Thursday, July 19, 2018

A Drummer's Experience

by 'Mean' Mike Duffau (writer), I'm the boss!, November 13, 2008


A Power Trio In Rock & Roll Heaven

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.

R.I.P. Mitch! 

About the Writer

'Mean' Mike Duffau is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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5 comments on A Drummer's Experience

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By 'Mean' Mike Duffau on November 13, 2008 at 10:50 am

julian, thanks for reading champ!

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By CCNY on November 13, 2008 at 12:53 pm

This is a sad day, I loved how Mitchell played, particularly the rat-at-tat tight snare he used.  It's a shame that Jimi dropped him for that short time because Buddy Miles couldn't shine Mitchell's cymbals.  Good bit of trivia on "EXP"...

Mitchell was my own early role model when I was learning to play drums.  When I could finally play through the Hendrix song, "Fire," I must have played it 40 times straight with my headphones on.  RIP Mitch, you were one of the greats.

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By 'Mean' Mike Duffau on November 13, 2008 at 04:37 pm

CCNY: besides keith moon, mitch mitchell was another one of my heros in the drummers' world...there's too many to list. mitchell had lighting speed and a great jazz technique, although ive heard many times that his solos didnt stay in tempo, but what does it matter...its a solo! i didnt really bother me, and he came back in rhythm to the tune when he finished his solos. great drummer!!!!!!

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By 'Mean' Mike Duffau on November 13, 2008 at 07:53 pm

yeah, thats right mitchell was here in L.A. i shoulda went to that show. rudd better make it to those 2 shows at the forum cause i have tickets for both of those dates.

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By CCNY on November 13, 2008 at 09:33 pm

Speaking of Narcissi, I didn't think it was possible to suck the fun out of Jimi Hendrix, but having his essence broken down like a fine powder really did the trick for me.  Thanks, Morganza!  Who knew, all these years later, that it wasn't a soulful,  inherent feel for what he was playing that made him great, but it turns out, Mitch was simply doing math in his head the whole time and playing tempo roboto.  Zzzzzz.  Even Mitch would tell you that was bullshit, he was all feel.

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