Thursday, September 24, 2009

Joe Satriani: how Jimi Hendrix changed my life

Joe Satriani, Thu 17 Sep 2009, 9:25 pm BST

"The day Jimi Hendrix died, I can still remember it like it was yesterday. It was a beautiful day in suburban Long Island. I was 14 years old, I was on the Carle Place High School football team, and I was standing outside the gym, all suited up and ready to go onto the field for practice. Everything was right in the world.

"Suddenly one of my teammates came up to me - he had just been home for lunch so he saw the news on TV - and he said, 'Hey Joe, you know that guy you like so much, Jimi Hendrix? I heard he just died.'

"I'm pretty sure I was about the only kid in school who knew who Jimi Hendrix even was. Through my older siblings, I was getting turned on to all the great music that was happening at the time, and I really loved Hendrix. So this kid, my teammate, thought I should know.

"The minute he told me, my whole life flashed before my eyes. I don't think this kid expected the impact it would have on me. It was such a blow. I was devastated, shattered, in a fog of emotion. Without so much as taking another step towards the field, I turned around, went back into the gym and I told my coach, 'Jimi Hendrix just died, and I'm quitting the team to become a guitar player.'

"I was anticipating an argument - the coach was a former marine and a pretty tough guy - but he just stared at me. Maybe I looked so crazy or despondent, I don't know, but he simply said, 'Well, all right. Go right ahead.'

"Jimi Hendrix died today and I'm going to devote my life to playing the electric guitar" a then-14-year-old Joe Satriani to his family at the dinner table



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