Leon Hendrix (left) and John Andrade/Hendrix at the funeral of the latter’s grandfather

Johnny Hendrix embracing his rock roots

Son of Jimi Hendrix to perform in White Rock this month

It’s been murmured in White Rock and South Surrey for years, but White Rock artist-musician John Andrade is now going public with his parentage as the son of legendary singer-guitarist Jimi Hendrix.

Working as Johnny Hendrix, he’ll be appearing live with Hendrix’ brother – and his uncle – Leon, this Saturday (July 6) at 8 p.m. at Sawbucks Neighbourhood Pub, 1626 152 St.

“My dad said to me before he died – before he left to go to Britain and passed away there – he said when he came back, he was going to get Leon, himself and myself together and start doing a family band,” Andrade/Hendrix said, during a recent conversation to promote the concert.

He noted this is the first occasion, however, he’s had a chance to collaborate musically with Leon.

As one might expect, the evening – also featuring guitarist Sean Willy Walker and drummer Barry Baldwin, will include plenty of covers of famous Hendrix songs – as well as Leon’s individual brand of rock n’ roll, and Andrade/Hendrix’s alternative rock.

“One of the reasons people are going to attend this concert is the nostalgia of it – but my dad’s music isn’t nostalgia,” Andrade/Hendrix said. “You hear it played every day.”

For Leon, it’s also the beginning of an international ‘Keeper of the Flame’ tour – and a crew from a Dutch television production company will be on hand to record the evening as part of a documentary on the surviving family of the 1960s icon.

“I love it,” Leon said, talking briefly by phone. “This’ll be my first chance to work with Johnny and my first gig in Canada.”

The trip will really seem like a homecoming to him, however, said the musician, who recently published his memoir of his sibling, Jimi Hendrix: A Brother’s Story.

“Me and Jimi used to live in Canada – every summer we’d come up to stay with my grandmother who lived in Vancouver.”

Andrade/Hendrix said the family connection with B.C. was one of the reasons he came up to Canada, after growing up in Los Angeles.

“I’m named after my father – his name was actually Johnny Allen Hendrix, but his father, Al, who was in the army, changed it to James Marshall Hendrix, because he thought he’d been named Johnny after one of Jimi’s mom’s boyfriends.

He changed my dad’s name, but he didn’t go to city hall to do it. But whenever my grandfather wanted to talk to to him and make him listen, he’d say Johnny.”

Andrade/Hendrix said his father did not have a long relationship with his mother, and he has gone for many years without claiming his parentage out of respect for his stepfather, who is still alive.

“That’s why I was keeping my mouth kind of shut – he wasn’t into the rock ‘n’ roll scene. I have a dad, but I also had my real father.”

The latter was not around a lot during his early years, although he remembers him visiting his school and watching him from behind the fence, he said.

Ironically, Andrade/Hendrix recalls, as a child of eight or nine in the late 1960s, giving his father a hard time about his notoriously casual style of dress.

“He’d say, ‘you do realize we are rich, we have money, we never have to worry about that’,” Andrade/Hendrix said.

“I told him, ‘I really wish you’d quit saying that. You never wear shoes and your pants have patches on. You’re always wearing girls’ tops and your hair’s out to here. If we were rich, you’d be dressing like the Beatles or the Rolling Stones.’

“He’d say, ‘I guess that’s that, then’ – that’s what he’d tell me.”

Tickets ($20, advance $15) are available by calling 604-338-0540 or, for more information, visit www.sawbuckspub.com

Surrey North Delta Leader

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