Christmas had just finished. Presents had been opened, families had spent time together, and most of us were thinking about 2019. Then, the day after Christmas, I got a terrible text….a group message that was sent to musicians letting us know that our friend, Jimi Divine, had passed away.
He played a pretty large area of the United States and even Germany, with his unique style influenced by his heroes Eric Clapton, Larry Carlton, Buddy Guy, and, of course, Jimi Hendrix. Jimi Divine had an impact on many in the Wichita Falls music community, whether he was rocking the stage, watching as a fan, or recording their songs at his father, Johnny Divine’s workroom, Outback Studios.
I met young Jimi at age 9 when I recorded my first full album at Outback in the 90’s. Halfway through a session a young boy walked in, talked to his dad, and then grabbed his drum set. Little did I know, I’d later share a stage with him, talk music history and philosophy, and that he’d be one of my favorite people in my life.
If you were lucky enough to perform or hang with Jimi, you knew he was much more than a musician. He brought out the best in our music community. We watched him be supportive, play tirelessly, and devote himself to recording the music from the area, all while keeping a positive attitude toward others in the music industry. We aspire to be all that Jimi became.
A Celebration of Jimi’s life was held on January 2, 2019 at The Wichita Theatre. It was musically filled with love and song. Musicians performed, friends laughed and shared stories, and his spirit shined brightly on all who loved and cared for him. “What a beautiful memorial for Jimi. What better than to have it at the Theatre… Jimi lived his life on stage,” fellow guitarist, Paul Shults, commented.
Jimi Divine mastered the guitar, but coming from a musical family, he also played keys and was brought up a drummer. Jimi also wrote and recorded his own original music. Local artists, friends, and family will miss his wit, his kind heart, and undeniable talent. There’s a message in his life: Love, laugh and encourage others to live through music.
I will miss his jokes, surprise texts, his love of music and musicians, and that signature Jimi sound.