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Baker's Dozen

The Demon Advocates: Gene Simmons' Favourite Albums
Valerie Siebert , March 3rd, 2015 12:53

The Kiss man picks a giants-of-rock top 13 albums for Val Siebert (and finally gives drum machines the talking to they deserve)


The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Electric Ladyland
Electric Ladyland actually would be a welcome album if it was a brand new band today. It still holds up. It was actually a pivotal record in the sense that you had a guitar player, perhaps the pre-eminent one of them all, who actually took chances in terms of songwriting. He also experimented with electronics, backing tapes and all that stuff. The reason that I know all of this is because the engineer and producer on that was a guy called Eddie Kramer who engineered some of the earlier Kiss records, and he would tell us stories and everything. A double album, it had lots of great guests on it like Dave Mason from Traffic and many others. 'Crosstown Traffic' is great, very unlike Jimi Hendrix. Noel Redding, the bass player actually auditioned as a guitar player and Hendrix told him, 'I'm actually looking for a bass player', so he had to switch over to bass right on the spot, which is why his bass playing, with a pick, is not the way that most bass players play.

I was still in school when I heard it, I must have been 17 or so because I remember drawing the Jimi Hendrix Experience, the name and all that, on the cover of my notebook. In those days we used to buy albums sometimes just because of the album covers. There was an art to it, there were big hardcover books talking about the art and design of album covers and there were artists and companies like Hipgnosis and places like that which specialised in just creating album covers. For instance, on Love Gun we had a painter named Ken Kelly who painted the piece, and it was a lot of time and effort. It was an art, and sadly that's gone. Now the visuals are down to the size of a postage stamp, you don't get much. I didn't actually buy this one because of the cover. I'd bought Axis: Bold As Love because of the cover.