Janie Hendrix on her brother's legacy: His music transcends time Special

Posted Nov 8, 2013 by David Silverberg
In a very busy month for Jimi Hendrix fans, the legendary musician's sister spoke to Digital Journal about what makes Jimi's tunes have such lasting power. She also reveals what he was truly like away from the stage and spotlights.
The late Jimi Hendrix
The late Jimi Hendrix
Graham F. Page / EMP Museum / Authentic Hendrix, LLC
Jimi Hendrix's music is on the ears of many fans this year as two major new projects involving the late guitarist and singer are released to the masses: The CD Jimi Hendrix Experience: Miami Pop Festival introduces the first recorded stage performances of "Hear My Train A Comin'" and "Tax Free" along with other live performances from the 1968 fest; and Hendrix LLC & Legacy Recordings released the Hear My Train A Comin' documentary on DVD and Blu-ray, a film looking at all facets of Hendrix's career.
As a press release notes, "The film details the meteoric rise of the Experience, the creation of his groundbreaking music, the building of Electric Lady Studios, his state-of-the-art recording facility in Greenwich Village, and concludes with poignant footage from his final performance in Germany in September 1970, just 12 days before his death at age 27."
In an interview with Digital Journal, Jimi's sister Janie, President and CEO of Experience Hendrix LLC, suggested there really isn't a renewed interest in Hendrix to account for these new releases; in fact, the Hendrix fandom has never gone away.
"His music transcends time, all these decades," she said. "There's no musical genre today that hasn't been influenced by Jimi."
From her Seattle residence, Janie also offered insight into her brother's personality: "At home he was very laid back and quiet and a bit shy. He was very humourous and also very competitive when he played games like Monopoly; he was determined to beat everybody.
When his friends came over he got loud and crazy, and then when he got on stage it was another Jimi – really wild and attention-grabbing. He came out of his shy box, performed and expressed his music so people can hear him and get a grasp of who he was."
Jimi was also very close to his family, Janie said. While on the road, he asked his dad to be his road manager so he could spend more time with him. "My dad said no, but that's one of his biggest regrets, that he wasn't there to protect Jimi," Janie noted.
Janie Hendrix  the sister of musician Jimi Hendrix
Janie Hendrix, the sister of musician Jimi Hendrix
How did the political climate in the 1960s affect Jimi? As much as he was influenced by musicians he admired, the American government's decisions also shadowed much of his lyrics and music, Janie said. "With the Vietnam War going on, he had a different insight into what was going on politically because he travelling so much, talking to different people. It didn’t make him a sadder person but made him more experienced and understanding of what’s out there."
When asked which Jimi tracks she enjoys most, Janie replied with the expected, "There are too many to choose from, I love them all!" But when pressed, she said certain tracks are ideal for certain moments: "When I exercise, Gypsy Eyes is great. In a quiet state the ballads like Little Wing are perfect. In a bluesy state I want to listen to Red House. I've always liked the intricacies on Love Machine Gun."
While it may be hard to picture a world where Hendrix is still playing music, due to the decades we've experienced without his talent, Janie predicted Jimi would be inspired by the variety available today. Also, today's chart-toppers would be heavily influenced by Hendrix if he had lived into the 21st century.
"Today's music wouldn't be what it is if Jimi were alive," Janie said. "It would've been ribboned with his sound, his inspiration."