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A Little Knowledge

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A Little Knowledge
JIMI HENDRIX: loud can be good

A doctor friend once told me to go home, put my feet up and have one small glass of whisky.

That’s a pretty good example of, ‘a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing,’ so please pay close attention to the rest of the story.

Anyway, I like lying down, I like whisky andI happened to have a bottle in the house, so I was happy to follow the doctor’s instructions, but it was not the advice I was expecting.

My lower back had seized up so I had gone to the surgery to ask the doctor if he thought physiotherapy or drugs would help.

He said they might, but they probably wouldn’t help any more than one small whisky and a couple of days’ rest.

Then he said something that I really appreciated; he said, ‘I don’t give this kind of advice to just anyone, but you’re an intelligent guy and I know you will follow my advice.’

Then he explained a small dose of alcohol can help relax muscle spasms and he repeated the bit about one small glass… and this time he put extra stress on the word, ‘small.’ Then he repeated the word ‘one.’

That took some glitter off the compliment but, I must admit, it was probably a good idea.The point he was making, and the one I would like to get across today, is that just because a little bit of something is good, that doesn’t mean a lot of the same thing will be better.

As a matter fact, a lot can often be quite harmful.

The same sort of thing happened recently when I went to a Jimi Hendrix Experience tribute gig. As many of you probably know, Hendrix introduced a wide range of new techniques and distortions to the amplified electric guitar world when he hit the rock scene in the mid-60s.

Jimi played loud, and it was good. It was very good.

Johnny, the guitar player in charge of the Hendrix tribute, played loud as well, and for the first half hour, it was good.

Then the sound engineer turned it up even more. Unfortunately; instead of making the sound better, the added volume ruined the show and reduced the music to mere noise.

He may have thought that since loud was good, the full blast would be even better, but he was wrong.

We were standing near the stage in a packed house when the volume peaked and we stuck it out for what seemed like another hour, but it was painful and our ears were still ringing when we went to sleep.

The thing is, when we gave up and headed towards the back of the room, we had no trouble moving through the audience because half the people who had paid to come in had already left.

That was a shame because Johnny really had the Jimi thing down. Unfortunately, too much of what should have been the main attraction, and a tech with only a little knowledge, ruined the experience for everyone.

So, there you have it; a little knowledge can be dangerous… especially when it doesn’t include knowing when to stop.