John 'Mitch' Mitchell, made famous by playing the drums for The Jimi Hendrix Experience died in the early morning hours of November 12, 2008 in his room at the Benson Hotel in downtown Portland. Apparently he died of a natural cause and an autopsy is planned.
Mitch Mitchell, born on July 9, 1947 in Middlesex, England. (Same as Keith Moon) He joined on with Jimi Hendrix and Noel Redding on October of 1966, and the trio became known as The Jimi Hendrix Experience. He was only 19 years old at the time. Mitch Mitchell came from a jazz background and his influences were Elvin Jones, Max Roach, and Joe Morello.
He continued to play the drums for Jimi Hendrix until the band broke up in mid-1969. In 1970 the band was re-incarnated with Billy Cox on bass instead of Noel Redding, calling themselves 'The Cry of Love' band. Mitchell was only replaced for three months by another fantastic drummer, Buddy Miles. With Mitchell's absence the band recorded a live album called The Band of Gypsys.
On September 18, 1970 Jimi Hendrix died in London, England under circumstances which have never been fully explained. He was 27. Noel Redding was found dead in his home in Ireland on May 12, 2003 with cirrhosis of the liver at age 57. Mitch was the last surviving member, and it came as a shock as I heard the news over the radio today. I played all my Jimi Hendrix collection in respects to a great drummer.
During his career Mitchell played with the best in the business — not just Hendrix, but also Eric Clapton, John Lennon, Keith Richards, Jack Bruce, Jeff Beck, Muddy Waters and others. He was recently involved in the Experience Hendrix Tour which was a concert series celebrating the legacy of Jimi Hendrix. The tour ended last week.
If there's a Rock & Roll heaven (which I hope there is) the original line-up is jammin' all the hits from those three iconic albums, Are You Experienced?/ Axis: Bold As Love/ Electric Ladyland.
A piece of trivia that I wasn't aware of: It is Mitch Mitchell's voice which is heard as the faux television announcer/interviewer in "EXP," the opening track of Axis: Bold As Love. "I always thought it was Noel Redding." But that's just a tiny portion of Mitch's many contribution to the history of Rock & Roll.