Jimi Hendrix: A Brother's Story
Leon Hendrix, Adam Mitchell
More than forty years after his death, Jimi Hendrix-recently named the greatest guitarist of all time by Rolling Stone magazine-continues to inspire fans of rock music. Many have written about Hendrix's life and music, but Jimi Hendrix: A Brother's Story provides a revealing and unprecedented look at this visionary icon: an intimate biography written by Jimi's younger brother, Leon.
Leon Hendrix takes us back to the days before Jimi's amazing rise to fame in the 1960s, beginning with their tough childhood in Seattle, when their fascination with science fiction and UFOs helped them escape a difficult family life. (Jimi insisted his family call him "Buster," after Flash Gordon actor Buster Crabbe.) The author reveals Jimi's early fascination with sound, from his experiments with plucking wires attached to bedposts to the time when he got in trouble for taking apart the family radio ("I was looking for the music," he explained) to Jimi's purchasing his first guitar-a Sears, Roebuck and Co. acoustic, from a neighbor.
Leon recounts Jimi's early days performing on the "Chitlin' Circuit," when Jimi would call from the road to play early versions of tracks for the classic album Are You Experienced, and illuminates the biographical roots of Jimi's most well-known rock & roll songs. Readers learn about the heady days of sex and drugs that came with Jimi's skyrocketing fame in the sixties and how Leon felt Jimi's management isolated him from the rest of the family. The author speaks of his own heartbreak, learning of his brother's sudden death while incarcerated in Washington State's Monroe Reformatory.
Commemorating what would have been Jimi's seventieth birthday, Leon Hendrix's poignant and captivating account sheds new light on a music legend.
cents to two dollars. One side had the winning combinations, the winning cash amount, and the total number of tickets. The other had perforated tabs that you’d pull to see if you won. The only real draw was the odds: a quarter could end up returning five or ten dollars if it was a winning tab. The promise of laying down small money to cash in on big winnings always got Dad’s blood pumping. But I can’t remember him ever winning. Dad was always on “a streak” when he was gambling. Even if it
taking a break to grab a cold beer. As he pulled out of the driveway, Buster and I kept digging through the garage, looking for that next piece of buried treasure. Before long, Buster walked out holding a beat-up ukulele. When he plucked at it a few times, a smile swept across his face. Being shy, Buster strolled around the backyard holding the ukulele down by his side. Although Mrs. Maxwell had already told Dad it was fine for us to take what we wanted from the collection of junk we were
their guitars any longer. That’s when one of those magical moments came, catching both my brother and me off guard. “Well, you know, Buster, I was thinking,” Dad suddenly piped up, “why don’t the three of us go down to Myer’s Music tomorrow and see what they’ve got down there.” Both my brother and I perked up. Dad sure sounded serious, but we could never be sure. He’d say something one second, then do a complete turnaround and tell us to forget it the next. Not to mention, he had already taken
a sold-out show only a few hours before, and still Dad wasn’t sure if Jimi was successful. The long years of struggling had taken their toll on Dad, and he resisted the idea that Jimi didn’t need to scrape by anymore. Now that God had finally blessed Jimi with an amazing life and answered his prayers, Dad was almost in fear of the situation. After all of my time living in hotels downtown, I was no stranger to ordering room service. As planned, I ordered filet mignon for everyone, along with
over to where our limo was parked. “All right, we’re going to my house!” he announced. After he jogged away from the limo, my brother turned to me. “That’s a friend of mine, Eric Burdon from the Animals. And I guess I won’t even ask you if you know who they are,” he told me with a smile. Almost at once, it seemed as if the entire population in front of the Whiskey cleared out and followed Eric to his place high in the Hollywood Hills. When we arrived, the narrow roads were clogged with limos