Photo: John Barkiple
27 Club Artist: Jimi Hendrix
For SLUG’s 27th birthday, we’ve enlisted six local performers to breathe new life into songs from members of the 27 Club, famous musicians who passed before their time at the age of 27. Be sure to catch SLUG’s 27 Club Anniversary Party at Metro Bar on March 11—doors at 9 p.m., show at 10:30 p.m., $5 at the door.
When did you first hear this artist, and why did they inspire you?
I’m positive I heard songs by Jimi as a youth but can’t place my finger on exactly when I was able to relate to his music style. I do remember seeing psychedelic images of him throughout my childhood and relating that to my own psychedelic experiences as a young adult. Seeing those images and knowing that he and other artists had pushed the limits of their creativity in those ways, made it ok for me to experiment and push my mind past the realms of the physical.
What about this artist’s song that you’ll perform resonates with you, compared to other songs in their oeuvre?
I’m in between choosing a song for this performance or working with DJ Anna Getz on a mash up of several songs. I think some performances require the performer to relate with the audience over creating a piece that is a bit more personal. With this performance, because I will be representing a persona that is loved by so many for so many reasons, I feel like I want give the audience something they know, something they can relate to- but still something raw and revised. If anything, I can relate to Jimi’s undeniable stage presence, that is something I hope to portray with this piece.
What contributions did this artist make to alternative/underground music?
The sexualization of the role as lead guitarist, or performing in a way that left the audience astounded. The shock value. Playing behind his back, or with his teeth—it’s like, “What is this guy doing? How did he learn this? Just pushing the limits of what could be done that is awesome and groundbreaking vs. tradition. Not a lot of other musicians pushed the limits like that at that time.
What made this artist a trailblazer in their craft?
The dude lights his guitar of fire, anything is possible after that.
Why do you feel that this artist’s legacy lives on so strongly today?
Playing in the ’60s, playing at Woodstock, being part of that revolution of peace and love and in addition to that being not only one of the best guitarist of all time, but one of the best black guitarists of all time makes Jimi an icon of not only rock and phsycidelic culture, but black culture as well.
Tell us your favorite anecdote about this artist.
I love that as a kid Jimi was made fun of for his clothes, the was he dressed and carried himself. I love that he generally stood out. It’s relatable. I think being outcast pushes us towards our artistic paths.
What insights about this artist can you share that many others might not know?
I find it interesting that so many iconic artists are so powerful onstage and then off stage, shy and semi insecure. I love that some people communicate better through an instrument or paint, or whatever medium. I think that in regards to Jimi, this aspect made him so humble. I love that his relationship with his guitar was more important to him than most humans. you can really feel that when you listen to him play.
How will your performance capture this artist and their personality? (Please indicate if you’ll cover a song, do performance art, or have a backing track, etc.)
I really really hope to capture the passion, the dedication that he had for his craft. The love of music he had. Whatever I do, (most likely lip sync/performance art) I hope that the audience see’s Jimi and not Loke that night.
How do you feel that your performance style aligns with or complements this artist’s work?
We are both passionate. We are both driven individuals that have a love for what we do. And I love that I can honestly say I truly love the work that I do. No one can deny, Jimi loved his guitar, he loved his music. I think i’ll definitely be able to bring that to the stage for this show.
In your performance, what changes/stylization will you make to their work?
Picture like—Jimi Hendrix, Prince/ The Weeknd mashed up into one super queer love child serving you sex and purple haze flavor blunts. And fire.
What iconic imagery will you include in your homage to this artist?
All the colors and big hair, bellbottom jean psychedelic tripped-out ’60s imagery the people are craving. Let’s get that Woodstock feeling back up in here, ya know?
What’s a quote or lyric from this artist that’s meaningful/impactful for you?
“The time I burned my guitar was like a sacrifice. you sacrifice the things you love. I love my guitar.” I love this because he is right. And not a lot of us can admit what it is that we really love, let alone give it up or sacrifice it. I respect that vision and love he had for music.
What message have you taken from this artist in a positive way in your life?
Keep doing what you love, keep being passionate. Follow your dreams.
If this artist was alive today, where in Utah would you take them?
Zest. They have the best drinks.
What are your thoughts about the 27 Club? What’s the No. 1 reason not to join the 27 Club?
Full of talented individuals. Possibly, most of them would not have been so revered if they had lived longer, but grateful that music and the world were changed by the passion these people had for their craft.