In a way, Jimi Hendrix is more of a character than a man. He’s a superpower who came from far away, from another planet, where melody is a language and riffs can be summoned beyond the confines of six strings. How else do you reconcile the greatest guitarist in history and his incomparable talents?
Well, this mythological notion is one that would have pleased even the humble Hendrix. Besides the melodies, he wanted to weave a second love into his music: science fiction. Anthems like “Purple Haze” are straight out of this colorful realm.
The anthem was born when the guitar hero had a dream in which he was walking under the sea in a cloud of purple haze, which was directly inspired by reading the book by Philip José Farmer night of light. The book’s synopsis reads: “Every seven years, a world orbiting a binary star is bathed in a bizarre glow that rearranges physical reality.” This bizarre glow is described in the book as a “purple haze.”
Hendrix was already mixing his own otherworldly influences and spooky experiences into songs. However, there was one event that was too grand and awe-inspiring to fit into a six-minute track. And so Hendrix got busy with a screenplay. The movie would be called moondust, and it would tell the story of how Hendrix encountered a UFO in his childhood.
One night, Hendrix was looking out the back window of his old Washington state home with his brother Leon. What they saw that night would stay with them forever. Some mysterious lights whizzed across the sky leaving them both stunned. Since Hendrix is such a big fan of Flash Gordon that he insisted on being called Buster Crabbe, that sci-fi phenomenon was manna from heaven.
Of course he moved on from that moment, but his impact never left him in a creative sense. He’s always been obsessed with somehow taking his music further and exploring a space beyond the norm. He wanted to do the same with the screenplay, which unfortunately never materialized, moondust.
The handwritten script was scrawled by Hendrix between 1969 and 1970. In a rock opera that combined the powerful effects of rock ‘n’ roll music with otherworldly encounters, the truly original work would be a film like no other. Featuring scenes where an “innocent little girl” hears a rock band for the first time while carefully hiding behind the rock and imagines the music as dragons and mystical beasts dueling in the air, the imaginative screenplay offers one great insight into the mind of Hendrix himself.
In the 38-page journey, lights flash over alien fields, Arabian tents reveal mystical connections, and a host of other stratospheric developments unfold. Unfortunately, however, Hendrix would die before he could expand his vision beyond the bare bones of his imaginative mind. Nonetheless, it sheds a light on the innocence and adventure that have colored his rock with a healthy sense of depth that is often lost in the high-wire stories of his torturous life.
What some people may see as a mystical trend, Hendrix isn’t alone in seeing megastars see bright lights in the night sky – he joins Elvis Presley, John Lennon, Black Francis, Lemmy, Sun Ra, Keith Richards and others, when he cites heavenly sightings. In fact, there is even a community that has wondered if the Martians they met conveyed messages in the music of these numina.
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