A posthumous "autobiography" of the rock god constructed from interviews, diaries, song lyrics, letters and other texts.
Documentary filmmaker Neal, assisted by Alan Douglas, one of Hendrix's friends and associates, approached this project as a movie editor splicing together the disparate materials Hendrix left behind that spoke about his life, career and music. The basic outlines of the artist’s life come through: He was born in Seattle in 1942 of African-American and Cherokee heritage. His mother died when he was 10. Shy and eccentric even as a child, Hendrix’s difference and rebellious nature made for an awkward fit in school, and he dropped out at 16. After a brush with the law, he joined the U.S. 101st Airborne but was discharged early owing to an accident, the effects of which he played up, he claimed, since he'd had enough of the Army. His self-education in the blues as a guitarist in bands in the South and New York City led to a steady gig with Little Richard, but the flamboyant bandleader chafed at Hendrix's style, which threatened to outshine him on the stage. Never interested in stark borders or hard definitions, while living in Harlem, Hendrix was attracted to the folk scene in Greenwich Village, particularly to an off-key singing poet named Bob Dylan. With two dimes in his pocket, he accepted an invitation to try his luck in the blues and rock cauldron of London. The rest is fairly well-known history, though readers interested in the small details of Hendrix's life will want to supplement this book with an objective biography. The virtue of this book is its revelation of the restless, curious, creative, self-contradictory mind of a musical genius as he grappled with fame, fellow musicians, inspiration, doubt and life under the competing spotlights of adulation and criticism.
A must-read for fans and scholars of classic rock.