The Jimi Hendrix Experience Q&A

Subscribe to Forte Magazine

The Jimi Hendrix Experience Q&A

The evolution of music wouldn’t quite be the same without the musicians that helped move it along. One legend who we unfortunately lost too soon was Jimi Hendrix, and as it’s the 45th anniversary of his passing, it’s time to celebrate everything he brought to our lives. We talked to Michael Stangel who has helped organise the celebration.
Hi Michael, thanks for taking the time out to chat with Forte Magazine, how are you and what are you up to at the moment?
Right at the moment myself, Dave Stevens and Tim Henwood are putting the final touches on our Jimi Hendrix show. It’s such a great body of work so whittling it down to a 70-80min set has been a challenge, but we think it’s going to be great on the night.
So the Jimi Hendrix 45th Anniversary of his passing is coming up, was holding the celebratory gig an obvious thing to do to celebrate the musician?
As we’re all lifelong Hendrix fans, it was something we really wanted to do. Every modern guitarist owes a debt to Jimi Hendrix so Tim was champing at the bit to get into it. Dave and I were also pretty excited about the project as Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding are probably the most underrated rhythm section in rock and roll. Obviously with someone as amazing as Jimi out the front, it’s easy to see why they may fade into the background somewhat, but in the rehearsal process we were like, ‘Wow, how cool!’ We knew Jimi was good but it’s not until you deconstruct and try to play the parts that you understand what an amazing BAND The Jimi Hendrix Experience were. The 50th anniversary show would be the obvious anniversary to do the tribute, but we couldn’t wait the extra five years.
And how much influence did Jimi have on your music as a musician?
Jimi influenced nearly all modern rock musicians whether they realise it or not. He expanded the possibilities of the electric guitar, ushering in hard rock and heavy metal but also embraced jazz rock and fusion. There is definitely a difference in music pre and post Hendrix.
Do you think he will forever be someone who is so highly respected and used as inspiration for those in the music field or not?
I think so, but maybe we need to be reminded sometimes. There’s a famous quote by Isaac Newton who when praised for his work replied, ‘If I have seen further it is because I am standing on the shoulders of giants.’ This is absolutely true in music when referring to Hendrix. Any modern guitarist when praised should acknowledge the work Jimi Hendrix did in the late ’60s, without which modern electric guitar would not be anything like what it grew into.
Also as a musical interpreter, he is amazing. He wrote some great songs but his cover versions are without peer. Who thinks of All Along The Watchtower and Hey Joe, for example, and Hendrix’ coved versions don’t immediately spring to mind?
Honouring such a great musician is a tricky task, what’s lined up for the Barwon Club and Cherry Bar events?
There’s not going to be too much razzamatazz. The music stands on it’s own and we’re pretty much going to let it do the talking. We have a few guests coming along to get up and play guitar on a few songs. They’re going to be great celebrations of great music.
Do you have any favourite Jimi Hendrix tracks or moments?
‘Manic Depression’ has been a fave of mine for so long I can’t remember. I always thought it was great to listen to but it’s also so much fun to play. When the three of us lock into that groove in the verse it’s an amazing feeling. Dave loves ‘Crosstown Traffic’.
Palace of the King are also supporting, what made them fit the bill to support such an incredible act?
Palace of The King is Tim Henwood’s original project. They are a wild riff driven rock act and their debut album, which came out this year, is brilliant. They’re a perfect intro into the Hendrix set.
Is this event something only Jimi Hendrix fans can appreciate or is it for all music lovers?
It’s definitely not just a show for Hendrix fans or “guitar heads”. The music is timeless and, most importantly, a lot of fun. Whether or not you’re paying attention to the notes we’re playing, the guitar techniques, etc, it doesn’t matter. You won’t be able to help yourself rocking out, dancing, whatever. Pure energy. It’s just plain old great music.
When & Where: The Barwon Club, Geelong – September 18 & Cherry Bar, Melbourne – September 20