I was flipping through the “new arrival” bins of used LPs at Spin Street when four teenage girls, all looking about fifteen, showed up to paw through the albums too. I heard one excitedly tell the others she found a Herman Hermits LP. My first thought was how did a 2013 teen even know about a 1963 teenybopper group? I was mildly annoyed at these little girls because they had gone over to the used Rock section, the place I wanted to go next. So I went to where the used Jazz section used to be, and I discovered that Spin Street had moved the used jazz LPs or done away with them. So I went to new Rock section, which was now was much larger than before, covering up where a third of the used rock records used to be. LPs really must be making a comeback.
I was surprised at the flock of girls in the LP section, a room at the back of the store away from everything else. I assumed their parents were out front, because they didn’t look old enough to drive, but I could be wrong. I’m used to seeing old geezers like me time traveling through these dusty bins, and sometimes I even saw some hipster thirty-somethings, but never vinyl record buyers this young.
So while the girls were looking exactly where I came to shop, I contented myself to look through the new LPs. Eventually I noticed they had disappeared, but I hadn’t finished, so I stuck with my systematic flipping of new LPs, going from Z to A. By the time I had gotten to the I’s, two of the girls were back and jumped into the H’s right next to me, looking for Jimi Hendrix. They pulled a couple LPs out of the bunch, and one asked the other, “Do they have ‘Purple Haze’?” The other replied “This one does.”
They put one of Hendrix’s posthumous albums back, and took Are You Experience with them to the other two girls, and headed to the checkout. I really wanted to ask them how the hell did they discover Jimi Hendrix, a guy I discovered at 15, almost fifty years ago. I thought it very strange indeed, like if I had gone in a record store in 1964 and bought a 1924 Bix Beiderbecke record. It took me until my forties to work back in music history forty years.
I don’t normally talk to teenagers because I worry about invading their space. When I was that age I didn’t like old people intruding, so I’m hesitant to do it myself, now that I’m old. I wanted to know if they read about Jimi Hendrix in a magazine, or their parents or grandparents played him at home, or they heard him on the radio. And do teens even listen to radio now-a-days? Jimi Hendrix is legendary, but is he well known among the young? I imagined it’s not hard to discover him, I was just curious how. Is he taught in school? And why didn’t they just steal his .mp3 songs off the net like normal kids?
These little girls, who all looked alike, skinny, brown hair, dressed in dress shorts and blouses, looking like typical Bible Belt Baptists kids that I often see around Memphis, seemed so young and innocent looking. What the hell are they listening to Jimi Hendrix for? I remembering tripping at 16 and listening to “Purple Haze.” Were these little clean-cut girls doing drugs? Did their grandfathers and grandmothers tell them about the time they dropped acid and saw Hendrix?
Jimi was the ultimate bad boy of the sixties. Girls loved him. So I guess it’s not strange that girls might still love him. I just can’t imagine these little girls going home, putting Hendrix on the turntable, cranking up the amp, and then lighting up a bong. If I was a young parent today and my kid brought home a Jimi Hendrix record, I’d wonder if they were doing drugs. Especially when the album is entitled, “Are You Experience.”
But I really doubt these girls got high. This is a different world than 1967. So how do 2013 children see 1967 kids? Can they ever fathom how we grew up? I’m living in 2013 and can’t imagine what 2013 kids are like. When we were young we’d say, “Don’t trust anyone over 30.” Decades later we began to say, “Don’t trust anyone under 30.” Soon I’ll be thinking, “Don’t trust anyone under 60.”
Or is it a matter of what goes around, comes around?
I considered long and hard about buying a new LP version of Electric Ladyland, but hell, I’ve already bought it at least three times in my life (LP, CD, remastered CD). I ended up buying 180 gram version of Ceremonials by Florence and the Machine. An older young women, in her early twenties, the cashier, was quite pleased with my selection, and told me it was a wonderful album. She seemed glad that gramps was trying something new, but I wondered it she was secretly thinking, “Why doesn’t this old fart act his age and buy a Jimi Hendrix record!”
JWH – 5/27/13