News / Vancouver

Vancouver Hendrix fans mark 75th

Hendrix clan ties to Hogan's Alley celebrated

Vincent Fodera, owner of the Vancouver Jimi Hendrix Shrine.

David P. Ball/Metro

Vincent Fodera, owner of the Vancouver Jimi Hendrix Shrine.

Guitar legend and rock icon Jimi Hendrix would’ve turned 75 on Monday.

And if you’re a Purple Haze fan hoping to mark the occasion in Vancouver — where he spent childhood summers visiting his grandmother Nora — you can continue to burn the midnight lamp in his memory, but you won’t have to burn it all alone.

That’s because local super-fan and Hendrix Shrine guardian Vincent Fodera is hosting a diamond birthday party for the occasion Sunday evening.

The party will be inside the kitchen shed and courtyard once attached to his grandparents’ long-shuttered eatery, Vie’s Chicken and Steak, at the heart of Vancouver’s once-thriving Black neighbourhood, Hogan’s Alley.

“First of all, I miss him of course,” the musician’s son Johnny Hendrix told Metro in a phone interview from his home in White Rock. “But it’s hard to miss him, because it’s hard to get closure when you walk up the street and stereos are blasting Jimi Hendrix and people have T-shirts with pictures of my dad on them.

“People even have my father’s face on tattoos.”

After a meteoric four-year mainstream music career, Hendrix died Sept. 18, 1970 of an overdose. His Vancouver grandmother Nora was of African-American and Cherokee First Nation ancestry; Hendrix has been embraced as a music pioneer by both Black and Indigenous historians, as recently explored in the award-winning documentary Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World.

On Sunday, tribute band Brandon and the Experience will cover the “Voodoo Child” composer’s music, Fodera said, as well as an open mic and attendance by some of the virtuoso’s local family and representatives of the Hogan’s Alley Society.

“And there will even be fried chicken like grandma Nora Hendrix used make,” Fodera told Metro in an email.

The party comes on the eve of a larger commemorative event in Hendrix’s hometown, Seattle, on Monday. Fodera sold the Hendrix Shrine property to a developer, which has plans for a condominium high-rise — but also a deal to return a shrine to the site, including plans for a more-than 10-metre statue of Hendrix.

The site was once a thriving eatery in Hogan’s Alley, a Black neighbourhood displaced in the 1960s to build the viaducts now slated for demolition. Leading African-American architect Zena Howard is working with the Society to design a Hogan’s Alley cultural centre.

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