Dead Rebels

tributes to cultural martyrs

Jimi Hendrix: Before the Talking Music

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Johnny Allen Hendrix was born on November 27th, 1942, in Seattle; changing his name four years later to James Marshall Hendrix. He acquired his first guitar at age 16 and joined a group, the Rocking Kings, a year later. At age of 19, Hendrix chose to enlist in the Army on May 31, 1961; as punishment for riding in stolen cars. Hendrix had the option to either spend two years in prison or join the Army after getting into trouble with the law twice.

He was stationed in Fort Campbell, Kentucky and assigned to the 101st Airborne Division. Serving only one year, reports say Hendrix received a medical discharge after breaking his ankle during a parachute maneuver.

Claims have been made that Hendrix faked homosexuality and stated he fell in love with a fellow soldier; never producing credible evidence to support either contention.

Truth is Hendrix required constant supervision, slept while on duty, disrespect for regulations, unskilled as a marksman, and deemed a sub-standard soldier.

Commanders submitted a request for early discharged for Hendrix; when the opportunity to leave arose there was no objection. Although, all Jimi Hendrix could say about the Army, "...once you get out there everything is so quiet, all you hear is the breezes-s-s-s..."

Before he left the Army, Hendrix spent time at the recreation center where a loyal friendship bloomed with bass player Billy Cox. The two joined a band named The King Kasuals performed at clubs in Nashville, Tennessee. After the Army, in 1966 Chas Chandler discovered and managed Hendrix then they went to England; to absorb the emerging psychedelic movement. He changed his first name to “Jimi” and formed a trio with Mitch Mitchell, drummer, and Noel Redding, bassist.

Hendrix guitar style was unique, synthesizing many styles to create his musical voice; only to have others imitate it abundantly.

He was notorious for perfectionism and a productive recording artist that had over 300 unreleased recordings. He established a sonically heavy, technically adept rock music that radically changed hard rock and created heavy metal while taking blues to the next level.

His music had a great influence on funk and the progression of funk rock, all the while, extending to hip hop artists and guitarists for example, Ernie Isley, Eddie Hazel and Jesse Johnson; Chuck D, Ice-T, and Wyclef Jean. Hendrix deeply impressed Miles Davis that wanted his bands guitarists to emulate Hendrix.

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