Jimi Hendrix, Voices From Home

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9780964506404: Jimi Hendrix, Voices From Home

Hendrix's Seattle years, as told by friends, musicians, family members, classmates, community members and teachers. Interviews with more than sixty people, 200 photographs, memorabilia from school days.

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From the Author:

Those of us who shared Jimi's childhood environment know that his years in central Seattle hold a key to his creative work. We find it frustrating that reverence for Jimi as a mythical folk hero, by a generation born after his death, has been based on information that is incomplete and only partially accurate. This collection of narratives interwoven with memorabilia provides a link that has been missing in Hendrix history. Here are stories about the boy behind the legend; the Seattle kid we knew as "Jimmy," "James," or simply "Hendrix." For those of us who contributed to this book, the child is the father of the myth. Leaving that part out is like the Abe Lincoln story without the log cabin, or George Washington without the cherry tree.

I knew Jimmy Hendrix back when the only thing flashy about him was his smile. I was eleven and he was twelve when we met at Meany Jr. High School in Seattle. Most people counter with an "I don't think so" when I mention that Jimmy grew up in Seattle. Then they usually say, "Wasn't he from New York?" Most New Yorkers know Jimmy wasn't one of them. He could work crazy, long hours like any New Yorker, and his ability for conversation matched that of any Easterner, but he had a sense of playful optimism and an openness that came from somewhere else. Some fans have hastily dismissed Jimmy's origin with a shrug. Others fancifully postulate that he came from another planet. I've been thinking about that.

For years I assumed that somewhere, in another corner of another state, people had experiences parallel to ours. Lately I have begun to wonder. Those of us who were born in Seattle's central area, and went to the neighborhood schools that fed into Garfield High School, grew up in a cocoon. We shared our daily lives, our ups and downs, our lockers and our lunch money, with individuals of different ethnicities, cultures, and classes. It's possible that our childhood experiences were unique. Certainly people across town had little understanding of what we were experiencing. The South was entirely another world to us, more foreign than World War I. In fact, when we read or heard about segregation, or shocking things like lynchings, it was like news from another century - -the Stone Age maybe. My classmates and I were rudely awakened when we left our sheltered enclave. Some of them say, "We were thirty years ahead of the times." Our reactions when running into walls of racism and xenophobia have been almost universal. We think, "Where did these people grow up? What's going on here?" or "Am I in some kind of time warp? Did the clock just zoom backwards a few hundred years?"

This book is the collective effort of dozens of people. It is a collage of representative key people from Jimmy's Seattle circle -- close friends from the decade of his formative years, family members and family friends, musicians who played with him during his junior high and high school years, classmates, and other members of the Garfield community.

From the Inside Flap:

Much of the mystery that surrounds the Jimi Hendrix myth stems from his friends' and family's public silence. Stricken with outrage by his victimization, most of them have refused to talk with those they felt were exploiting his memory. With the return of the Jimi Hendrix rights to his family, fans around the world are celebrating.Voices from Home represents a parallel long-awaited justice - a celebration of the intangible return of Hendrix's spirit to his roots.

Jimi Hendrix spent two thirds of his twenty-seven years in Seattle. So much that happened there was later incorporated, even immortalized, in his style, music, the image people came to know of Jimi Hendrix. This collection of reminiscences portrays his early years through interviews with over 75 people from every area of his life. "Hendrix's history without these hometown stories would be like Abe Lincoln without the log cabin," says author Mary Willix, Jimi's childhood friend. "This collage of gems represents the key people from Jimi's Seattle circle. It felt right to release Voices from Home on the 25th anniversary of his death, though a book of this nature is never truly complete. There's always more - especially from the family. Synchronicity played a role when the rights were returned two weeks before the print date."

Jimi's short life was a blaze of tragedy and beauty. His story is filled with powerful contrasts: loneliness and love, the ordinary and the magical, struggle and success, rejection and acceptance, despair and joy, and the biggest issue, Jimi's plea for freedom and peace in a world plagued by exploitation and discord. The soft-spoken, compassionate young man from Seattle - self-taught left-handed jammer - became a symbol of the American dream. He mixed magic and reality to create a sound that set the musical world of rock 'n' roll on its ear, and he became the finest electric guitarist of the century. He captured the hearts of audiences all over the world, yet, almost as quickly, he became a statistic in the chronicles of American tragedy.

Voices from Home features never-before-published images of Hendrix by Peter Riches, Ulvis Alberts, Jill Gibson, Dave Sygall, and the Michael Ochs Archives [Ann Moses and Ron Raffaelli]. Interview portraits by Marsha Burns and Ken Matesich are mixed with album photos, landscape shots and memorabilia donated by Hendrix's classmates. The epilogue is by prize-winning poet and novelist Luis Alberto Urrea [The Fever of Being, Across the Wire, In Search of Snow, The Daughter of God, Dalton's Luck].

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