James Marshall Hendrix: Undisputed Master of the Electric Guitar (Guitar World 1985)

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ALLAN HOLDSWORTH about Jimi Hendrix, 1985

Thanks to Bernt for this clipping, which is presumably from a tribute issue or article about Jimi.

Update: The source is Guitar World, September 1985. As told to Gene Santoro.

I CAN'T REALLY remember what year it was when I first heard Jimi Hendrix play, but it was around the same time as I first heard Cream, so that would be around '67 or so. I guess. What I first heard was his single, 'Hey Joe', which I thought was great.

Actually, at the time I was more of an Eric Clapton fan, so I did go to see Cream a few times, but I never saw Hendrix live at all. I really liked Clapton's style a lot; it didn't really strike me until later on how important Hendrix was for the guitar. Obviously he was a real innovator, and he opened up all kinds of possibilities to guitarists — his use of the tremolo arm, for instance, and his control of feedback. But at the time, as I say, I wasn't really a Jimi Hendrix fan — I liked his stuff, but we weren't really on the same wavelength as far as musical direction. It's only looking back that I can see what he was doing. It's kind of like how I felt about the Beatles when they came out. I had the same reaction: I didn't really like them until after. Hendrix, just didn't move me that much at the time, and he didn't inspire me to do anything different from what I was already doing.

I've gone back and listened to the records since then, obviously. The ones I like best are the ones he did in the studio, like 'The Burning Of The Midnight Lamp', for example. I really like the opening riff for that one [hums it], and the bit with the harpsichord.

All I can say is. it's my own misfortune that I didn't understand or see more of what Hendrix was doing at the time he was actually doing it. Even though we just didn't connect stylistically, I think he was great, and he was definitely an important guitar player.