Are You Experienced, The Jimi Hendrix Experience

My well-used copy of Are You Experienced

 

The records I listened to when I was a kid all belonged to my mom and uncle.  They didn’t have any Jimi Hendrix, for some reason, and once I saw Woodstock I needed to hear his music.  I found this old copy of Are You Experienced at a library book sale or something, and in 8th and 9th grades I played the shit out of it.  It was the 4th wheel in my Face collection (Face was the boy I was madly in unrequited love with in junior high and high school), which consisted of Janis Joplin’s Pearl, The Doors’ Strange Days, and The Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers.  My favorite tracks on this album were “Manic Depression” and “Love or Confusion,” and boy, did they fit my mood back then!

 

I remember “Manic Depression” being used in an episode of Moonlighting.  David was frustrated about some drama with Maddie and he smashes the shit out of her car in a parking garage.  I have always remembered that scene, and though I have never done that myself, I do understand the relief he felt afterward.  I was always depressed and thinking about Face, and that song really captured it all for my 14-year-old self.

 

In the spring of 9th grade we had a band concert.  I played flute.  Face was also in band, as was one of my closest friends who had told me about all the partying Face was into.  I was devastated when I found out.  Strange, because I was so obsessed with fucked up people and had all these stupid fantasies about the fucked up life Face and I would have together someday.  Before I found out that he was into drinking and shit, I thought he was perfect. 

 

Anyway, in the late afternoon as I got dressed for the band concert, I played “Manic Depression” at full blast over and over.  I was home alone, as my dad was working third shift back then, and my mom and sisters were at McDonald’s picking up supper.  I took the opportunity to get fucked up.  I was never a drinker, though being Serbian, it was common to share a shot glass filled with whiskey with my cousins at family events, and to sip the foam off my dad’s beer when I would pour it for him after work.  But I never went to parties or anything.  In the spring of 1988, however, I wanted to crawl over to the dark side all by myself.  I poured a combination of liquors into a Dixie cup and sipped it as I got dressed and blew out my speakers with Jimi Hendrix.  I was good and tipsy after not too long.  The booze tasted disgusting, but I didn’t care.  I just wanted to be a mess.

 

When I finished my poisonous concoction and could barely see straight, I rinsed out the cup with soapy water before throwing it in the garbage, and I probably wrapped it in toilet paper as well, lol!  I heard the garage door open and tried to compose myself so nobody would know I had been drinking, and got dressed so I could get some food in my stomach.  I remember sitting at the dinner table eating my Quarter Pounder and talking to my sister, wondering if I sounded drunk.  Nobody suspected anything.  We had to hurry to get to school in time for the concert, but I lingered in the bathroom for a minute while my mom and sisters waited in the driveway.  I took one more swig of vodka before leaving.

 

My friend Monte, the one who told me all about Face’s partying, could smell the alcohol on my breath pretty much as soon as we met in the hallway.  I don’t think he asked me about it until we were sitting in the rehearsal room, and I could tell he was disappointed.  He wondered how my family hadn’t noticed.  I remember being a little out of it, but certainly not stumbling around or anything.  I did my usual stalker shit like kiss Face’s locker, and Monte could see that telling me about all of his partying was probably not a good idea.

 

I did not start partying after that, but I would take occasional nips (as I always referred to them) of vodka or whiskey late at night on weekends when I would watch TV in the living room, or if I were going to do some writing.  I did want to be an alcoholic; my favorite book at that time was Co-Starring Famous Women and Alcohol, and man, did I ever want to star in that show!  So stupid.  But it seems like that came from some underlying boredom I have always felt.  Not sure where that originated.  I also never quite liked myself enough to pull through depression or disappointment.

 

Manic depression is touching my soul

I know what I want but I just don’t know

How to, go about gettin’ it

Feeling sweet feeling,

Drops from my fingers, fingers

Manic depression is catchin’ my soul…

 

Music, sweet music

I wish I could caress, caress, caress

Manic depression is a frustrating mess

 

Jimi Hendrix, like Jim Morrrison, was a poet.  I don’t think he is generally regarded as such as much as Jim is, but his lyrics are beautiful.  Over the years I have found myself wanting to get his words tattooed on me because they are just so stunning.  I have not yet done it, but it will happen.  This album is too depressing to choose lyrics from, but at present I can most relate to these:

 

I wish you’d hurry up and rescue me
so I can be on my miserable way

I don’t live today;
It’s such a shame to waste your time away like this.

Will I live tomorrow?
Well, I just can’t say.
Will I live tomorrow?
Well, I just can’t say

And I don’t mean this in a suicidal way at all, because I’m not.  I work 7 days a week between two jobs I hate, and I do not feel like I am living.  I go to work to barely afford my bills, and that leaves me no money for fun.  I do not party at all anymore (I did partake of the par-tay lifestyle in my twenties and first half of my thirties) and I do not miss it, but I would like to have some sort of social life again. 

 

Until then, I have this blog to look forward to.

 

And I just have to add that “Foxy Lady” always reminds me of Wayne’s World.  Good, good shit.

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