Sept. 18: The Day Jimi Died



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Maybe I'm a cynic but most times, choices are about the Benjamins, and I bet this is another case of that - tho you'd never know it from Janie's answers here.

And, there's nothing wrong with that. Its fairly well known that Leo was 'frugal,' Gibson, not as much. And both arrived many times to the party with superior, unique, inspirational guitars. Throughout the wrangling I'm sure this family went thru - there's plenty I don't have a right or a need to hear about. But I wouldn't mind a real, true, complete answer from someone in her position. One who is in a position to justly enjoy the fruits of battle and do Jimi proud, gives us: 'they used the guitar Jimi painted' and 'Gibson is continuing his practice of giving back.' What - did Fender say, 'NO - NO Soup for you!' And, well, Fender didn't use the guitar Jimi painted - but I bet they would.

Come on. The Electric Church - what a great symbol Janie brings back for us - man, oh man: BUT that Church was built with Fender Guitars. There is no more iconic picture of an Artist with his Axe than Jimi with his Strat. I have a photo of Jimi with my favorite, a Jazzmaster - most COOL, but not THE six string we know him for.

I'm gonna take a wild guess, say that back during that battle Janie references from '92 to '95 - a savvy Gibson employee took some smart initiative, picked a side or covered at least this base and helped these guys out financially in anticipation of their success, and involving them wisely in the Flying V. Sure, that was practically a 'cannot lose' for Gibson, and again: nuttin wrong wit dat: Business 101 - and it sure has paid off now. Talk about damned by faint praise, there is no praise - no mention at all - of the Fender 'brushes' Jimi used on virtually ALL of his art. I know Janie wasn't asked about Jimi's actual instruments - but the interviewer took great pains to get right at the heart of the issue with the first two GW entries: Why Gibson? Whose jaw didn't drop when it was announced that Gibson was the manufacturer of the new, unprecedented Jimi Hendrix guitar model?

I think the crux of it is that there's something in me with this anyway - something that wants honesty and the whole, true story. Jimi gave us his soul, I have no right to ask that of his sister, but I guess I kinda expected it. Here, please - No Enrons, or Madoff's or what's seen as the norm for Corporate America. No 'spin' on this one. And if I'm wrong, and missed some story somewhere that Fender offered an insulting deal, a split lessened by the knowledge that their name was so associated with the Master - I'd be very sorry. If they couldn't put together the better package, and the owners of the legacy felt sure it would deliver the most to the most - whether it be a charity they supported in his name, an Axe that could inspire millions to create using his influence - well, that would be shame on Fender, and a 'boy I gotta get my head outta the sand,' but I haven't seen that.

Hey - good for Gibson, bad for Fender: A Winner and A Loser in the Classic "Coke vs Pepsi" Big Business vein. Probably an Harvard Business School Study Lesson in there somewhere.

AND please know that I have nothing against Janie, the family, the great victory won, should have won from all I've heard - I have nothing but respect and admiration for all Jimi did, is doing now, can and will do under their stewardship. And there's lots else to factor in, I also really wonder if we really need ANOTHER Fender Tribute Strat,
and I dunno, maybe Gibson has better marketing, is better poised to deliver the new, unprecedented Jimi model. As a instrument to take it where Jimi might have, if he were here as he should be, to take it somewhere else, the next level - Fender might have it on that one, if you ask me. Full disclosure: I use Fenders mostly and I do because I like their products, not because I don't like Gibsons - Gibsons are fine fine, great even, products. But sure, you could say you felt Gibson looked better from that angle.

No, I just get the feeling that you've whistled in my ear and said it was windy, eh? (damn, was that a weak substitution or what?) I'm thinkin' maybe Gibson backed the winning team, and/or just made the better deal. I really don't know who would better honor Jimi's legacy with their product, or provide inspiration to guitarists of all ages - or make more money for any cause in his name. On this, maybe we'll never know, and I'm not sure why I think I have the right to .... but I do ...

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