Sunday, March 25, 2012

Yes, We're Experienced.....The Experience Hendrix Tour

Yeah that’s me with Billy Cox, who played bass in Band of Gypsys, the short-lived but pivotal group led by guitarist Jimi Hendrix.
Cox was in the D.C. area earlier this month as part of the 2012 season of Experience Hendrix Tour, the ongoing star-powered series of concerts held to honor the guitarist, who nearly 42 years after his death is still considered to be rock’s most influential.
Held March 6 at the Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda, the D.C. area show kicked off the 2012 season of Experience Hendrix. The 21-concert tour will end March 31 in Denver after performances in Atlanta; Knoxville, Tennessee; Nashville, Tennessee; Charleston, S.C.; Orlando, Florida; Hollywood, Florida; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Houston, Texas; Austin, Texas and several other cities.
As befits a concert carrying the name of the most famous guitarist of yesteryear, Experience Hendrix features many of today’s leading axmen, among them Buddy Guy, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Mato Nanji of Indigenous, Eric Gales, Dweezil Zappa (pictured below), Jonny Lang and Aerosmith’s Brad Whitford. Also playing the Strathmore was Chris Layton, one-time drummer for Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble.

Other musicians playing the 2012 tour include bassist Bootsy Collins of the P-Funk All-Stars, Robby Krieger of the Doors, guitarists David Hidalgo and Cesar Rosas of Los Lobos, pedal steel guitarist Robert Randolph (if you want to see an interview with him, check out the following post:, lap steel guitarists the Slide Brothers, blues singer/guitarist Keb Mo’, guitarist Eric Johnson of G3 and guitarist Doyle Bramhall II of Arc Angels.
The company behind the event was originally formed by Hendrix’s father James “Al” Hendrix, with the very first tribute concert held in September, 1995 at the annual Bumbershoot Arts & Music Festival in Seattle, the guitarist’s home town.
Over the next few years tribute events were held under various names: the Jimi Hendrix Electric Guitar Festival, the Jimi Hendrix Electric Guitar Competition, the Jimi Hendrix Red House Tour. In 2002 a “60th Birthday Celebration” concert was held in Seattle featuring Billy Cox; Band of Gypsys drummer Buddy Miles; Buddy Guy; Eric Gales; Guitarist Kenny Olson of Kid Rock’s band; longtime Earth, Wind & Fire guitarist Sheldon Reynolds; keyboardist Larry Dunn of Earth, Wind & Fire and bassist Bobby Watson of Rufus and Chaka Khan.
In 2004, three west coast tribute events were held under the name “Experience Hendrix.” They featured performances by Buddy Guy; Carlos Santana; guitarist Joe Satriani; guitarist Jerry Cantrell of Alice in Chains; Paul Rodgers of Bad Company; guitarist Hubert Sumlin, formerly of Howlin’ Wolf’s band; Kenny Wayne Shepherd; guitarist Neal Schon of Santana and Journey; drummer Mitch Mitchell of the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Billy Cox.
With the passing of both Mitchell and Miles in 2008, Cox is now the only living member of either the Jimi Hendrix Experience or Band of Gypsys. As a performer, he is therefore arguably the tour’s closest living link to Hendrix. He recently did an interview with this blog.
Here’s part one:
and here’s part two:
Other than the music and the picture with Cox, having the following conversation with Dweezil Zappa was the highlight of my evening at Experience Hendrix. While talking to him, I kept thinking that, with the exception of Hendrix, Earth, Wind & Fire and James Brown, I had as a young man listened to his father Frank Zappa more than any other musician or group:

And yeah, you don’t have to tell me how dumb it was to ask Dweezil—who was one year old when Hendrix died—what he remembers about the guitarist. Let’s just say I was caught up in the excitement of the moment.
Anyway, here is some music from the show.
First, Jonny Lang and Brad Whitford do "Fire:"

Then, Kenny Wayne Shepherd with "I Don't Live Today:"

Kenny Wayne Shepherd again helms guitar on Voodoo Chile: "
And Buddy Guy and Jonny Lang:

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Take care...

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