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Locals stage Hendrix tribute

Saturday would be Jimi Hendrix’s 68th birthday, and local musicians are paying tribute to the rocker by rocking out in his memory.

“It’s the alternative to the typical frat parties after the Michigan game for music appreciators,” said Theo “Hendrix Jr.” Perry, who will play guitar at the event.

The event will consist of Perry, Jesse Michael Barr and Jim Volk playing guitar in honor of Hendrix. Nate Smith will be on bass guitar, and Keith Maxwell Buttons will play drums.

“The fact that these guys play all the time and are so great and just to come together for this one project is really special, and I’m probably most excited about that,” Barr said.

Perry, 23, who has been playing Hendrix tunes since he was 7, when he learned “Purple Haze,” is leading the trio. The group will perform Hendrix cover songs at Ruby Tuesday on Summit Street on Saturday.

“We all love (Hendrix). His music has inspired everything we’ve done, but I wouldn’t call it a ‘tribute.’ It’s more like a celebration,” said Barr, 32, who has been playing Hendrix since he was 14. “We’re not imitating, in other words, we’re going to do our own thing with his inspiration.”

Born Johnny Allen Hendrix on Nov. 27, 1942, Hendrix became interested in music at a young age. He began playing on an old, one-string ukulele and got his first acoustic guitar when he was 15 years old, according to “Jimi Hendrix,” his biography.

Although Hendrix could neither read nor write music, he taught how to play guitar by ear.

Throughout his late teenage years and early 20s, Hendrix played with several small groups for short periods of time.

In fall 1966, Hendrix moved to London and formed the Jimi Hendrix Experience. The Experience played some of the most popular rock songs of all time, including “Purple Haze” and “Foxey Lady.”

Hendrix returned to the U.S. and performed in summer 1969 at Woodstock with a group called Gypsy Sun & Rainbows, highlighting the show with its rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

After Woodstock, Hendrix formed a trio called the Band of Gypsys and held four New Year’s performances with the group before choking on his own vomit and dying later that year.

Scott Fotheringham, general manager at Ruby Tuesday, is friends with Perry. This will be the third year he has had the group come to play at his restaurant.

The price is $6 at the door, and the performance starts at 10 p.m. and goes until 2 a.m.

Dylan Tussel contributed to this story.

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