A Jimi Hendrix Story

 In 1970, I lived in the Chelsea section of New York, a neighborhood not far from Jimi's Electric Ladyland studios. (Joni Mitchell's New York home base apartment was close by as well, and her "Chelsea Morning" song is about there, and not about Chelsea in London.) Electric Ladyland was in Greenwich Village (now known as the West Village) and Chelsea is adjacent to that. Nearby was a convenience store called Smilers, which was, as most independent places in New York are, open very late at night.

It was very late at night. It was the wee hours of the morning. The city sounds were a muffled mix of taxi traffic, sirens and that sudden loud clunking of trucks running over manholes echoing through the grated sidewalk understructure.

I took a break from writing. After some comestables and combustables, I got the major ice cream notion and bopped down to Smilers to pick up some Haagen-Dazs. In the freezer tank along the left wall at Smilers, toward the back, there it was: the very last quart carton of Rum Raisin. As I bent over to get it, a very long, paisley-sleeved arm snaked past me, also on track for the Rum Raisin. Startled, I stood up and turned around to find, who but Jimi Hendrix.

He stood up too, and realizing we were both on a collision course for the Rum Raisin, he looked at me sheepishly for a moment. I must have looked worried (that I would lose the Rum Raisin) and in a moment of realization of our mutually levitationated state, we both burst out laughing. Then, without a word, he swooped the Rum Raisin out of the freezer. With a flourish and slight bow, he presented it to me, while he took the French Vanilla for himself. What a gent, no? What a New York Moment. Thanks, Jimi. We miss your gentility and brilliance.

Nobody but Les Paul, who invented the electric guitar, has innovated guitar playing more than Jimi Hendrix. They didn't have those fancy plug-in doo-wah-diddy-doo-dah gadgets for guitar effects in his day, he did it all with feedback, instinct and control. But that's not why Jimi is on the gateway page of my website. It's the Haagen-Dazs.