There’s a reason why I continually buy books on bands, read liner notes, or watch endless Behind The Music type of documentaries about artists where I already know more things than most people would even care about: I might learn something new.
A good example of this is with Pink Floyd. I’ve heard the story of Floyd so many times that I can even name the band that Syd Barrett briefly fronted in the early 70’s before realizing after one performance that his heart really wasn’t in it anymore.
Despite all of this worthless knowledge, I continue to seek out more-a thirst for that juicy bit of trivial information that makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. That excitement at feeling you’ve learned something new about an artist-a factoid that gives you a one-up on your equally geeky competitor.
Your peer in this rock and roll fanaticism.
Take Jimi Hendrix.
Just a few days ago, I “wowed” my old lady with the bitchin’ tale of “The Night That Jimi Hendrix Choked On His Own Vomit.” It’s not really “bitchin’,” I mean the guy who essentially designed the blueprint for rock and roll guitar playing ends up dying at the end of the story. But it’s a story of the final day of Hendrix and the weird little plot twists and turns that unfolded after he died.
Here’s the Twitter version:
Hendrix gets loaded, chokes on puke. Turns blue. Girlfriend freaks. Calls Eric Burdon. Burdon yells “Call the doctor!” Too much time passes. Jimi Dies. Chick later shacks up with Uli Jon Roth. Chick kills herself twenty years later from guilt over contributing to Jimi’s death.
Actually, I think that’s more than what Twitter would allow, but you get the idea.
I think the word that the kids would use to describe my wife’s reaction to the story above is “Meh.” Perhaps you don’t really care about the life of Jimi Hendrix or get the six degrees of Kevin Bacon in that whole piece, in which case the novelty of it is completely oblivious to you.
Or better still, you have a better story about Jimi-one that can put mine to shame-and you learned in through on-going research, a devotion that would come to fruition at the very moment when you smacked me upside my rock and roll loving head with an even better narrative.
John Ridley is the man who would smacked me upside my rock and roll head last week.
Ridley’s piece about Hendrix on NPR’s All Things Considered is a dandy; a compelling tidbit of Jimi that is so crucial to the man’s rise to fame that it embarrasses me that I did not know about it earlier.
Read (or listen) about the story here, but better yet, listen to the song.
For the first minute of the story, I thought it was going to be about how this new unreleased Jimi Hendrix track sounded like a Nirvana song that most of you are quite familiar with.
But it isn’t.
Instead, it’s an amazing tale of how a caring woman planted some pretty important seeds into Jimi’s head which set a path in motion where he finally found the success and attention that he deserved.
If you can tolerate the ridiculous Guitar Hero video that accompanies it, someone has graciously uploaded this incredible unreleased track up to You Tube.
Why this thing hasn’t been made available yet is beyond me.
There’s also a very brief take with vocals out there too, but this full instrumental version is just incredible.