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There are few, if any, musicians in this day and age who can emulate the complex style of the legendary guitarist, Jimi Hendrix. Randy Hansen is one of these few. Guitar virtuoso, Randy is recognised by the Hendrix family, and he’s been bringing the magic of Jimi’s music to crowds everywhere since the ’70s.

TEO caught up with Randy and had a chat about his long career, and what’s still on his bucket list.

TEO: You’re playing shows in Australia as the Hendrix Revolution, what do you love about Jimi Hendrix’s guitar playing that’s inspired you to match his style?
Randy:
Well, you know, I started playing guitar when I was 10, and listened to a lot of people and learnt to play a whole lot of music before Jimi Hendrix started. Most of the stuff I learnt came off records, and I got good at a lot of other styles, but when Jimi came along, I thought, ‘Wow I don’t even know how to approach this.’ So I fell into it naturally I guess, just out of curiosity really.

What was the first Jimmy Hendrix song you learnt to play?
Oh, the first song of his that I learnt to play was ‘Purple Haze’.

You’ve got quite an interesting career, what have been the highlights so far?
Oh man. Working on Apocalypse Now, the Frances Ford Coppola movie – that was pretty big. I got to work on that for about a month and live at his house – that was really interesting.

Also, working with Nicolas Cage on another movie; because he’s part of the Coppola family, I got to know them pretty well. And then working with Stevie Ray Vaughan: he used to open shows for me a lot in Austin, Texas. [Other highlights include] working shows with Richie Blackmore and Sam Kinison; he’s [Sam’s] a comedian here who made it pretty big in the States. He took a shine to me, and as well as doing stand-up comedy he liked to play the guitar and rock ‘n’ roll, so he hired my band to go out with him after he saw me play. You know, there are a lot of highlights really, cause I’ve been doing this a long time.

Jimi Hendrix is well known for the ability to play the guitar with his teeth, is that something you do as well?
Ah, yep! I couldn’t help it, I had to try to figure out everything.

Oh gosh, what’s it like?
Well, at first it’s painful! Because it was hard and I wasn’t doing it right; it was pretty bloody at the beginning. But you learn how to do things right out of error, but if you wanted to learn how to play the guitar with your teeth and someone said you either play guitar with your teeth or I’ll set your house on fire, you know, you learn pretty quick. So I think that anybody could probably do it if they set their mind to it.

Career-wise, is there anything on your bucket list that you’d still like to do?
Oh, nobody has ever asked me that before! There is one thing left that I want to do – there is only one guy that I didn’t tour with from Jimi Hendrix’s band, and that’s Billy Cox. I got to play one show and one rehearsal with him, and the rehearsal went very long because we ended up knowing a lot more music than they realised, so we ended up playing it all that night. And we had a lot of really powerful musicians watching us while we were doing it, too. I’ve always wanted to go out with him, but financially, it was never right. And I didn’t want to drag him into anything and have it be an inconvenience and I couldn’t seem to find a way to not inconvenience him, so we never did do it. So if there was something on my bucket list, it would be to play with Billy Cox.

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TOUR DATES
Saturday, May 21: The Palais – Melbourne
Tuesday, May 24: Concert Hall – Perth
Wednesday, May 25: Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide
Tuesday, May 31: Concert Hall, Brisbane

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