Room Full of Mirrors - A Biography of Jimi Hendrix

September 20, 2005 04:00 by keithkaragan
I read Room Full of Mirrors - A Biography of Jimi Hendrix [link] while on vacation a couple weeks ago. And while I was hesitant that I'd have the attention span to endure such a longish book on the subject - even as a Hendrix fan, and a guitar player - the book became addictive, and it went by extremely fast.
There is no deep insight into Jimi's playing (technically) in the book - however there is plenty of 'meta information' to give the reader a great insight into the development of his style, and anecdotes regarding his frustration finding himself in his playing.
The book deals with Jimi's childhood and developmental years very well, and gives the reader a perspective they may not have had about what a tragic character Jimi was. The psychic trauma endured in his youth was never overcome, even with the fame - The specific elements of his mother's death, and his lack of closure with the event haunted him through his brief life.
This matter of longing for approval and for meaning in his and his mother's lives ours out in the lyrics of his songs, and the subject matter of his art. I've never been all that impressed with the lyrics of Hendrix songs, for me it's the playing and the rhythms that come across as a channeling of pure emotion through the instrument in such a fluid and dynamic way that it's still striking today. He was truly connected and in the moment in much of what he produced.
The tragedy and pain endured in his life set a course for him, though, that he couldn't escape. The fame became more of a trap, and some of those that were closest to him (emotionally) were put off (or pushed off) leaving Jimi extremely vulnerable, essentially an emotional raw nerve that ended up substituting real love for adoration. Even in his death, he ended up with no support system at his side. What a shame of an ending for such a rare talent.
The books is recommended for fans and the curious
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