Magazine article Guitar Player

Voodoo Children: Guitarists Put on Their Jimi Hats for an All-Star Hendrix Tribute Album

Magazine article Guitar Player

Voodoo Children: Guitarists Put on Their Jimi Hats for an All-Star Hendrix Tribute Album

Article excerpt

Jimi Hendrix remains a vital musical force. An astonishingly innovative guitarist, he has influenced legions of musicians, yet none have equaled his creativity. Hendrix didn't just play guitar--amplifiers, effects, recording studios, perhaps the entire world around him, were also his musical instrument. His mystique, legendary life, outrageous performances, and incendiary guitar playing may be the hooks that attract new fans, but it is his music that makes them lifelong devotees. * In honor of Hendrix' genius, Warner Bros. has gathered a staggering array of artists to pay homage to Jimi on Stone Free--A Tribute To Jimi Hendrix. The brainchild of Hendrix' co-producer/engineer Eddie Kramer, label representative Jeff Gold, and Kramer's assistant, John McDermott, the record has taken nearly a year-and-a-half to complete. Kramer mixed the entire album and produced several cuts. * The 14 tracks encompass contributions from Hendrix' influences (Buddy Guy), peers (Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton), and disciples ranging from the Spin Doctors and Temple Of The Dog to Body Count and P.M. Dawn. Several fascinating one-time collaborations were arranged, such as Eric Clapton with the original members of Chic, British singer Seal with Jeff Beck, and Slash and Paul Rodgers with the Band Of Gypsys' Buddy Miles and Billy Cox. Progressive classical violinist Nigel Kennedy, the Cure, the Pretenders, Living Colour, Pat Metheny, and Belly complete the list of contributors.

Fifty percent of the record royalties will be donated to charity in Jimi Hendrix' name. In addition, several artists are contributing a portion of their royalties. "We want to give some money to a charity that Jimi would have approved of," says Kramer.

We asked Eddie Kramer and several artists involved with the project to relate their Jimi Hendrix experience.

Eddie Kramer

Every artist who has contributed has done so in his or her own way, with a real heartfelt tribute to Jimi's music. I'm really glad to have Clapton and Beck and some of the younger bands like the Spin Doctors, who are in the tradition of the great players. Everybody, every band, no matter if it was the Spin Doctors, Belly, or P.M. Dawn, came to it with their own vibe and their own take on it. Privately, I thought that some artists might have done a superficial read, but this was not the case, probably because Jimi's music has so much depth. In turn, that inspires the artists to dig deep and come up with something unusual.

When you hear the Cure's version of "Purple Haze," it takes you on a trip. P.M. Dawn's version of "You Got Me Floating" is beautiful in a surreal way. If Jimi had lived, he would have wanted to jam on this track, and probably every other cut on this album. "Stone Free," the Clapton track, is killer. He sounds like the old Clapton, like Cream in a way. You can hear a lot of passion. It was like Clapton was set free.

Buddy Guy's performance of "Red House" was truly from the heart. Jimi used to go listen to him and was inspired by him. This is Buddy paying back Jimi's influence by giving him a tribute. When you hear him play with so much balls, fire, distortion, and real sustain on the notes, it turns the hair on the back of your head.

Slash was amazing. He stuck with us all night and worked on his guitar parts. He was very passionate about paying a proper tribute to Jimi. He is completely the opposite of what I thought he'd be. When you meet him and work with him, it's a whole different ball game. He's very focused and together. He's got a great vibe and plays with a lot of intensity.

It was a blast working with Seal and Jeff Beck on "Manic Depression" in London. We figured that they would make a nice combo. For that track, I went back to the old Olympic studios, which is where we started recording with Jimi in '67. It was a bit of a deja vu. We wanted to capture the vibe of his having been in that building, even though it's radically different now. …

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