excerpt from 'Miles To Go: The Lost Years: An Intimate Memoir of Life on the Road with Miles Davis' pp. 42-44 (418 words)

excerpt from 'Miles To Go: The Lost Years: An Intimate Memoir of Life on the Road with Miles Davis' pp. 42-44 (418 words)

part of

Miles To Go: The Lost Years: An Intimate Memoir of Life on the Road with Miles Davis

original language

urn:iso:std:iso:639:ed-3:eng

in pages

42-44

type

text excerpt

encoded value

The first time I saw him [Jimi Hendrix] perform was back in the summer of 1968, under rather unusual circumstances. My girlfriend and I went down to Manhattan one night to see Moby Grape [.…]

Instead, a band called Rhinoceros would be on. There were only about ten people in the place, so we grabbed a table by the stage and ordered a couple of beers. Rhinoceros was a surprise: they were a strong, tight band that was a joy to listen to, with punchy funk lines and almost gospel-like vocals (this from a white band!), plus a Telecaster player who was a whiz. They did "Belbucus," "You're My Girl," and, of course, "Apricot Brandy," an instrumental which radio jocks all over America subsequently grabbed for intro and extro themes. (I hope Rhinoceros got royalties from every raceway and concert ad that used that song.)

The band finished up and we were getting ready to leave when an unseen announcer intoned, "And now, ladies and gentlemen, a surprise guest: Jimmy James and the Famous Flames." I knew I had heard that name before, but I couldn't quite place it. The band hit the stage, just a guitar, bass, and drums. When I saw the guitarist, I did a double take--he looked exactly like Hendrix, only smaller. What I didn't know then was that Hendrix was small. His album covers used camera angles that made him appear much bigger than he actually was.

Anyway, the band plugged in, and this fellow started playing lefty, just like Hendrix. He had a white SG Custom with gold hardware playing through a Fender Super Reverb. Then he stepped up to the mike and began to mumble.

"Um, we're gonna start off with a Chuck Berry song called ‘Blue Feeling,’ which kinda describes how I feel tonight."

They kicked into Chuck's classic B-side, a slow, uncharacteristic song which is quite evocative. All doubts were immediately erased in my mind: This was Jimi Hendrix, alright, but it was a Hendrix I had never known. We all thought of him as an all-powerful god back then, full of confidence and sex-magic energy, wise-cracking and strutting his way through life--a boastful, rebellious young black stud who was a master of his instrument.

[...]

[... T]he god we thought we knew was a mask erected at great cost to hide a scared kid. The Jimi Hendrix I saw that night, in front of a tiny crowd, was not afraid to show us the kid behind the mask. 

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excerpt from 'Miles To Go: The Lost Years: An Intimate Memoir of Life on the Road with Miles Davis' pp. 42-44 (418 words)

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