8 cellos

Arr. Matt Haimovitz

Jimi Hendrix first performed Machine Gun in September of 1969, and it quickly be-came one of his signature numbers. There was never an officially released studio version of the song, but there were several live recordings, appearing on Jimi Hendrix: Live at Berkeley, Blue Wild Angel: Live at the Isle of Wight, and Band of Gypsys, with the latter version sometimes thought to be the finest electric guitar performance ever captured on tape. Owing in part to the sonic breadth of Hendrix’s virtuosic and astonishingly creative guitar playing—he does indeed mimic the sound of a machine gun—the song is often thought to have been a protest against the Vietnam War.

The arrangement for eight cellos heard here is by Matt Haimovitz, who has recorded a Hen-drix-inspired version of the American national anthem. “From the first moment I heard Jimi Hendrix’s Star Spangled Banner, writes the cellist, his virtuosity and free spirit blew me away. I longed to challenge the electric guitar’s testosterone monopoly.”

The lyrics, repeated freely, are as follows:

“Machine gun
Tearin’ my body all apart
Evil man make me kill you
Evil man make you kill me
Even though we’re only families apart.
Well, I pick up my axe and fight like a bomber,
You know what I mean?
Hey, and your bullets keep knockin’ me down…”

A Deruchie [ii-07]

Performance