“What pervades every page [is] a man thoroughly alive.”
“A confiding, funny, and wrenching memoir of a life lived on the edge and passionately devoted to music and freedom. Here is Hendrix unmediated . . . [Illuminates] the stories behind his songs and now-legendary performances, and the surreal highs and lows of touring and stardom.”
“The virtue of this book is its revelation of the restless, curious, creative, self-contradictory mind of a musical genius as he grappled with fame, fellow musicians, inspiration, doubt and life under the competing spotlights of adulation and criticism. A must read..”
It took just four years in the spotlight for Jimi Hendrix to become an international cultural icon. The sheer impact and originality of his music and his unique mastery of the guitar placed him forever amongst musical giants. But what of the man behind the public image?
Modest and intensely private by nature, Jimi was shrouded in intrigue from the moment he first came into the public eye, and the mystery has only grown with time.
Much has been written about him by experts, fans, and critics, some of it true and some of it not. He did, however, leave his own account of himself, locked away like a Chinese puzzle in his many interviews, lyrics, writings, poems, diaries, and even stage raps.
Starting at Zero: His Own Story brings all these elements together in narrative form. The result is an intimate, funny, and poetic memoir-one that tells, for the first time, Jimi's own story as only he could tell it.
The lyricism and rhythm of Jimi Hendrix’s writing will be of no surprise to his fans. Hendrix wrote prolifically throughout his life and he left behind a trove of scribbled-on hotel stationary, napkins, and cigarette cartons. Starting at Zero weaves the scraps and bits together fluidly with interviews and lyrics.
Here for the first time we see a continuous narrative of the artist’s life, from birth through to the final four years of his life, and the result is a beautifully poetic memoir as smooth as Hendrix’s finest songs.
The pieces of Starting at Zero came together in large part because of the inspiration of Alan Douglas. Douglas first met Jimi Hendrix backstage at Woodstock, and soon after became Hendrix’s producer and close friend. In creating the book he joined forces with documentary filmmaker Peter Neal, who edited Hendrix’s writing with the reverence and light touch it deserved.
The basic outlines of the artist's life come through: He was born in Seattle in 1942 of African-American and Cherokee heritage. His mother died when he was 10. Shy and eccentric even as a child, Hendrix's difference and rebellious nature made for an awkward fit in school, and he dropped out at 16.
After a brush with the law, he joined the U.S. 101st Airborne but was discharged early owing to an accident, the effects of which he played up, he claimed, since he'd had enough of the Army. His self-education in the blues as a guitarist in bands in the South and New York City led to a steady gig with Little Richard, but the flamboyant bandleader chafed at Hendrix's style, which threatened to outshine him on the stage.
Never interested in stark borders or hard definitions, while living in Harlem, Hendrix was attracted to the folk scene in Greenwich Village, particularly to an off-key singing poet named Bob Dylan. With two dimes in his pocket, he accepted an invitation to try his luck in the blues and rock cauldron of London.
The virtue of Staring at Zero is its revelation of the restless, curious, creative, self-contradictory mind of a musical genius as he grappled with fame, fellow musicians, inspiration, doubt and life under the competing spotlights of adulation and criticism.
It is a short book about a short life that ended long before its author, who died at age 27, had a chance to reflect on events with the benefit of hindsight. As a result, the reading experience feels intimate and immediate, written and spoken by a thoughtful and articulate artist.
We see his thoughts during times of feast, famine, and fame—frozen at the original moment, and becoming palpably more abstract and ethereal as drug use took a larger and larger role in his life.
Starting at Zero: His Own Story is an essential primary source for any devoted Hendrix fan, but it also will appeal to those starting a deep dive into this icon.
The PERFECT pairing with Starting at Zero is the incredible photography book, The Experience: Jimi Hendrix at Mason's Yard
Jimi Hendrix (1942-1970) was one of the most important musicians of the 20th century.
Alan Douglas is a record producer who produced many of Hendrix's posthumous releases. He was a friend and adviser to the musician during his lifetime.
Peter Neal is a documentary film director, whose credits include the 1968 Hendrix short documentary Experience.
Ella Fitzgerald: 100 Songs For A Centennial features 100 of the First Lady of Song's most popular...
A painting is music you can see, and music is a painting you can hear.
— Miles Davis
Man, you should hear the painting in this incredible book! But what else would you expect from Miles Davis?
One of the most influential musicians of the twentieth century, Davis was a man of many talents. Around 1980, he turned to sketching and painting to, as he explained, keep his "mind occupied with something when [he was] not playing music."
This hobby quickly turned into a serious passion, and Davis approached it with the same obsessive creativity he applied to music. The result is an impressive archive of unique and evocative visual work showcasing the varied skill of this legendary artist.
Throughout the 1980s, Davis studied regularly with New York painter Jo Gelbard, developing a distinct graphic style. Incorporating bright colors and geometric shapes, his art is reminiscent of work by Pablo Picasso as well as African tribal art, the historical influences he cited during occasional interviews on the subject.
Author Scott Gutterman sat down with Miles Davis himself before he died in 1991, and the artist's own commentary accompanies this newly published, remarkable showcase of his work.
Sadly, very few of his pieces were exhibited during Miles Davis's lifetime. Over the last two decades, the Estate of Miles Davis has worked with gallery owners and private parties to assemble a comprehensive collection of the musician's artwork.
Many celebrities are among the most adamant collectors, including Quincy Jones, who offers the Foreword to the book. Davis' daughter, Cheryl writer the Afterward.
In November, the City of Los Angeles presented members of Davis' family with a proclamation in recognition of Miles Davis: The Collected Artwork.
This long-overdue celebration is a treasure for art lovers as well as music aficionados who will appreciate the window into the life of this creative genius.
Listen to this great Tavis Smiley interview with Miles son, Erin, and his nephew, Vincent Wilburn, Jr. about Miles Davis: The Collected Artwork.
So. Very. Cool!
Be sure to scroll to the very bottom of this page and check out the review by James Neel, composer, musician, graduate of the University of North Texas' famous jazz school and a true Milesophile. Just a taste: "Over two hundred pages of gorgeous art, art, art, push Miles Davis further up and beyond his legendary perch overlooking his peers...The pages sing. They are structured improvisations."
Quincy Jones is an American record producer, conductor, arranger, film composer, television producer, and trumpeter. He lives in Los Angeles.
Vince Wilburn, Jr. is the nephew of Miles Davis. He lives in Los Angeles. Erin Davis is Miles Davis' son and Cheryl Davis is Miles Davis' daughter. They live in Los Angeles and Henderson, NV, respectively.
Eleanora Fagan, a.k.a. Billie Holiday, a.k.a. Lady Day, was born on April 7, 1915. Working...