By José Oliveira, Journalist/Photographer – Rock At Night France, Switzerland, Portugal
In August 69, JIMI HENDRIX wanted to close the third day of the festival. It was usual for Head names to do it. In fact, it was more a whim from his manager. But here, on this beautiful Saint Roch Church Gardens, ASEP STONE made a great Tribute to his Hero closing the 2nd day, even sharing the stage with Gianna CILLA (JANIS JOPLIN). An unforgettable moment filled with symbolism. They both shook up the stage with a performance that made you feel they would be headlining more Woodstock celebrations this summer!
JIMI HENDRIX by ASEP STONE
RAN– JIMI HENDRIX was a fantastic discover!! How did you come up with the idea of playing JIMI HENDRIX? First of all, with your look?
ASEP STONE– Oh! Yeah! It seems I’m looking like him (laughs). You know, I’ve been playing Jimi the most for myself in my youth in Indonesia. I was also listening to all these guitar players but I‘ve never been singing before! There were different kinds of music in Indonesia but I’ve been playing Hendrix tunes earlier.
Later, I moved to England for 6 years. It was a kind of British Invasion in my brain. I broke with my original band ASEP STONE FREE. In Brighton, in the middle of summer, I saw a Punk band playing and they’ve asked me for a jam with them. Then they said “ Hey Black Man ! Do you want to make more money? (laughs) I said OK let’s try…. Can you do some Hendrix stuff? So, we started to play Hendrix tunes , “Band of Gipsy”, “Foxy Lady”, “Purple haze”.…It was in 1997! My God!! How quickly time flies!!! So I did get into JIMI HENDRIX by this Punk Band invitation and we started to play in the Pubs!
RAN – Here you are at this wonderful Woodstock 50th Celebration! Does it represent something to you?
AS – It’s exciting to see that the magic is still going on! You know, this place is more comfortable then Bethel was (laughs). I’m so pleased to play Hendrix everywhere but here, there’s a special feeling in the air. To see young teenagers sharing this celebration with some Woodstock generation and coming down to the gigs planned for this purpose this summer, it’s just fantastic!!!
RAN – Tribute Bands wave? Are you in?
AS– Oh! It’s great!!There’s a lot of people playing HENDRIX, SANTANA and other icons from that era! I live in Zurich and I’m used to play HENDRIX everywhere. I used to play so loud, playing Hendrix music, but some people are not in touch with heavy sounds!! (laughs).
RAN– I saw at the T Shirts and Records desk, that you are selling an album…
AS– Oh!Yeah! I’ve a double album with my own songs and some Hendrix stuff, recorded in Zurich. I think it’s a great experience. Even a little baby would not resist!!!!
RAN – I heard that you will burn your guitar, tonight on stage……
AS – Yes, it was a request from someone here, but it’s not necessary for me to do that!!! (laughs)
On these Hippies good vibes, ASEP STONE was simply unbeatable and brilliant. People went home so happy….they promised to come on the last day for CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL and THE WHO.
CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL BY CCR REVIVAL
In 1969, CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL was the most commercial band and already benefiting from a huge success. At the beginning of 1969, their opus “Bayou Country” ranked among the TOP TEN sales. “Proud Mary” and “Bad Moon Rising” had propelled them to some other stages. “Green River” helped to define the genre. Basic rock with blues accents was their musical highway.
RAN– The obvious question: Why play CREEDENCE’s music?
Xavier DAMOISY– Well, quite by chance. Twenty-five years ago, I found a compilation of CCR that had been released at the time. It must have contained a hundred tracks. It was a triple CD. I listened to this through my brother, who was much older, since it’s not my generation, I’m not a Woodstock child. I realized I knew a lot of the titles and at the time with Thierry we had a cover band and that’s when I started the idea «why wouldn’t we only play Creedence? » In 1994, there was no such fashion for tributes!!!
RAN – Beyond the CCR’s music, have you also been drawn to the lives of the CCR’s musicians?
XD – Of course. I particularly do. I don’t know about the others. As a singer, I read a lot of biographies and everything related to Rock culture. I read different JOHN FOGERTY bios, trial stories, stories with his brother… in short, there are a lot of things that happened. The reason of Creedence end, etc.
RAN – The Creedence Clearwater Revival played pretty direct music without using any artifice. What is your vision of this current technological contribution?
XD – Some people who discover us today … are people who rediscover this music or discover it. Not young people, of course. But young people discover their parents’ music and feel it often as a shock. It’s also the shock for the 65-to-70-year-old who didn’t listened to this for 30 or 40 years. Then one day realize that a 50 years old band is playing it again, when they were listening to it when they were 20. We’ve already seen crying!
Tieri FARASSE – People pull out old vinyl’s…. I’ve known drummers who pull out their drums for their kids and have tears in their eyes… we feel like promoters of Rock knowledge somewhere. We are transmitting a kind of message, a culture, which tends to disappear unfortunately…That’s why Tribute bands have a very important place. However, we must not only stick to Woodstock. At the time there were already many other bands, which later proved themselves and guitars and amps ended up seducing and changing many individuals lives. An important pillar that helped to change the history of Rock. But things have evolved and groups like GRETA VAN FLEET, which are a bit like the ZEP LED spirit… These guys are 17 – 20, the perfect age you got to rock, and it’s actual. There’s a whole bunch of names that really brought something. Like NIRVANA or FOO FIGHTERS, for example.
RAN – Not belonging to the Hippies generation, what does Woodstock mean to you?”
XD – I was six years old in 1969, and began to be interested in Rock Music when I was thirteen or fourteen years old. Of course, I fell into that Woodstock period! The great JIMI HENDRIX’s show, the discovery of SANTANA, well, … it was an event that we wanted to relive through the music of those bands that existed at the time.
RAN – Some Tribute Bands use the same Guitar models or Amplifiers than the bands they make Tribute to. What do you think about this?
XD – No! We are not the cover-copy with gestures, clothes, etc. We play the CREEDENCE’s music with a certain personal interpretation. We respect the songs; we do not distort them. We play them with our guts, with our way of playing, our own sound. We do not try at all to make a copy like others do. And sometimes this path can lead to ridicule!!
And the miracle happened. On their last song, true to what happened at Bethel, the rain appeared. Magic was working!
THE WHO by SUBSTITUTE
ALAIN PIRE and SUBSTITUTE were in charge of bringing this nostalgic gathering to a close. This fantastic Belgian performer, with an indomitable rock energy, takes us back to the PETE TOWSHEND’s universe with some of THE WHO hits! He’s an utterly compelling front man, cavorting like a feral cat, commanding the stage like his guitar hero.
RAN – After seeing you play at Woodstock Guitars Live, here you are again, in a Woodstock 50 celebration!” You really are the musician who could not miss this fantastic event. Are you surprised to see this organization and the lineup they were able to produce?
ALAIN PIRE (Guitar Player) – I had been in contact with the Promoter for a few months, but I had no idea that this event will be in his beautiful garden. It’s a very Woodstock spirit and we’re very happy to be here. Let’s hope it doesn’t rain while we’re playing. (laughs)
RAN – Tribute Bands are currently growing on a very large scale…
AP – We come from Belgium and I think this wave is more important here, in France. In Belgium, Tribute Bands tend to run out of steam, because there have been tributes in every corner, all the time. Some of them are very good and some are getting out of hand. In France, I think it started a little later and inevitably, we see a full expansion. The audience adheres because they like to hear songs they like, well interpreted and that gives them a bridge to the golden days!
Philippe COIBION (vocals)) – In Belgium, there have been so many Festivals and some groups are losing quality. Because a lot of young bands take the easy way to cover because there is a whole market in Belgium.
AP – Well, Woodstock it was 50 years ago. I think the Tribute Bands have a real place here because there is a kind of nostalgia and an important birthday to celebrate!! We saw the same feeling last week in the Netherlands, on a same Celebration, facing to 3,500 people. And next week we will play in Italy for another Woodstock Celebration. So, these 50 th Anniversary, will invade the great stages of Europe this summer! You know, WOODSTOCK, in 69, was quite unknown in Belgium! I was lucky enough to had seen the film, when I first went to London in the seventies. With a friend, one day we went to Leicester Square, near Piccadilly’s Circus, and there we saw a big poster at a cinemas door announcing a “WOODSTOCK” documentary. We became surprised, and watched it. Then, we get a monumental slap!!! A 3-hour documentary, man!! I have been affected for all my life, of course!!! We didn’t know the most of these fabulous bands and see their great sets, was a biggest joy! Well, we were very young and then we got into it, starting to read musical magazines as “Rock & Folk” or “The Melody Maker”.
RAN – The question that must be asked. Did you discover THE WHO during this film?
AP– No. I knew them before. They had already realized a few singles like “My Generation” or “Happy Jack”.
RAN– Then, the choice between THE WHO and JIMI HENDRIX music had been a problem…
AP– No, I always preferred JIMI HENDRIX (Laughs). But that doesn’t stop us from doing the WHO stuff!! I also loved the WHO performance and especially their violence on stage. It was wonderful. It inspired me in my guitar play. JIMI HENDRIX also but modestly.
RAN – I have already had the opportunity to tell you this before, when you played on Woodstock Guitars, but I repeat. Between all the Tribute musicians I meet, you are undoubtedly the most passionate! When you talk, it’s like I have an encyclopedia facing me! A guy who’s really possessed by the music story. Not to mention your passion for psychedelic feelings!
AP–(Louder Laughs) Hey guys, we could open a bottle of Champagne!!
Yes, we had the opportunity to play at the Zagula’s Woodstock Guitars, a beautiful Rock hall and a fantastic two floors of guitar and amplifiers shop, and I would love to play there again. Besides, he loves what I do. Of course, we are passionate about this period because we experienced it as a teenager. We discovered all this beautiful music at that time. And every week, every month there was a new album coming out, it exploded in every way.
RAN– We often ask ourselves the question. Were things at the time much easier for musicians than now?
Jack Thysen – (Bass Player) – I think everyone who pulled strings was more passionate about Music! Than those people who are now at the head of the musical industry! Both, are interested in making money but they were passionate, more open to discovery!
AP – Concerning learning music, I have done it through seven or eight accords,explained in a Belgium collection called Marabout Flash. I bought the Marabout Flash «I Play Guitar», which I still keep today. We had to deal with that. There was no Internet and only the passionate could really progress. Today, with all the technological facilities, we see a certain form of standardization. Everyone plays a little in the same way! Back to the past, we were creating our own style. We were listening to the records and Jack had a strong emotional shock when he met LEO LYONS last week in Holland. Man, the bass player from TEN YEARS AFTER, who had a strong influence on him. Let him tell you…
JT – Well, he was my bass guitar teacher! I started playing Bass when I was 17. We were in the middle of the British Blues Boom, John Mayall, Ten Year After, all these bluesmen. I came across to TEN YEARS AFTER when I listened «UNDEAD”. A great album. It marked me for all of my life when I heard this great Bass Player!! I tried to steal all his bass lines and I thought if I ever met him, I’d go and show him my gratitude! Well, it happened last week and I had the opportunity and chance to talk with him. I said him “Mr. LYONS thanks to have been my Teacher”!! Very surprised he said “Where did we saw”? (Laughs)I said “No, at the time I was listening to your records and that’s what really got me going.”! He’s still a nice guy. A real gentleman!!
RAN– This summer will highlight the nostalgic icons of the sixties…
AP – A scoop! We are going to celebrate this 50th anniversary in Belgium in another, more original way. It will be take place on October 11th at Huy , a little town between Liège and Namur, where I was born. Not with different Bands. It will be a core, around which the musicians will gravitate. There will be a RICHIE HAVENS Tribute, a CSN&Y, a JANIS JOPLIN… it will be something original. Two years ago, we had celebrated the 50th SERGENT PEPER’S Anniversary and it was a huge success. José, we all share your desire to go to the USA next August and live some good revival vibrations. If Michael LANG want us, we are ready (laughs)
In Woodstock some favorite bands have gone wild. The outsiders have triumphed but here, the beautiful Tribute Bands have taken us to the spirit of Woodstock! Music put together the beauty of our differences. Our love for peace and music were far from the mercantile and financial universe which ended up the USA official celebrations. disappointing all the hopes.
The official USA WOODSTOCK 50th celebration has been cancelled for lack of funding!
AMERICA dreamed of it! THE VOSGES did it!
NB- Many thanks to Jean-François RIOTTE and all his Team
Last but not least, many thanks to Rosine Alleva.