The Making of Jimi
By Randy Patterson, Boomerocity.com
The name conjures up images, memories, and sounds as individual as those who hear the name. For some of you, it may be remembering seeing Jimi in concert, maybe even at Woodstock. Others will remember how his music influenced their own musicianship or even changed their lives.
Regardless of what comes to mind, it all validates the fact that Jimi Hendrix made a permanent imprint on society and history. His sound was unmistakable, and countless guitarists have made it their goal to emulate their guitar hero’s sound.
As everyone knows who has the slightest knowledge of Jimi, he passed away far too soon at the tender age of 27.
Think about that for a moment.
Many of you baby boomers have grandkids older than that now. Sobering.
Had Jimi lived, he would have turned 80 years old in November of last year. It’s hard to imagine an 80-year-old Jimi Hendrix, because he’s forever young in our minds.
To commemorate Jimi’s 80th birthday, Janie Hendrix and John McDermott, co-author and Experience Hendrix L.L.C. catalog director for almost three decades, have published Jimi. It’s the official 80th birthday edition, with lots of interesting and even never-before-published items in the book – borrowing from (and going much further than) both authors’ previous books.
The book is excellent and is chock full of amazing photos and commentary by Janie and John. It is the perfect addition to the personal library of any music lover or Hendrix fan.
Janie shared about the book: “I think that first of all, the driving force was the fact that it was Jimi’s anniversary of his life and wanting to get something out that was really cool – something that people would love because the ‘Illustrated’ book, of course, sold out, and there really aren’t any copies left in our archives. When we met with Chronicle (the publisher), they just felt like a right fit. And they were able to do it very quickly. I think the end product is proof in the pudding of what it really should be.”
With so much having been said and done regarding Jim Hendrix’s life and career, I asked Janie if there were any surprises when putting Jimi together.
“Well, for me, I’ll say this: One, of course, as we’ve gone on, it’s almost like Jimi’s our angel guidance behind us – or in front of us – always pointing out different people to go talk to. But then people come out of the woodwork saying we have photos, or they have some artifact that we have acquired.
“But Chronicle also is a great partner to work with, because when I was looking through the final copy, I was like, ‘Okay, I just thought somebody (had put) like Post-it Notes.’ If you notice on every five or six pages or so, there’s a little doodle, like little arrows or hearts or something like that. And I just thought, artistically, they got a little carried away. But, no, those are Jimi’s doodles that they had pulled from various handwritten lyrics or things that were in his journal…. All these like little kind of iconic ’60s type doodles, it was so Jimi, because that’s what he would do. He’d be on the phone with a pad and just doodling little hearts and arrows and drawings. He’d draw stuff on my hands. So I thought that was very sweet and very cute and was really reflective of who he was as a person, because he was very sweet and kind and those little notes on the page, I really felt that they captured that part of him.”
Janie’s co-author, John McDermott, added: “I think I looked at it from the opportunity side. I thought it was we were really happy with the ‘Illustrated’ book, as Janie had said, and this was an opportunity to take it into a different direction – to not necessarily just replicate something we’d already done, but have a chance to go back in and add more to it. We’ve been so fortunate to work on so many Jimi Hendrix projects that it’s exciting to be able to think you guys haven’t seen this before. We’ve had that benefit. Now we’re sharing it with you. It’s like Janie said, we’re always on the hunt. Whether it’s an audio recording or film footage or photography in this book, you know, the photography, you’re going to see things which are just amazing to see. I kind of liked that sharing aspect of it.”
You can see this original Zoom interview in its entirety by visiting Boomerocity.com, where Janie and John talk about how Jimi’s dad embraced his son’s fandom, which Hendrix concert is coming out on vinyl, and how much joy it brings them to share Jimi’s life and talents with others. If you wish to order Jimi, you can do so from the same page. You can also catch the latest Boomerocity interviews on their YouTube channel (@boomerocity) or listen on all major podcast platforms.