October 6, 2010

Playing to Market

I was watching this Jimi Hendrix documentary last night (which you can find streaming on Netflix by typing in Jimi Hendrix) from 1973 that got me thinking about a few things. The first being how face-meltingly awesome that man really was. He was the definition of  a prodigy in my book. Second, I thought about how awful of a singer Bob Dylan really was. Hendrix was ten times the singer Dylan was and Hendrix really was a pretty shitty singer himself. Who really notices their shortcomings anyway? One is probably the best guitar player of all time, the other the greatest song writer of all time. Which kind of brings me to the third thing it made me think about: once you define yourself you're kind of stuck in that role.

There was a lot of talk in the documentary about how once Jimi got famous people expected the same thing of him over and over again. They expected him to wear the wild outfits, play with his teeth and light his guitar on fire. I'm not sure if he was ever sober long enough to notice or not but a number of people that knew him said it had gotten dangerously close to stifling his creativity. Here is this genius musician and we were trying to stifle his musical growth. Sadly, barbiturates and vomit beat us to the punch.

It's rather easy to look at outliers (which Hendrix most certainly was) and condemn society. Are any of our positions really that different though? People that know me well, know that I have an extremely quick tongue (sorry ladies) and can at times alternate on a dime between being an asshole and gut-bustingly hilarious. If I'm having an off-day people automatically assume that something is wrong. Sometimes, I just might be in a quiet and reflective mood but, rather than say that it's easier to just come up with some witty comeback.

Can I really blame everyone else for stifling me though? Isn't it my fault? Didn't I come up with an image of myself and perpetuate it over the years? The world only sees what we want it to. Burning guitars and dressing wild was Jimi's style, if he didn't want to be known for it he wouldn't have done it. My blog is portraying an image to all of you. A much more entertaining version of myself I might add. What my life might be like without all the clutter of a 9-5 and all the day-to-day headaches life throws at you. In a way, we're all sell-outs just trying to seem more interesting than we actually are. Or, is it that we are all incredibly fascinating and just looking for ways to show the world? Who knows? Kick back and listen to some "The Wind Cries Mary" and worry about it later.


  1. Very thought provoking. I am not sure if I agree with you that once we define ourselves we are sort of stuck in that role. I think we all evolve (or at least that's the goal) and one would hope we can grow and become the people we want to be -- hence, a sort of re-defined persona.

    Also, "In a way, we're all sell-outs just trying to seem more interesting than we actually are"... I think you hit on something there. We are all striving to be the best "us" we can be...and I agree with you in that some people are braver on line than others.

    I will have to check out this documentary, thanks!

    Jimi was one of a kind, that's for sure. I love his quote: "Music is a safe kind of high".

  2. Answer: Yes it is your fault, your doing. Ha!

    But we all have to play to our strengths, our inner rythms. And you got a lot of strengths to work with. Some people are one dimentional.

    I liked Christine's comments, she made a good point.

  3. I'll have to check out that documentary... We are netflix obsessed. (Recently watched: Spellbound and On a Clear Day.) Both good.
    Are you watching the footage of the miners right now? Exciting stuff.


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