Crawley’s Hawth plays host to a tribute to the masters of classic blues rock Hendrix and Cream with a visit from Voodoo Room on Saturday, October 22, at 7.45pm.
Virtuoso guitarist Peter Orr has been entertaining audiences throughout the UK and Europe for nearly three decades, mashing up classic riff-based rock anthems, with the energy and style evocative of their time. Drummer, John Tonks is a leading session musician with touring and recording credits including Duran Duran, The Streets and Steve Winwood. Completing the line-up is Andy Tolman, who has played live bass for performers including Ben E King and Rodriguez.
Together their mission is to deliver the all-time great Cream and Hendrix numbers.
“It’s a challenge, it’s got to he said!” laughs Pete.
“As a kid, I used to listen to Disraeli Gears (the second album from the supergroup Cream which featured Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker). I just listened to it all the time. It has always been one of my favourite albums, great songs and great musicianship.
“When we were thinking about the band, I thought it would be great to get stuck into it, but it is a little bit harder than I thought. They were the cream, the best players around, and then you had Jimi Hendrix, who was very much inspired by Eric Clapton. He thought they were a fantastic band as well. We were thinking about that, and the whole thing just came together.
“We launched the band about four years ago. I was playing a lot of Jimi Hendrix songs for quite a while. Like most guitarists, I was very inspired by Jimi Hendrix, and I thought it would be a great idea to do a tribute, but also to combine it with Eric Clapton. There used to be lots of polls, and Melody Maker was always asking who the best guitarist ever was. It was always either Hendrix or Clapton. I thought why do one when you could do both!
“They were both very influenced by the American blues scene, the blues artists from the 60s that Clapton was involved with, the blues stuff that the Rolling Stones were digging out and bringing over. It’s odd the way Hendrix made it because he came over here and then went back to America. There was the race thing going on, with white Americans not really listening to black music. Even an artist like Muddy Waters was unheard of in the States, but he was a superstar when he came over here.”
For Pete, part of the fascination is that Hendrix and Clapton were very different players: “Hendrix was a very flamboyant performer. He set his stall out to be the Wildman of the electric guitar with the feedback and the crazy things on stage and all the antics, playing the guitar behind his head, playing it with his teeth. Clapton was more the purist blues player.
“We play three or four Hendrix songs and then swap guitars and then we go to Clapton. We mix it up a bit. We wondered whether we should do a whole set of one and then the other, but we thought we would rather keep the audience guessing.”
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