FREE DL: Jimi Hendrix Experience’s “Little Miss Lover (Platurn Intro Edit)”

 photo HendrixPlaturn_cover_zps95730f3d.jpg
Jimi Hendrix would be 70 if he was alive today, and I’d like to think if he was still of an open mind and spirit, he would approve of this new edit created by DJ Platurn. If you know the song, it’s possibly because of the open drums played by Mitch Mitchell. It’s not just a mere edit/extension of the beat, but a bit of rearranging that comes off a bit like what Hendrix’s labels might have done in order to release a hit version of this song.

As for the artwork above, if you’re wondering why Axis: Bold As Love looks different, it’s taken from the Japanese pressing on Polydor.

The track is available as a download for free while supplies last. Click the Soundcloud link below, then click the “Buy This Track” section. This will take you to Facebook, where the free download (as a WAV file) has been made for your downloading pleasure.

SOME STUFFS: Jimi Hendrix documentary DVD to be released as a director’s cut

 photo HendrixHero_DVD_zps4c9107b5.jpg Originally released almost three years ago, the music and legacy discussed in Jimi Hendrix: The Guitar Hero will now be made available in a director’s cut. Directed by Jon Brewer, this new version has been expanded from a single DVD to a double disc set, which will feature loads of unreleased archive footage, over five hours of never seen/heard extended interviews, plus 8mm silent film footage made by Henry Diltz of Hendrix on the failed 1967 tour with The Monkees, and much more. The Guitar Hero features interviews with Dave Mason, Eric Clapton, Mick Taylor, Eric Burdon, Micky Dolenz, Paul Rodgers, Ginger Baker, Bev Bevan, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Lemmy Kilmister, and many more. The entire project was narrated by Slash.

Jimi Hendrix: The Guitar Hero will be rereleased as a double DVD and Blu-Ray disc on June 10th.

REVIEW: Jimi Hendrix’s “People, Hell & Angels”

Jimi Hendrix photo JimiHendrix13_cover_zpsca02bd6c.jpg The promotion of this new Jimi Hendrix album has been interesting. We know that Hendrix has been dead for almost 43 years, and yet I’ve come across a review which asked if the music on People, Hell & Angels (Legacy/Sony) would have been the future of his legacy. It’s hard to say what would have been his continued legacy, or if the word “legacy” would be used to describe him if he continued on, we’ll never know. However, we do know that in the last 43 years, the recording industry has done everything to tap into the vaults to find something that had the possibility of being what could have been. In my mind, primary his music will forever be locked between the years 1967 to 1970, but People, Hell & Angels is a stronger effort in making the point that Hendrix could have been incredible exploring the depths of what the 1970’s offered in music.

While there have been albums like The Cry Of Love, Crash Landing, Nine To The Universe, and First Rays Of The New Rising Sun, People, Hell & Angels seems to be a better programmed album that helps to show where Hendrix’s mind was at during his last year. He was still very much rich into the blues, but he wanted to expand to electrifying jazz in his way, and in tracks like “Earth Blues” and “Somewhere” he plays and sings in a way that becomes an open door into the mind of a man who hoped to progress throughout the new decade, which he did not get a chance to do. When one hears a track like “Bleeding Heart”, an incredible funky blues jam in 4/4, one wishes the song could have gone on two to three times as long. The confidence level in his playing, even at this stage in his career, shows a mixture of confidence and slight hesitancies, almost as if he’s saying “should I do this or not?” When he does, most of the time he shines bright. During other moments, he isn’t there to show off, just a few riffs and he’s ready to move on to the next verse or portion of the song.

The album ends with an edited studio take of the song he played at Woodstock after “Purple Haze”, the beautiful “Villanova Junction Blues”, and I don’t understand why it was faded out. Even if it was an unfinished take, I would have loved to have heard more, even if it has been bootlegged over the years, because the sound quality of this album is incredible. There is still a distinct late 60’s/early 70’s sound, of course, but being newly mixed from the multi-tracks, Hendrix’s voice jumps out in a manner that is lacking on his original albums. Eddie Kramer definitely had a hand in making this happen, and even though this is said to be some of the last material Hendrix left behind, I hope there’s a chance for Legacy to release some Deluxe Edition-style projects of his albums, especially Electric Ladyland, which celebrates its 45th anniversary next year.

Could Hendrix have imagined in his last year what kind of following he would have had? People, Hell & Angels shows someone who was ready to move on into new worlds and paths, not unlike the one Carlos Santana would start with the release of Caravanserai, and while all of us could imagine what a Hendrix/Santana collaboration would have sounded like, it’s too easy to come up with wish lists of those projects. What we have is what Hendrix left behind, and this new album is another reminder of what we lost.

RECORD CRACK: Kamehameha Drive-In and bootleg records

Kam Drive-In
On my website, I have referred to the Kamehameha Drive-In a number of times as a hot spot for me in my pre-teen years, as a young music loving vinyl junkie. I will now explain why with the help of this aerial shot.

The photo you see is the remains of what was the Kamehameha Drive-In (or Kam Drive-In for short) out in a part of Honolulu called Aiea. I have itemized sections of the photo by numbering them, and I highlight it for a specific reason.

1) This is Pearlridge Shopping Center, which remains to be the only place on Oahu to catch any level of a monorail system, at least for now. I was a kid who was raised “in town”, which meant Honolulu proper, which meant “closer to downtown”. Going to Aiea meant driving west in what felt like 15 to 20 miles, when in truth it’s eight to ten (then again, I was a kid with no car, any time in a car seemed like “forever” if it wasn’t a visit to the beach). According to Wikipedia, Pearlridge is the second biggest shopping center in Hawai’i, the first being Ala Moana.

2) Kam Drive-In used to be a single screen drive-in for years, and this is where it was positioned.

3) When the second screen opened in the late 70’s/early 80’s. I definitely remember seeing Clash Of The Titans (1981) on screen #2.

4) This is where the snack bar and concession stand was. Burgers, grease ass fries full of ketchup, extra buttery popcorn, and ice cream malts were mandadory in our visits to Kam, and oh did that cheese smell so good. Even in 1981, it seemed incredibly dated but cool. If that food was made today, I might not find a liking to it but who knows, I might like it a bit too much. Then again, maybe those ingredients don’t exist anymore, so it’s a mixture of nostalgia and longing for what was.

This leads me to the section in the photo that is:

5) This was a wall, a border that separated the Kam-1 and Kam-2 sections. Anyone could walk around it or drive on the sides, there were no chains or police blocking anyone from walking back and forth if needed, but sometime in 1980, I witnessed something I hadn’t seen before nor have I seen since. As a kid getting into The Beatles for the first time, I had discovered a type of a record called a “bootleg”. This was a bit new to me, and the idea of someone random pressing up records of live recordings or studio outtakes seemed cool to me. One day in 1980, there was a dealer who was selling records by the truckload, and I mean a literal truck. Boxes and boxes of records in white covers with covers with pieces of paper that served as their covers, with weird colors although you could still see the photos and song titles. Oh, those song titles. I may not have known the Rolling Stones catalog deeply, but I knew that some of those song titles were incorrect on those sheets. It featured photos of the band I had never seen before, and it wasn’t just one or two Stones bootlegs, but at least 20. It seemed a good amount of them consisted of recording sessions from Some Girls and Black And Blue, as that would have been considered “current” for the time. I don’t remember if there were any boots in support of Emotional Rescue, but there were also albums for live concerts. I had never held a bootleg in my life, but I decided to browse through. As I did, I also saw Beatles titles I had never seen, along with one or two Bruce Springsteen records, an artist of which I knew little of but knew he was the “it” man at the time.

My parents were frequent visitors of the Kam Swap Meet, my dad looking for car parts and magazines, and my mom looking for some bargain involving dresses or nick-nacks. As a young kid with my own record player, the swap meet was my first sense of finding great music at prices much cheaper than I would find at Woolworthy’s, Sears, or GEM’s, although as was the case, I didn’t get a record with each visit. When I did, I’m sure I promised that I’d never want another record for a long time, or I didn’t need a present for Christmas, anything to “get my way”. As I was looking in the bootleg section, I noticed the price: 10 to 15 dollars for each record. WHAT?!? These were much more than the album I could get at a regular store for $5.99 to $7.99, and these were singles. I was exp… well, my mom was expected to give me $15 for a single record? I dare not even ask for one, but I was blown away at the site of these illegal records of unknown origin. “Do they make them here in Hawai’i?” I’m sure I asked myself. Did someone from Asia ship them here? Are the sellers the bootleggers? I’ve never found an answer, nor did I see the bootleg dealers at the swap meet again.

However, at record stores like Froggy’s (when it was next to Cinerama movie theaters), they sold bootleg albums like crazy. Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and of course Bruce and The Beatles. They also sold counterfeit pressings of albums, and that’s when I had obtained a copy of The Beatles’ Christmas Album. Again, I’m a young Beatles fan who wanted to hear as much music as possible, and here was the album, THE ALBUM, sitting at Froggy’s. I remember telling my mom “I must have this, I must have this.” How much? $15. WHAT?!? There was no way she was buying it. I waited a few more weeks. I pleaded, asked her about it and said she wouldn’t have to buy me anything for the rest of the year. I had good grades and thus my mom bowed down and allowed me to have The Beatles Christmas Album. When I got it home, the first thing I noticed was that the label was a bit blurry. I found out later that that was definitely a counterfeit pressing, as no used record store would sell an original for under $100. I had the songs though, and I was very grateful.

The bootlegs in the used record bins lasted for about two years or so before they were removed, although I would eventually purchased Beatles bootlegs like Sweet Apple Tracks I & II, Yellow Matter Custard and Indian Rope Trick, and Jimi Hendrix’s Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window, many from a great record store that used to be on King Street called Strawberry Fields Forever.

To my eyes, seeing a swap meet dealer with boxes of bootlegs felt like I was looking at someone who worked at the bootleg factory, and while seeing boots at used record stores became part of the norm for me, it never topped the vision of those white covers in 1980.

BOOK REVIEW: “Woodstock: A New Look” by Greg Walter & Lisa Grant

Photobucket Since I was 9, I have been fascinated with the reality and myths of the Woodstock Music & Art Fair. I’ve seen the movie on HBO, VHS, the 1994 director’s cut, the PBS and MTV edits, and the recent edition with footage previously unseen. I have yet to see it on the big screen at a proper movie theater, but that’s on my bucket list. I guess it’s the idea of 500,000+ people gathering to see and hear music, but I’ve learned that it was much more than that. Maybe the weekend was a bum trip due to the weather, but people wanted to find others like themselves, and themselves. Maybe the movie helped to create a myth, but the real side of what lead to it, what happened, and its influence is documented in a number of books. I’ve read a lot of them over the years and continue to place new ones I’ve never heard of on my want list. Woodstock: A New Look (The Writers’ Collective) by Greg Walter and Lisa Grant was released a year before the festival’s 40th anniversary, and at the time I wasn’t able to pick it up. A few weeks ago I saw that it was going for a mere penny (yes, one American cent) at Amazon, so I decided it was the perfect time to check it out.

The core of the book is Walter sharing his memories of the festival, from being a young kid in the summer of 1969 with not much to do, to finding himself at a musical festival in Bethel, New York. Along with his story is “never-before-seen photographs” taken by him, or so says the cover. This story is quite interesting, for it speaks about the Vietnam war and what the United States was like, spoken from the view of the young man he was. As I’m reading, one is supposed to look at the photos, beautifully shown in full page form. I’m someone who doesn’t mind the gritty photos, because these are views from someone whose “eye” of the festival has not been widely seen. I don’t mind the professional pics, but I want something that’ll show the muck of the mud, the wet blankets on the fences, all of that. It’s also great to see long distance shots of the stage and the crowd, as I found myself thinking “if I was there, this would be my view”. That might sound incredibly corny, but I think the movie has helped to show a moving perception, but many of the photos here are from the eye of someone either stationary or someone walking around and experiencing and smelling everything that was going on. The photos are very cool.

However, parts of the story seem like they were taken from other sources, or as if someone had listened to the soundtrack or watched the movie and just transcribed things. That’s not to take away from anything else in the book, but at least try to write it differently. Also, I’m not sure if Lisa Grant served as the editor or co-writer in some fashion of the book, but how do you put Janis Joplin on the cover and spell her name as “Janice Joplin” in the book? Or the fact that Walter says he did not get a chance to see “Jimi Hendricks” because he left the night before. Hendricks? There were also a few grammatical errors in the book, and maybe that’s me being a nitpicky editor but I’d like for the flow to be smooth and correct and not have to bump into errors that should have been corrected before publication.

Before I wrote this review, I went to Amazon to see if anyone else felt iffy about Woodstock: A New Look, and there I noticed a 1-star review from Jean E. Pouliot:
When an author releases a full-color coffee table book promising that it “contains never-before-seen photographs” of a cultural touchpoint, I expect something new and amazing. This “Woodstock” was anything but. Worse, its promise is deceptive, quite at odds with the peace and love ethic of the time, but just in time to cash in on the event’s 40 anniversary.

Aged 17 in 1969, author Greg Walter helped build the stage at the Woodstock music festival. Between menial jobs, he shot some slides. Then after the concert, he stuffed them into a box under his bed where they remained for 40 years. Now, Walter and co-author Lisa Grant have assembled these long-lost treasures into a book, along with his stories from the era.

Problem is, half the pictures in the book (the good ones) are not Walter’s. Many are from the AP Images collection and are credited only in the front papers. These include shots from the Chicago riots and from inside the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Even the cover shot of Janis Joplin is cribbed from another photographer. The pix that are Walter’s are not very good — they are badly lit, incompetently composed, grainy and uninteresting. The accompanying text is banal, with only a few interesting descriptions of events that went on around him — Abbie Hoffman pushing past him to rush the stage during the Who’s set; a rigid LSD tripper; a shocked young man who had accidentally run over a concert-goer. Given the level of honesty in the pictures, I wonder whether these stories are real.

Avoid this book — on principle if for no other reason.

The fact that Walter had taken pictures at Woodstock, developed the roll, put them in a shoebox and had forgotten them is an interesting story. His memories are just as valid as anyone else. I would have loved to have seen more photos. I’ll also see photos of various artists and those aren’t his, they look too professional compared to Walter’s own. The book definitely has its faults, but was it worth my penny? It’s worth a bit more than that, but I’m glad I did buy it now instead of the $34.95 list price, because I probably would have felt duped if I bought it from an online merchant. It’s more of a photo book with a brief story than anything that is deeply researched, and at times the memories from others who were also at the festival were more interesting. If you go to the library and see Woodstock: A New Look, it’s worth borrowing and you could probably read it in less than an hour.

RECORD CRACK: P.S. I Love You – Jimi Hendrix Experience’s “Hey Joe”

Had he lived, Jimi Hendrix would have turned 69 years old today, and this is why today’s installment of P.S. I Love You focuses on Hendrix.

There have been countless articles and books written about the man and his music in the last 44 years since he made his impact at the Monterey International Pop Festival, where he dry humped his guitar and lit her on fire, but here’s something worth thinking about. In the United States, Hendrix only had one Top 20 hit, and that was a cover of Bob Dylan‘s “All Along The Watchtower”, which made it as high as #20. In England the song went up to #5, which might explain why you’ll often hear that song more than any other. He did fair a bit better on the charts there, as “Purple Haze” and “The Wind Cries Mary” made it into the British Top 10, but that was it. Hendrix did understand the importance of a single, but he was all about expressing himself on his albums, which sold very well at a time when the new FM radio format made it possible to hear the whole thing before opting to buy it.

In retrospect, the idea of Hendrix releasing an actual single might seem odd today, and put aside the fact that we in the U.S. assumed he had a lot of hits because we hear him all the time on radio and TV, and feel his influence meant “hit worthy”. Yet it is interesting to see how his record labels tried to push him as an artist with potential hit status. Case in point: his debut single. “Hey Joe” was released as the debut by the Jimi Hendrix Experience in late 1966, six months before the release of the Are You Experienced? album. The sleeve showed Hendrix as someone who might’ve looked “wild” in 1966 standards, and to come out with a song where he sings about shooting his old lady because he caught her messing around with another man? Today, that might be the latest single from T.I.. In late 1966, Reprise Records were a label known for artists like Dean Martin, Don Ho, Sammy Davis Jr., and of course its founder, Frank Sinatra. By including Hendrix in their roster, it would soon be known as a fairly eclectic label, especially when they would sign The Fugs, Tiny Tim, and The Electric Prunes so Hendrix might’ve seemed someone of a shock for people who thought Reprise were a mild-mannered label.

Nonetheless, since Hendrix did not have a public persona as of yet, the photo used seems fairly demure. It looks like the photo was taken during the same photo shoot that snapped the UK cover for Are You Experienced?, but once his performance at Monterey Pop pushed him to the forefront, you almost always saw him with guitar in hand with some kind of wicked pose. Nothing wrong with that either, but in late 1966, Hendrix was merely an eclectic guitarist with an abrasive edge, and this was considered a marketable look.

While Europe and other countries would continue to make picture sleeves for singles, this was one of the last Reprise would make for him in his lifetime. Despite the failure of this single in the U.S., it continues to be played around the clock. As original and inventive as Hendrix was, it might seem odd that two of his biggest “hits” are covers. Then again, Hendrix had a way of turning his interpretations inside out, to where you would assume he wrote them. In fact, Dylan once said in an interview that he prefers Hendrix’s version of “All Along The Watchtower” over his own. Since then, many people will credit “Hey Joe” as a cover of a Hendrix song, so if anything, Hendrix helped to push a song that would become a garage band standard.

BOOK REVIEW: “Surf Beat: Rock ‘n’ Roll’s Forgotten Revolution” by Kent Crowley

Photobucket There are a few reasons why I wanted to read Surf Beat by Kent Crowley. Subtitled Rock’n’Roll’s Forgotten Revolution, I wanted to know the roots of a style of music I was raised on and grew up with. My dad was born and raised in Honolulu, loved the ocean and everything it offered. He was also a gearhead, loving the spirit of the road and fixing cars. With one uncle who loved to surf in the era of Gerry Lopez and go fishing on a regular basis, and another uncle who skateboarded in pools in the era of Tony Alva, it would not be uncommon for us to go to the movie theater, watch a surf movie and see everyone in the theater scream and yell when someone rode a wave, backed by some great music. One of my fondest memories is watching Hot Lips & Inner Tubes as one of the last films to be shown at the Kaimuki Theater on Oahu. Being close to the ocean was automatic, and also automatic was seeing Beach Boys records in my house. One year when I had good grades, I was given an ABC Goldies 45 pressing of The Surfaris’ “Wipe Out”. Yet I was also raised with a good amount of Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd, and Led Zeppelin. Having parents who allowed me to listen to anything and everything was essential to my own musical interests and what I ended up doing, so I think a part of me also wanted to be able to see if some of the seeds of my interests could be found in Surf Beat.

The subtitle may make people ask “what revolution did surf music create?” To the general public, surf music may seem more like an odd fad from the early 60’s involving beach blanket bingo movies and guitars that sounded like they were always dripping in hollow caves. While the music was indeed influenced by the power of surfing and hanging out at the beach with family and friends, it was the music that drove people into a frenzy, in more ways than one. Crowley looks at not only how the music became what it did, but traces its influences back to the early days of rock’n’roll and beyond. Surf music and surf culture still has the stigma of being “a white thing”, but musically it had taken elements of jazz, R&B, folk, different ethnic styles, and rock’n’roll to create something that was very distinct from one another. Its close proximity to jazz and R&B comes from the fact that many musicians involved loved the music, and if “going across the street” meant meeting different people, even better. If one was to go to the Mexican side of town and bring in sounds true to their culture, cool. In many ways, it was the first rock’n’roll equivalent of modern day sampling, or true to what happened when jazz musicians would pay homage to whatever came to mind at any given time. Surf music, at its best, is a sponge without shame and all of that is covered here.

Also covered here is the importance of music technology. Crowley interviewed hundreds of people for this book, everyone from the musicians to recording studio engineers and producers, to people involved in the creation of these then-new advances in music instruments. Up until the late 50’s, the guitar was used as rhythm accompaniment, and yet Bill Haley’s “Rock Around The Clock” and a number of musicians in country and rockabilly showed it could be much more. The sound of the electric guitar was thin and bare, the guitar solo in “Rock Around The Clock” is proof of this. What Surf Beat reveals is that while a guitarist like Link Wray would damage his own guitar amps to have his own sound of distortion, it was almost an unspoken means of support for guitar manufacturers to make things louder, bolder, and crunchier, which was unheard of in an era of sock hops and sweet harmonies. In the 21st century, one can find a blog or a video from someone who is into circuit bending, modifying an instrument to do something that it wasn’t meant to do. But in the late 50’s/early 60’s it was new territory, and to turn a guitar from a rhythm instrument to becoming the lead seemed freakish. In time, becoming louder and brasher became one of surf music’s endearing qualities.

The most endearing qualities were of course the songs, the music, and the musicianship. The book celebrates Dick Dale as the king of the surf guitar, and by all intents and purposes, the alpha and omega of a craze that became a worldwide influence. Dale’s guitar playing comes from his own ethnic mixture (Lebanese, Polish and Belarusian) along with the diversity around him in Southern California. He was also a surfer, so he played the music of his friends, for his friends, and having a need to be successful is what made him determined to keep at it, no matter what. Along the way, the book touches on the impact of songs like The Surfaris’ “Wipe Out”, The Chantays’ “Pipeline”, and The Tornadoes’ “Bustin’ Surfboards”, along with Dick Dale’s performance of a Greek folk song called “Miserlou”. These songs, all instrumentals, were created for fans of the beach and meant to be played furiously. Some of the musicians talk about how they would notice women taking off their clothes to the fast rhythms, which would often make them want to play faster and longer. What’s also covered is the influence of The Beach Boys and how their love of pop and folk music would create a new awareness of surf music, even though purists will tell you they played anything but the real thing. Within the history of the music are stories of Brian Wilson, Phil Spector, Ritchie Valens, Bobby Fuller, Glen Campbell, and many others who helped make the music as loud as it wanted to be, for the kids, by the kids.

Two people mentioned in this book may surprise some readers, but Frank Zappa’s influence in surf music is a significant one. The studio he would turn into Studio Z was once Pal Recording Studio in Cucamonga, California, the home for countless recordings that would become popular surf music hits, where Zappa served as engineer and producer. Zappa eventually invested in and purchased it from its original owner, to where it also doubled as his home. Much of the studio trickery Zappa would become known for came from non-stop time in Studio Z, a fascination with sound that did not stop until he died in 1993. The other person mentioned is Jimi Hendrix. While his music, history, and persona is bigger than life 41 years after his death, people tend to forget that Hendrix was just a musician who was willing to play with anyone and everyone at any given time. While most know of his Seattle upbringing, what many also tend to ignore is the fact that California is only two states below Washington, so traveling up and down the West Coast is not an issue for someone who was playing music and looking for a way to make it. Hendrix’s experience in the chitlin circuit is well documented, with many stories of singers and bands kicking him out because he would dominated with his flamboyant playing. He was a student of the music and a bit of a geek too, wanting to know the capabilities of his instrument and equipment, but also understanding that bettering his style also meant learning from others. He would eventually find himself on stage and backstage with Dick Dale, and Hendrix was known for having late night jam sessions with many surf music musicians, playing in clubs and doing surf music. Some of the technological advances Dale and other musicians were making a daily habit was unknown to Hendrix, but he would eventually take a few hints and incorporate it into his sound. Hendrix may have said the words “and you will never hear surf music” in “Third Stone From The Sun”, but the book states that while that may have officially killed the first wave of surf music, a few (including Dale) felt it was nothing more than Hendrix saying he had found his voice, and was saying thank you to those who helped him along the way.

The book also covers the renewals over the years of surf music, from it being revealed as a true form of punk rock and being acknowledged by punk bands as a no-bullshit way of playing rock’n’roll, compared to the bombastic methods of carrying out 40-foot bigs and 30-foot inflatable penises in 75,000-seat capacity stadiums. Punk was like an attack of the sense, but so was surf music. It was loud, raw, raunchy, short and sweet, and that spirit is what not only kept punk bands covering old surf music, but kept surf music on itself alive for the original creators to enjoy, along with new audiences who wanted to hear its origins. While Surf Beat heavily focuses on the rise and fall of surf music’s initial spark, it does a very good job at covering its lifeline and survival in the 70’s and 80’s, and of course also covers the phenomenon of Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, which brought back “Miserlou” to the surface and Dale as a true innovator of not only surf music and guitar playing, but heavy metal. Without the distortion and volume tactics of surf music, much of the trippy, progressive, and far out sounds of the 60’s and 70’s may not have happened. The New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) movement of the late 70’s/early 80’s, which would help to spark the thrash and speed metal movements (and its many sub-genres), would not exist without the unabashed attitude of “Surfin’ Bird”. Even Green Day showed respect when they would release an album under a surf band persona, showing the link between their Berkeley upbringing and the beach sounds of southern Cali.

Guitarists will love the fact that it also cites Curtis Mayfield, Freddie King, and Albert King as not only participants but major influences to surf music, even though some will say that the ocean is not one thinks of when hearing Mayfield’s “Superfly” on the radio. Movie buffs will enjoy reading about the influence of Hollywood in the music, for better or worse. When Hollywood wanted to cash in, so did major labels who rushed to get studio professionals to record surf music that sounded too clean for some purists, but knowing the difference between something with a lot of polish vs. a song that sounded as if it had taken five minutes to write and record. Recording studio enthusiasts will like reading the different angles of these recording sessions, and how it is felt that for the first time, the recording studio was used as its own instrument thanks to the techniques of Wilson, Zappa, and other producers who were involved.

Surf Beat is a very informative document about a music that for novices may have seemed like a mere bleep in rock’n’roll, but does an excellent job in proving how a music that may have only been of interest to those in the Pacific Rim would spawn and offshoot like hot rod music, and how that phenomenon would help get it into other pockets of the United States and North America that surf music could not too. It does very well in talking about how wanting more out of a guitar and amplifiers would change the way all electric guitarists wanted to be heard and eventually seen. Even the fashion sense of musician/singer Chris Montez was said to influence The Beatles when he went on tour in England in 1963, which lead to the group asking him about his clothes and eventually taking it as their own when they first arrived to the United States. The core of this book is build upon the creativity and ingenuity of what is described on the back of the book as sounds made “between the death of Buddy Holly and the arrival of The Beatles”, so while The Beatles are credited as being the group that brought rock’n’roll out of the doldrums, kids in California were rocking out to a style of music that was indigenous as a true American art form, without caring what anyone in the outside world thought. The spirit may have dimmed but has never died, proof with the countless surf bands in Japan, Australia, and Europe. Surf Beat is far from being a eulogy, and some will say it’s not even validation, because why validate something that had already showed itself to be worthy many times over? Nonetheless, while the music has moved in and out of different trends in the last 50 years, Kent Crowley shows in his book that as long as there are kids who want to play and get other kids excited, and as long as people of all ages still have youth in their heart, there will be a need to rock out in honor of the music influenced by the ocean and the sunshine.

Personally, reading about the different musicians and styles of music that blended and interwove with each other was in many ways reading about the source of some of my own musical tastes. I’m not able to ask my dad directly about what lead him to being a fan of everything from Indian classical music to the California sound of Crosby, Stills & Nash, but to read this book is almost in a way a bit of validation for my diverse tastes in music. Surf music may only be viewed as rock’n’roll, but like the book, dig a little deeper and readers will be able to find a more genuine fabric of America reflected in the sounds meant to duplicate the sounds of waves, covering and crossing all ethnic lines. It’s a true hybrid music as a reflection of the great American melting pot, perhaps better and more satisfying than the metaphor the pot is meant to represent.

SOME STUFFS: Jimi Hendrix “Winterland” box set on its way

It may seem like a no-brainer these days, but in the mid to late 1980’s, major labels were quite careless about reissuing anything on the shiny new format known as the compact disc, and as for digging in the vaults, forget it. It would take a label named Rykodisc to change things significantly when they obtained rights to release a live Jimi Hendrix show from 1968 recorded at the Winterland Theater in San Francisco. It had been widely bootlegged, but Rykodisc obtained a proper mix and licensed it officially for release. It caught everyone by surprise, including the label who controlled his music at the time, Warner/Reprise. By the time Warner/Reprise caught up with doing Hendrix reissues, they released his albums in the CD-i format, which was a failure amongst music fans but would become important amongst gamers in the next few years. Eventually, the Hendrix estate moved away from Warner and decided to take control of Hendrix’s music and how it would be treated.

The success of Live At Winterland lead many to wonder what would be next. Rykodisc did have another live Hendrix disc ready but that was scrapped. Nonetheless, the Winterland shows have been celebrated, and 43 years after those shows, there will be a massive box set honoring those shows.

Winterland will be released on September 13th as both as 5CD box, and for you vinyl junkies, a massive 8LP record set with a CD as part of the package. You can pre-order your copy by clicking the Amazon boxes below.

VIDEO: Zack Kim’s “Bold As Love”

A few years ago, Korean guitarist Zack Kim was showing off his great skills on the guitar, by playing two of them at the same time to recreate what you hear when you play the first world in Super Mario Bros.:

People thought he was either a music genius, or a fake, with some people commenting that it was virtually impossible to do what he does. Obviously, they aren’t aware of keyboardist Ray Manzarek doing something similar 44 years ago:

Kim continues to make music today, modifying his song to something quite nice. Here is his version of Jimi Hendrix Experience‘s “Bold As Love”.

OPINION: Jimi Hendrix offends people… with shoes

An article at the San Francisco Chronicle indicates that a pair of shoes depicting Jimi Hendrix as a Hindu deity is being pulled off the market because the image is considered offensive.

The image itself is actually 43 years old and is taken from the illustration on Hendrix’s second album, Axis: Bold As Love:

For a bit of historical significance, the album was released in late 1967, at a time when awareness and appreciation of culture and spiritual things from India was being discovered. It was about peace, love, being a hippie, or simply people being tired of the things that were force fed, and simply wanting to find out about things “other than.” The illustration was not something approved by Hendrix himself, but rather a design pushed by his British label, Track Records (Hendrix was signed in the UK before Reprise in the U.S. picked him up.) Hendrix actually had hoped for the label to show respect to his Cherokee side, but since India was in, it chose to cater to the country of India and not “Indian American”. Polydor France chose to use a completely different photo altogether, and in fact Hendrix had a number of issues with his own album covers, wanting one thing and finding out that the label in his own home country wanted something else.

The point behind this is that even though the image was never approved of by Hendrix, it is the image that everyone knows as the Axis: Bold As Love image, an image that has been in existence for 43 years, so one would expect for enough time to have passed, correct? Apparently, no.

Is the issue religious and spiritual, or the fact that someone like Jimi Hendrix is depicted within something of Hindu belief? Hendrix himself did not like the image, which leads to me wondering of the Hendrix Estate are simply cashing in on anything and everything that can sell his name and image, without care about the artist’s original concern? Then again, ever since Hendrix’s step sister, Janie Hendrix, started control over his music and image, many have complained about how she’s approving of everything from Hendrix beach towers to Hendrix golf tees, along with recordings that were not to the liking of some. With that in mind, shouldn’t her people have been more aware of the image as something Hendrix himself did not approve of? It didn’t stop her from approving of other themes that were fitting for shoes.

If you look at it, it’s nothing more than an album cover design placed on shoes, but it’s hard to say if people are becoming offensive for the wrong reason, or people are bold enough to say their opinions. Hell, I’m offended that Experience Hendrix would approve such crap merchandise, it’s as if his music cannot and will not live without a public reminder of him in the form of toothbrushes, wigs, T-shirts, table clothes, and shot glasses. Then again this is 2010, and if something sells to bring awareness to a brand name (and Jimi Hendrix is a brand), why not cash in.

The shoes were pulled off the market by Converse, conveniently a week after the day which marked the 40th anniversary of Jimi Hendrix’s passing. The shoes have been on the market for only two months, although the shoe company did have other Hendrix-themed shoes made last year, featuring various psychedelic designs and song lyrics. According to an article at the Economic Times, a few Indian-Americans had issue with the image, and asked for it to be removed. It went on to say that other Hindus in the U.S. and around the world would feel the same way, so without question, it was removed.

Is this about a company being culturally insensitive, or are people too trigger happy, wanting to complain for the sake of being heard? Attack Of The Show co-host Alison Haislip did a body gesture during a moment on her show that to me would be considered a blatant Hawaiian stereotype, and while I was taken aback, I wondered if I too was jumping the gun? I was offended, sure, but should any action be taken? No. However, with a 43-year image of Hendrix and The Jimi Hendrix Experience depicted as a Hindu deity, does this mean the album should be pulled from the market? How about all of the T-shirts with the Axis: Bold As Love shirt? Is it okay for the 43-year old image to be on a record or CD cover? Since it is 2010, how about a computer avatar? Why didn’t Converse and the Hendrix estate fight? Isn’t bad publicity just good publicity? In a way, isn’t there something more important to fight about?

Maybe it was not tasteful to use the image for a pair of shoes, but again, it’s a 43 year old image that was not an issue in the last 514 months.