A brief history of
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame All-Star Tribute Concert
September 12, 2000
Cleveland's Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame and Museum Hosts Experience Hendrix All-Star Tribute Concert During Open Gala Event for New Jimi Hendrix Surround Sound Theatre & Exhibition
(Cleveland, OH - September 20, 2000) -- As the shining light of the summer skies gave way to the cool breeze and falling leaves of autumn, the sounds created by one musical soldier continue to burn bright, casting powerful rays on the legacy of one of music's most influential leaders. As the clocks struck 12:45pm on September 18, 2000, the music world stopped to mourn the tragic passing of Jimi Hendrix, who had moved on to another world exactly thirty years ago. But in marking the 30th Anniversary of Hendrix's passing, the musical legacy that he left this world continues to burn brighter than ever before. For those who knew Hendrix personally, they fondly remember his shy, caring, and passionate specter. For the rest of us, we vividly embrace the wild and uncanny music abilities and trailblazing approach to creating sounds that remain as fresh today as they were when first crafted more than 30 years ago.
Helping to shed new light on the legacy of Jimi Hendrix and expand the musical reaches of his legacy, Experience Hendrix and MCA Records unveiled the long-awaited Jimi Hendrix Experience box set on September 12. Coinciding with the release of this new collection, Experience Hendrix teamed with The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame And Museum in Cleveland, Ohio to celebrate Jimi's life and recording career with the debut of an all-new exhibition dubbed, The Jimi Hendrix Surround Sound Theater And Exhibit. The newly created exhibit will remain a featured attraction inside the Rock Hall's Ahmet Ertegun Exhibition Hall through summer, 2001.
ARE YOU EXPERIENCED?
The new Jimi Hendrix Surround Sound Theater And Exhibit is a truly unique look at the life of Jimi Hendrix. More than just a simple exhibition of clothing and guitars, the new exhibit provides deeper insight into the life and times of one of rock's most celebrated icons. "We really wanted to show who Jimi was," explains James Henke, Vice President of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. To help achieve this ambitious goal, Henke and the Hendrix family teamed together to bring several previously unseen ephemeral pieces of Jimi Hendrix out into the open. "This new exhibit will give fans the opportunity to see behind the music, into the influences that helped shape Jimi's life," explains Janie Hendrix.
While the Surround Sound Theater is the focal point of the exhibit, it is without a doubt, the many personal artifacts that are on temporary loan, from the archives of James 'Al' Hendrix, Jimi's father that gives this exhibition it's most personable characteristics. "Many of the items on display have never been out of my father's possession," explains Janie Hendrix. "It brings him great joy to be able to share a piece of Jimi's life to all of the fans around the world."
Among the highlights is a couch from the Hendrix household that Jimi regularly used during return visits to Seattle. Al Hendrix's stereo system, which undeniably helped foster Jimi's appreciation for recorded music, is also on display. Fans of the book, My Son Jimi (AlJas, 1998) and the vast array of Hendrix artwork that the book offered, will be pleasantly surprised by a large showing of many of these original sketches, drawings, and other artwork created by Jimi Hendrix while he grew up in Seattle-the most popular of which is a color drawing of Elvis Presley whose musical influences left an obvious mark on the impressionable guitarist after he saw Elvis' September 1, 1957 performance at Seattle's Sicks' Stadium.
The exhibition also has a staggering array of vintage concert posters, handbills, and other paper ephemera spanning Hendrix's entire musical career. Among the featured items are original concert posters for the Monterey International Pop Festival (June 18, 1967), the original Woodstock festival (August 1969), the exceptionally rare copies of Veteran's Memorial Auditorium, Columbus, OH (March 3, 1968) and the Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, MD (August 16, 1968), New York Pop (July 17, 1970), and Jimi's last hometown performance at Sicks' Stadium (July 26, 1970).
The exhibition sports a colorful array of clothing and musical equipment worn and used by the flamboyant artist including the famed 'Butterfly' outfit that he wore on several occasions throughout the summer of 1970. The turquoise-trimmed jacket worn in Maui, Hawaii in July 1970 is also on display, as is the exceptional colorful, velvet-patch jacket that Hendrix wore during some of his final concerts in Europe, including September 1, 1970's show at Stora Scenen in Goteborg, Sweden. Some of the rarest recording instruments used by Hendrix are also displayed including a white, double-neck Mosrite electric and a black Acoustic nicknamed 'Black Widow,' that Hendrix used and later gave to the Allen twins (aka Ghetto Fighters). The displays also include one of Jimi's Fender amps, which he used in 1969.
Much like its' Seattle-counterpart, Experience Music Project, the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame And Museum is actively embracing interactive technologies in their Hendrix display. While there is no automated MEG-system here, the presentations feature a number of video presentations including a special documentary produced by the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame that features interviews with many of those who knew and/or performed with Hendrix throughout his career. The Hendrix exhibit also has a bank of interactive video kiosks available for fans to-at their own pace-traverse through a musical timeline of Jimi Hendrix's career. The visually stunning displays provide insightful historical accounts of Jimi's career with an emphasis on his recording work from 1966 through 1970. The exhibition even has a dedicated display for vinyl lovers, as a massive display of several hundred different record covers from around the globe flank the edges of the interactive kiosks. This dramatic display of record covers features artwork from albums released both during Hendrix's life and posthumously.
As expected, the heart of the Jimi Hendrix Surround Sound Theater And Exhibit, is the theater itself. The brightly colored, psychedelic influenced theater can accommodate upwards of 40 people at a time as a special 12-minute mini-documentary of Blue Wild Angel: Jimi Hendrix Live At The Isle Of Wight plays on continual rotation. The crisp-sounding Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound presentation captures the audience's attention with a series of highlights from one of Hendrix's final stage performances (August 31, 1970) at the Isle Of Wight. Also included in the documentary is intriguing footage of behind-the-scenes interviews and a openly candid interview with TV-personality Dick Cavett in late 1969. While an extended version of the film was broadcast on TV recently, the added specter of the big screen presentation really helps put Hendrix's musical influences into perspective-he was larger than life.
"I'm really pleased that so many people still remember my son Jimi," explains Al Hendrix. "This exhibit is just one of the many ways that we try to let fans experience what he was all about." This presentation provides fans with yet another means of getting to know who Jimi Hendrix was, the person behind the music, and some of the many influences that helped shape one of rock music's most celebrated icons.
BOLD AS LOVE
With September 12th marking the opening of the Jimi Hendrix Surround Sound Theater And Exhibit, the debut of the much anticipated Jimi Hendrix Experience box set, the kick-off event for the all-new Red House Tour, and the looming 30th Anniversary of Jimi Hendrix's passing; Cleveland-the home of Rock 'n' Roll-was perhaps, the most fitting of backdrops to hold an all-star gala event celebrating the life, legacy, and music of Jimi Hendrix. The culmination of these four projects marks the biggest combined project that the family of Jimi Hendrix and Experience Hendrix had yet undertaken since first regaining the rights to Jimi Hendrix's name, likeness, image, and music in 1996. Helping to celebrate the momentous occasion, Experience Hendrix, The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame And Museum, and MCA Records hosted a party where a beyond capacity crowd gathered to celebrate Hendrix's magnificent musical output with a stellar, late-night series of performances dedicated solely the honored musician.
The evening kicked-off with some opening words of thanks from Janie Hendrix, Al Hendrix, and Bob Hendrix for the years of support that the fans have given them and for helping to keep Jimi's musical legacy as much alive today as it was thirty years ago. Following the presentations given by the Hendrix family, some of Jimi's longtime friends including Mitch Mitchell, Billy Cox, and Eddie Kramer each took to the stage with their own words of thanks and memories of Jimi Hendrix. Following these presentations, Jeremy Hammond (Vice President, Marketing) and Jennifer Ballantyne (Director Of Publicity) of MCA Records made a surprise presentation of 2 Gold Record awards to Al and Janie Hendrix for the successful video releases of Hendrix: Band Of Gypsys and Jimi Hendrix: Live At Woodstock. Afterwards, the music celebrations began.
The first two performances of the night saw the return of our National Champions from The 1999 Jimi Hendrix Electric Guitar Competition. First up was Ricky Veeneman-winner of the 17 Years & Under category in last year's guitar competition-performing "Purple Haze" with the support of members of Dreamworks Records' recording artist Buckcherry-Mark Meadows (bass) and Devon Glenn (drums). Jason Southard-winner of the 18 Years & Older category in last year's guitar competition followed, also supported by Meadows and Glenn, with his Hendrix tribute performance of "Are You Experienced?"
Following the performances of Veeneman and Southard, Buckcherry lead-guitarist Yogi Lonich joined his fellow band members for three roaring tributes to Hendrix that included a fiery version of "Castles Made Of Sand" from 1967's Axis: Bold As Love. That was followed by crowd-pleasing performances of the ever-popular "The Wind Cries Mary" and "Come On (Let The Good Times Roll)" both from 1968's Electric Ladyland.
Up-and-coming blues sensation Bernard Allison, son of the late blues-great Luther Allison, took to the stage to perform a strong blues-influenced rendition of "Hear My Train A Comin'." Blues fans will undoubtedly hear plenty more from Bernard Allison in the coming months as he's recently released his sophomore release, and Tone-Cool Records debut Across The Water.
Next up on the schedule was Hendrix Records' recent artist addition, guitarist-extraordinaire, Eric Gales, who along with bassist Paul Taylor and Edward Cleveland on drums form the Eric Gales Band. Guitar fans and Hendrix fans alike are more than likely already familiar with the talents of Gales as he's been a mainstay on the circuit when tributes to Jimi Hendrix are concerned. Having participated in 1995's Jimi Hendrix Guitar Festival And Tribute Concert at Seattle's Bumbershoot, Gales has gone on to play a supporting role on 1993's Stone Free- A Tribute To Jimi Hendrix and most recently as a guest appearance on Blue Haze: The Music Of Jimi Hendrix. Gales lead his band through four self-penned recordings, all of which will be featured on his forthcoming Hendrix Records', before diving into a blazing, fast-paced rendition of the Band Of Gypsys' mainstay "Who Knows."
Gales was soon joined by Kid Rock's lead-guitarist, Kenny Olson who dished out his own axe-grinding talents on a sexy rendition of the classic "Foxey Lady." Olson has literally been at the top of the rock world during the past year and a half, as his high-flying, axe-grinding talents are featured on, Devil Without A Cause, the multi-Platinum award winning Kid Rock album. The night really heated up when Earth Wind And Fire's lead guitarist, Sheldon Reynolds jumped up on stage and lead off a series of good 'ol fashioned axe-slinging. Rather than battling for guitar supremacy, Reynolds, Olson, and Gales combined for an all-out musical attack on Hendrix's classic anthem, "Machine Gun." While Hendrix's rendition from his legendary Fillmore East performances in December 1969 are what make this song such a veritable classic, experiencing the talents of three excellent guitarists join forces for a blazing air assault makes "Machine Gun," perhaps one of the most underrated compositions in the Hendrix cata
Having laid waste to the stage, Reynolds, Olson, and Gales made room for yet another blazing set, this time by the quartet consisting of Vernon Reid (guitar), The Roots' bassist, Hub, Black Rock Coalition's Andre LaSalle (guitar), and Kid Rock drummer, Stephanie Eulinberg. Vernon Reid's talents are perhaps the most recognizable in this pairing, but the ensemble featuring the driving beats of Hub and the roaring percussion of Eulinberg helped showcase just how well Reid and LaSalle work together on stage. The night's pairing of LaSalle and Reid was somewhat of a homecoming for the pair as Reid had joined LaSalle and other members of the Black Rock Coalition for a number of East coast performances earlier this year. Joined briefly by James 'The Snake' Fahey, who lead the group through a slow-bluesy rendition of "Hey Joe" before the group tackled Hendrix's best-known blues number Red House" before heating things up a bit with a gritty cover of "Fire."
The night also proved fruitful for a little celeb watching. While the stage was brimming with musical talent, the audience and the backstage area saw cameo appearances by a number of television and motion picture stars all of whom came out to celebrate the music of Jimi Hendrix. Among the well-wishers backstage was former-Cheers backstop, George Wendt who played the lovable beer-loving Accountant, Norm Peterson on the Emmy Award winning sitcom. While Al Hendrix had the opportunity to meet with Wendt, the stage was being readied for the much-anticipated performance of Double Trouble.
Despite performing as Stevie Ray Vaughan's band throughout most of his career, this tantalizing trio featuring Tommy Shannon (bass), Chris Layton (drums), and Malford Morgan (vocals) are legendary talents on their own. Before performing with Stevie Ray, Tommy Shannon performed with a who's who of the New York music scene including Johnny Winter. Shannon was present on several occasions when Winter and Hendrix would jam back at the Scene Club and vividly recalls one such meeting. "When I met Jimi Hendrix, it was like I was meeting an angel or something. There was something about him like he was less than a God and more than a man." Shannon candidly adds, "Jimi Hendrix is my favorite musician of all time. He changed my life forever."
Helping add a little spice to the evening's event, Shannon lead the band through some brilliant tributes to Hendrix. Joining Double Trouble in their tributes was New York guitarist, Andy Aledort [Ed. Many of our guitar playing readers will recognize Aledort's name from the many Hal Leonard music folios, as Andy is the person responsible for the majority of music transcriptions presented on Jimi Hendrix. Aledort is also featured alongside Velvert Turner on the new instructional videos for Are You Experienced.] who, a talent in his own right on the guitar, truly has mastered the unequivocal sounds of Jimi Hendrix's tone on the guitar. Together the quartet performed thrilling renditions of "Spanish Castle Magic," "I Don't Live Today," "Manic Depression," "Angel," and the venerable Band Of Gypsys' classic, "Them Changes." Before Double Trouble left the stage, Kenny Olson jumped back up and joined the group for a stirring interpretation of "Little Wing."
While the evening's performance to this point were nothing short of stellar, it was the event's next act which undoubtedly marked the highlight of the event as both Mitch Mitchell and Billy Cox returned to the stage, alongside Andy Aledort for two vibrant versions of "Freedom" and "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)." These performances are as much about remembering Jimi Hendrix as they are about the strength of the friendship that was forged between Mitchell and Cox more than 30 years ago. As Cox recalled in our last issue, "Mitch is happy with me. I am happy with him_" While that sentiment was specific to their last American tour in the summer of 1970, it's as true today as it was back then. Together, Mitchell and Cox form this unique musical bond complete with Cox's deep-driving bass lines and Mitchell's energetic, spark-filled percussion. Sweet!
As one would expect, no all-star line-up could ever walk away without one stellar jam session. Joining Mitchell, Cox, and Aledort on stage was Sheldon Reynolds, Kenny Olson, Eric Gales, and Yogi Lonich, plus Stefanie Eulinberg on a second drum kit. The jam was the ultimate epitome of Jimi Hendrix and is more than just a fitting finale to the night; it also reiterated the significance of Hendrix's concept of the "Sky Church" - a place where any person could gather and play music.
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