My Amazing Day…and Night, with Jimi Hendrix

by Chris Murray on April 16, 2018

John Kelly from The Washington Post published an account of a truly extraordinary time I spent with Jimi Hendrix in 1968.  I loved Jimi, a fellow Sagittarian. He is one of the most talented and hip persona of our time.  He played his heart out and always put it on the line.  He had the coolest style. I loved how he chewed gum while singing and playing. He is simply the greatest of all rock guitarists…one of a kind.  He was fearless and an angel.  John Kelly’s story in The Washington Post was itself a lovely tribute to Jimi.  Space did not allow John to tell every detail of that terrific day in March of 1968.  Here are a few details not in John’s story that may be of interest to fans of Jimi Hendrix and his music.

Chris Lamborne, left, with Jimi Hendrix, Chris Murray and Chris Gray at the at the Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC, March 10, 1968.

The photo above, taken in Jimi Hendrix’s hotel room, was shot with Hendrix’s own Polaroid camera–his first, he told me.  Jimi started taking photos of me and my three friends.  In our youthful exuberance, we wanted to be in a photo with Jimi, of course.  The photo you see of us above was a copy I took later with my 35mm camera of the original Polaroid.  That is why it does not look like the Polaroid format.  My pal Chris Gray, “the rooster head man,” gave the original Polaroid away.  I wish I had the Polaroid Jimi took of me!  I never thought of that at the time.  Our friend Anselmo Paulino-Alvarez, who was with us, took that photo with Jimi’s Polaroid camera.

The 50 year old poster from the Jimi Hendrix Experience shows, March 10, 1968, at the Washington Hilton.

While Jimi and the Experience were performing at the Washington Hilton, they were staying nearby at the Shoreham Hotel, which I found out by asking a roadie onstage after the gig.  It has been reported that Chris Gray tackled Jimi onstage.  That is absolutely not true.  As two policemen approached Chris Gray from each side of the stage while he was dancing after I boosted him up on to the stage, they tackled Chris.  Jimi simply stepped back a step or two, and Chris simply touched Jimi’s leg in homage as he was dragged away with the rooster head still on.  Jimi went to the mic as he continued to play and said, “I love you too, man!”  What a beautiful and appreciative gesture by Jimi.  I was standing directly in front of center stage just six or seven feet from Jimi.  That is exactly what went down at the climax of the show as Jimi and the Experience performed Wild Thing.

Baron Wolman, Jimi Hendrix, San Francisco, CA, 1968.

After inquiring with the roadie about where Jimi was staying, Chris Gray and I regrouped.  We were both exhilarated.  Jimi was going to play an evening gig following the afternoon show we had attended.  Later that evening we went to the Shoreham Hotel, and I went to the front desk and asked for Mr. Mitchell’s room number, Jimi’s drummer.  In those days you could ask for somebody’s room number and they would give it to you.  Chris and I, along with two other friends, took the elevator up and knocked on Mitch Mitchell‘s door.  He opened the door and I asked for Jimi’s room.  Mitch was very friendly and seemed to be bouncing around his room doing several things at the same time.  He said, “Jimi’s next door.”  We went to the next room and knocked on that door.  Noel Redding, Jimi’s bass player, answered that door.  Noel’s room was very dark and I think he had a guest with him.  He said, “No, Jimi’s next door.”  I then knocked on the third door and none other than Jimi Hendrix opened the door!  Chris Gray was standing to my right with his head bowed down, looking a little sheepish, as I spoke to Jimi and said, “Jimi, this is the rooster head man.”  Jimi said, “Far out, come on in.”  The rest of the story is pretty well documented in John Kelly’s piece in The Washington Post.

Gered Mankowitz, Jimi Classic, Masons Yard London, 1967.

Seven years later, I opened Govinda Gallery in Georgetown and had the opportunity to exhibit the finest photos taken of Jimi Hendrix by some of the great photographers of our time, including Gered Mankowitz, Baron Wolman, Jim Marshall, Amalie Rothschild and Eddie Kramer.  I also had the great pleasure of showing Mati Klarwein‘s paintings.  Mati’s work was included in the massive Jimi Hendrix Exhibition at Govinda Gallery in 1993.

Mati Klarwein, Jimi Hendrix, 1970.

My meeting Jimi Hendrix was only nine months after his debut at the Monterey Pop Festival and just three months after his album, Axis: Bold as Love, was released.

Jim Marshall, Jimi Hendrix, Monterey Pop Festival, 1967.

Jimi’s music was transformative.  He accessed the archetype.  He honored the musical traditions that preceded him, including the blues and R&B, and then turned it upside down and reinvented it.  He was a true contemporary…an artist and a rock & roll shaman.

Eddie Kramer, Jimi Hendrix and Mick Jagger, Madison Square Garden, 1969.

Category: Blog   
© 2008 Govinda Gallery.  Proudly powered by WordPress.  Website Design by Cary Scott Additional design by Anna Jacoby.