Gary Hendrickson was born in Salt Lake City Utah in 1961. The idyllic landscape of his younger years fostered his intense imagination. Always creating, whether producing movie “remakes” starring his neighborhood friends, writing imaginative tales, or building his own spaceships in the backyard, Gary seemed to find infinite avenues of creative expression. When the music passion finally took hold, his first influences were ingrained by his 3 older brothers.
“My brother Brian was listening to Jethro Tull, Santana, Bowie, and Black Sabbath. He would hide some of these LP’s from my parents, but I always found them. David introduced me to The Beatles, Wings, Bread, Chicago, and Elton John. Dale brought Frank Zappa, The Doors, Cream, Jean Luc Ponty, Led Zeppelin, Stomu Yamashta’s Go, Robin Trower, Sparks, Focus, and a score of other eclectic artists that I couldn’t keep up with.”
Gary started his first band with a friend that lived up the street. His friend John’s older brother Randy was a vocalist/keyboardist/composer, and was in a very early Prog outfit called Adrian
. Randy’s influence solidified my love for music. I was introduced to Yes
, Pink Floyd
, and Deep Purple
“I remember going to John’s house to practice. Randy was a god to me and he was very intimidating. He would be in his “music room”, and one night I heard Whole Lotta Love and Highway Star blasting out of the room…I couldn’t believe what I was hearing! That did it for me; the quest for heavy rock was on.”
The mid-seventies brought an explosion of rock music in which Gary immersed himself. Trying to improve his guitar chops, he destroyed countless vinyl records in an effort to learn his favorite riffs. His first bands were performing at local schools, church functions, and on his neighbor’s porches or in their back yards. Ritchie Blackmore, Terry Kath, Jan Akkerman, John McLaughlin, Robert Fripp, David Gilmour, and Steve Howe were his earliest guitar heroes, and was obsessed with their individual styles. The first California Jam brought all of his favorites together and Gary would sneak out of bed to watch the concerts on television. On July 18, 1975, Gary’s life changed forever when he saw Yes and Todd Rungren’s Utopia at the Salt Palace Arena.
“This was actually my first real concert. Yes was supporting their Relayer album and it was my introduction to the “Production.” They had lasers, and the giant Roger Dean Crab-things floating around on stage and the fog and lights; I was smitten! But the real impact was Utopia’s third song in their set which was The Seven Rays. This song would be the impetus of my MUSICAL future, and would be a firm resident in my brain for the next 40 years.”
The 70’s turned into the 80’s and the musical landscape had changed again. The watershed album Van Halen
lit a fire under Gary as well as most guitarists. The approach to guitar experienced a paradigm shift overnight, and the guitar world exploded. Along with Van Halen
, Gary became obsessed with bands such as Kansas
, Judas Priest
, Iron Maiden
, Ted Nugent
, and Rush
, along with the guitar playing of Neil Giraldo, Roger Fisher, Gary Moore, and Brian May. Gary dove into playing the bar circuit, opening for touring acts, and writing original material while his bands continued to morph. He began writing furiously striving for the perfect blend of the progressive music he grew up loving, and the hard-edged rock that would become heavy metal. Abandoning his love for challenging three piece power trio, Gary eventually added keyboards and the lineup for Genocide
“It was difficult to play the bars in the late seventies. I was underage and still in high school. The first set would be at nine o’clock, so when the set was done a band member would drive me home where I would announce that I was going to bed, then climb out the window and hurry back to the club for the remaining sets. I’d get home around four am and then go to school at seven.” Genocide
went to Long Island New York in January 1982 and recorded the ambitious LP: Too Long
. It was released to an amazed fan base that had never experienced this type of musical hybrid locally; Heavy Metal and Prog. The bands life would be powerful but short lived. Plagued with the deaths of band members, stolen gear, and internal strife, the band would only exist 5 years, and eventually transformed into the band Hendrickson
releasing Hendrickson Maestro
in 1987. Hendrickson
continued playing the club circuit until Gary, his personal life in flames, voluntarily fell off the planet in 1992; a musical hiatus that would last almost 20 years.
“In the early 80’s the thing to do was record a demo on a cassette tape, and try and spread it around. A few bands pursued the LA scene but no one ever really did anything successful. I thought, screw a cassette, I want an album; a real album. Screw LA, we need to go to New York, and that’s what we did. We raised the money and did it! The attitude of the local music scene was: you can’t do that! We did, and the legacy of the Too Long LP along with Maestro continues to this day, being hyper-collectable items in the online vinyl market. Re-mastered versions of both albums were released on CD by an independent record distributor in 2010.”
Gary’s life in subsequent years would take him to Colorado, California, Alaska, and Seattle Washington. He spent five years traveling the world recruiting foreign students to work for his Seattle based company. In 2010 he relocated to Florida where he began a local live sound and recording outfit with his daughter Amy Hendrickson; a well-established, respected musician in her own right. Working with Amy and her band brought Gary reticently back into the music industry. Relocating again to California in 2011, Gary finally had the opportunity to build his home recording studio. He began work on his first release in 27 years, Signs of Life
. 2014 brought the completion of this record, and it was mixed and mastered at the same New York recording studio where it all began; 32 years previous. The album features contributions by his daughter Amy, and his nephew Jared. Gary presently lives in California with his dog Hallie and enjoys creating music again with the freedom his home studio brings.