Rockin’ in the Film World #9: JIMI HENDRIX: ELECTRIC CHURCH (2015)

cracked rear viewer


Back in March, I attended the “Experience Hendrix” live show, featuring guitar gods Kenny Wayne Sheppard, Buddy Guy, Zakk Wylde, Dweezil Zappa, Jonny Lang, and others jamming to the music of Jimi Hendrix. But as they say “Ain’t nothin’ like the real thing, baby”, and the documentary JIMI HENDRIX: ELECTRIC CHURCH is a full-on aural assault chronicling Hendrix’ 1970 performance at the Atlanta Pop Festival.

Director John McDermott begins the film with some famous talking heads (Paul McCartney, Steve Winwood, Susan Teschi, Metallica’s Kirk Hammett, Rolling Stone writer Anthony DeCurtis), as well as residents of the tiny town of Byron, where the festival was actually held (and they seem to be having a ball reminiscing!). There are clips of Hendrix on THE DICK CAVETT SHOW and of segregationist Georgia Gov. Lester Maddox (who hates them damn hippies!).


Then it’s showtime, as Jimi and his band dive into classics like “Fire”. “All Along the Watchtower”…

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Jimi Hendrix Plays The Star-Spangled Banner!

On August 18, 1969, Jimi Hendrix performed the greatest version of The Star Spangled Banner on record.  Jimi, who has been awake for three days when he performed his version of the National Anthem, later said, “We’re all Americans … it was like ‘Go America!’… We play it the way the air is in America today. The air is slightly static, see”

Airport Reading: Your Favorite Band Is Killing Me by Steven Hyden

51y-hABo2ML._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Today, I have flown from Baltimore to Chicago and, after a three-hour layover at O’Hare, from Chicago to Atlanta.  Now I have to wait two hours until I board a plane to Dallas.  Luckily, I have a good book to read.

Steven Hyden’s Your Favorite Band Is Killing Me takes a look at some famous pop music rivalries and what they may or may not reveal about the meaning of life.  Hyden examines 19 different rivalries, everyone from Oasis vs. Blur to Neil Young vs. Lynard Skynard to the Smashing Pumpkins vs. Pavement, Beatles vs. the Rolling Stones and, naturally, Roger Waters vs. everyone else in Pink Floyd.  And, of course, he also writes about Biggie vs. Tupac because, as he puts it, that’s the only rivalry that he “was required by law to write about in this book.”

The best chapter, in my opinion, is Hyden’s look at the rivalry between Jimi Hendrix’s legacy and Eric Clapton’s continued existence.  He asks a very important question: If Hendrix had lived and was currently living the life of Eric Clapton, would we still consider Jimi to be the greatest guitar God of all time?  A close second to the Hendrix/Clapton chapter is Hyden’s look at the rivalry between Nirvana and Pearl Jam.  Hyden makes a convincing argument that not only did Kurt Cobain never really grow to like Pearl Jam but that Bruce Springsteen really does not like Chris Christie that much either.

Steven Hyden’s an opinionated guy and, reading the book, I have disagreed with him almost as much as I’ve agreed.  But he is also a very good writer and he definitely knows his music.  Your Favorite Band Is Killing Me has made this day of airports and flying bearable.  I highly recommend it!

Song of the Day: Texas Flood (by Stevie Ray Vaughan)


It’s difficult to do any sort of greatest ever guitar solo list and not include this latest entry for our “Song of the Day” series.

Stevie Ray Vaughan was a musical talent who was taken too soon. Stardom was finally his after years and years of toiling as a sessions guitarist for other bands and singers. His guitar playing brought back memories of other greats of the past like Jimi Hendrix, Albert King and Muddy Waters. He was both a god in the two worlds of rock and blues.

“Texas Flood” will be SRV at his best and no matter how much others try to cover and replicate what he did with a Fender Stratocaster he will always and forever be king.

Texas Flood

Well theres floodin down in texas….all of the telephone lines are down
Well theres floodin down in texas….all of the telephone lines are down
And Ive been tryin to call my baby….lord and I cant get a single sound

Well dark clouds are rollin in….man Im standin out in the rain
Well dark clouds are rollin in….man Im standin out in the rain
Yeah flood water keep a rollin….man its about to drive poor me insane

Well Im leavin you baby….lord and Im goin back home to stay
Well Im leavin you baby….lord and Im goin back home to stay
Well back home I know floods and tornados….baby the sun shines every day

Great Guitar Solos Series

27 Days of Old School: #25 “Voodoo Child” (by Stevie Ray Vaughan)

Stevie Ray Vaughn

“Well, I’m standing next to a mountain, chop it down with the edge of my hand”

To close out the night we have Stevie Ray Vaughan at #25 with his excellent cover of the classic Hendrix track, “Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)”.

The blues wasn’t a genre of music that I had much experience growing up during the 80’s. It was during a senior retreat that I was introduced to one of the blues rising stars during that era of my life. He was Stevie Ray Vaughan and I only got to know him after he had already passed into legend after he died in a helicopter crash.

Since then I’ve become not just a major listener of blues and blues rock music, but I would say I’ve become a connoisseur.

While I’ve since listened to Jimi Hendrix’s original of the song and consider it the best version, I will always have a special place in my musical library for the one and only SRV.

Song of the Day: Entre Dos Aguas (by Paco de Lucia – R.I.P)


One of the great guitarists ever passed away (some would say he’s one of the greatest, if not the best there ever was) in the last 24 hours.

Paco de Lucia has passed on into legend as one of history’s greatest guitarist. He joins such fellow luminaries as Django Reinhardt, Jimi Hendrix, Andres Segovia, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Robert Johnson to just name a few now playing their guitars in the next life.

Paco came from a family of flamenco singers and guitarists. His musical upbringing was molded by his father Antonio Sanchez. He would take classic flamenco guitar playing and incorporate other musical genres such as jazz, classical and bossa nova. While flamenco traditionalists heaped criticisms at Paco de Lucia for incorporating the many different styles of guitar playing with flamenco the movement to create a new flamenco sound which still adhered to classic flamenco playing but with some added new sound to appeal to a new generation that was beginning to listen to a variety of musical styles.

While many young people would scratch their heads as to who this Spaniard was to be considered one of the greatest guitarist of all-time (I would remind such individuals that not all guitarists were playing rock or metal), I would suggest they listen to his most popular song and just marvel at the talent and legend that was Paco de Lucia.

44 Days of Paranoia #7: Beyond the Doors (dir by Larry Buchanan)


While I was researching The Trial of Lee Harvey Oswald last week, I came across another film directed by Larry Buchanan.  Beyond the Doors (also known as Down On Us) sounded like one of those truly odd films that I simply had to see for myself.  Fortunately, it turned out that this rare and hard-to-find movie was available (in 13 parts!) on YouTube.

First released in either 1983 or 1984 (sources vary), Beyond the Doors tells the story of a FBI agent who, as the film begins, is out hunting with two friends who proceed to gun him down.  Staring down at the agent’s dead body, one of the assassins sneers, “Rock and Roll is dead.  Long live Rock and Roll.”  The agent’s son then goes through his father’s files and discovers that, during the late 1960s and early 70s, his father was responsible for murdering “the three pied pipers of rock and roll” — Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Jim Morrison.  The film then enters into flashback mode and we discover both why the U.S. government was determined to kill Hendrix, Joplin, and Morrison and how exactly they attempted to do it.

What can I say about Beyond the Doors?  If The Trial of Lee Harvey Oswald seemed oddly respectable for a Larry Buchanan film, Beyond the Doors reminds us of why Larry Buchanan remains a cult figure for bad film lovers.  Everything that Buchanan is known for is present in this film: unknown actors playing real-life characters, melodramatic dialogue, one set continually redecorated to look like a dozen different rooms, and plenty of conspiracy theories.   As is typical of a Larry Buchanan film, it was shot with a lot of ambition but next to no money or actual talent.  Hendrix, Morrison, and Joplin are played by lookalikes who give performances that don’t so much resemble their real-life counterparts as much as they seem to literally be Wikipedia entries brought to life.  Hendrix worries that he’s sold out to the man, Joplin questions what fame’s all about, and Morrison makes pretentious observations.  Buchanan couldn’t actually afford the rights to any songs from Joplin, Hendrix, or the Doors so instead, the soundtrack is full of music that’s designed to sound as if it could have been written by one of the “three pied pipers of rock and roll” even though it wasn’t.  (And yes, the end result is just as silly as it sounds.)  In short, Beyond the Doors is one of those films (much like Tommy Wiseau’s The Room) that is so amazingly bad and misguided that it becomes perversely fascinating.

In short, it’s a film that, like me, you simply have to see for yourself.