Hard to believe that Jimi Hendrix would have turned 67 today. Gotta believe that he’s now kissing that Jerusem sky.
(According to The Urantia Boook, Jerusem is the first way-station, or Rainbow Bridge, for ‘graduated’ mortals on their way to the “Isle of Paradise.” The book describes The Isle as “the geographical center of infinity,” the timeless and spaceless home of The Creator of Creators, the muse of musicians everywhere and everywhen.)
Jimi was the headliner at The 1969 Newport Pop Festival Concert at Devonshire Downs, Northridge, CA that I attended while still a junior in high school.
At the time, I’d been playing guitar for some 5 years. I was on my second band, playing regularly at high school venues. With Sun as our sponsor, The Good Time Sound participated in a Battle of the Bands contest at the Hollywood Pantages Theater. Following that, we got a gig at Bob Eubanks’ Cinnamon Cinder, an alcohol free teen nightclub in Studio City, CA . (Eubanks was a legendary local disc jockey, best known for producing the first LA appearance of The Beatles.)
But I have to admit that even with all that, I’d never seen anyone play a guitar straddled under his crotch, let alone play one with his teeth.
Thenceforth, Jimi was my Guitar Hero, and I look forward to jammin with him in the great beyond.
Devonshire Downs, Northridge, CA 6/20-22-69
Catalog No. MSC-DDC.1969.06.20
This great image was used to advertise the Newport Pop Festival held June 20—22, 1969 at Devonshire Downs in Northridge, California. Jimi Hendrix was the headline act for the Friday night opening, but he played so poorly – supposedly from an LSD-laced drink – that he returned to the stage on Sunday. His Sunday performance with Buddy Miles, Eric Burdon, and several others lasted more than two hours. The Sunday performance is now legendary and prompted Los Angeles Times critic Pete Johnson to write that the audience “may have heard the best performance of their lives.”
An estimated 200,000 people attended Newport ’69. Despite a poor sound system, a lack of food, water, and restrooms, and brutal security by the Hells’ Angels, it was deemed a resounding success by the attendees and musicians. The City Fathers of Northridge held a different view and banned any future music festivals. Newport ’69 made headlines around the country for a spell, but two months later, the phenomenon known as Woodstock made Newport seem like a picnic.
While I never saw an instance of “brutal security by the Hells’ Angels”, I did witness one from the LA Police Tactical Squad. After a nearby gas station was torched, I saw a visor-helmeted platoon of baton wielding Tac cops swarm over a low rise hill. As they came up behind a lone woman concert goer, sitting peacefully by herself on a blanket, one of them struck her in the back of the head with his baton– CRACK! She never saw what hit her. As far as I know, she may still be lying in a coma somewhere. Sorry, but in my memory it’s hard to separate the good images from the bad.
Nevertheless, despite that and Jimi’s subsequent sudden demise, the beat goes on. From The Urantia Book:
The best music of Urantia is just a fleeting echo of the magnificent strains heard by the celestial associates of your musicians, who left but snatches of these harmonies of morontia forces on record as the musical melodies of sound harmonics. Spirit-morontia music not infrequently employs all seven modes of expression and reproduction, so that the human mind is tremendously handicapped in any attempt to reduce these melodies of the higher spheres to mere notes of musical sound. Such an effort would be something like endeavoring to reproduce the strains of a great orchestra by means of a single musical instrument….
[O]nly once in a thousand mortal lives is there any great appreciation of harmonics. But be not discouraged; some day a real musician may appear on Urantia, and whole peoples will be enthralled by the magnificent strains of his melodies. One such human being could forever change the course of a whole nation, even the entire civilized world. It is literally true, “melody has power a whole world to transform.” Forever, music will remain the universal language of men, angels, and spirits. Harmony is the speech of Havona.
UPDATE 11/26/15 Jimi (along with Jerry Garcia) was a Urantia Book reader.