Happy Birthday, Jimi Hendrix!

Hendrix was born on November 27, 1942. His life and death are an important lesson for all who connect the use of drugs with creativity. Happy Birthday, JH!

While it is natural to eulogize and worship the body of work that Hendrix left behind, it is also pertinent and prudent to reflect on the senseless waste of creative talent and life and to filter our adulation with caution that not everything that a role model embodies needs to be emulated.

I grew up at a time when to play guitar like Jimi did was my goal, and he did it stoned, so getting stoned was the goal for budding young blues guitarists of our times, but nobody told anybody then that not only was drugs the greatest ambition killer but it also killed human beings in every way imaginable. Nobody talked about his washed out non performances concerts, the physical violence, the arrests and the humiliation that his lifestyle, his personality and his drug use entailed. Many of my friends and I myself have been blessed not to have died from our stupidity and our love for the “jimi thing,” in its various forms, but the millions of lives that have been snuffed out by drugs is testimony to how close we were to losing our lives, our sanity and our purpose in life.

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  1. good ode to a great legend. what are some of your favorite works of his?

  2. Very difficult question to answer. Some songs turned out well in one version and are pretty bad in others. For example All Along the Watchtower has some poor versions. It also depends on whether you listening to a song as a song or listening to him as a student of guitar. Almost all the tracks he ever recorded has something to teach the student of guitar. Many of his songs however, do not hold up great as creative entities, but then his guitar work kind of compensates for that.

    My favorites off the top of my head would surely include Purple Haze, Wind Cries Mary, all the Woodstock tracks (I know, I know, but it is a thing with me), Voodoo Child (HITW version), Foxy Lady, Little Wing, oh, the list will keep growing.

    Thanks for dropping by!

  3. A legend relived in this post...

  4. Nice post. A great way to celebrate his birthday and how he inspires you :)

  5. So do you also condemn the death of kurt cobain, jim morisson and the likes who all died of drug overdose? Although I know drug use is not necessary to create good music but why shall you combine them both?

  6. I do not condemn or condone the death of any of these extraordinarily talented people. I am glad you brought up the examples of Cobain and Morrison. I feel that both of them could have gone on to do much more with their lives were it not for their untimely demise.

    The reason I connect these two, their celebrity stature as creative artists and their drug use is because it not only damaged their own lives to the point of death (even though i feel it is incorrect to say that Cobain's drug use was the cause of his suicide), but also because it sets up a role model issue for younger people and their fans, who try to emulate the same behavior and cause damage to their own lives.

    The issue of creativity and drugs is a long standing controversy, and I do not intend to go there, since I have subjective experience of how use of drugs can alter perception and lead to a sense of "enhanced" creativity. But as a student of addiction and recovery, I have also seen how it damages the person and his abilities to function. It causes more harm than it does good in the form of creative output.

    Yo may want to visit my blog on addiction and recovery over at
    Mean Business if you want to know more about how I feel about this.


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