Andy Coe remembers hearing Jimi Hendrix for the first time as an awkward 8th grader, just learning the guitar in his bedroom. But he heard much more than the music.
“Music is truth and if you can play it and mean it, it's gonna be timeless,” said Coe, strumming a six-string on his front porch. “And Jimi is a master at that.”
Hendrix was a flamboyant, feedback drenched hallucination. A guitar god who changed rock and roll like no other.
“He brought a freedom to your instrument. An expression. It's just a really beautiful thing,” said Coe, 34, a longtime fan.
Hendix’s new CD, called "People, Hell and Angels" explores that freedom even further. Released Tuesday, it’s comprised of 12 tracks that provide a glimpse into what Hendrix might have become. They're songs of a pop star growing up. More mature, yet still experimental. Some of it jazzy, with horns.
“It's not the feeling of a finished work or that this is what he fully intended,” said Jasen Emmons, curator at Seattle’s Experience Music Project Museum, which is heavily influenced by the rock star’s music and ideas.
“This was a part of the process of getting where he wanted to go. Part of what keeps Hendrix relevant is the promise of what might’ve been," said Emmons.
Jimi Hendrix would be 70 years old today. The single from his latest posthumous release hit number one on the Billboard singles chart last month. Through the power of iTunes and YouTube the rock icon’s legend will likely only continue to grow as kids can now discover the noisy, beautiful and complex world of a genius with the click of a mouse.
Long past the 8th grade now, Andy Coe is an accomplished guitarist in his own right, embarking on a West Coast tour this month. He's also a music teacher, and instills the lessons of “truth” and “freedom” in each student picking up a guitar in their bedroom for the first time.
“Letting go and being yourself to your fullest. It's a really important lesson everyone needs to think about whether you're a musician or not," he said.