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Unique Hendrix show to storm Tavern


the-hendrix-project- photo-468There are few rockers today who haven’t been influenced by the deeds and talents of Jimi Hendrix, a guitar legend who died 45 years ago.

Now a Whangaparaoa band have recreated the music and the sound of the guitar maestro to bring it all back to life and will bring their show to the Mangawhai Tavern on Saturday December 12.

Tribute band The Hendrix Project comprises guitarist Phil Roberts up front ably backed by drummer Glen Child and bassist Steve Sussex.

A guitarist with 30 years of playing experience, Phil says he had the idea while giving a guitar lesson.

“I thought to myself ‘I used to love playing this stuff, why don’t I play it anymore?’ Then I needed to find an excuse to do just that.”

Phil found that there wasn’t another Jimi Hendrix Tribute show in New Zealand so he decided right then and there.

“Nobody can ever truly come close to Jimi's extraordinary talent but for people not to hear his music live like they could in the late 60s seemed like such a shame.”

The gravitas of the undertaking also weighed heavy on Phil. He experienced a few sleepless nights wondering if he had bitten off more than he could chew.

“I was terrified,” admits Phil. “Jimi was my first guitar hero so it was deeply important to me that I could do justice to his music. I knew I’d have to work extremely hard but if I couldn’t deliver it would be an insult to Jimi’s memory and I knew I would have to pull the plug on the whole thing.”

However, the project and the musical talent soon drew the attention of Dean Morris from Storm Entertainment who, seeing the potential, offered them a management deal.

In another quirk of fate, Phil has a Hendrix connection: his friend’s mum is Kathy Etchingham – Jimi Hendrix’s long term girlfriend.

Phil reveals: “When my friend told me, it completely blew my mind! It was such a bizarre coincidence.”

At first Phil thought his friend was joking but noticed he was uncomfortable about the revelation.

“He wanted to down play the whole thing but of course at that point I was still freaking out,” admits Phil. “He kept saying ‘calm down, she’s just my mum – it was a long time ago.’”

As part of his preparation for the Hendrix Project Phil bought Kathy Etchingham’s book about life with Hendrix, listened to many interviews with Jimi and those who knew him and watched hours of performance footage.

“I’ve probably gone way deeper into this than I should – perhaps more like the way an actor would approach researching a role. But it was important that I understood Jimi beyond his scope as a musician.”

n Now you know the history, you won’t want to miss the show! The Jimi Hendrix Project is performing at Mangawhai Tavern, December 12, 8.30pm. Tickets from iticket.co.nz or 0508 484 253, or Mangawhai Tavern.

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