Who was Jimmy Hendrix? To thousands, if not millions of fans in the Hippie Era he was a legendary talented guitar revolutionary. A man who played with his soul, spreading a message of peace, love and liberty, for all of those who encountered the struggle of being accepted by society; is who he was to all his followers. Now lets not get carried away with civil rights, freedom, and racial slurs because, well, part of it was the reason why he wrote songs like “Freedom” and performed a monumental version of the Star Spangled Banner in Woodstock as well as the Atlanta International Pop Festival #2 on July 5th, 1970. However, to a 6-year-old little girl, Jimmy Hendrix was a brother, roll model and hero. Janie Hendrix, Jimmy’s sister, recalls Jimmy leaving her home in Seattle, WA for the last time she would see him. It was a rainy day, as Jimmy Hendrix boarded his airplane, as he lastly turned back and waved goodbye to Janie Hendrix who from far away admire his style, and talent. Soon after his departure a few months later Jimmy Hendrix was found dead and his legend lived on. We had a quick chat with Janie Hendrix right before she was honored at The Riverside Film Festival, and she as very excited to talk about her long lost brother. Emotions were felt from the other end of the phone as we discussed her role in the Experience Hendrix Inc. as well as what Jimmy meant to her. Just let these words inspire you:
Rockbrary- “What is it like to take over the family business of a legend that everyone loves and looks up to his music?
Janie Hendrix- “Well it was more than just taking over, I wanted to take over because Jimmy’s Attorney was trying to sell the name and legend. It was a two and a half year battle, since the inception of the company. I simply wanted to treasure his music, songs he wrote. I wanted to keep alive his wish to spread his music; he lived for the Electric Church. It was the right experience people needed to feel, it is the only true experience with the live monitors being blasted, the electric guitars and live sound.”
RB- “What is your take on all this new talented guitarist when they cover Jimmy’s songs and add their own style?
Janie- “Jimmy was a genius of a musician, and I am proud that even now musicians recognize his hard work. It is amazing to hear that these young musicians recognize Jimmy- Guys like Rolling Stones, Fender- of course with Jimmy reviving the Stratocaster, look up to him and shows they appreciate his craft. It is bitter suite he is not here with us.
RB- “Are there any current artists that you think Jimmy would like to work with?
Janie- “He liked to jam, he would play with anyone that gave him the time. He would not deny jamming with anyone that is coming up as an artist. I mean look at Woodstock; he compiled musicians to play with him very last minute. “
RB- “Have you considered opening a Jimmy Hendrix museum in California?
Janie- “A lot of museums have Jimmy’s artifacts that we have loaned them, like Rockwell, Woodstock and EMP in Seattle, WA. It is hard to maintain a museum and we have plenty going on, but we do like to educate people about Jimmy. We had an 18-wheeler going around showcasing Jimmy’s artifacts but that got expensive and we had other projects in mind. “
RB- “What is your all time favorite Jimmy Hendrix’s song?
Janie –“ It would be like having 200 kids and you have to love one more than the other 199, you simply just love them all. I listen to songs based on my mood, Jimmy’s songs are a soundtrack to my life, and were while I grew up. I do enjoy “If 6 was 9”. I recall seating on top of Jimmy’s Marshall amp back in Seattle, as he played “Foxy Lady”, he pointed at me while he sang those word –“that girl put a spell on me” and all my friends got excited it took me a while to realize he was pointing at me.
Another song I enjoy is “Spanish Magic Castle”, it is a venue in Seattle where Jimmy performed before he went to the army. However, it had to do with Seattle’s metro bus, as he did say the term “DragonFly”, the bus was the dragon fly in which he embarked his route to this venue.”
RB- “What motivated you to continue with Experience Hendrix?
Janie- “As a young child I promised to keep his vision going, I rather be surrounded by his music. “
RB- “You are being honored by the RIFF with A Legacy Award, how does that feel?”
Janie –“It is an honor, what a great way to be honored, I am truly shocked”
With that statement we closed our interview and were lucky enough to be present at the Riverside Film Festival and get a glimpse of Jimmy Hendrix Performance DVD at the Atlanta International Pop Festival. It was a night filled with talent, Phil Keoghan was among the honored (host of The Amazing Race) and contributor to the festival with his film about 25 sleep-deprived days mimicking the Tour De France the way the originators did it back in the day titled Le Ride. Check out some photos of this gala and remember Music lives, and stands the test of times Jimmy Hendrix wanted to spread that love and wisdom and unite the people of this civilized world.
Reported By: Hostile Jo
Photos By: Jose Barrientos