King Crimson guitarist and band leader Robert Fripp looks back on his first and only meeting with Jimi Hendrix in a new audio clip, released as a teaser for his upcoming spoken-word tour of the United States.
Fripp explains that he met Hendrix after an early King Crimson gig in London in 1969. It was one of the first gigs at which Fripp decided to perform seated, an intention that caused great controversy within the group.
Fripp's first seated-set with his band went well, and he retreated backstage for a respite before the next performance. It was there, Fripp recalls, that Hendrix "came up to me in a white suit, with his right arm in a white sling. One of the most luminous people I'd ever met. And he came up to me and said, 'Shake me left hand, man — it's closer to my heart."
Hendrix and Fripp never met again, but the encounter was plenty to validate Fripp's desire to perform seated for the rest of his career.
Years later, Fripp was out for a drink with the sister of original King Crimson drummer Michael Giles. She was sitting in the audience near Hendrix the night he came backstage.
"Do you remember the time when Hendrix came to see King Crimson?" she asked Fripp.
"Of course I do!" he replied. "It's my Hendrix story!"
"Do you know that I was sitting on the next table to Jimi Hendrix. ... He was jumping up and down saying, 'This is the best group in the world."
You can't get a better endorsement than that, Fripp noted.
His 'An Evening With That Awful Man and His Manager' spoken word tour begins in Canada in mid-September and wraps up in the U.S. in October. Check out the tour dates here.