Hendrix aimed for Earth Wind & Fire sound
Evolving: Hendrix as seen on posthumous album Valleys of Neptune
Jimi Hendrix aimed to sound like Earth Wind & Fire later did, says his sister Janie.
She believes the multi-genre outfit, which formed a year before the guitar icon’s death, best matches the description he gave for the sound he was looking for.
And she’s offered a glimpse of upcoming Hendrix posthumous album People, Hell and Angels, while reporting there’s much more to come from his estate’s temperature-controlled vault.
Speaking during a promotional campaign to raise funds for Jimi Hendrix Park in Seattle, Janie tells KISW: “What he was trying to do was create this new sound. He told my dad: ‘You’re going to be doubly proud of me.’
“He was bringing all these instruments like he did at Woodstock. The way he was describing it in 1969 was what Earth Wind & Fire became. That’s what we would have had: richer, bigger bands with more sounds and more cultures. There would have been a definite evolution.”
Hendrix would have celebrated his 70th birthday this year. Janie believes: “He’d still be playing music. He’d be doing what he was doing then: encouraging kids to play, buying them guitars. He’d be producing, encouraging – Electric Lady is still a viable studio. Artists are still working in that studio, for the vibe and also because it’s a beautiful studio. When Jimi was alive there were two studios. Now they have five.”
Two years ago his estate, managed by his sister, signed a ten-year deal with Sony resulting in the release of Valleys of Neptune. Two live concert movies will be coming soon, including “pristine” footage from Miami Pop unseen by all but a few eyes.
First comes People, Hell and Angels. Janie explains: “It was Jimi’s title that he wrote down during the time he was creating the songs. There’ll be twelve songs on the album that haven’t been released – or at least those versions have never been released.”
The album, consisting of material recorded around the Valleys of Neptune era, is due out by the end of the year.
She recalls how Hendrix liked to escape from the trappings of stardom when he went home to his family – although even there he couldn’t escape his music.
“He left his guitar in the hotel so he could focus on family,” Janie says. “He felt like he was missing out when he was on the road. We were excited to hear about all the people he was hanging out with, but he was apologetic and shy about his adventures – he wanted to talk about the family and what we were doing.
“He wanted my dad to be on the road with him and have all of us move to New York so he had that family protection, which he wasn’t really feeling from the management.
“We had Jimi on tape, on albums – I don’t know how many albums we went through. But the music was always blasting from our house. Fortunately we lived in a neighbourhood where people were okay with it. But if they weren’t my dad wouldn’t have cared.”