Local guitarist serves up Hendrix for the holidays

By Lauren Hillery
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Why not add some spice to your Thanksgiving this year?

No, I don't mean adding seasoning to your grandma's bland turkey. I mean tuning in to 91.3 FM, KXCI's six-hour Jimi Hendrix radio tribute show Thursday and attending local guitarist Pete Fine's Hendrix tribute performance Saturday at Solar Culture Gallery.

Although some may not view the combination of Thanksgiving and classic rock like the traditional mashed potatoes and gravy, KXCI radio host Jason Miles thinks this combination has become a tradition.

"I think Thanksgiving is a big radio day in Tucson. The programming on KXCI on Thanksgiving has become pretty popular," Miles said.

Miles, who calls himself a Hendrix music geek, will be hosting a tribute show for the second year in a row. His show will run for six hours starting at 4 p.m. and will cover six phases of Hendrix.

Miles describes those phases as: Hendrix the lyricist, Hendrix in interviews, the acid rocker, the blues guitarist, proto-funk performer and producer/session musician. Hendrix's music will also be played throughout the night until 7 a.m.

Mile's portion of the show will also include an interview with Fine, the Hendrix tribute guitarist.

After a break from Hendrix 2000, Fine's tribute band, Roger Greer, KXCI program director, convinced Fine to play once again for the KXCI benefit.

"He is an amazing Renaissance instrumentalist. The performance is just simply amazing. It's almost the same. He's got the licks down to a 'T,'" Greer said.

Fine, guitarist, composer and Rainbow Guitars employee, grew up in Brooklyn and began playing guitar at 13. He settled for it instead of drums because his dad said they wouldn't be conducive to apartment living.

Before moving to Tucson in 1974, Fine played in several bands in New York, including The Flow, who could only afford to record one side of an album.

However, Fine never meant to come to Tucson. A monsoon storm forced him to stop at a Fourth Avenue restaurant on his way to Los Angeles, and he never left.

Fine says he's always emphasized the importance of rhythm in music.

"If you don't have rhythm, you won't be able to play with anyone else," Fine said.

This is among the countless reasons Fine loves Hendrix, who Fine was fortunate enough to see at the Fillmore East.

"When I first heard Hendrix live it was like being in shock. It was what he was doing as an instrumentalist," Fine said. "There weren't virtuoso guitarists back then. What Hendrix was doing was so unique and it still influences people."

What Fine believes makes Hendrix so unique was the amount of expression he could put into one note.

"Every now and then a musician takes everything around him and does something different with it and with more feeling. Single notes have so much feeling and it sends thrills down your spine," Fine said.

Fine doesn't think anyone must be left-handed to play Hendrix, but being a lefty himself, he thinks it gives the performance more authenticity.

"You can look more like Hendrix. Maybe there's something about being a left-handed guitarist in a righty world," Fine said.

Fine formed Hendrix 2000 with friends Ruben Ramirez, drummer, and Rick Moquin, bass and vocals. They played two shows at the Gaslight Theater between 2000 and 2001, but he took a hiatus from that to focus on learning the sitar.

Although Hendrix's material is difficult to recreate, Fine doesn't believe his music is the most difficult to play by today's standards.

To recreate Hendrix's music, Fine chose to use a digital pedal with multiple sounds, rather than several authentic guitar pedals like Hendrix used. He learned the music mainly by listening to studio recordings, but used written music for a few of the more complicated songs. Fine uses a Stratocaster and Marshall in his live Hendrix performances.

Fine says the music is very easy for him to learn, because he thinks he has an affinity for it.

Fine will perform at Solar Culture Gallery, 31 E. Toole Ave., Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $6 or $5 at the door. They can be purchased at Antigone Books, Rainbow Guitars and Hear's Music, or at the KXCI studios, 220 S. Fourth Ave. This is an all-ages show.