Randy Hansen is keeping the Jimi Hendrix legend alive

February 6, 2013

By Staff

Chasing a ghost? Hardly. Randy Hansen has spent the past 40 years praising one, one guitar string at a time.

The Seattle-area guitarist has made a career out of his devotion to Jimi Hendrix, performing as a tribute act to the Seattle-born rock legend, who died in 1970, four years before Hansen began playing his songs.

ContributedRandy Hansen, who has made a career out of paying tribute to Jimi Hendrix, will perform this week at Finaghty’s Irish Pub. For almost four decades, he has played the rock icon’s music on stages across America and Europe.

Randy Hansen, who has made a career out of paying tribute to Jimi Hendrix, will perform this week at Finaghty’s Irish Pub. For almost four decades, he has played the rock icon’s music on stages across America and Europe.

“To this day, there are a lot of things that make me go, ‘How did he do that?’” he said in a phone interview. “When you start examining it, you realize what a genius he was.”

Hansen will bring his show to the fifth annual Finapalooza, as the headliner of the second of three days of rock bands, at 11:45 p.m. Feb. 8.

To Hansen, Hendrix’s genius remaining alive for decades after his death proves his status as a trailblazer.

“I had been playing guitar, and everything I listened to, I thought it was great, but I never thought music was going to go much further,” he said. “He changed the whole ballgame. You could spend the whole time figuring out how he did what he did.”

He began playing Hendrix in 1967. He belonged to several bands, but none of his bandmates could play anything of Hendrix’s beyond “Purple Haze,” he recalled.

“It was hard,” he said of playing Hendrix’s music. “People were afraid of it. It was like if today we tried to form a band that only plays Yes tunes. Anyone who breaks ground is going to scare the hell out of everyone at first.”

His Hendrix show has changed over the years. He used to play Hendrix songs note for note.

Now, he said, he embraces his idol’s ability to improvise, in songs and during shows.

“I try to go by what I feel the audience will like to hear next,” he said.

A seasoned performer, Hansen has shared the stage with Stevie Ray Vaughan, Steve Miller, Heart, The Kinks and Hendrix drummer Mitch Mitchell. He has done some un-Hendrix stuff, but crowds like the tributes.

“The reason I dedicated myself to Jimi is, I saw nobody else doing that,” he said. “I was like, ‘Well, I seem to be OK at doing it and people say I remind them of Jimi, and saying that I should never stop doing it.’”

So far, it’s working, 38 years and counting.

“I don’t think people grasped what Jimi was about,” he said. “His trying to change the world and make it nicer. The common man sees him as a psychedelic guitar player who did a lot of drugs. That’s so false about him. My aim doing this is that hopefully people will get on YouTube and do some exploring and find things about his life, and realize that this guy was like a prophet.”


Sebastian Moraga: 392-6434, ext. 221, or smoraga@snovalleystar.com.



If you go

Randy Hansen

11:45 p.m. Feb. 8

Finaghty’s Irish Pub

7726 Center Blvd. S.E.

Suite 110



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4 Responses to “Randy Hansen is keeping the Jimi Hendrix legend alive”

  1. Mark on February 7th, 2013 11:38 am

    I’m sorry but Frank Marino&Mahogany rush took over where Jimi left off since 1973, with Frank’s 1st album (MAXOOM) dedicated to Jimi, PLEASE give credit to whom that deserves it the most……FRANK MARINO

  2. Mike Curtis on February 7th, 2013 1:05 pm

    What? Frank Marino??? Oh come on man. Mahogany Rush was a great band but Frank can’t touch Randy when it comes to J.H.

  3. Tom Redfield on February 7th, 2013 7:20 pm

    Another great guitarist worth checking out is Gregg Wright, who plays Hendrix note for note, with his teeth, behind his back and in the mid 1970’s you thought Hendrix was in the room. Two years ago in Lafayette an 18 year old told me his father had told him Hendrix had died. The kid told me my father was wrong, I just saw him! Gregg Wright was Michael Jackson’s lead guitarist on the Victory Tour. I would like to see Randy Hansen live. Any one who loved Hendrix and plays Hendrix music ROCKS in my book!

  4. Randy Gilkinson on February 7th, 2013 9:01 pm

    I will agree that Frank Marino was know first for his Hendrix style and was on spot with his playing. Randy Hansen does have a better tribute to Hendrix, and is still playing. There was a third Hendrix follower that was just as good with his tribute to Jimi back in late 60s and I belive through the 70s. His name was Jimi DeSanto and was out of Ridgecrest California. We must not forget another Hendrix tribute player, and legend who played in a band with Jimi Hendrix—–Randy California of Spirt.

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