Writer. Warning: opinions. My lawyer advised a disclaimer, but didn't include any jokes to go with. Damned if I can think of any either.

Open Letter to Experience Hendrix: Please Let Jimi Hendrix Die

Dear Experience Hendrix, LLC, Janie Hendrix, et. al.,

I implore you, owners of the Jimi Hendrix estate and guardians of his legacy, please let Jimi die. Please stop releasing compilations, previously unreleased tracks, all of it. Just stop it.

PHOTO: A. Vente
PHOTO: A. Vente
If you want to go on making money off of Jimi’s amazing work, well, this is America and that is your right. Just please stop releasing music. As far as I’m concerned, you can keep selling posters and tee shirts and re-released vinyl and the rest, but, for the love of God — no, for the love of music — please stop diluting the catalog of the greatest guitarist to ever live.

You lost Jimi in 1970. I know that must be hard. I know it breaks your heart because I also have lost people I loved. I remember them and celebrate their lives as you must Jimi’s.

But his catalog was a love letter to all of us — for all of us — and you are chipping away at it with each new release.

Jimi released just three studio albums during his life; three rockets to Venus so amazing, so complex, so subtle. You have released over fifty studio albums and compilations since that time. Fifty! Five Zero! Please stop it!

I say this now as you are releasing People, Hell and Angels. I have listened to “Somewhere,” the first single. Naturally, it is amazing, because it’s Jimi on guitar and Stephen Stills, of all people, on bass. But these tracks are unreleased because they aren’t finished.

How long are we meant to go on hearing “previously unreleased” tracks? Until we’re just listening to Jimi tune his guitars? Do you have any recordings of him walking through a studio? I don’t want to hear them. Keep them to yourself.

Granted: raw, unpolished Jimi Hendrix is still light years better than the polished releases of a myriad of other folks, but that doesn’t mean it should be released. It shouldn’t. You should stop putting out Jimi’s music.

Now, you may say “But people love Jimi and they are hungry for more.” Of course they are hungry for more. I am hungry for more pie, but eating more will do nothing except mark me as a glutton.

Jimi was the greatest who ever lived. But giving people more doesn’t make him any greater. He is already the pinnacle. Releasing more music just earns you money and makes his colors fade.

Please stop it. Let Jimi go. Seal up the “vault” and stop releasing tracks and let us enjoy Jimi’s work the way he released it.

Sincerely, beseechingly,
James C. Hodgson, Jr
Guitar player and Jimi Hendrix Fan