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Jimi Hendrix On Early Influences, 'Axis' and More

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"In England, in the studios they don't have anything to work with compared to what America has. Then they come out with the best sounding records and the most young ideas, the most new sounds in records. The words themselves. For instance, the arrangements they've got are their own particular little scene. The engineers and the things they have in the studios... they're doing some fantastic things just like the way they fought World War II. They hardly had anything but the things they had they used. They could almost work with anything, like if they're forced to."

***

"We were supposed to be on the Magical Mystery Tour a long, long time ago when we first got to England. The Beatles used to come to see us sometimes like at certain concerts like the Savoy theatre and Paul McCartney told me about this little scene he had. They were planning to do a film and he wanted us to be in this film. We weren't known then when McCartney asked us and he was trying to help us but we got a nice break before they got the movie together."

***

"Last night was the first time we played in so long. We've been doing new tracks that are really fantastic and we've just been getting into them and set our mind. We just got snatched while we were there. You just can't do it if you really enjoy your music. It was like a scene: we were in the studio and we were really into some groovy things. Some really funky little things. And we were snatched out of the studio within a day of knowing nothing. There we were, thrown into the Paris scene, the Olympia Theatre, and we found ourselves waiting for two hours in the London Airport. Then we found ourselves in New York, lost in the street. All these within hours of each other. Then they had a press conference and here you are thinking about these songs. You have these songs in your mind. You want to hurry up and get back to the things you were doing in the studio, because that's the way you gear your mind. And then we were thrown into the Fillmore; we wanted to play there, quite naturally, but you're thinking about all these tracks, which is completely different from what you're doing now. It's not exactly completely different, but it is more polished, more together, more, you know, more us. Plus you play through strange amps . . . if people only knew what state of mind we're in, like we're half there or not; like I don't even remember the Fillmore last night. I felt completely out of my mind."

***

"After I'd been in the army 14 months I traveled all the states and played in different groups: Top 40 R&B band, Jackie Wilson, Wilson Pickett, Isley Brothers gigs. I got tired of feeding back in the "Midnight Hour." I was a backing musician playing guitar. Curtis Knight album was from bits of tape they used from a jam session, bits of tape, tiny little confetti bits of tapes . . . it was done. Capitol never told us that they were going to release that crap. That's the real drag about it. It shows exactly how some people in America are still not where it's at, regardless. You don't have no friend scenes, sometimes makes you wonder. That cat and I used to really be friends. Plus I was just at a jam session and here they just try to connive and cheat and use. It was really a bad scene. I knew Curtis Knight was recording, but listen, that was at a jam session. We want to do some sessions with the Jefferson Airplane or Mike Bloomfield or somebody, but that's just musicians jamming. What's wrong with jamming?"

***

"To people who are not listening very much, our last LP will put them to sleep right away. When I first saw that design I thought 'It's great,' but maybe we should have an American Indian. The three of us have nothing to do with what's on that Axis cover. The LP came out unplanned. All the songs on it are exactly the way we felt right then. It was recorded eight months ago and two of the songs on it are a year old; "If Six Was Nine" and "She's So Fine." We recorded this album right after the first one. It was the next session after the first. It represents us then, but we've got prettier songs."

***

"I just thought about the title. There might be a meaning behind the whole thing: The Axis of the earth turns around and changes the face of the world and completely different civilizations come about or another age comes about. In other words, it changes the face of the earth and it only takes about 1/4 of a day. Well, the same with love; if a cat falls in love or a girl falls in love, it might change his whole complete scene: Axis, Bold as Love . . . 1-2-3 rock around the clock."

The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time: The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Axis: Bold as Love

***

"The changes in music between the two records are for you to decide. We're just playing the way we feel and if you want to sit up here all day and play both our records and listen to the changes and say 'oh yeah, here's a change, remember when we did that!' then we sit around and pat ourselves on the back or either kick each other in the ass. That's what we do. We make records for the public to hear. We cut the record in just 16 days. It was mixed beautifully, but we lost the original mix so we had to re-mix it. Chas and I and the engineer, Eddie Kramer, all of us had to re-mix it the next morning within 11 hours and it's very hard to do that. We're going to take more time. We're in the process of recording now. We're going to do another 'period' album. We've got maybe 5 tracks and when we get about 15 or 18, we'll release it."

***

"You prepare the material you use before you take it into the studio in your own mind. Sometimes we write it out, and sometimes we all have something and we pass it along to each other. What we do sometimes is lay down what I might have written by day in my mind all the changes and all that. So we go out there and do a take of it, regardless of how sloppy, then we go back and listen and take the best cuts and talk about what you want to do with it. But this is only when you don't have a solid scene."

This story is from the March 9th, 1968 issue of Rolling Stone.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

More Song Stories entries »
 
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