Sunday, November 04, 2007

Mr. Larry Lee - Mar. 7, 1943 - Oct. 30, 2007

I was saddened to learn of the death of Mr. Larry Lee tonight. Mr. Lee was a guitarist. As a backing musician, he worked with The Impressions, as well as being a part of the Gypsy, Sun & Rainbows at Woodstock. A group led by none other than Jimi Hendrix. I learned a very valuable lesson from Mr. Lee and never had an opportunity to tell him about it, so I’ll tell it here publicly. When I played with Buddy Guy, we did a New Year’s Eve concert one year with Al Green and Santana. I was thrilled to be on the show, because I’ve always loved and been influenced by Carlos Santana, and I was excited to be seeing Al Green for the first time. We played first, and after we finished, an older gentleman approached me and said he was with Al Green, but didn’t have a guitar, and could he borrow mine. I had had some bad experiences with people using and abusing my guitars in the past (Mr. Adrian Belew!) and I was very gun-shy about putting my guitar into a strangers hands. I was young and inexperienced, and this man’s story didn’t make sense to me. “You play with Al Green and you don’t have a guitar?!” I told him no and said we were leaving before the end of the gig which was just barely true and left him to borrow someone else’s guitar, (I think he actually ended up with one of Carlos’ guitars, but that doesn’t make it better for me.) I learned the next day that the man was Larry Lee and, being the Hendrix fanatic that I am, I was stunned and wished that I’d loaned him my guitar. Then I stopped and studied my reaction and realized that it wasn’t that I regretted not loaning my guitar so much as I regretted not rubbing elbows with someone who knew Jimi Hendrix. Even a young idiot like me realized what a selfish idea this was! This realization made me rethink my entire approach to life. This one event made me realize that regardless of our particular station or situation, at the end of the day, we are all human beings, riding he same big rock through the universe and not only do we need each other, we are intrinsically connected. I have held a regret ever since that I never had the chance to apologize to Mr. Lee and explain the valuable lesson that I learned from him. I don’t know that he would remember or care, but it was a significant event in my life and if I’m a better person for it now, (I’m not saying that I am, I’m just saying if I am.), he is to thank for teaching me that when your brother asks for help, you help. You don’t turn your back and justify your refusal with a bunch of rationalizations. Now, am I perfect now? No! Do I still make the wrong decisions when it comes to my fellow man? All the time! What I do, however, is what I hope we all do; I try harder, to be better. That’s really the mandate that we have to follow. Just try harder to be better. Thank you Mr. Larry Lee and God Bless You. My heart and prayers go to your family.

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