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I've always been very wordy; I've got a great vocabulary. In England, they teach you words. Over here, they don't seem to do that -- or people don't want to learn them.
In truth, if you lived next door to us in those days, you probably would've never stopped to see if your lawn was dead -- you would've just moved out because of the fu..ing racket. Basically, I wanted to be the MC5, playing fast, loud rock'n'roll. We were never a metal band. Judas Priest and Black Sabbath were metal, but we were never like them.
I got busted for drugs in Canada in 1975, but it was more that I was messing with the wrong drugs. Everybody was doing acid; I was just doing speed with it, too. Even in the drug culture, there was this snobbery: Oh, you're taking that awful speed? Well, fu.. off, then. I can't be bothered with people's class awareness.
I was living with these three girls. One of them picked up [Hawkwind keyboardist] Dik Mik one night and brought him back to the flat. We got talking and realized we had a mutual interest in seeing how long amphetamines could make the human body jump about without stopping. He brought me into the band as his pill-popping buddy. They said, "Who plays bass?" And Dik Mik went, "He does." I'd never picked one up in my life. Hawkwind was a complete blitz: We had projectors shooting images all over the place, fireworks going off, nude dancers -- we were fu..ing fierce. We'd dose the audience with acid, lock the doors so they couldn't leave, then send them into epileptic fits with subsonic frequencies and strobes. Those were the days. I would never have left if they hadn't fired me.
I'd get ten tabs, and he'd take seven and give me three, which I thought was very reasonable. He was great, a perfect old-school gentleman: If a girl came in the room, he'd shoot to his feet. If you wanted to see some athletic fu..ing, Jimi was the boy for it. I'd never seen anything like it: There were always lines of chicks going nuts outside his dressing room. It was like, Take a number and wait. (On Jimi Hendrix)
In 1967, I was 21, and the only guy I knew in London was Neville Chester, a roadie who worked with the Who. I rang him up and said, "Can I crash on your floor?" He was sharing a flat with [Hendrix bassist] Noel Redding. So when Hendrix needed an extra guy, I was right there. To see Hendrix play was magic -- the things he did with a guitar have not been equaled to this day: He played rhythm and lead at the same time, under his leg, behind his neck, behind his back, left and right, upside down -- fu..ing amazing. God bless Eddie Van Halen, he's nowhere near. Hendrix did it all, and when he died, it stopped.
I remember playing Conway Twitty's record "It's Only Make Believe" over and over, wondering, "How do they get that sound?" Elvis inspired my sideburns, but Little Richard inspired me for vocals. He had the purest, most joyous rock'n'roll voice. And he liked a little booty, didn't he? He certainly wasn't into girls -- he was the king and queen of rock'n'roll. There was great music then, and it all seems to have gone to sh.. now. I know it sounds like I'm an old, miserable, crotchety bastard -- and believe me, I am -- but it's true. It's much more fun to be full of hope than pessimism, any day of the week.
I saw the Beatles play the Cavern in Liverpool when I was 16. They had attitude: Onstage, they were like a four-headed monster.
When I saw Buddy Holly play in 1958, I was there looking for girls. At that age, you want to get laid. I saw this English rock singer, Billy Fury, and he was surrounded by all these chicks rubbing his crotch. I thought, "That's the fu..ing job for me!" I took a guitar to school and was immediately surrounded by women. I couldn't play it, but with all due respect, you do have to learn a couple of chords eventually. Not too many, though -- that can ruin you.
Being In Love
Middle School Graduation
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