We think of Jimi Hendrix as a psychedelic mastermind, but his trippy imagery actually had a more scientific starting point. According to a new biographer, Hendrix was hooked on science fiction, and his song "Purple Haze" is based on SF.
Brad Schreiber, co-author of a new Hendrix autobiography called Becoming Jimi Hendrix: From Southern Crossroads to Psychedelic London, the Untold Story of a Musical Genius, talked to MediaBistro's Jason Boog about Hendrix's inspirations. And apparently, Hendrix was a self-avowed "science fiction junkie" who had a trunk full of science fiction books that he kept with him. He'd been obsessed with science fiction since he was a little kid, going to see Buster Crabbe's Flash Gordon serials — in fact, he used to draw science fiction art and his nickname was Buster, after Crabbe.
And one of his biggest influences was the novel Night Of Light by Philip José Farmer. Schreiber tells MediaBistro:
Night of Light was a science fiction book that in 1966 inspired Jimi to eventually write 'Purple Haze.' Farmer's story had to do with sunspots having a disorienting effect on a distant planet's population. Jimi wrote pages and pages of lyrics for 'Purple Haze,' originally an epic tale of the history of warfare for the control of the planet Neptune.
I wonder if those lyrics are still around somewhere.