Aerosmith Star Joins Experience Hendrix Tour
he Aerosmith guitar great played his first Experience Hendrix tour dates in 2008 and was part of the EH line-up for dates played earlier this year.
Whitford has been an integral part of Aerosmith for the past 39 years and, like the previously announced Experience Hendrix players, has a strong affinity for the musical legacy of Jimi Hendrix as well as a very personal connection to it. "I got to see Hendrix play in '68 in Boston Garden with Mitch and Noel Redding and it was like, 'Wow.' I bought a Fender guitar the very next day," he recalls.
For the forthcoming dates that start October 26 in Pittsburgh, Whitford is joining a line-up of iconic musicians including Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Susan Tedeschi, Robert Randolph, Jonny Lang, Steve Vai, Los Lobos' David Hidalgo and Cesar Rosas, Eric Johnson, Ernie Isley, Living Colour, Mato Nanji of Indigenous, Chris Layton of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble and The Slide Brothers a/k/a Chuck and Darick Campbell of Sacred Steel. "Since the first time I heard him, and right up until today, [Hendrix] has been an important influence on me -- on all of us," Whitford noted.
The new run of dates for Experience Hendrix, the continuing concert tour that has wowed audiences revisiting the music and inspiration of Jimi Hendrix is the first time the tour will have gone out twice within a single calendar year. The Experience Hendrix tour crisscrossed the country this past March for a string of sold-out concerts and returns with a new set of U.S. and -- for the first time -- Canadian dates this month and next. Fender Musical Instruments Corp. is the tour's lead sponsor as was the case with last spring's Experience Hendrix tour. Participating sponsors also include Dunlop Effects Pedals, Marshall Amplifiers and Mapex Drums. Jimi Hendrix was indicted in Fender's Hall of Fame this past August with EH Tour member Kenny Wayne Shepherd performing at the event held near Fender's headquarters in Tempe, AZ.
In terms of format, the tour offers multiple opportunities for performers and audiences to witness unique collaborations such as Steve Vai performing with Living Colour, as well as the tour's artists performing their favorite Hendrix signature songs including "Little Wing," "Fire," "Purple Haze," "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)," "Crosstown Traffic" and many others. As has been the case with previous Experience Hendrix outings, special guests are expected to sit in at many of the dates, making the concerts all that much more memorable for both new and veteran Hendrix fans. Past special guests have included Paul Rodgers, Joe Satriani, Hubert Sumlin, Buddy Guy, Carlos Santana, Robby Krieger and others.
Anchoring the tour is Billy Cox, the legendary bassist whose relationship with Jim Hendrix and his music dates back to the early 1960s when the two met while serving in the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division. The two bonded over their love of music and would later work together backing R&B acts on the "chitlin' circuit." They reunited when Cox was recruited to be part of the Jimi Hendrix Band of Gypsys as well as the ultimate iteration of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, performing at such landmark festivals as Woodstock and the Isle of Wight. Cox, who has been part of all previous Experience Hendrix tours, notes, "It's always a great thrill and honor for me to play Jimi's music for audiences now just as it was in the 1960s. The Experience Hendrix tours have shown how timeless this music really is and is just wonderful that we've continued to get an infusion of new, very enthusiastic artists to participate and are able to offer the most wide-ranging Jimi Hendrix-related repertoire possible."