Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Death Of The Experience
I am saddened to hear of the death of Mitch Mitchell. He was best known as the drummer of the Jimi Hendrix Experience. They are now all dead and that's a drag. Hendrix valued his contributions so much that he was a part of Jimi's band with one exception, a side project The Band Of Gypsies.
Mitch Mitchell was British, a cross between Keith Moon and Ginger Baker in his drumming style. I loved watching him when I was a kid thinking I may one day become a drummer. He made drumming fun. Jimi died in 1970, Noel Redding in 2003. With Mitch Mitchell passing away, that means if there's a rock and roll heaven, the Experience now jams for the first time in nearly 40 years.
Anyway, this gives me the excuse to play some cool clips from the YouTube.
First up is a clip from June of 1967 when Jimi Hendrix had an advance copy of Sgt. Pepper to play for an audience that had not gotten the Beatles album.
Shortly afterward the Experience made their American debut at the Monterey Pop festival and blew every act away with their explosive set. The chemistry between Mitch Mitchell and Hendrix is palatable here.
Mitch Mitchell didn't do much outside of his work for the Experience. One notable exception was when he participated in the Rolling Stones project "Rock and Roll Circus". John Lennon formed a one off band called "Dirty Mac" to perform the Beatles song from the White Album "Yer Blues". The group consisted of Lennon, Eric Clapton on guitar, Keith Richards on bass?! and Mitch Mitchell on drums. One can say that this was an improvement on the original.
Woodstock was a highlight in Jimi Hendrix's career, particularly in his iconic performance of the Star Spangled Banner. He had a large band with him but only Mitch Mitchell accompanied him on this. That's respect.
Towards the end of Jimi Hendrix's life he had already ditched Noel Redding but kept on Mitch Mitchell. This Isle of Wight concert footage was performed days before Hendrix died. Unfortunately for Mitchell, Hendrix death more or less ruined Mitchell's career for the rest of his life. He was screwed out of Experience's residuals and had a hard time getting as long term gig. His legacy lived on and he was able to capitalize on his former fame.
Sad to see him go.