Celebrating Jimi’s life and legacy on the 50th anniversary of his death, we’ve asked you to share your favourite Jimi jams with us for a Jimi playlist. Listen below, and find us and follow us on Spotify under ‘orangeamplifiers.‘
I’m not gonna lie, I do tend to get, uhm, how do I word this, carried away, while on DJ duties. I’m pretty sure (convinced…) this is a quality that’s been passed down in the DNA from my Dad, as controlling the music tends to be a never ending battle between us. Of course, he wins, every time! He’s got 30 years on music history on yours truly – clearly a winner. Anyway, back to me. I’d say music is definitely my passion, and as I’m not player per se (meaning I only play for my cat), I’m an incredibly good listener – If listening to music is a skill, I consider myself highly skilled – I could listen for days, and whenever I get the privilege of DJ duties, whether it’s in public or in private, I take my job, very, very seriously.
Most times I’m good at it, great, even! But, there has been a few instances where I’ve misread a room completely, and when I say misread I mean really, really misread – which also is short for ignore, as I’ve just ignored what absolutely everyone else wanted to listen to so I could get my fix. My best example of this, is making my guests sit through an entire Motorpsycho album (it was a double….) when they were craving Pink Floyd. Probably not my finest moment, but oh well, what can I say – if you don’t like me at my “Motorpsycho at midnight”, you don’t deserve me at my “Prince at parties”, and on the subject of parties, I’m pretty good at them.
Next time I’ll be serving up a healthy dose of bangers and mash to the public is on the 14th of February at Jimi Hendrix’s old Brook Street flat, and let’s be honest, there’s not really any other guy I’d spend my Valentine’s day with, so it’s pretty perfect. With 22 days to go, I’ll be rummaging through my record collection like crazy, cradling and canoodling my precious gems, while trying to figure out who gets their five minutes of fame on holy ground. I’ve been a Hendrix fan for longer than I haven’t, and the fact that I get to spin my choice of records where he once lived, is kind of a pinch me sort of situation – would Jimi approve of my record collection, and agree with my selection?
For those of you who aren’t aware of the ‘Jimi’s old flat situation’ – during his time in London from 1968 to 1969, Jimi resided at 23 Brook Street, where funnily enough, composer Handel lived 200 years prior. In recent year, the property has been refurbished and opened to the public as a museum, paying homage to both Handel and Hendrix. Hendrix’s flat has been re-made by the help of Jimi’s then girlfriend Kathy Etchingham to pretty much exactly how it was during his stay there, allowing you to step back in time and get an actual insight of how Hendrix lived, trippy time travel!
14th of February marks the four year anniversary of the opening of the flat, and it’s celebrated with one of their ‘Friday Late’ events, which is a regular thing – meaning you can actually attend a house party at Hendrix’s house – what?! When discovering Hendrix at 14, I never thought in a million years that I’d ever be able to set foot in his house, let alone be invited to share some of my own favourite music with fellow Hendrix fans, and I truly feel honoured to have been asked to do so. 23 Brook Street is an important part of music history, and well worth a visit if ever in London, as part of one’s psychedelic pilgrimage.
Now, back to rummaging records.
There were a lot of whispers within the company about Marcus King before his London Islington Assembly show, a gig where Orange founder and CEO Cliff Cooper embarked on a two hour journey to introduce himself and say hello before the show, and where I had countless phone calls, messages and emails from various colleagues around the globe pre interview, making me aware of how.god.damn.important. this 22 year old guitar prodigy was for the future of music and how they’d send me home on the first flight to Norway (not really…) if I didn’t make a good impression – so no pressure there.. During the interview I found out more about his love for the charismatic frontman, and that he started playing guitar at the age of 3, an age where I personally was still trying to grow a full head of hair. To get back into it, ladies and gentlemen, the ever so clever, Marcus King.
Finding someone like yourself playing this sort of music and playing it as well as you do at 22, really makes me believe there’s hope for future generations. I assume you must have been young when you started playing, may I ask how young?
Marcus King: I first started playing when I was about 3 or 4, and I’ve been playing professionally since I was about 11.
I’m guessing music’s been a natural part of your upbringing as you come from a strong blues background with your dad being fellow blues man Marvin King. Apart from that, there are such strong elements of soul, funk, and even some latin grooves in your playing, what other types of music did you listen to when growing up and learning to play?
Marcus King: I was really inspired by guitar players such as Clapton, Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn from a young age, another early discovery was The Allman Brothers Band, as well as The Marshall Tucker Band and a bunch of other great Southern bands. Later on, I got really intrigued by “the frontman”, and artists such as James Brown, Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin – anyone who had that certain attitude would really speak to me. What really changed the game for me was when I started studying jazz theory, and discovering Miles Davis and John Coltrane was really life changing to me, a clear game changer.
You got your band with you, The Marcus King Band, here tonight – how do you work when you make music, do you write the most of it on your own and bring it to the band, or is it done as a unit?
Marcus King: Most of the songs I write and bring to the band for them to add in their flavour, and that’s what creates a Marcus King Band song, a collaborative effort. To those of you who don’t know, The Marcus King band is:
Drums: Jack Ryan – 6 years in the band
Trumpet: Justin Johnson – 5 years in the band
Bass: Stephen Campbell – 4 years in the band – Uses an AD200
Saxophone: Dean Mitchell – 4 years in the band
Keys: Deshawn “D-Vibes” Alexander – 1 year in the band
Now to put you on the spot in front of founder Cliff Cooper, how have you been finding using Orange on this past tour?
Marcus King: I’ve loved every second of it – I’ve never had a mishap using an Orange, which is one of the things I love the most about them, how dependable they are. Plus, you can play ‘em straight outta the box! Tonight I’ve got a Rockerverb 50, which is my favourite Orange head, and a 4×12 cab. I’ve also always been a reverb guy so when Orange’s Pat Foley in Nashville introduced me to the Rockerverb, I was sold on it. Pat’s great, and he’s become close friends with my dad as well.