Jimi Hendrix, the greatest rock guitar player who ever lived, was born on Nov. 27, 1942. Today, honor of what would>"/>
By Ian S. Port
Jimi Hendrix, the greatest rock guitar player who ever lived, was born on Nov. 27, 1942. Today, honor of what would have been his 70th birthday, we present 13 amazing quotes from the man himself, all taken from Hendrix on Hendrix, a new volume of interviews and profiles of the man edited by Steven Roby. The book traces Hendrix's life from his arrival in London in 1966 through his rise to fame in the U.K., his explosion onto the American scene in 1967, his performances at Woodstock, the end of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, and the vision Hendrix had for his music before his life was cut short. Hendrix died on Sept. 18, 1970, after a mishap with sleeping pills in a London flat. Let's remember him through his own words.
On 'rave music': "We don't want to be classed in any category. If it must have a tag, I'd like it to be called 'Free Feeling.' It's a mixture of rock, freak-out, blues, and rave music." -- Record Mirror, Dec. 10, 1966
On the Beatles: "They're [The Beatles] one group that you can't really put down because they're just too much. And it's so embarrassing, man, when America is sending over the Monkees -- oh, God, that kills me! They got groups in the States starving to death trying to get breaks and then these fairies come up." -- UNIT, January 1967
On beating up cops: "When things would become too boring I would go with some friends and we would beat up a policeman. Within half an hour we would have a smashing row. Sometimes you would wind up in jail, but the food would be great, so it wasn't that bad. -- Humo, March 11, 1967
On vulgarity in his guitar playing: "A lot of people think that what I do with my guitar is vulgar. I don't think it's vulgar sex. What people get from what I do is their scene. It's in the eye of the beholder. You know if you lick girls' bicycle seats every morning before they go to school -- then you should really think that what I do is masturbation of the instrument or something like that about sex or love." -- Rave, August 1967
On the blues: "We do this blues on the last track of the LP [Axis: Bold as Love] on the first side. It's called "If 6 Were [sic] 9." That's what you call a great feeling of blues. We don't even try to give it a name. Everybody has some kind of blues to offer, you know." -- Jazz & Pop, July 1968
On America: "I still love America -- quite naturally -- but I can see why people put it down. It has so much good in it, you know, but it has so much evil, too, and that's because so much of it is based on money. That's really so sick. People here are losing their peace of mind -- they're getting so lost in all of these rules and regulations and uniforms that they're losing their peace of mind. If people would just take three to five minutes a day to be by themselves to find out what they wanted to do, by the end of the week they'd have something. If people would only stop blaming. You can see how frustrating it is -- the black person argues with the white person that he's been treated badly for the last two hundred years. Well, he has -- but now's the time to work it out, instead of talking about the past." -- Circus, March 1969
On seeking solitude: "I spend most of my time just writing songs and so forth, and not making too much contact with people 'cause they don't know how to act ... I don't feel like talking to most people because they're just bullshitting, they don't even know the difference between us and the Cream, for instance, or Blue Cheer." -- International Times, March 28-April 10, 1969
On Hendrix's performance of "The Star-Spangled Banner" at Woodstock
Dick Cavett: What was the controversy about the national anthem and the way you played it?
Hendrix: I don't know. All I did was play it. I'm American so I played it. I used to have to sing it in school... they made me sing it in school... it was a flashback. -- The Dick Cavett Show, Sept. 9, 1969
On his image: "I don't want to be a clown anymore. I don't want to be a 'rock 'n' roll star.''" -- Rolling Stone, Nov. 15, 1969
"As far as I'm concerned, I have no image." -- Miami Herald, Aug. 8, 1970
"I started cutting my hair and losing jewelry, ring by ring, until I had none left. The freaky thing was never a publicity hype -- that was just the way I was then. If I felt like dressing up, I did. If I felt like smashing a guitar, I worked up some anger and smashed. The anger has dissipated and I don't feel the need to dress up so much now I see others doing it." -- Record Mirror, Oct. 3, 1970 (Hendrix's final interview)