Photos by Nick Tomecek
Jimi Hendrix could do wonders with an electric guitar.
It’s as if it was an extension of his body rather than an instrument. There is no easier way to realize this than with “The Jimi Hendrix Experience Smash Hits,” a compilation of The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s singles.
The rock band began in the 1960s and features guitarist, singer and songwriter Jimi Hendrix, bass guitarist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell.
“The Jimi Hendrix Experience Smash Hits” was released in 1968 in the United Kingdom and in 1969 in the United States. The album was also restored to its original format for the 2016 Record Store Day this past April.
It features music industry-changing songs such as “Purple Haze,” “Foxy Lady” and “The Wind Cries Mary.”
“All Along the Watchtower,” a song Bob Dylan wrote and recorded, is my favorite on the record. It flaunts Hendrix’s undeniable blues ingenuity and gives the song even more depth than the original version.
The album art features Slovak photographer Dezo Hoffman’s three-photo image of Hendrix with neon text. The Record Store Day 2016 edition cover is a recreation of the poster in the original U.S. LP release. It features Ed Thrasher’s photo of The Jimi Hendrix Experience members riding horses in western wear.
Hoffman and Thrasher were known for their music-related photography, with Thrasher winning a Grammy for his work. The credibility behind these cover images reminds me exactly how much cover art adds to the allure of vinyl records.
You not only get a stellar record to crackle through Hendrix’s best works, but also a cardboard case featuring a creative work of art and captured moment in time.
The ensemble I wear in these photos has a significant story behind it, one which reminds me that people still create life-altering music today.
While attending the 2016 Blueberry Bash in Milton, Florida, I heard one guitar in the distance. It was like living the lyrics of “Jukebox Hero,” though I didn’t end up with a six string from a secondhand store.
I followed the sound to a garage sale in a nearby neighborhood, where a young man was playing his guitar to attract customers. I couldn’t help but make the comparison, as Hendrix also began playing guitar as a teenager.
While visiting the sale, I found this white fur coat hanging on a pop-up tent with a price tag I could afford, $2. I can’t tell you if it’s real fur, but I wore it for only a couple seconds in the 90 degree-plus weather and vowed to rock it this winter.
So, here I am now wearing the fur coat with a worn Jimi Hendrix T-shirt, silver chain necklace and velvet thigh-high boots. After my purchase, I inquired about the guitarist who summoned me to the yard sale, and his mother insisted he learned guitar from YouTube alone.
With vinyl records and vintage fur coats, it’s easy to become stuck in the past. It’s easy to presume new music is not made of the same music history-book writing ingredients it once was in the days of Hendrix.
I’m not sure if the guitarist I heard in Milton is the next musician to make history with the instrument, but all it takes is experience.
Coat - Vintage
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Top - Chaser
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Necklace - Express
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Choker - Forever 21
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Boots - Public Desire
For similar styles, visit Public Desire.