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Authors: Jimi Hendrix

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I
JUST KEEP MUSIC IN MY HEAD. It doesn’t even come out to the other guys until we go to the studio. That’s what happened with
The
Wind Cries Mary
. We were rehearsing on stage, and then it just came to me. The words came first, and the music was so easy to put there. The whole thing just melted together. It was recorded in
about two takes.

I explained to Noel and Mitch what I had in mind, and we played it halfway through so that Chas could get the balance in the studio. Then we played it through once. Six minutes later the song
was ready to be mastered and pressed. We never do more than five or six takes in a recording studio. It’s too expensive!

When we cut a record we talk about a lot of things, except the music we have to record. We tell jokes, drink and smoke. Then we’re in the right mood, and we start. That isn’t easy. I
like it better before an audience. I know how to play by the way they react, by the feeling with the audience. It gets me in the right mood. But you don’t have that in the studio.

I believe I am more a musician than a songwriter. I only write my own songs because I don’t want to do other people’s. Chas helps me out with the lyrics on occasion. When I write a
song he modifies a couple of words to make the lyrics come out better. I don’t consider myself a songwriter, but I would love to be recognized as such.

Ever since Bob Dylan’s been around people have been kicking him and saying, “Oh man, he sings like a broken-leg dog!” But they say that because they don’t really
understand his words. If people really want to dig him, they should go out and buy a book with his words in it and find out what he’s saying. Everybody wants to know what happened to
modern-day poetry. Well, you can find it all over the place. Just dig the records.

Dylan is giving me inspiration. Not that I want to sound like him – I just want to sound like Jimi Hendrix – but you have to write your own songs in order to get your own personal
sound. Up to now I’ve written about one hundred songs, but most of them are in those New York hotel rooms I got thrown out of. I write a lot of words all over the place, on matchboxes or on
napkins, anywhere. Sometimes the music comes across to me when I’m sitting around doing nothing, and then the music makes me think of a few words I might have written. So I go back to those
few words, if I can find them.

Songs come from anywhere. You see everything, experience everything as you live. Even if you’re living in a little room, you see a lot of things, and if you have imagination the songs just
come. I spend a lot of time daydreaming. It’s great to sit and dream. All kinds of nice thoughts pop up, songs too. I have to wait until they come to me, even if I’ve got a record date
minutes away. I couldn’t just keep on doing it for money constantly. I just want to turn people on and let them know what’s happening. That’s my reason for being around.

 

T
HE ONLY WAY I CAN EXPLAIN MYSELF thoroughly is through songs. Most of the songs, like
Purple Haze
and
Wind Cries Mary
were about ten pages long, but then I had to break them all down. Maybe some of the meanings got lost by breaking them down, which is such a drag. The trouble is that a single has to be
under six minutes. It used to be under three, which was a real hang-up. It’s like you used to be able to give them just one page of a book. Now you can give them two or three
pages, but never the whole book.

The Wind Cries Mary
is a girl who has slightly taken to talking about me to her friends. One moment she will talk about me like a dog, and the next moment she says the
complete opposite. But she is a nice girl underneath. It’s nothing but a story about a breakup, just a girl and a boy breaking up, that’s all. Like the traffic lights
turning blue tomorrow. That means feeling bad in your mind. There’s no hidden meaning. It’s just a slow song, that’s what I call it.

 

Slow, quiet.

 

A
FTER ALL THE JACKS ARE IN THEIR BOXES

A
ND THE CLOWNS HAVE ALL GONE TO BED

Y
OU CAN HEAR HAPPINESS

S
TAGGERING ON DOWN THE STREET

F
OOTPRINTS DRESSED IN RED

A
ND THE WIND WHISPERS
M
ARY

 

A
BROOM IS DREARILY SWEEPING

U
P THE BROKEN PIECES OF YESTERDAY’S LIFE

S
OMEWHERE A QUEEN IS WEEPING

S
OMEWHERE A KING HAS NO WIFE

A
ND THE WIND IT CRIES
M
ARY

 

T
HE TRAFFIC LIGHTS THEY TURN BLUE TOMORROW

A
ND SHINE THEIR EMPTINESS DOWN ON MY BED

T
HE TINY ISLAND SAGS DOWNSTREAM

’C
AUSE THE LIFE THEY LIVED IS DEAD

A
ND THE WIND SCREAMS
M
ARY

 

W
ILL THE WIND EVER REMEMBER

T
HE NAMES IT HAS BLOWN IN THE PAST

A
ND WITH ITS CRUTCH, ITS OLD AGE AND ITS WISDOM

I
T WHISPERS
, “N
O, THIS WILL BE THE LAST

AND THE WIND CRIES MARY

 

In music, you’ve got to say something real just as quick as you can. That’s the idea of it, make it very basic. I don’t mean my lyrics to be clever. I just say what I feel and
let them fight over it, if it’s interesting enough. What I want is for people to listen to the music and the words, as one thing. Maybe a lyric has only five words, and the music takes care
of the rest. Instead of saying, “Will you make love to me tonight?” all of a sudden there’s this big crash. You can make the sound happen.

You can put in a certain little freaky thing, like the sound of raindrops reversed and echoed and phased and all that, to emphasize a certain point. If the lyrics lose out completely to the
music, or the other way ’round, then it’s not done right. In the end, there has to be a complete marriage between the words and music.

{MAY 12, 1967, THE FIRST EXPERIENCE ALBUM WAS RELEASED IN THE U.K.}

We’re calling our first album

Are You Experienced?

 

There’s nothing wrong with that!

 

First off, I don’t want people to get the idea it’s a collection of “freak-out” material. This is a very personal album, just like all our singles. I guess you could call
it an ad lib album because we did so much of it on the spot.

It’s a collection of free-feeling and imagination. I’ve written songs for teenyboppers like
Can You See Me
, and blues things. There are only two songs that would give you the
horrors if you were on a trip –
Are You Experienced?
and
May This Be Love
. But they are actually peace-of-mind songs. They are just relaxing things, like meditational shades. As
long as you can get your mind together while you’re listening to them, they’ve made it with you.

 

I
F YOU CAN JUST GET YOUR MIND TOGETHER
,

T
HEN COME ON ACROSS TO ME
,

W
E’LL HOLD HANDS AND THEN WE’LL WATCH THE SUN RISE

F
ROM THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA
...

B
UT FIRST ARE YOU EXPERIENCED
?

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN EXPERIENCED?

WELL, I HAVE.

 

Imagination is the key to my lyrics, and the rest is painted with a little science fiction. What I like to do is write a lot of mythical scenes, like the history of the wars on Neptune and the
reason Saturn’s rings are there. You can write your own mythology.

Third Stone From The Sun
is Earth. That’s what it is. You have Mercury, Venus and then Earth. These guys come from another planet and they observe Earth for a while, and they think
that the smartest animals on the whole Earth are chickens. There’s nothing else here to offer. They don’t really see anything that’s worth taking. They don’t like the people
so much, so they just blow it up at the end.

One song called
I Don’t Live Today
is dedicated to the American Indian and all minority repressed groups. That one is a “freak-out” tune. I might as well say that
because everyone else is going to anyway. Do you want to know the meaning of that? I’ll tell you, but don’t think anything bad. “Freak-out” was old Californian lingo for
humping in the back seat of a car. That’s what it means, sexual perversion. Anyway, that’s what it used to mean. I’m being very frank, that’s all, so I guess I’ll get
deported soon.

Manic Depression
is ugly times music. It’s so ugly you can feel it. It’s a story about a cat wishing he could make love to music instead of the same old everyday woman. A
frustrating type of song for you, a today’s type of blues.

The English music nature calls for pounds and pounds of melody. Irish folk songs call for complicated melodies. I’m from America. Blues is my backbone, and that doesn’t call for as
much melody. It calls for more rhythm, more down-to-earth hard feeling, whatever you call it – soul. Everybody wants to know what American soul is. Everybody thinks it’s Motown. I think
it’s gotta end there. American soul is something like
Red House
. It’s the kind of R&B number that might make the top 500. Yes, I like that one. We have more where that came
from.

And then we have songs like
Foxy Lady
. I’m not ashamed to say I can’t write happy songs. I don’t feel very happy when I start writing.
Foxy Lady
is about the only
happy song I’ve written. The microphone was set up and I had these words and we just started playing. We messed about with it a couple of times, and we were bouncing stuff around in our
minds. If you get a good idea you have to put it down right away.

We have all these different sounds, but all of them are made from just nothing but a guitar, bass and drums, and slowed-down voices. The feedback you hear is from a straight amp and a little
fuzz thing I had built. We don’t even use an oscillator. That could really blow a lot of minds ...

It was mostly Chas Chandler and Eddie Kramer who worked on that stuff. Eddie was the engineer, and Chas as producer mainly kept things together. Maybe some of the stuff is far ahead, I
don’t know. I’m very happy with it, but already I can hardly wait for something else.

{
ARE YOU EXPERIENCED?
WAS IN THE U.K. CHARTS FOR
THIRTY-THREE WEEKS, REACHING A TOP POSITION OF #2 BEHIND THE BEATLES’
SGT.
PEPPER’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND
. IN THE SECOND
HALF OF MAY, THE EXPERIENCE BROKE ATTENDANCE RECORDS WHEN THEY PLAYED IN GERMANY,
DENMARK AND SWEDEN.}

I like Sweden. The concerts have been much more successful than we could have expected for a first visit. When we played the Tivoli Gardens, the P.A. system was very bad, and the audience
didn’t really help us too much. But the second job we did later on that night was very, very good. The kids are great. They sit still and listen to my music, and I believe they understand
it.

Sweden is the most beautiful country on earth. Some people would bore themselves to death there, especially younger people, because there isn’t much to do. But that’s the greatest
thing it has to offer, peace and quiet. For resting, it’s fantastic. And the girls are so much nicer than anywhere else. You can have nice and decent conversations with them, by which I
don’t mean to say you can’t do that with girls from other countries, just that you can do that so much better with Swedish girls.

Sweden showed me more than anything so far. We heard some of these cats in little country clubs and little caves blowing some sounds that you can barely imagine. Every once in a while they start
going like a wave. They get into each other within their personalities, and then the party last night or the hangover, the “evil,” starts pulling them away again. You can hear it start
to go away. Then it starts coming together again. It’s like a wave, I guess, coming in and out.

{AT THE BEGINNING OF JUNE 1967, THE EXPERIENCE PLAYED AT THE PALAIS DE SPORTS POP FESTIVAL IN PARIS AND THEN RETURNED TO LONDON FOR SHOWS AT THE
SAVILLE THEATRE, INTERVIEWS AND PHOTO SESSIONS.}

We want to be controversial. We are not “nice boys,” and we do not play “sweet music.” We don’t believe in rehearsing. Rehearsals are only to see how the amps sound
or something technical like that. We don’t want to plan our music. It should be a surprise, for us as well as the audience. Besides, there are no rehearsal halls who will accept us anymore.
They say we play too loud!

I know exactly what I’m doing when we’re onstage.
I don’t try to move an audience. It’s up to them what they get from the music. You can feel it
as soon as you get out there. You can actually feel it before you hit the first note. Then, when you hit the first note, you can find out just where you’re at.

If the people help us out, we can really get it together. But if they’re going to sit up there and pantomime themselves, well, I just don’t give a damn. After all, I’m not
trying to give out a message to anybody.

If an audience is really digging you, then naturally you get excited, and it helps. But a bad audience doesn’t really bother me. Then it’s a practice session, a chance to get
things together. If they have paid to see us, then we are going to do our thing. If we add a bit of the trampoline side of entertainment, then that is a fringe benefit. But we are there to play
the music. I always enjoy playing, and I don’t even care if they boo – as long as they boo in key!

At the moment, people don’t have mixed feelings about us. They either like us or they don’t. If someone criticizes my music – well, it depends who it is. If they
don’t understand it, this is because I am two years ahead of them, or it may be that I am two years behind! I don’t give a damn so long as I have enough to eat and to play what I
want to play. That’s enough for me.

I consider ourselves to be some of the luckiest cats alive, because we’re playing just what we want to play and people seem to like that. I haven’t set out to produce a
commercial sound. I don’t even know what a hit record sounds like. I really want to continue playing and recording what gives me pleasure.
I don’t ever want to
have to bow to commercialism.

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