Dream Theater keyboardist Jordan Rudess criticized Jimi Hendrix’s ability as a guitar player in a new Breaking Absolutes interview. Ozzy Osbourne Guitarist ‘Rejected’ Jimi Hendrix Offer.
“I was talking to somebody the other day, and they were saying, ‘Who is the musician that you would want to play with, dead or alive?’
“I said, ‘You know what, it’s probably Jimi Hendrix.’ And they said, ‘Why?’ Because they expected me to say some keyboard player, I said, ‘Because Hendrix was the master of cool.’ The guy was just dripping.
“Most guitar players can play better than Jimi Hendrix these days because the art of playing the guitar has evolved. But Hendrix was dripping with coolness, the LSD was literally pouring off of him, whatever it was. He was the coolest.
“And I think about him when I’m in that rock solo space, that I just want to embody that, and it’s just an emotion, it’s just a feeling, and I just want to play and get there. Obviously, I’ll be playing more notes than that and virtuosic phrases, but that element of coolness is really important to me.
“And the way that I get that is very much kind of like – just go for it. A lot of times if I go for a solo – granted if I understand the harmonies and the rhythms that are behind it, sometimes it takes a little longer, but if I get it and I can just go for it, and get the emotion and the feeling.
“That’s the most important thing to me. And often, I don’t mean this to just come out egotistical, I really don’t, but often it’ll happen on the first take. And then if it doesn’t, that’s when trouble happens because then I start to overthink it.
“All that being said, I will say that on the latest Dream Theater album [2019’s ‘Distance Over Time’], which, of course, is going to be really hard to sit on, I took a little bit of a different approach. I did that, I let it pour out.
“But then, I was inspired by my thinking about the way John [Petrucci, guitar] does it because I really love the way his solos are, and I was thinking I should try to get both – get this emotion, this energy, the spontaneity, but also a little more crafting.
“I think I found a really good balance, you guys will hear that one when it comes out, but there’s that element, there’s the crafting. And I also worked with [Dream Theater engineer] Jimmy T and with John on my sound even though I think my signature lead sound is very cool.
“John had a concept about it that I really respected because the one person in the world I’ll listen to when it comes to tone is him. So we kind of went for something a little bit more different, a little bit smoother, but a little bit more pointed.
“And so I’m excited about people hearing this new approach. I’m glad you asked me about that because it really is a thing.” Ultimate-Guitar transcribed his comments.