Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix's original backstage pass used by longtime friend & Woodstock rhythm guitarist, Larry Lee

Jimi Hendrix's original backstage pass used by longtime friend & Woodstock rhythm guitarist, Larry Lee

A 4.25" x 2.5" card bearing a color image of the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, Tennessee endorsed "OK" in black-felt tip on the verso and signed by an unidentified member of Hendrix's road crew or one of the show's promoters, that admitted Lawrence "Larry" Lee (1943-2007) backstage for Jimi Hendrix's June 9, 1970 performance there. Moderate creases and soiling, else very good condition.


In a 2005 interview with John McDermott of Guitar World, Lee spoke of what would be his final meeting: "When he came to Memphis, we met backstage. We hadn't been in contact since I had left [in September 1969]. He had a Gibson Flying V and was playing some blues with it. He played a few of his things on it and asked if I liked it. I really did and asked him to play that guitar that night, and he told me he would. So he started the show with the Flying V, but it didn't seem to move the crowd all that much. But when he put that guitar down and grabbed the Fender and played 'Foxey Lady,' it was a whole new deal. The crowd went wild. I would have never asked him to grab that Gibson no more, you know, because that Fender and 'Foxey Lady' was what they wanted, and he gave it to them. You gotta please the people."


Lawrence "Larry" Lee was a student at Tennessee State University, writing songs for Stax records on the side, when he first encountered Hendrix with Billy Cox at the Del Morocco, a Nashville nightclub. At first Lee thought Hendrix to be "the worst guitar player I had ever heard." (John McDermott, Interview with Larry Lee, Guitar World, October 2005) Looking for someone to practice with, Lee thought Hendrix a perfect fit: "I was just happy I wasn't the worst guitar player in Nashville." As it turned out, Hendrix had been playing a very mediocre guitar and even worse amplifier. Lee encountered Hendrix a few weeks later and was thunderstruck. Jimi had acquired a new guitar, "and man did he surprise me! His ideas were different from other players-but he was good! Once he got that guitar, he was always great." The pair played together with Joe Fisher and the Barnevilles and other acts (including the King Kasuals with Billy Cox).


In late 1963, the pair parted: Jimi for the East Coast and Lee was drafted into the Army and spent some time in Vietnam where he was wounded. Lee hadn't been discharged for more than two weeks in mid July-1969 when he received a call from Billy Cox asking him to come and play with him and Jimi who was then forming a new group to replace the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Lee accepted the invitation, and he, together with Cox on bass, Mitch Mitchell on drums, Juma Sultan on percussion and Jerry Velez on congas, formed The Gypsy Sun & Rainbows. They spent the balance of July and early August rehearsing at an eight-bedroom house that Hendrix's management had rented for him for the summer near Shokan, New York and most famously performed at Woodstock on August 18, 1969. The combo only performed again live once, at a street festival in Harlem in September 1969 before disbanding. The same month, Lee left New York for Memphis where he established himself as a session guitarist and band director, most notably for Al Green's touring band appearing on Johnny Carson and television specials worldwide.


Provenance: Lawrence Lee 1943-2007; Lee Family; Sotheby's, New York, December 17, 1991, Lot 461A. The pass was part of a larger collection of Hendrix memorabilia obtained by Lee during the 1960s. Images and copies of the other pieces in the collection are included for reference.


Item: 59247

Price: $1,000.00
Jimi HendrixJimi HendrixJimi Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix
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