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Let me stand next to your fire.
March 31, 2007 3:49 PM   Subscribe

Let me stand next to your fire. Forty years ago today, Jimi Hendrix set fire to his guitar live on stage for the first time when he was appearing at The Astoria London. It was the first night of a 24-date tour with The Walker Brothers, Cat Stevens and Engelbert Humperdinck.
posted by psmealey (33 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Multiple Hendrix youtube links for a Saturday night.
posted by psmealey at 3:49 PM on March 31, 2007


Are there any other examples of musicians setting fire to their instruments?
(Ol' Pete Townsend used to beat the hell outta his gee-tar, to be sure, and I've got some vague recollection of The Killer having a flaming piano effect in his later concerts, but anyone know more?)
posted by Dizzy at 4:06 PM on March 31, 2007


I can think of tons examples of exploding guitars from 80s schlock metal bands, but those were all controlled explosions with pyrotechnics. But, as for going low tech with a bottle of lighter fluid, Hendrix is the only artist I can recall doing that.
posted by psmealey at 4:13 PM on March 31, 2007


move over rover!
posted by bruce at 4:17 PM on March 31, 2007


psme---
Agreed.
Is this a function of an event so perfectly awesome as to be untoppable or a lack of imagination by later artists simply or a crackdown on liability and fire safety laws?
Love this post, by the way...
posted by Dizzy at 4:18 PM on March 31, 2007


The comments Youtube people write make me long for a Extinction Level Event.
posted by wigu at 4:23 PM on March 31, 2007 [2 favorites]


Btw, I love these old showcase billings... I wonder how the feedback and lighter fluild interlude went down with the crowd that showed up to see Cat Stevens and Engelbert Humperdinck?
posted by psmealey at 4:25 PM on March 31, 2007


Awesome post. Can I just add this? It's Jimi's live ( Monterey ) cover of "Like A Rolling Stone", and it rocks like few other things ever will.
posted by Siberian Mist at 4:33 PM on March 31, 2007


Are there any other examples of musicians setting fire to their instruments?

Yes, I believe the answer is Great White...
posted by Tube at 4:42 PM on March 31, 2007


That's a really weird bill. He appeared with Englebert whosis?
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 5:01 PM on March 31, 2007


indeed. a more mismatched bill i cannot imagine.
posted by quonsar at 5:04 PM on March 31, 2007


Great post, psmealey - too funny, Engelbert...

Cynthia Plaster Caster has interesting tales about some other aspects of the Jimi Hendrix experience: "So I'm mixing up a batch of plaster and there's sexy Jimi just bigger than the room itself with his presence..."
posted by madamjujujive at 5:06 PM on March 31, 2007


also, setting fire to his guitar, along with playing behind his back and with his teeth, are things he came to rue having done intensely. he was a groundbreaking guitar master, but felt like a clown having to repeat those gimmicks at every show in order to satisfy the fans.
posted by quonsar at 5:08 PM on March 31, 2007


I can think of tons examples of exploding guitars from 80s schlock metal bands

best one like that i saw involved no pyrotechnics. the scorpions did this with an ice sculpted guitar that shattered into thousands of slivers. under the stage lights it looked cool as hell. rock me like a hurricane...
posted by quonsar at 5:14 PM on March 31, 2007


Great post. Thanks. I've found myself watching a lot of Hendrix lately. PBS ran some Hendrix at Woodstock recently for fund-raising and I grabbed it on TIVO. It was wild watching it with my 15-year old daughter, the bass player. She was properly dismissive of my old-fashioned music taste, but she did pay attention when I pointed out some of Jimi's techniques, such as playing independent base lines on the E and A strings with his wrapped-over thumb.
posted by mmahaffie at 5:42 PM on March 31, 2007


And from the ashes... (YouTube)
posted by hal9k at 5:42 PM on March 31, 2007


Liam has got them all beat.
posted by ZachsMind at 5:50 PM on March 31, 2007


it's a shame that the 'anonymity' of the internet and youtube.com allows people to post such horrible things about a baby, including the desire to see me ram the guitar down his throat, or that they wish to see harm done to the kid.

how depressing
posted by pyramid termite at 6:40 PM on March 31, 2007


Regarding the auction of Hendrix's charred guitar (featured in hal9k's ashes link), there's also this article. There's this interesting article from Rolling Stone, on rock memorabilia austion sales in general. But I've been unable to find anything on the net concerning just how much that burnt Strat went for, if it sold at all...

I chuckled at the newscaster from hal9k's link, though, who didn't know how to pronounce Stratocaster. Came out like: "Strat-oh. Caster."
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:44 PM on March 31, 2007


I must admit, I was really surprised to learn that Hendrix was a Cylon (spoilers!)
posted by homunculus at 7:38 PM on March 31, 2007


Did anyone mention Ace Frehley yet? He used to do some fire stuff to his Les Paul. He's ugly too.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 8:14 PM on March 31, 2007


Dizzy writes "Are there any other examples of musicians setting fire to their instruments?"

The Crazy World of Arthur Brown used to set fire to his head. As a vocalist, his instrument was his voice so I suppose that counts?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:36 AM on April 1, 2007


And this Arthur Brown vid shouldn't be missed. The concert footage is, well, Arthur Brown (in a mask!), and the interview footage is like, well, Spinal Tap.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:52 AM on April 1, 2007


And here's the Flaming Headed One in full flaming action.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:56 AM on April 1, 2007


I WAS THERE. At the Slough Adelphi, on April 28th. The bill was pretty weird at the time, I thought, but then I'd gone to see Hendrix. He was great, taking into account the feeble sound systems of the day which were often drowned out by the screaming girls.
It's great to see this post because I keep thinking that I'd imagined that bill.
posted by rolo at 6:34 AM on April 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


Are there any other examples of musicians setting fire to their instruments?

I thought for sure that this was a Segovia fan favorite, but it could be that I hallucinated that.
posted by psmealey at 6:52 AM on April 1, 2007


Are there any other examples of musicians setting fire to their instruments?

legend has it that jerry lee lewis set his piano on fire at least once
posted by pyramid termite at 7:11 AM on April 1, 2007


jerry lee lewis set his piano on fire at least once

Goodness gracious!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:18 AM on April 1, 2007


LOL
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 10:28 AM on April 1, 2007


... and it breaks my heart to see those stars smashing a perfectly good guitar ....
posted by Afroblanco at 11:59 AM on April 1, 2007


"That's a really weird bill. He appeared with Englebert whosis?"
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 8:01 PM on March 31


"indeed. a more mismatched bill i cannot imagine."
posted by quonsar at 8:04 PM on March 31


Well, guys, you might be surprised to learn that Jimi spent a lot of time in 1967 as an opening act for The Monkees.

True dat.
posted by paulsc at 2:57 PM on April 1, 2007


There's a story about one of Rory Gallagher's shows. In his brothers words -

During the final number, due to the intense heat from the audience coupled with the unstoppable energy on stage plus some over zealous lighting, Ted McKenna's drums caught fire, giving the crowd an impromptu pyrotechnic display
posted by TwoWordReview at 4:54 PM on April 1, 2007




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