into the main riff after the bridge, or — well, you get the idea.

Why do you love Jimi Hendrix so much?

Aug 262008

We recently re-ran an early Rock Town Hall (blog edition) piece by Townsman BigSteve on his visit to Seattle’s Experience Music Project (EMP). I was just in Seattle for a quick weekend work trip, and during my 2 hours of free time I made sure to check out this museum with my own ears and eyes. BigSteve’s piece had me stoked!

My hotel room offered a fantastic view of the body of water and mountains surrounding the city. The city itself was surprisingly unkempt and weatherbeaten, dare I say “grungey,” but the natural setting was impressive. Straight ahead, maybe a mile away, was the Space Needle and what looked like a colorful clump of molten plastic. This was the EMP building.

I thought about taking the monorail over to maximize my 2 free hours, but wisely, as it turned out, decided to walk. A block into my walk, the monorail train I probably would have caught had broken down on the tracks. Fire engines and rescue ladders blocked 5th Street. I crossed over to 6th Street and caught whiff of some doughnut factory. Doughnuts do not smell that good when baked en masse.


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