Ace Frehley Discusses the Jimi Hendrix Experience's 'Are You Experienced?' - The Record That Changed My Life

The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Are You Experienced? (1967)

“I was about 16 when I first heard it. I remember walking around with it all the time. I brought it to school with me and showed it to everyone. I brought it to band rehearsals. I lived with that album until someone ripped it off at a party. Of course, I went right out and bought another one. My guitar style was modeled after a lot of musicians, and Hendrix was definitely one of them. But even more than the music, what really influenced me was his attitude: the way he dressed, the way he looked. He was so anti-establishment, and nobody wrote music like him. I loved "Are You Experienced" and "Purple Haze." He wrote about LSD, he wrote about sex and drugs and rock and roll and what was going on at the time. It was all about rebellion. He was so radical and ahead of his time that it just swallowed him up.

“I got a chance to meet him when I was 18. I snuck backstage at his last New York appearance at Randall’s Island and they ended up putting me to work with the road crew. Back then, they didn’t have laminates or heads of security, and if you looked like you belonged with the band, they let you go backstage. I had hair down to my waist, lemon-yellow hot pants and a black T-shirt with a snakeskin star on it, so they let me in. But after a while, they were like, ‘Who is this fuckin’ guy?’ But before they kicked me out, they said, ‘Can you do anything?’ and they put me to work setting up Mitch Mitchell’s drums and working on the stage when Jimi was playing. It was bizarre.”

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