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FOR THE RECORD
By Deborah Burns
Balboa PressCopyright © 2013 Deborah Burns
All rights reserved.
9-21-10 Jimi Hendrix
It's been like such a long time by Earthly time standards since I got to speak my mind from the heart. It feels so amazing ...! What a great opportunity to talk about some things I've learned.
First, I must say I realized my lifelong wish when I was there making my music-letting the sounds and the new music contained in them pilot me through my life journey. All I created was not created by me ... a lot was channeled to me and through me, but only when I learned to slip into The Zone. I called it getting "zoned out". Most people thought I meant drug induced "zone", but it was the music of the Cosmos. Sometimes I did drugs to quiet all of it down for a short time so I could clear my head and rest some 'cause the flow of the music was relentless ...
I heard it non-stop every waking moment and in my dreams at night. I always kept my guitar close at hand 'cause I knew I would have to play something that was coming through: lyrics-words, had to be written down, but the true song I could recall and play anytime-even changing it up a different way each time.
The pool of talent-the sheer numbers of players, singers, songwriters of the highest caliber imaginable-I cannot explain or describe it with written words. The idea of "For the Record" oversimplifies the reality, but gives your mind something and somewhere to start to comprehend.
It's all so beautiful ...! It's all love and harmony without a beginning or end; it's colors and vibration; it's all infused with universal love that links us all together on a level most folks don't even feel or even realize.
We no longer need physical maintenance like sleeping, eating, smoking, sex, pee breaks ... Bet you have no idea how much of 3-D Earth time is used up by that kind of stuff. Shopping, laundry, watching TV, talking on the phone, arguing—Man, so much time and energy really wasted. I can truly say with certainty-don't miss much about it by comparison.
I said one time that "when I die, just let them play my records". I wanted my music to be remembered. That was 3 generations ago and counting. Those kids at Monterey and Woodstock are grandparents now and their grandkids are asking for guitars for their Christmas or birthday gifts-just like I asked my Dad-cause they want to play some song they heard that won't stop playing in their head. Play it, express it, accept it like a gift, honor it or lose it. There's a time element to the process, you know ...
Talking about time-maybe you'd like a little history so you'll get a clearer picture of my reality:
I have been "nobodys" and I have been "somebodys" and many of both. I have been every race and color and in most major civilizations. Sure, you've read about some things I did in history books and seen some stuff shown in movies. My name, my identity is not important. What I need to tell you is this: building stone monuments to glorify one's time on Earth is almost comical 'cause it cannot last—never will. It cannot withstand the elements beating away at it decades after centuries, after eons-and it fades in people's memory. Mental and spiritual stuff, that's what lives through the ages. It lives on because you have touched people's hearts in some way. It's how you make people feel, how you express what's rattling around inside your own head and heart and soul, how you preserve that expression-that's what endures. It's the love thing, pure and simple ... so simple it's fantastically profound; that's the true definition of soul and soul music ... even James Brown agrees with that!
I don't think it would be too cool to like name drop-like I was so and so and did this and that ... that's an ego thing and so removed from all that is here where I am now. That past scene-all the different identities, accomplishments and failures over all the centuries-all shaped my soul essence for what I do now.
New arrival guys are always saying, "Hey Jimi, when you going back to finish what you started?" I usually grin and say nothing-just strum my guitar. I'll tell you why: my Earth trip had a beginning, a middle and an end just like a book, speech or a song. Nothing to prove, nobody to impress ... I like to think-and I'm told by some here-that I opened up minds to new possibilities. My technique was no technique. I played 'til the guitar felt like another limb on my body. I kept at it 'til my fingers knew how to bring out the sounds in my subconscious. My music was like my personal private religion ... just God and the music and me. I was pleased and usually surprised (in a good way) when the people hearing me play received it and actually 'heard' it in the spirit in which I offered it to them. It wasn't always the case, you know ... but when it was, it was cosmic magic!
My death wasn't glorious, my life wasn't really glorious, but both accomplished something that will last a really long time. My death was a stepping stone: to step back to where I belong. My life was really a bridge to connect the beginning to the end. Guess that in one way or another I always end up building structures of some kind ...
I have the capability and the ability to play through some people in the form of channeling ... those who will welcome it and allow it. I'm very respectful about it. Helps me keep my 3-D chops up-you know?
One thing I do kinda' miss sometimes ... when I was on those big stages and the energy of all those kids listening to me play was zeroed in on me like a heat seeking missile. Man, talk about a high ...! Words can't describe it-you just gotta feel it sometime. The buzz lasts for days.
I think it's so ironic ... all those who say they love Jimi Hendrix or his music or a particular song-then and now. Truth is I had some people who loved me and whom I loved along the way, but the inner core group was pretty small. Whatever gaps and voids I felt in that regard-God helped me fill with music energy; that was something I learned when I got here ...
People, in general, were different when they depended on their ears and imagination for most of their entertainment-like our grandparents listening to radio programs like Grand Ol' Opry, etc.—before TV; that is why I think the public's support of musicians, bands, radio stations and record labels has endured. Remember when you were a kid and bought a new album? You'd lie on your bed or the couch or floor and read and re-read the liner notes and lyrics while you listened to the artist—right? Your imagination became engaged while your ears were hearing the sounds and your brain was translating the vibrations for the consumption of your subconscious.
There are a few shining stars about to explode on the music scene in the very near future. In the 1960's, the scene was split between the U.S. and British/London markets. Now with the social network thing available to every garage band, front porch picker and shower singer—everything is global. The scene is global. Your message, energy, vibe (positive or negative) can be in everybody's face worldwide within 1 week or less. We hope you use your super powers for good! Oh yeah ... use your imagination as much as you can.
There's a lot of work to do in your world—it's like trying to turn a herd of stampeding cattle away from some dangerous situation in the trail ahead. If you're reading this, I know you're looking for some answers 'cause you got lots of questions. It's the seekers who will inherit the bulk of the workload to be done. Step up, join up, speak up, crank it up.
Find your voice and use it—but could you do an old friend a favor? Know what you're talking about, speak the truth and do it with love; that's how to change the world.
Thanks for listening ... maybe I'll get to do this again. Peace ... 9-22-10 [Jimi Hendrix continues]
Hey—I got another turn to speak about some pretty heavy things that have been on my mind ...
Let's talk about guitars. As I said, I kept practicing 'til mine felt like another part of my body. I had a few that were special and several were 'sacrificed' onstage like in Monterey. That whole burning-the-guitar was a spontaneous action, but it was a true sacrifice. In the Old Way when you achieve a goal that's been long sought after, a sacrifice is offered as an acknowledgment and act of appreciation.
I guess my white Strat was my main instrument-most visible because of the Woodstock movie and event too, of course. It had a special harmonic quality that I thought sounded like singing. That voice characteristic was one of the reasons I wanted to play the Star Spangled Banner on it ... I thought it would be really beautiful-and it was. Carlos Santana has a Gibson with the unique singing voice quality to it. The harmonics resonate so completely within the wood; the whole instrument vibrates, not just the particular string. I played lots of different guitars: cheap ones that couldn't stay in tune and expensive ones with no soul and certainly no connection to my soul. The axe has to be right for everything to flow smoothly. Young guys (and girls too) are always asking what guitar, what strings, what pick-ups, what string height to the fretboard ... there's no way answer these questions. Man, it's your hands and your ears that choose these things-not your brain or reading a book or hearing a quote in some interview. When you feel the magic start to flow ... it's right.
When I was coming up as a player, I really loved to talk to the old blues cats-guys who lived the blues before they played the blues ... before it was cool or hip. "Play your pain, play your frustration, play your loss and disappointment," they would say. Lots of players do-most do not. Stevie Ray Vaughn played from his guts, from his bones. He was exceptional. We hang together here some and talk about lots of things. Robert Cray, Buddy Guy, Bonnie Raitt, Eric C., B. B., Carlos and many others-plus the old guys like Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson-the players whose records you heard as you grew up. Man, they really influenced lots of kids just starting out. A little known fact is that the British Invasion was largely influenced by the old blues masters of the American South.
All the familiar faces ... they're all working out soul stuff-lifetimes of it. Think about this: Blues are a way for the soul to work out really deep emotions, then they don't have so much to process on the other side (here). Emotions-good and bad, great or small—require processing once you arrive here. There are people who help you and special areas you can go-like a retreat-where you can work out stuff that followed you here in your heart. If you 'twist and shout and work it on out' while you're in your body, it all goes so much better as you re-orient to this world and its parameters. Lots of the greats were black players who pulled from their experiences to inspire their version of the blues, but they didn't have a monopoly on hard times, hard knocks, plans that failed, love that didn't last-lots of white artists too-again, Stevie Ray is a good example ... Amy Winehouse too ... and, of course, the artists who contributed to this book.
The genre' of blues is somewhat unique in the way it's useful in processing emotion. What about other genre's? Rap, Metal, Country, Folk, Classical, Jazz, Punk, Glam, Pop and each increment of each type of sound-all have a unique bandwidth of energy contained within it ... that explains in part why each genre' attracts a particular type of listener.
Some listeners like to hear all kinds of music. A guy who's all about Miles Davis jazz is in a very different place emotionally and mentally than someone who's losing their mind at a Journey, Queen or Zeppelin concert. The bands of energy fill and compliment those present within the individual people. This also explains why some music completely turns on one person and shuts down the guy next to him. HE likes Black Sabbath and Robin Trower, SHE can't listen to enough Barry Manilow and James Taylor. Worlds apart genre's within the same topic of music. Do you see?
The vibe of the 60's artists and into the 70's was gentler, more innocent in a way. After disco came and went, everyone started sharing their anger and angst with their audiences without the love thing. It was hard-edged and brute forced and some came right out of my hometown-Seattle-that whole scene called 'grudge'. Big shifts are like taking the pulse of a generation with double bass drum kicking the tempo.
Music is like a pen: both extremely powerful tools capable of so many applications. It can put a baby to sleep or stir a crowd to their feet in a frenzy; worship God and celebrate Love or conjure up Sympathy for the Devil—it's a complete spectrum. You follow my thoughts on this? It gives a voice to those without one; it takes down the barriers between people. African tribes or a crowded disco dance floor—all kinds of people sharing an experience because of the frequency band of the energy present. It's all one heartbeat of God. Man breaks it up, speeds it up or slows it down ... Man does that.
When a Native American sits on a rock and chants a prayer song or plays his flute, he is extending himself in an effort to reconnect with God-or whatever he calls the Force greater than himself. Is it any different for a fourteen year old boy sitting in his bedroom learning the licks to Stairway to Heaven or Smoke On The Water?
There's always some cats looking for some kind of short-cut to fame and riches. More than one followed up on the legend about the Crossroads and making a deal with the Devil. It goes something like: "I will guarantee you'll realize all your dreams-fame, wealth, success, IF you'll pledge your soul to me." I've heard old guys talk about it-maybe even knew someone who made the trade. More guys chased after it than you might imagine. It was possible but the consequences do not justify the momentary gain. In the end, if you ask, God voids the contract and the Enemy goes home empty handed and grumbling ...
Broke, needy, hungry and frustrated artists make great candidates for the Dark Side to attempt to work their program. What they offer is sweet and tempting-sounds too good to be true, but the guys don't bother to read the fine print of the deal. The price is steep. Fortunately, God has the ultimate loophole.
Once in a generation or someone's lifetime, all the aspects get right: the stars align, the planets are right, the space and time junction is spot on, all the pieces fit, the melody and lyrics are just right, the instruments and voices are harmonious and the energy of the players mesh—that's when it's MAGICAL.
Those moments are even caught on tape sometimes-sometimes not. It's just a happening for those present. [I always taped everything when I was in the studio.] When it happens, those are the rock n' roll memories people debate and discuss for decades. That's how legends are made ... that's history being made. Some people found a new way to think about a finite number of notes on a scale; added bass, drums-maybe a keyboard and vocals. It's the true rock n' roll fantasy ...
I saw fame and celebrity and its excesses take out a lot of good people who were great players and singers. They went kinda' crazy 'cause they had the means to do it and the enablers around them to help make bad things happen.
... Then you got the vultures: the handlers, agents and managers who feed the artist's ego then suck out all their money as part of the spoils of doing business. Lots of fortunes are made and lost that way.
I went through a phase briefly when I got really consumed with getting my fair share of everything, but I figured out that I wasn't sharing my music for that purpose-I just wanted to be heard; to play out to a live audience. Let my music be heard ... making a living would follow that.
Many who knew me would joke about my single-minded purpose. I knew at some point I wasn't going to live to be an old man, much less live forever. My days had numbers on them. I had to squeeze out as much as I could from life with the time I had allotted to me.
Your soul has a timetable and the earlier you learn to budget and allocate your time in the right way-the better it flows for you-right up to the end.
My timeline was destined to be quite short, but I crammed as much into it as I could. My goal was not to be the greatest guitar player that ever lived; it was to be the best guitar player I could be; doing my music, my way, the way I heard it in my head 24/7; within that criteria, it was a success ...
Maybe you'd like me to describe what it's like here. Of course, there are sounds, like I said before, but there are also lots of various colors ... LOTS of colors in fantastic designs and patterns ... Lots of people here still think of and see themselves as they were in their body life. I think of it as kind of a form of denial in a way. It means they haven't released "the surly bonds of earth" when that's their mindset; it's hard to move forward in that state.
Excerpted from FOR THE RECORD by Deborah Burns. Copyright © 2013 Deborah Burns. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
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