Jimi Hendrix remembered for what would have been his 70th birthday

Robert Luis Meisen at the Jimi Hendrix shrine
Robert Luis Miesen, co-ordinator of the Vancouver Hendrix Shrine near the Main Street entrance to Chinatown is surrounded by momentos in rememberance of the late rock icon Jimi Hendrix on what would have been the musician’s 70th birthday yesterday. Photo: Steven Chua

Though rock icon Jimi Hendrix died some 42 years ago, his influence is still felt in Vancouver  today.

If Hendrix were still living, yesterday would have been his 70th birthday.

Jimi Hendrix spent time in Vancouver visiting his grandmother

As a teen Hendrix would travel up from Seattle to visit his grandmother in an area of Vancouver that was once known as Hogan’s Alley in what is now Strathcona.

That connection to Vancouver is the reason behind the Jimi Hendrix shrine at 796 Main St., near the entrance to Chinatown.

The shrine is housed in what was once a restaurant called Vie’s Chicken Inn, where Hendrix’s grandmother worked.

Shrine owner looking for who he believes to be Hendrix’s long-lost son

Vincent Fodera, who owns the shrine that honours the artist’s legacy and documents Hendrix’s time in Vancouver, has set his sights on a new project: finding Hendrix’s long-lost son.

“Because of racial profiling, Jimi didn’t have a lot of girlfriends in the States,” said Fodera. “But in Vancouver he really cleaned up.”

Fodera says he’s managed to track down relatives of one of Hendrix’s former lovers whose son Hendrix may have fathered, and is hoping to meet the man in question soon.

Hendrix’s musical influence is still very apparent today

As for his music, Hendrix’s artistic innovation with the electric guitar continues to influence musicians today.

“What happens with music, it’s like a full circle . . . everything resurges with different people,” said Andre Arsenault, an electric guitar specialist at the Vancouver location of music store Long and McQuade.

Guitar techniques the artist pioneered, including distortion, whammy bar antics and ethereal effects are still used by musicians.

Arsenault says he hears the late artist’s trademarks every time he punches in at work.

While it may have been decades since “Little Wing,” “Purple Haze” and “Voodoo Child” hit the airwaves, Arsenault often hears the tunes echoing throughout the store as customers test out guitars with Hendrix’s classics.

Reported by Steven Chua

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