Janie Hendrix Interview
By Anne Brodie Oct 31, 2013, 22:51 GMT
American Masters: Jimi Hendrix - Hear My Train A Comin' -- Tuesday, November 5, 2013, 9-11 p.m. (ET) on PBS, same day as previously unreleased "Jimi Hendrix Experience: Miami Pop Festival" CD & vinyl set.
Next month a documentary featuring new archival footage and new music will be released by the Jimi Hendrix Estate. His sister Janie runs all aspects of the estate and keeps a tight hold over her brother’s image and legacy. Monsters and Critics spoke with Janie about Jimi’s far reaching influence and she protects it and what he means to us today.
The documentary raises so many emotions. What was it like for you making it?
It’s bittersweet in a lot of ways. I’m very excited to see him and having him come home and then there’s sadness because I’m like you’re not here anymore experience all the events that have happened. I really do miss him. Family events, hanging out, just talking or spending time. He was a good brother. He was 18 years older a lot and it was almost like a dad relationship, eighteen years and sometimes people have kids at 18 very protective and endearing and sweet and then there’s also a playful side to him. He had a childlike heart. He was shy. I would see it when people interviewed him or around people he didn’t know very well. He was very much an introvert in many ways. He talked softly, kind of unsure of different words or expressions. When he was a young kid he stuttered, it made him speak that way. But his music was expressive, he made incredible sounds. Some are eerie, some melodic, or sweet and then violent, in some ways.
Jimi Hendrix performing at the Royal Albert Hall, London, England (February 18, 1969). Photo Credit: Graham F. Page / EMP Museum / Authentic Hendrix, LLC
Jimi Hendrix literally changed the life of a generation of fans. His music changed everything. When were you aware of what he meant?
When Jimi called us (from London) to say he made it to the big time and he was changing name of spelling of his name to Jimi we had a feeling. It was great being there and being part of it. We lived in a triplex and one night there was music coming through the walls and it sounded like Jimi. My mother went next door to the “hippie girls” as we called them and asked what they were listening to. It was Are You Experienced? She said “Oh my God, that’s my son!” So they gave her the album and bought another one.
A friend tells me he saw Jimi perform in Toronto and that there were six Marshall Amps, an amp for every string!
Oh yes. His sound was massive, that’s what he talks about as the electric church. That wasn’t just a word or sentence but an experience that flows through your bones and soul. It infiltrates your being and the way you’re going to have this is to have these amps for every string.
Jimi’s look was amazing. He dressed with scarves and feathers even back playing the Chitlin Circuit in 1963.
It may seem odd to you but my grandmother was a vaudeville dancer and singer, and with her attire she had big hats with feathers and boas and velvets and trinkets and shiny things.
You’ve released a new album from Jimi Hendrix after all these years. Is the music from the final recording sessions the summer of 1970?
It’s actually more than just 1970; we combined a couple of concerts. It’s amazing. And the footage form the concert is pristine and so clear and we see new versions of songs which always interests me. People say “I know that song”. And I say “But you haven’t heard it like this!”
The family has been extremely cautious about protecting Jimi’s reputation and estate for many years. Why did you approve the American Masters project?
I trust the filmmakers. They didn’t get to just run with it. I was there for 80 percent even during all the interviews. And when I was a little girl I was always there when dad was being interviewed. I was completely involved. I had worked closely with Bob Smeaton before and several documentaries. I wrote out questions for the interviewees and talked with them and met them.
How is the estate run?
There is Experience Hendrix and Authentic Hendrix. The first covers the music and synching and the mechanical aspects and posthumous releases and CDs and making sure the trademark is in place. Authentic Hendrix is the merchandise.
Is it strictly a family business?
Half of the company was family but since then a few have retired. My cousin who appears in the film passed away and he was Vice President so I have a couple of relatives who work for the company. But no more just because it makes it kind of difficult at times. With family there’s a division you enter work doors, not family. With family it’s not work. And that’s a skill. Some can’t separate the two and entitlement and nepotism and all of this stupid stuff that goes on. Unfortunately some family members could offer a lot of but you can’t fire them. There would be animosity.
Jimi’s image and music is everywhere. Does it constantly remind you of your dear brother and make you sad?
For the most part, it’s wonderful. It’s like he’s all around me always present his music his visuals hi feel like he’s really happy as far as what’s going on. All he wanted was for people to hear his music and experience it and understand it and he just wanted it to be out there.