Frank Marino reflects on Jimi Hendrix impersonator, Randy Hansen

 

I've seen Randy a couple of times, the last time being when we played at the same festival overseas. He had Noel Redding playing with him there and I got to know him a bit as well, and he too was a real good guy. Randy is one of the nicest and finest persons I have ever met. He is a very un-pretentious chap and he's the kind of guy that seems like he'd be a real good friend to people. As for what he does professionally, I admire the idea that someone takes the time to pay such tribute to Hendrix, especially since it tends to make people tend to forget that he is also a great player in his own right. I remember when I first saw Randy playing in a Seattle club while I was in town doing a show. Up until that day I had been hounded by much of the press for being a "Hendrix clone", and it seemed to get worse all of the time. But that day I remember thinking "Well Randy, welcome to the world of hard knocks...I truly hope you know what you're getting yourself into..." and although I was happy that finally more people were beginning to follow up on Jimi's music, I couldn't help feeling a bit sorry for him because I knew what he would have to go through to prove his belief in what he had chosen to do. A very long time before that day, I remember telling a journalist who accused me of ripping off Hendrix, that one day most if not all guitarists would come to be judged by the standard of Jimi Hendrix, because he started a STYLE of guitar music, and it would only be a matter of time before everyone figured that out, instead of holding him so separate as to be untouchable or sacred. Well, since that day, we have seen Randy, Robin, Stevie Ray and literally countless others who have embraced that style, some more adept than others. But being that I was the first one, as well as the only one for quite a while, (not to mention the fact that I was only 15 years old when it began), I had to endure the skepticism and hard criticism a bit more than the other guys did. It also didn't help with the press that I explicitly admitted my roots and my love for Hendrix' music while most of the others (not Randy) kind of played down their connection to Hendrix' music, and so they came up with all kinds of sensational stories about me and my past, and never really bothered to print my own rebuttals which I gave hundreds of times. If I were to come out today for the first time with all the albums that I've done exactly as they sound, I'll bet that most people would say that my music isn't nearly as much like Hendrix as the press contended. Randy found out what I knew he would, which is that there are always gonna be some people who, whether out of ignorance or just plain envy, will deride and ridicule others who dare to step up and do what they themselves cannot.

 

Frank Marino

September 1997

 

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