Robert Fripp recalls Jimi Hendrix’s two compliments

King Crimson leader Robert Fripp can be heard telling the story of the one time he met Jimi Hendrix and got two compliments, although he only knew of one at the time.

The audio clip below is taken from one of Fripp’s spoken-word performances as he prepares for another round of similar shows with his manager, David Singleton.

Fripp explained that he met Hendrix at the Revolution Club in London in 1969 (although the date and location have been disputed by some fans). At the time, he thought he was getting a big compliment, but years later he discovered he was getting an even bigger one.

He started by saying it was the first time he sat down on stage, a position he holds to this day. “I’ve always been a sedentary guitarist, and working in a rock group you couldn’t sit down?” he said surprised. “‘No one sits down to play the guitar!’ But I felt, I think it was about after 12 shows… it was impossible for me to stand and play. So I said, ‘Look, I’ve got to sit down,’ and Greg Lake said: ‘You can’t sit down – you’ll look like a sponge!’ My considered opinion was that the mushroom is a fertility symbol in many cultures!”

After using a newly purchased black stool for King Crimson’s first set, Fripp recalled that “backstage a man came up to me in a white suit with his right arm in a white sling. One of the most brilliant people I’ve ever met. And he came up to me and said, ‘Shake my left hand, man—it’s closer to me.’” That was Hendrix.

Listen to Fripp tell the story below.

Hendrix died in September 1970, but it wasn’t until 1981 that Fripp heard another part of the story from that night in 1969. He had a drink with the sister of original Crimson drummer Michael Giles after meeting her by chance in a bookstore . “She said to me, ‘Remember that time when Hendrix came to see King Crimson?'” Fripp recounted. “And I said, ‘Of course I do – that’s my Hendrix story!’ And she said, ‘You know I sat on the next table to Jimi Hendrix. … He was jumping up and down and saying, “This is the best group in the world.”

Fripp noted, “In all fairness, it’s one of the best business cards any working musician will ever be able to present.” His An evening with the terrible man and his manager tour starting in Toronto on Sept. 16 and ending in Chicago on Oct. 9.

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