Was Jimi Hendrix that great?


Hendrix performing on the Dutch television show Hoepla in 1967

     I have had many conversations about Jimi throughout the years. There are those who laud his playing, and those who deeply criticize him. Myself, however, have a different opinion on Mr. Hendrix.

     I believe that Jimi played the heart and soul. He felt the music coursing throughout his every fiber and was able to bring that out through his writing and playing, and that was good enough.

     I don’t feel he was the greatest or most technical player. I feel that he felt the guitar talking to him and he listened to it and not the limitations the musical world had imposed, and that was good enough.

     I have said before and I stand by it, music lives within all of us, some of us listen, and some hit the mute button. Jimi turned it up to 15 and beyond. You can see the magic in his live performances. When Jimi, Mitch Mitchell, and Noel Redding took the stage it was a spectacle to behold.

     In conclusion, Jimi was not the greatest guitarist ever (I don’t think that title can ever be granted to one guitarist) but he did pave the way for others to realize it was ok to experiment and take their music to new levels. He influenced so many guitarists that I to think he is a legendary guitarist but not the best ever.

     If you want to see musicians truly lost in their craft check out this video for “Purple Haze”. Put it on the big screen, turn it up as loud as you can, and stare into their faces, you’ll see what I mean:

     Be true to the music within, it your friend that will be with you no matter what.

     it’s loud, it’s dirty, it’s ROCK N’ ROLL!!!

   -the Hellion

PET PEEVES: Who’s your favorite/best guitarist?


There are so many polls, questions, battles, etc., etc., on who’s the best guitarist. I feel that this is a question that can never be truly asked or answered. In my opinion each and every guitarist that I listen to is distinctly different. I often wonder what Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, Zakk Wylde, Tony Iommi, Dimebag, Randy Rhoads, and many more, would think (or would have thought) of all of these comparisons. For me, there is such joy in the diversity of styles in rock n’ roll. If everyone tried to sound like each other what would be the point? I say enjoy the bad ass guitarists that are out there and do yourself a favor and seek out the new crop of players that are trying their hardest to be heard. I just had to put this out there after seeing all of the recent polls and battles out there. Now, let’s talk about some  axe slingers you should be listening to.

     Justin Manning:


Justin is the guitarist for the band Crowned By Fire. Incredible riffs, blinding speed, and a certain uniqueness in style make Justin a player to watch. check Justin and Crowned By Fire in the video for “Witch In The Window” : 

 Redd Yoachum:


Redd is the lead guitarist for Scattered Hamlet. Redd plays with an old soul. He makes you feel the music that he plays, his passion fills your ears with sonic joy. I feel the guitar heroes who have passed on are smiling down on Redd. Here is the live version of “Skeleton Dixie”: 

 Craw Cajun:


Craw is the guitarist for All Hail The Yeti. Craw is another one of those guitarists that when they play it gets right into your soul. All Hail The Yeti’s self titled release  was my top CD for 2012. This is a band on the move and Craw is a player headed for legendary status. Check out Craw’s playing in “The Art Of Mourning” : 

These are but three of my favorite guitarists that I feel should be getting more attention in the world. If you have any by all means bring to my attention! You can reach me at janaya64@msn.com or on facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/theHellionRocks

it’s loud, it’s dirty, it’s ROCK N’ ROLL!

the Hellion


I have a good friend who truly knows the meaning of family, Ish Garcia. This man sacrifices for his family by working out of the country to earn a living in this hard economic time. When he does get the opportunity to spend time at home he makes the best of it by giving back by sharing his passion for music with his family. I truly believe in the healing power of music as does he, Ish uses the power of music to help his autistic son “Matt The Cat”. I got Ish to take some of his rare time to answer a few questions:

1. When did you first fall in love with music?

Ish: I have always loved music, since a baby , really. In love, maybe after I heard and bought a Hendrix album Axis Bold As Love, after that ,I realized I couldn’t go a day without some kind of music.

2.  What is it about music that touches you?

Ish:  Music just gets inside,- lyrics, rhythm, it just depends on the song.

3.  What do you do to support you favorite bands?

Ish: Support ?- Buy the Album-whole album , not just the one you like on the radio, buy the album that’s why they made an album,I’m pretty sure the song are strung together for a reason. Also, buy a shirt, usually bands I like /love have cool merch for sale. Buy a ticket for the show and see ’em live!!! Share that shit with all your friends. Hope fully the small bands you like will make it, like Guns N’ Roses or Alice in Chains, Pantera , they all started doing small gigs and then bang, I would like to witness it first hand.

4.  Tell us about some of your favorite bands and your passion for music.

Ish: Jimi Hendrix – Guitar god great lyrics, His cover songs are better than the originals themselves-in my opinion Black Sabbath-Ozzy and Dio for me undecided…,c’mon its Sabbath, need I say more Ozzy-its like crack for my ears Zeppelin, to me its real rock n roll to me a blue print of what rock and roll should sound like. Alice in chains-Lyrics, the sound of Layne and Jerry together , chunky riffs.What is grunge ? Black Label Society-Everything I love all rolled into one-Doom, chunky riffs-blues, melody To me music is magical or spiritual and powerful, its in the air ,it’s a time machine. even when you cant see it, you can feel it, it can make you feel strong when your weak, inspire you, calm you down. I believe music is a super natural living thing, a gift to us. I couldn’t see a world without it. My wife is the one who really introduced me to Alice in Chains, and I’m so grateful. And as far as BLS, I gotta hear at least one song a day, and I have to blow out my ear drums with it.

5. Tell us a little about “Matt The Cat”

Ish: We took him to his first big( not local) concert and meet n greet. in 07 velvet revolver he loved slash from rock band. and then liked guns and roses, they were all cool to him, he got Duffs sweat band at the end of the show. I notice a big difference with Matt when we go to Black Label shows in particular, he’s dressed like everyone, so he feels “in” and true BL family show him respect. He loves the music , he gets exited when we tell him Black Labels in town. He can act like himself without being judged. Taking him to the meet n greets and concerts and seeing him be happy is priceless.

Thanks Ish, you have my utmost respect and love.

the Hellion


One of my favorite guitar effects is the wah pedal.



We all know and love the work of the man Jimi Hendrix. His use of the wah pedal set the bar for guitarists to come. So let’s look at some of the standouts:


Zakk Wylde on Ozzy’s “Gets Me Through”

Zakk has carried on the torch of melodic playing yet with brutality. His use of the wah in this makes this song stand out as one of Zakk’s best.


Jeff Beck on Jeff Beck Group’s  “I Ain’t Superstitious”

Jeff takes a classic blues song and makes it magic. Slow down, put on some headphones and just listen to the magic.


Dimebag Darrell on Pantera’s “A New Level”

I couldn’t leave the man off of this list. Listen to the artwork in this track and just smile in its glory.


Jimmy Page on Led Zeppelin’s “No Quarter”

The haunting music in this track is very well suited for Jimmy’s use of the wah. This one has taken me to far away places in my mind on many occasions.


Slash on Guns N Roses’s “Sweet Child O Mine”

Slash is one of my favorite guitarists plain and simple. Listen to the swagger of this song and get it all over you.



This list is by far incomplete. There are so many more to listen to so help me out!

the Hellion





I was talking to a friend today and he asked me what I thought were the five best bass performances in Rock N’ Roll. Hmmm… hard  question but I’ll give my opinion on it and see what happens. I love the bass and the weight that it gives to Rock music. So let’s check it out. Keep in mind these are in no particular order they are just the five that stand above the others.


The aggressiveness of Cliff’s playing style in the intro to this song amazes me to this day. I will always remain in awe of him and wonder what more he would have given to us. Enjoy and remember:


The way John carries the song’s intro is magnificent. John’s solid performance style and coolness when he was laying down massive bass lines will forever influence bass players for years to come. Look at his hands, watch and listen:


What can I say, utter brilliance here. The riff is as iconic as any guitar riff. Geezer carries this song with majesty, a lot of bass players learn this bass line and try to honor it. I have seen Geezer play it live and it is just as magnificent as it is on record. Listen and get lost:


Just listen to the bass line and you’ll hear why it is included. Billy was an amazing player period. If you’ve never heard of him look up his stuff and prepare to get blown away.:


Steve Harris and his monster bass runs make him one the most inspiring bassists in rock history. (Besides if I didn’t include Steve Eddie’s Mates would lynch me). I have always been inspired by Steve’s playing style. This is for you Eddie’s Mates:

By no means is this a complete list. There are so many more to list. These five however, jumped into my mind immediately. Please give me YOUR input!

the Hellion

PART ONE: Guitarists that we have lost, and what do you think could have happened?


We have lost far too many Rockers before their time due to various reasons. It is my intent to talk about their contributions to and what they might have contributed had they lived. Because there are so many, we will focus on four guitarists tonight.



James Marshall “Jimi” Hendrix (born Johnny Allen Hendrix; November 27, 1942 – September 18, 1970) was ahead of his time. He took playing to an all new level and combined great stage presence. He was also an innovator in the studio as well, I remember talking to a studio engineer once who told me that one thing the did in the studio for Jimi was to lower his amplifier down an elevator shaft  and then suspended a microphone above it to capture a unique sound. I often wonder what direction Jimi would have taken had he lived, and what modern guitarists would sound like. Here are my two favorite Jimi Hendrix tracks:

“Waterfall (May This Be Love)”:

“Stone Free”:



Thomas Richard “Tommy” Bolin (August 1, 1951 – December 4, 1976) remains one of my favorite guitarists to this day. Tommy, in my opinion, is so underrated as a player. How many other guitarists do you know that have replaced both Joe Walsh AND Ritchie Blackmore? Tommy did both, he replaced Joe in the James Gang from 1973 to 1974, and Ritchie in Deep Purple from 1975 to 1976. My favorite remains his solo work. Tommy, like Jimi before him, was ahead of his time in playing style, effects usage, hairstyles, and fashion.  There is always the thought in my mind as to what greatness Tommy could have progressed into. Do yourself a favor and check out Tommy’s stuff!


“Post Toastee”


Randall William Rhoads (December 6, 1956 – March 19, 1982) I was fortunate to have seen Randy in concert with Ozzy a few months before his tragic passing. It was awesome to say the least. Randy was so fluid on stage, and his playing, flawless. The style with which he played showed his classical skill. His passing during his stellar rise shocked us all. The influence Randy had on today’s guitarists can still be heard. What more could he have given us? Where would rock guitar be if he was still with us?

Randy Solos:

“Lost solo”:


Darrell Lance Abbott (August 20, 1966 – December 8, 2004), also known as Diamond Darrell and Dimebag Darrell. When Dime hit the scene EVERYONE noticed. Here was another young guitar player with AWESOME chops. Together with Pantera, his in your face style of playing gave hope to ROCK N’ Rollers everywhere. The onstage murder of Dime shocked the world and left us in awe and disbelief. Although Pantera seemed on the outs, Dime and Damageplan were poised to take over. I know the world will always wonder how much more there was in Dime’s bag of tricks. I feel that as a player he would have continued to grow and influence others.  Let’s listen to a couple of tracks from Dime that are not normally heard:

“Fractured Mirror”:

Rebel Meets Rebel “Nothin’ to Lose”

Four guitarists we lost far too soon!! Listen to them and gain influence from them. We will never let them fade away!

Happy Birthday Brother Dime! We love you now, and always!