Winnipeg Free Press Newspaper Archives Oct 17 1970, Page 108

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Winnipeg Free Press (Newspaper) - October 17, 1970, Winnipeg, ManitobaNew Leisure Winnipeg free press saturday october 17, 1970 Young adults Jimi Hendrix he was something else like Elvis Presley a dec Ade before him Jimi Hen Drix was so sociologically rooted to his Young audience that few outside of that Audi ence could even understand Why he was popular at All. His music was noisy by any traditional standards his voice was a virtual Monotone his stage act was characterized by such Gim micks As setting fire to his guitar and his dress was outlandish. Ever since the Rock Revo Lution of the mid-1950s, when people like Presley Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Rich Ard alternately shocked and outraged parents adults have tried to View the whole Rock scene with Calm sophistication. They have tried to tolerate everyone. They even grew to like the beatles after All they Fig ured anyone who wrote yesterday could t be All bad and Leonard Bernstein did Praise accepted the rolling stones could see Merit in soul singers like Otis Redding and were even ready to Welcome Presley with open arms by the time he returned to live perform ances in Las vegas. But Hendrix was some thing else. And it was Preci sely that something else that helped to make him a Star. Hendrix was an extreme in american music and in the tastes of Young people. He represented in the mid 1960s the same thing in Sev eral ways that Presley and the Rock pioneers represented in the mid-1950s rebel lion a personal hero excite ment new life styles. And not insignificantly he was Black. Hendrix was the first Black sex Symbol in Rock music for White America. Little Richard fast do Mino. Chuck Berry Chubby checker and other earlier Black artists had achieved much popularity in White circles but they never really became sex symbols. It was sociologically too Early. But a lot had happened in Ameri Ca from the civil rights marches in the South to the Campus uprisings in the North by the time Hendrix came along. He was to be called the Cassius Clay of Rock and the Black Elvis and both described partially his role. Hendrix s music was perfectly tied to the times. It was a troubled violent con fused searching music on one hand an assertive de manding triumphant sen sual music on the other. On stage he would play by Robert Hilburn the guitar behind his Back put it Between his legs As a phallic Symbol pick the strings with his Teeth reach ing new extremes of volume and experimentation As he did. Though it was often lost beneath the theatrics. Hen Drix was a Superb guitarist. His special attraction How Ever was his masterful use of feedback. He got sounds out of the guitar that most people did t Ever imagine were there. One of his most successful numbers a sort of bombing raid version of the National Anthem is captured on film in Woodstock. His Rise was timed just right. Stereo had just begun to become widespread and Hendrix s feedback elec Tro n i c s was perfect for stereo. Millions of Young people could put headphones on and experience fully the Hendrix sound revolution. His lyrics were not particularly distinctive but purple Haze his most popu Lar song did capture some of state of the Young people s world and music in 1967 purple Haze All in my eyes Don t know if it s Day or night is it tomorrow or just the end of time Hendrix was controversial on stage and off. Though Many found him to be rather quiet and introverted he always seemed to come up with quotes that would fit the mood of rebellion. One Magazine cover asked is Jimi Hendrix As rough As he wherever to wont he was the target of sox Sooking girl groupies. He was arrested in Toronto in 1969 on charges of heroin Possession. At the trial he admitted having experimented with certain drugs but that he had out grown it. He denied Ever having used heroin. He was found not guilty by the jury. Hendrix was born his by o g r a p h y states in 1946 though some claim he was spent a Brief time in the paratroopers played guitar in bands for various Black singers from b. B. King to Little Richard to the Isley Brothers before heading for new York to Start his own group. It was at a club in new York that Charles Chas Chandler an sex member of Eric Burdon s animals saw Hendrix and suggested he go to England for a while. In London Hendrix joined with drummer Fitch Mitchell and bassist Noel Redding two excellent musicians in a Trio that became known As the Jimi Hendrix expert e n c e the group s first record hey Joe became a hit in England. From the beginning Chan Dler noticed the Impact Hen Drix had on stage. The guitar smashing routine Chandler said started by Accident. Jimi was pulled offstage by a few Over enthusiastic fans in Munich. As he jumped Back onstage he threw his guitar before him. When he picked it up he saw that it had cracked and several of the strings were broken. He just went Balmy and smashed everything in sight. The audience loved it and we decided to keep it in the act. From that Point on. The debate Over Hendrix s artistry and theatrics was to be something of an Issue within the Industry. Though he toured briefly with of All people the monkeys in the United states his first real Impact in this country was Vav. Ally cd i1ct tonal pop festival in 1967. He did All the tricks at Mon Terey including setting fire to his guitar. But he also showed his Mastery of the guitar. He was just a new act when he stepped on the stage in Monterey but he was an undeniable Star by the time he left. He remained a Star until his death of an apparent Over dose of drugs sept. 18, in London. Like the times themselves. Hendrix music began to show signs of change. In 1969, Hendrix announced he was going to try some Dif Ferent musical directions. He talked about using different musicians on his recording he had won All the awards possible and been Well paid receiving for a single appearance that year at a Rock festival at Devonshire Downs in Northridge Calif. I feel guilty when people say i m the greatest guitarist on the he said in a 1969 interview. What s Good or bad does t matter to me what does matter is feeling and not feeling. If Only people would take More of a True View and think in terms of feeling. Your name does t mean a Damn. It s your Talent and feeling that matters. You be got to know much More than just the technicalities of notes you be got to know sounds and what goes Between the the los Angeles times the Rock scene by Ritchie Yorke Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix both dead. Two of Rock s biggest stars in the old fashioned meaning of the term. Janis and Jimi were real stars flamboyant fiery forgers of the new lifestyle. Yet in the end they were both victims of that very lifestyle which they did so much to create. Literally killed by their own hands. Slain by their own swords. As if the Man who discovered electricity died of electrocution. It s hard to imagine the Rock scene without Janis or Jimi. To a live wire life Loving youth death is As far away As the Peak of mount Everest. We Don t face the eternal reality that death is final. After All. It could t happen to us. But it has and it is and it will probably continue to happen to us. It is therefore vital that every Young person in the world today spends Long hours pondering the deaths of these two equally Young artists. Some will think that Janis and Jimi died in glory. Yet in Point of indisputable fact they died in vain just As the soldiers on either Side Are dying in vain in Vietnam. Sure they helped to create a new lifestyle and a new Way of looking at things. But what sort of lifestyle takes life away when it has barely begun what sort of lifestyle lets its creators die a lonely death like the pitiful alcoholics littering the Park benches of the world. Neither Joplin nor Hendrix nor most of the pop stars of the 70s would have stood for a single moment s decrying of their lifestyle. Yet their deaths shout out the futility of it All. Just As peace is not Worth killing for a lifestyle is not Worth dying for. It was no secret that both Janis and Jimi were heavily into drugs. It s no secret that most of the pop world is. 1970 is the year of cocaine. Next year who knows who dares to contemplate there is something obviously masochistic in Many of today s most favored entertainers. Why else would a girl such As Janis Joplin who fought so hard to reach the pin Nacle turn around and jump off of All the most colourful personalities in the new lifes Tyle none was More direct and demanding than Janis. Her image was everything. She took a bottle of Southern com fort onto the stage and periodically took swigs from it. She boasted that she was one of the sexiest Chicks around More than a match for any Man. She swore like a skid Row drunk and when she Sang she screamed like a Fishe woman in a crowded Naples marketplace. What she May have lacked in originality or for that matter sheer Talent More than made up for with the most dazzling female stage image the mass White audiences had Ever seen. Sure Tina Turner had done it Ali before in the Little coloured clubs where the White folks did t go. Sure aretha Franklin could sing Janis off the stage even if she had severe laryngitis. Certainly almost every coloured female Singer in America had tons More vocal ability than Janis could Ever dream of. But Janis had More than All of hem she knew what it would take to turn on White America. She would do things and act like no . Woman since Judy Garland has Ever dared to behave on a concert stage. See through clothes. Four letter words. The bottle of booze. The nightly shattering of the vocal chords and the precious partying which invariably followed. No attempt to hide any of it. Indeed it was the very thing which made Janis world famous. The world s first truly liberated woman the first woman Man she was As rough and As Tough As any Man could be. And All the while she tried to emulate the lifestyle of bes Sie Smith one of the All time great blues singers. Only a few weeks ago. Janis contributed heavily to a fund to place a new Stone above Bessie s grave. At least 75 per cent of Janis fans could t Tell you a thing about bes Sie Smith. But to them Janis was the ultimate girl Singer of the new lifestyle. Her two albums cheap thrills and cosmic blues were not particularly memorable As blues records but they sold Well. Her concerts did t produce much that had t been done better previously but they were packed. Janis Joplin was the unchallenged High priestess of hip pie Dom. The deaths of Joplin and Hendrix Are clearly a tragedy but it is not As great a tragedy As the fact that there Are Mere to come. The real Down Home tragedy is that so few i l Leam when the Price has already been so High. The greatest legacy Janis Joplin can leave us is a vocalization of the stupidity of ii All

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