Monday, June 19, 2006

I remember realizing that it's possible to like Jimi Hendrix too much...

A bit of background. I grew up in a home with plenty of music, but almost no rock and roll. We sang choruses and hymns, Dad would listen to Jim Reeves or Tennessee Ernie Ford on the record player...but we were NOT allowed to listen to rock and roll radio. When I went to college and started volunteering at a college radio station in 1985, my mind was blown wide open by all the music in the record library. One day I'd be excited about the Violent Femmes, the next day it was Janis Joplin or the was ALL new to me. My favorite, though, was Jimi Hendrix. I played him every week on my show, mixing him in amongst the Ramones, the Talking Heads, and Einsturzende Neubauten. It made perfect sense to me, and I often talked on air about how I thought Jimi was--if not ACTUALLY, then practically--God. Anyone who listened to my radio show in Vancouver knew how I felt about Jimi.

An acquaintance of mine, David (names have been changed to protect the guilty), asked me on a date. He was a quiet sort with a brooding intensity, and I knew him well enough from my social life, so I said sure. I think we went for a walk along the seawall, and then went back to his place so he could cook me dinner. As we were sitting at the table after the delicious meal, David started talking about Jimi Hendrix. He loved Jimi, too! This was starting to look like a promising date! He pulled out all the Jimi albums he had, which was more than I had ever seen before, and put one on. He sat at the table and closed his eyes as the music started. I, being me, pushed my chair away from the table and started dancing around the room like a hippy, blissed out as I let the guitar notes tell me what to do next.

David spoke up: "What are you doing?"

"I'm dancing! I just have to move when I listen to Jimi!"

"You can't listen properly if you are dancing. You have to sit and listen without distraction!"

I realized at that moment that all the promise of the first half of the date was at this moment being destroyed by David's obsession with Jimi. I had been told all my growing up years that dancing was wrong and I should stop, and here was this long hair telling me to stop, too. "Uh...I listen best when I move!"

"No. Nobody can properly absorb what Jimi was trying to communicate if they are not paying full attention. Sit down."

Rather than make a scene, I sat and listened to Jimi with David for about another hour. It was very boring. Apparently if you want to really "get" what Jimi is communicating, you can't dance, talk, or do anything but sit there with your eyes closed! I can picture us in that apartment sitting at the table in the candlelight, David's eyes closed, mine sort of closed but actually peeking at David just to make sure he wasn't kidding or pulling my leg or something. It was quite humorous, but I couldn't wait to leave.

I was fully prepared to turn David down the next time he asked me out, but he never asked me out again. I must have failed his test as completely as he failed mine.


Spoke said...

Being an older human, I've seen many bands do shows in bigger type venues.The Who,Queen,The Police, Ozzy,Bowie,Kiss...I never understood why big venue gigs, as impersonal as they are, never allowed you to dance. I was at an AC/DC gig (insert laughter) years ago and was almost removed for dancing around on the floor. It was seen as "getting out of control".
The same thing happened in Seattle at a Who gig. No dancing.
Then I meet Pj, go to gigs in bars and dance my butt off. Maybe "David" is in charge of all the big venues in North America.
Maybe your mom was right...dancing leads to rioting, sex and broken living room furniture. David may be on the mark here. No distractions.I think I'm gonna put my foot down at home. No more dancing! From now on, Roots Roundup can only be heard while sitting upright. Same goes for Soul Junk. No more moshing to Handel either...

papa herman said...

I remember going to Hendrix's grave. It was my wife, my sister and myself.

Unfortunately I was disappointed with the cigarette butts that were littered around his headstone --leaving trash is not a fitting way to honor someone.

I am glad I went, and visiting his gravesite seemed to be a catalyst for wanting to hear more Hendrix --up to that point I was okay with just hearing him on the radio or whatever.

Spoke's comment reminded me of a couple of things:

the line from the Vandal's song about the Vandal's playing at someone's house: "war declared on furniture ... they thot that it was cool, so they threw me in the pool, the sofa musta missed me, because now it's in here with me."

i also remember jumping off of my parent's couch listening to Ted Nugent.

Paula, you Spoke and Meadow ARE allowed to dance at our house... we are pretty free about that sort of thing.

Delynne said...

That was hilarious.
I wasn't allowed all those "bad" things either. And I always wished I could dance.

We're going on vacation soon, but I definitely want to talk to you when we get back. Do you drink coffee? (Oz roasts his own every couple days... superb!)

Anonymous said...

That is so funny! I love your joie d'vivre Paula! Jodi

RadioSilence said...

:) I wonder if you had passed that test would he have brought out a Jimi mask and costume for you to wear during any "initimate" moments?

just a Jesus addict said...

Most definitely Jimmy Hendrix should not be danced to. His lyrics were so thought provoking. How could you dance to that?

p.s I feel the same way about the Plasmatics, Motorhead and the Sex Pistols.

"Gonna go shoot my 'Ol Lady down"

Deep man, really deep.

Spoke said...

Alright, I was funning with the no dance thing above. However, JAJA my brother, please don't dance. Ever!

just a Jesus addict said...

I feel like "picking fruit"!

YEAHHHH!!!!......Boogie Down!!

My Own Lamp Post said...

YOu Paula, it's nice to know I'm normal (stifle laughter now) and that I can think a guys great, but then he does one thing and instantly you know you'd kill him if you had to date him regularly

Pondering Pig said...

The Pondering Pig always comes to the party late, so now that everyone else has gone on to the next party, I'll comment: I think there really are two ways of listening, absorbing, entering another artist's work, and you both were right.
When you are listening to something really thick, like The Goldberg Variations, say, you can listen to it over for thirty years and still think "wait, I never noticed that before". In jazz it's the same with the great solists like Bird Parker and John Coltrane. It's dense, and repays sitting down and closing your eyes and doing nothing but absorbing. I think so, anyway.
It's been a long tme since I've listened to a lot of Jimi Hendrix, but I suspect he's in that same ballpark - except with Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell along, you can also absorb the music right through your skin as you dance your feet off.There is often a dichotomy between the head and the feelings, but, in this case, it's not real.