Thursday, November 13, 2008

The last of the Experience passes

Posted by T. Ballard Lesemann on Thu, Nov 13, 2008 at 8:16 AM

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Sad news: the wonderfully fluid and powerful rock drummer Mitch Mitchell — an influential musician known best for as an original member of the Jimi Hendrix Experience — was found dead in Portland hotel on Wednesday, Nov. 12. The Multnomah County Medical Examiner’s office said the 61-year-old likely died of natural causes. He had been playing with the Experience Hendrix tour this month.

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Mitchell was with the Experience from 1966-69, and a bit with the Band of Gypsies and a re-formed Experience in 1970. Jimi Hendrix died in 1970. Bassist Noel Redding died in 2003.

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A master of jazz-styled ride cymbal work and triplet rolls on the Ludwigs and Premiers, Mitchell was considered one of the greatest rock drummers of the late 1960s. He had the flourish and bombast of Keith Moon, the grooves of Ginger Baker, and the high-end chops and explosive approach of Elvin Jones and John Bonham.

He played in Georgie Fame & the Blue Flames in 1965 and 1966, before Animals bassist-turned-band manager Chas Chandler invited him to audition for the group being formed around Jimi Hendrix. The singles on the band’s 1967 debut Are You Experienced? included “Fire,” “Third Stone from the Sun,” “Hey Joe,” “Foxey Lady,” and “Manic Depression.” Mitchell was only 20 years old when he recorded that album.

There’s a great page to check out with photos, audio, and video footage at Drummerworld.com. He will be missed.

"Manic Depression" — from the album Are You Experienced :

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"Wait Until Tomorrow" — from the album Axis: Bold as Love :

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