Add Charles R. Cross to the short list of authors that can seemingly produce definitive biographies at will. Coming off the heels of his acclaimed work on the late Kurt Cobain, Cross delivers the goods in time for the 35th Anniversary of Jimi Hendrix’s death with Room Full of Mirrors. Tirelessly researched, Cross gives a top-level factual accounting of Hendrix’s life, spiced with anecdotes gleaned from more than 300 interviews with those closest to the man behind the guitar. To date, no author has painted as full and vibrant a picture of Jimi Hendrix as Charles Cross.
The international guitar icon grew up so poor that he used to carry quarter-sized cardboard pieces in his pockets to replace the worn-out parts of his shoes. From double-dating with Miles Davis to stealing cars with Neil Young, a number of hilarious moments are revealed through firsthand recollections. Highly revered songs like “Purple Haze” were a disappointment to Hendrix: “The (original) song had about a thousand words. It just get me so mad because that isn’t even ‘Purple Haze.'” Lesser-known performances are covered in Room Full of Mirrors as well, like an impromptu jam initiated by Hendrix at a Miami hotel bar with Arthur Brown, Frank Zappa and John Lee Hooker.
Clocking in at around 400 pages, Cross bridges the gaps in previous attempts to recount the life of rock’s greatest guitarist. Room Full of Mirrors isn’t blind hero worship, nor is it a disinterested scientific endeavor – Cross simply focuses the lens and produces the clearest, most intriguing picture of Jimi Hendrix to date.