Recently I had the pleasure of speaking with musician Riki Hendrix. Although not a blood relative of Jimi (cousins by marriage), he embodies a similar flare and passion for performing, and has been given the blessing of the family to carry on the legendary name.
Riki started playing in a Jimi Hendrix tribute band in the 60’s with Randy Hansen, who later continued on alone, while Riki pursued a solo career. Hendix’s musical journey also included his first recording which was with a group called “The Booty People”. He hated the band name but loved the experience and the members.
Riki played guitar in a rock opera in Singapore which received a standing ovation, all whilst not being able to read music at the time and improvising. He was invited to Vancouver to be on a BBC television show which gave him some recognition as a Jimi Hendrix tribute artist, even though he told me “I don’t see myself as a tribute band”. Mr. Hendrix would like his fans to know that he is not riding the coattails of his famous cousin, only continuing on through the doors he opened.
A pivotal moment in Riki’s career was when he met Buddy Miles who invited him on tour and took him under his wing. Riki credits Buddy for helping him make a name for himself and building a following. He was so thankful to Miles as a mentor and friend he wrote an original song to honor the great man entitled “His Name Is Buddy Miles”. One of Riki’s greatest moments, according to him, was the time he and Buddy Miles played the Star Spangled Banner at the Pittsburgh Dome when during the song the roof actually opened up.
Another great memory we spoke of was playing with Lynyrd Skynyd’s drummer to which Riki says “It was a honor to play with Bob Burns”. The time he was whisked away in an Excalibur limousine to the compound of the great Ray Ruff to record his first solo album, still lingers in his mind as very special. That album was originally to be called “American Dream”, but was released as “Rainbow Gypsy Child” and I encourage my readers to go out and buy a copy.
Currently Ricki plays with drummer Rick Gentry and said to me “it’s just FIRE when we get together, and “we get young when we are on stage”. The pair have traveled a lot of road together and they both wanted to give praise to their wives Jenny and Martha for supporting them in their careers.
The thing I noticed most throughout our interview was the appreciation and humility this man possesses, as he also thanked “Jonsie” from Big Bear Lake’s own Village Music. Riki says he is forever grateful to Jonsie for giving him work when times were hard, and also for referring him for the upcoming gig at The Cave on June 30th of 2017. Riki describes his show as a mix of Jimi Hendrix for fierce guitar, Yanni for the beautiful arrangements, and Pink Floyd for the visual effects.
I am excited to see for myself and I hope you will all join us in Big Bear Lake, Ca. to witness the spectacle.
Our interview ended with Riki Hendrix making a statement he wanted everyone to hear and one that I echo, and will end my article with as well “Never give up on your dreams”
Doors 6:30PM | Opening Act 7:30PM | Headlining Act 9PM
$15 | $20 | $25 + applicable fees.
Tables are available for reservation. Call the box office for more information.