Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Slash on Jimi Hendrix

Last year, guitar hero Slash got to do some guitar hero-worshipping of his own when he narrated the film, “Jimi Hendrix: Guitar Hero.” The film features rockers like Eric Clapton and Lemmy, among others, celebrating the impact Jimi left on those who were there, and those who have followed since.

The BBC aired a 50-minute version this past September, and the full film is now available.

Slash recently spoke with Colin McKean of The Quietus about his love of Hendrix; here’s a bit of that conversation…

The Quietus: You were born in England. Your mom designed costumes for Bowie and your dad designed record covers for people like Neil Young. You'd have been a very small child at the time, but did you ever personally encounter Hendrix?

I didn't, but my mom and dad were kind of rock & roll people and my dad especially raised me on British rock music — y'know; The Kinks, Cream, The Yardbirds, The [Rolling] Stones and The Beatles. So that was just the background of my childhood. I actually didn't become conscious of Jimi really until I moved to L.A. and all of a sudden it was Hendrix and The Doors and The Mamas And The Papas, Starship — that whole thing that was going on, and Jimi was just, y'know, he was exciting. He was the embodiment of that wild electric guitarist.

The Quietus: Do you remember when you first listened to him?

Not specifically, but at our house in Laurel Canyon that was just something I remember being on the turntable a lot – that first Hendrix Experience record. "Purple Haze" and "Light My Fire" were very much ingrained in my memory.

The Quietus: What was it that made him stand out? When I think of guitarists that perhaps have the most audible influence on the way you play I'd have said Page, Perry and maybe some of the UK punk guys. How does Jimi fit in with that?

Probably subconsciously, because I ended up becoming a guitar player later on, and looking back at my childhood from when I first picked up the guitar I realize I've always been focused on guitar-driven music — I was always waiting for the guitar break.

I think the attraction with Jimi was just that he had this uninhibited, fluid guitar style that basically screamed. It had this over-the-top sound to it that just kind of drew me in. I think all of my favorite guitar players have a sort of manic quality to them.

The Quietus: Any particular favorite recordings?

With Jimi, his first two recordings are my favorites. "Axis: Bold as Love" is my favorite Hendrix album. I'm a "Little Wing" fan. "Voodoo Chile" is great, and his live version of "Machine Gun."

There’s lots more – check out the full Slash interview at The Quietus here.

Jimi Hendrix: Guitar Hero (2010) - trailer

Jimi Hendrix – Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)
BBC - Lulu Show - January 4, 1969

See also:

Slash: iTunes Session EP now available
Slash: “The Axl Rose question is redundant”
Slash talks about 2011 tour with Ozzy Osbourne
Slash announces photo contest
Slash talks Jimi Hendrix on Later with Jools Holland