Bold as Love: Local musicians reflect on, cover Hendrix
Several of Charlottesville's finest guitarists will band together to pay their respects to the original gypsy alien troubadour at Bold as Love, a Jimi Hendrix tribute concert at the Jefferson Theater. The sound of these guys channeling Jimi on one cover song after another should be something to behold, but we rounded them up and found that their personal reflections were just as interesting.
Eli Cook: Before I started even playing guitar, his music moved me in a way that no one else's had before. Not only was he a ground breaking guitarist, but an amazing lyricist and arranger as well – that gets overlooked quite often. The only monster in the set is "Machine Gun." The idea of trying to cover it is a little audacious, as the only version most people are familliar with is a very long masterpiece of live improvisation that displays more aggression, angst, and depth of feeling than pretty much any electric guitar piece since. But a challenge is always good, and something that Jimi would never have backed down from.
Performing: Machine Gun, Voodoo Chile
Ian Gilliam: Jimi was the first mainstream rock guitar player to combine his influences into a unique sound that almost made it hard to tell where it all came from. If you listen to Jimi with an ear pointed toward blues, you can hear phrases straight from Freddie King, Buddy Guy, and Guitar Slim, but the way Jimi brought those influences together to create a sound that was all his own was pioneering.
Performing: Remember, Nine To The Universe
Jay Pun: Hendrix has been a huge influence on my guitar playing since I first started. Even if you can't actually hear Hendrix riffs in my guitar style, he definitely shaped me into who I am today. I can remember learning the strum pattern to "Purple Haze" and now I even teach it to my students. I have a poster of the Jimi Hendrix Experience that's up in our music studio now. It's amazing to have my students look at that and say they want to be Jimi.
Performing: 1983, Drifting
Andy Waldeck of XPS: I remember when I first heard Jimi at prep school in Connecticut. I was mesmerized. I sat and listened to the entire album, missing my classes, and stopping only to flip over the record. From that day on, my musical vocabulary has been tinged with Hendrix. He was, and still is, the ultimate guitar innovator. The sounds he was producing are amazing even by today's standards, and his ability to weave magical little parts into others is incredible. There simply is guitar playing before Jimi, and guitar playing after Jimi, and that is the rule.
Performing: Fire, Waterfall
Aric Van Brocklin of the Chickenhead Blues Band: Guitar players in bands performing during the 1960s and 1970s who were expected to cover tunes by the Jimi Hendrix Experience either accepted the challenge and did the best they could or accepted their limitations and covered another artist, instead. But in either case there was respect; respect for an exceptionally creative artist who defined innovation and changed the way that the guitar was played. Here we are forty years after his death celebrating his talents and creativity. What if he were still alive today? Who knows, but his musical ideas remain alive for those of us who dare to work with them. Thanks, Jimi! God rest your soul.
Performing: Little Wing, The Wind Cries Mary
The Bold as Love Jimi Hendrix tribute show happens Saturday, January 15 at the Jefferson Theater. $10-$12, 8pm.