Classical Punk

Bach, Bartok, Hendrix scream from Kennedy's bow

When he first started doing Hendrix songs seven or eight years ago, Kennedy used electric violin over a drum-and-bass combo, but he soon grew disenchanted. He wasn't out to make a Strad sound like a Strat, but to do something original with the Hendrix material-to expand it in classical style while improvising in jazz style. "What's the point," he says, "in having some motherfucker, like, playin' rather similar to Jimi over drums and bass, which is exactly what Jimi did himself? No one needs that. They've got the albums."

If Kennedy has a fixation on Hendrix, it's also evident in his cavalier style and dangerous living. Last year, on his way to a San Francisco Symphony solo gig, he cracked up his red convertible rental car, and figuring a little impromptu blues was in order, he followed up that evening's Beethoven Concerto with an encore of Miles Davis' Bags' Groove. His own Jag-"a Mad Max car" spray-painted in the colors of his beloved Aston Villa soccer team-is riddled with dents.

In fact, talking to Kennedy, you sense an overpoweringly fatalistic quality about him and his music making. "I don't take anything as guaranteed," he says. "You know, each performance I do might be the last, and if you've got that attitude about it, then you really put your heart and soul into it."

Kennedy performs at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, 12700 Center Court Dr., Cerritos, (800) 300-4345. Sun., 7 p.m. $35-$50.

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