Jimi Hocking’s south-west links run deep
Jimi Hocking (left) holds the guitar that Port Fairy luthier Justin Sutcliffe (right) made for him, which Hocking will use in his performance at The Loft in Warrnambool on Saturday night. PICTURE: SAM TILDERS
FEW out-of-town musicians have a connection with the south-west like Jimi Hocking does.
Hocking aka Jimi The Human has been gracing the region’s stages for so long that many of those stages don’t even exist any more.
Whether it was rocking the Lady Bay with Screaming Jets or wowing fans with his guitar pyrotechnics with Spectre 7 at the Criterion or the Cally, the gigs have meant our neck of the woods has a special place in his heart.
In fact, when Hocking plays at The Loft in Warrnambool on Saturday night, he’ll likely be rocking a guitar made especially for him in Port Fairy by local luthier Justin Sutcliffe.
It’s just one more connection to the region, where he has also been a regular at the Port Fairy Folk Festival over the years.
All the more reason as to why he’s excited to be bringing his Blues Machine back to the ‘Bool.
“That turns out to have been one my most long-running projects,” Hocking said of Blues Machine.
“It was supposed to be my self-indulgent project where I just play the blues and I didn’t think it would have any legs but that was four years ago.”
It’s just one of the many acts people now connect with Hocking, who admitted he’d “always had a juggling-diary-thing going on”.
After Saturday’s Loft gig, he’ll be throwing himself into a blues mandolin duo with American Bert Deivert for a couple of “intensive” and “exciting” weeks, rekindling a connection he and Deivert consolidated while playing mandolin together in a festival in Kathmandu, Nepal a few years back.
He also has a “guitar-and-mandolin” album in the works, which is likely to come out this year.
“And this could be career suicide but I’ve also got some jazz stuff on the go,” he said.
“Definitely the mandolin-guitar (album) will be the next one, then I’ll have a look at this jazz one.”
There’s also the likelihood he’ll be hitting the road or maybe even the studio with Screaming Jets before the year’s out.
“We haven’t recorded anything (for ages) but we’ve been talking about it for quite some time,” Hocking said. “The last tour was so well attended it really blew our minds and we’ve talked a lot about recording.
“Paul Woseen, the bass player, is the principal songwriter, but he sort of said to the rest of us ‘it would be great if you all write the next album’.
“I think it’s most consistent when it comes from Paul.
”(Lead singer Dave Gleeson) and I have written a couple of things over the years, but we’re just waiting for Paul’s creative genius to bubble over.”
With so many projects now and in the past, Hocking said his fans have found him through a range of outlets.
“I find people say to me ‘I’ve been seeing you since you started’ … and I have to say ‘when was that?’,” he explained.
“And people will say ‘oh, I saw you when you were in the Jets or Spectre 7’.
“But occasionally they’ll go before that and say ‘I saw you in The Astros or The Astroboys’.
“If they know that band, then they really were there from the start.”
Jimi Hocking & Blues Machine play at The Loft from 9.30pm on Saturday night.
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