Sharing the spirit of Hendrix

The recent revival of live music to Will's Loch Haven Pub brought with it the resumption of one of the club's more vital traditions: the semiregular "tribute nights" staged by area musicians in honor of their melodious forebearers. On Thursday, Dec. 16, the program continues with the third annual memorial to six-string god Jimi Hendrix. And if the club's concert-hosting hiatus prevented this year's homage from tying in to the Sept. 18 anniversary of Hendrix's death ... well, no one's complaining.

"We just decided it didn't matter as long as it was before the end of the year," explains guitarist Brian Chodorcoff, whose responsibilities as the event's organizer will this time include an appearance by his band, Princeton's Guff. "No one will know," he snickers. "Tell 'em Hendrix's birthday is the 16th." (We can't tell a lie; it's actually Nov. 27.)

Longer sets by fewer bands will be the rule in '99. In addition to the Guff, Kow and Strobe7 will conduct 30-minute runs through the Hendrix catalog, priming the room for an extended, hourlong showcase of feedback-laden heroics by Marcus Machado, whose show-stealing appearance at the '97 tribute was a coming-out party for the teen axe prodigy.

That fondly recalled display will be available for re-examination thanks to Dave Segal, whose Alien Surf Pro-ductions will again provide visuals. In addition to his customary video medley of vintage Hendrix gigs -- now a "stronger collage of footage and performances from all phases of his career," Chodorcoff promises -- Segal will share scenes he filmed live at the last two memorials, including Kow's '97 rendition of "Waterfall" that, according to Segal, "put the place in a trance."

The third stalwart is painter Keith "Scramble" Campbell, who will produce fresh portraits of the late Seattle six-stringer while the music plays on. One of Campbell's newer Hendrix images is already hanging in the club, a black-and-white piece completed late last month to stir up interest in the event.

"I watched the video of Woodstock and did it in the living room," Campbell says of his latest Jimi-inspired work. "I'm used to listening at home, but `the memorial` is a good chance to have a collective consciousness of his music."

That opportunity for mutual rediscovery is a major reason why the event is looked upon with a bit more reverence by the Will's crowd than the other tribute nights that followed in its footsteps.

"It's a little deeper than an excuse to go out and get drunk and get four bands together," Chodorcoff affirms. "Not that I don't love them to death, but KISS and Van Halen ... well, look at what Van Halen has done to itself these past few years." Point taken: It's better to burn your Strat than fade away.

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