Larry "Rhino" Reinhardt toured the world and lived a true rock and roll lifestyle but he was able to keep his roots in Bradenton, where he earned his first guitar string callouses in the red shed behind his Samoset home.
After travelling the world with Iron Butterfly and later with Captain Beyond, Rinehardt spent his last years back home — literally — in the house where he grew up and started his first bands as a teenager.
He died Monday at Manatee Memorial Hospital after years of poor health, that left him in pain, but never prevented him from writing music or playing the guitar.
Soon after he returned to the area he began playing with Blue Swamp with old friend Richard Price and some new friends, including Mike Kach and Lynne Harrison Reinhardt (no relation to Larry Reinhardt).
Lynne remembers meeting Reinhardt at a Blue Swamp rehearsal in an old airplane hangar in Sarasota's Hidden River. She had rescued a wild dove with a broken wing and had named it "Little Wing" after the Jimi Hendrix instrumental. She said she remembers Reinhardt as being a guitarist "of the caliber of Hendrix."
"When Rhino played his first solo in that hangar, "Little Wing" laid an egg," she said Tuesday.
Kach said Reinhardt's enthusiasm for music and especially song writing never waned. And while Kach knew that the guitarist and song writer had been sick for years, he was still stunned on Tuesday about his death.
"He was inspiring to me," Kach said. "He had enormous enthusiasm for writing and he would get excited like a teenager doing his first band. He had a youthful enthusiasm."
He also had a wicked sense of humor and a craft for storytelling, Kach said.
"He had a lot of stories to tell and he told them well," Kach said.
Price who convinced Reinhardt to jam with the younger musicians and eventually join Blue Swamp, remembers Rhinehardt from the early days. Price was a musician in Bradenton in the 1960s and looked up to Reinhardt and Dickey Betts, both talented musicians who were playing all the hot spots in Sarasota and Bradenton.
Price has become something of an amatuer historian about the Bradenton music scene, Lynne Reinhardt said. He has been collecting the history of this group of people involved in the southern rock.
Reinhardt's roots ran deep in the area's music history. His father owned a music store, Reinhardt Music, Price said. But he was also known as a country musician and his band Moose Reinhardt and the Mavericks played gigs all around the state, "traveling in a big old Cadillac with wings and a trailer."
Rhino Reinhardt sometimes went along on gigs with his father, usually to cover for the guitar player who wanted a night off, Price said. But the pair didn't always agree about the music. Moose Reinhardt didn't understand why his son was enamoured with rock and roll.
Reinhardt lived for the cutting edge music of the 1960s and 70s. And it seemed that every band he was in met with the kind of success that led to the next bigger and better gig. After playing bars in Sarasota and Bradenton, his band was called up to be the house band for Dubs in Gainesville, a famous college bar. The next move was to Jacksonville where the guys met up with Dickey Betts other musicians from Bradenton.
Price said they all lived next door to each other "in two hippie houses there." Eventually one group formed the Allman Brothers, while Reinhardt and others became "The Second Coming." Both groups performed throughout Florida and Georgia. Eventually they both did albums. The Allman Brothers took off, while The Second Coming floundered and eventually broke up. That's when Reinhardt joined Iron Butterfly, Price said.
That was in 1969. Price came back to Bradenton and it was 32 years before Price and Reinhardt played together.
Reinhardt had gotten tired of Los Angeles and the way the music industry worked.
Dan Toler, of Allman Brothers fame, remembered in a Facebook posting the times they got together in Reinhardt's yard to talk about their experiences.
"I remember sitting under a table umbrella in Rhino's backyard eating oysters on crackers with cocktail sauce topped with horseradish sauce talking about the old days getting ripped off by everyone in the music business and telling stories that would make fans hate their heroes," Toler wrote in a Facebook posting. "Really a fun day and we did this several times. Gary Guzzardo was always there so you can only imagine the tales. Larry was a wonderful friend and definitely one of my musical heroes. Larry had a love for people and music."
Once Reinhardt returned to this community it was like he had never left. He stopped by Sarasota Guitar Company when they had space in the Red Barn. He chatted with the owners and entertained them with his stories.
"He is going to be missed by the music community," Nancy Wollin Cook, an owner of Sarasota Guitar Company. "It really meant a lot to us that he would come by our little booth when we were just starting out at the Red Barn Flea Market and hang with us some. He was really a very nice guy."
Reinhardt will not have a funeral, according to his Facebook page. There will however be a celebration of life in the future. In addition, a tribute page has already been started in his memory, featuring videos of him playing his guitar.