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 Article publié le 25 novembre 2018.

oOo

The first time I met Jimi Hendix I was fifteen.

It happened in 1973, three years after his tragic death.

It happened at home in my sleeping room on a record player.

I used to live with my parents at the time. During my childhood and teenage years, I regularly went back and forth, switching between periods of carelessness and deep depression. This had been happening to me ever since the age of 6 or 7, which was about the time I had to move away from the house I grew up in.

I deeply loved my parents and the house I used to live in peacefully. I loved it until it was destroyed. At that time, I could feel both the dismay and the sadness of Mom and Dad. I was sad as well and felt helpless, full of anger and disappointment. I was also carrying on my shoulders the tragic events my parents and grand-parents had lived through during the Second World War. My entire life was placed under the sign of war and suffering.

Before I met Jimi on record, I already had plenty of pictures, rumours and colours associated with the man and the showman he was on my mind. I guess his music swept all of that away.

Mental boundaries immediately broke and exploded.

As if everything suddenly became possible.

As if I had to struggle hard and for a long time to stay alive.

As if I was all alone too and somehow forced to live for a very long time on a desert island far from everything and everyone. And, I woud say, for sure, far beyond everything I would have to live through in the future.

As if the whole world became a colourful circus full of mad people, freaks and monsters.

As if I was on a way to nowhere. Auf einem Holzweg.

As if everything I felt melted in a giant kaleidoscope bound to create a new world of human possibilities.

As if the struggle for beauty was constantly threatened.

As if black and white, bright and dark, deep and high were the same old things I had to live through to be reborn.

So, Jimi’s music took place in my head and body and is still there fifty years after our first meeting.

Sonic colours, beats, sounds and melodies have been floating around in my mind ever since I met the great musician and lyricist he was.

A very rare kind of music. « Never to grow old », really.

Wagner and many other composers faded and finally disappeared from my life.

They would later come back transfigured.

I focused my attention onto blues in general and Hendrix’ music in particular.

Year after year I have discovered the sonic lands of Captain Beefheart, Frank Zappa and many other musicians who all helped me come back to ancient and modern European music. This sounds crazy, I know that good and well.

Black and white surely, and surely not black or white, this is what I feel in every area of life.

Now I have turned full circle and Jimi Hendrix remains the most important musician in my life.

You’ll be going through bad times and good times, little drummer boy, but don’t be scared, because I ignited within you a candle light you’ll be able to pass on and on one of these days. This little crazy light is not a guiding one. You’ll have to do your own things in order to discover the sense of your life : I hear this kind of subliminal message in Jimi’s music every time. 

Jimi Hendrix’ voice is unforgettable and the most beautiful one I’ve ever heard.

Not just in a musical sense : the humanity of the man can be heard in every song he’s composed or played.

The brilliance of the man, his charisma, can only be compared to the sparkling of intelligence in my mother and daughter’s eyes.

When I was a little child I wished I was a black man, an Arab or a spanish man, which can sound rather silly, I guess. I vividly remember Miles Davis’ answer to a reporter asking him what he wished for the most in life : he answered : to be white !

This kind of world where black people and many others are forced to desire another coulour of skin or ethnic origin and are condemned to justify their existence is surely not mine.

Within the sonic realm, the combination of Jimi’s voice and music contributed to create reigns, a perfect balance between pure musicality and exposed humanity.

It’s a very seldom and precious thing in the musical world we all live in, I mean.

The voice I constantly hear in my mind, for my part, is pure poetry.

Words are my weapons in this world of violence and cruelty, indifference to human suffering and beauty. It’s like an axe of flesh flashing in all directions of human condition.

This is Hendrix’ heritage I cherish day after day, as I cherish the memory of my deceased mother who silently encouraged me to write poetry and strange little stories.

Do you remember Machine Gun ? See what I mean ?

I think you can.

 

Jean-Michel Guyot

16 novembre 2018

 

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