John "Mitch" Mitchell (9 July 1947 – 12 November 2008)
A more recent photo of Mitch Mitchell taken on
November 4, 2008 on his Experience Hendrix
tour in San Francisco, California.
John "Mitch" Mitchell was an English drummer, best known for his work in The Jimi Hendrix Experience.
Before joining The Jimi Hendrix Experience Mitchell gained experience touring and as a session musician and had starred in a children's television program when he was a teenager. Pre-Experience bands included Johnny Harris and the Shades, The Pretty Things, The Riot Squad and Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames. He had also worked in Jim Marshall's (creator of the Marshall amplifier) music shop in London.
All three members of the Jimi Hendrix Experience
are now dead. Mitch Mitchell is pictured in the center.
Mitchell was praised for his work with The Jimi Hendrix Experience on songs such as Manic Depression, Voodoo Child (Slight Return), Fire
and Third Stone from the Sun
. Mitchell came from a jazz background and like many of his drummer contemporaries was strongly influenced by the work of Elvin Jones, Max Roach, and Joe Morello.
More recent pictures of Mitch Mitchell taken in London, England on October 25, 2007.
Mitchell played in Hendrix's Experience trio from October 1966 to mid-1969, his Woodstock band in August 1969, and also with the later incarnation of the "Jimi Hendrix Experience" in 1970 with Billy Cox on bass, known as the "Cry of Love" band. Jimi Hendrix would often record tracks in the studio with only Mitchell and in concert the two fed off of each other to exciting effect.
Mitch Mitchell interview "A Film About Jimi Hendrix." in 1973. (5:13 minutes)www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqMdlvhk7hA
Mitch Mitchell drum solo in Sweden on January 9, 1969. (3:15 minutes)www.youtube.com/watch?v=jiMu_ZSbKn4
Mitchell played in the band The Dirty Mac assembled for The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus in 1968. Other members included John Lennon as vocalist and rhythm guitarist "Winston Leg-Thigh"; Eric Clapton as guitarist, and Keith Richards as bassist. The group recorded a cover of Yer Blues
as well as a jam called Whole Lotta Yoko
The Dirty Mac: Lennon, Richards, Clapton, Mitchell
on Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus. (5:19 minutes) www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVrhaHuK1d8
After Hendrix's death, Mitchell (along with engineer Eddie Kramer) finished production work on multiple incomplete Hendrix recordings, resulting in posthumous releases such as "The Cry of Love" and "Rainbow Bridge". In 1972, he teamed up with guitarists April Lawton and Mike Pinera (who would later go on to join Iron Butterfly) to form the quite innovative act Ramatam. They recorded one album and were Emerson, Lake & Palmer's opening act at a number of concerts. Interestingly, Mitchell had been offered the drum spot in ELP during 1970, but turned it down in favour of playing with Hendrix. Ramatam never achieved commercial success and Mitchell left the act before their second LP release. Mitchell also performed in some concerts with Terry Reid, Jack Bruce, and Jeff Beck (substituting for drummer Cozy Powell, then sick).
According to Eddie Kramer's book Hendrix: Setting the Record Straight
, Michael Jeffery, Hendrix's manager, an innovator in getting Hendrix promoted and established, relegated both Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding to the status of mere paid employees without an ownership share in future revenues. This limited their earnings to a very low rate and led to Mitchell and Redding being largely excluded from sharing in future revenues generated from their work with The Jimi Hendrix Experience. This arrangement pressured Mitchell in the mid-1970s to sell a prized Hendrix guitar. In addition, he sold his small legal claim to future Hendrix record sales for a sum reported to be in the range of $200,000. In 1974, he auditioned for Paul McCartney's band Wings, but was turned down in favour of drummer Geoff Britton.
"Hendrix: Setting the Record Straight"
by Edward E Kramer and John McDermott.
For the rest of the '70s through to the '90s, Mitchell continued to perform and occasionally record although essentially doing so under the radar of most of his previous fans. He kept reasonably busy doing occasional session work (such as Junior Brown's Long Walk Back
album) as well as participating in various Hendrix-related recordings, videos, and interviews.
In 1999, Mitchell appeared on the late Bruce Cameron's album, "Midnight Daydream" that included other Hendrix alumni Billy Cox and Buddy Miles along with Jack Bruce, with whom Mitchell had worked after Hendrix's death. Mitchell, seemingly in an attempt to satisfy the most enthusiastic fans of his drum work with Hendrix, even played a series of live shows with the Hendrix emulator Randy Hansen. Most recently, he was part of the Gypsy Sun Experience, along with former Hendrix bassist Billy Cox and guitarist Gary Serkin. He entered semi-retirement living in Europe.
His last days were spent celebrating the music and legacy of Jimi Hendrix on the 2008 Experience Hendrix Tour. For nearly 4 weeks the tour travelled coast to coast in an 18-city tour in the US finishing in Portland. In addition to Mitchell the tour featured Buddy Guy, Jonny Lang, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Eric Johnson, Cesar Rosas, David Hidalgo, Aerosmith's Brad Whitford, Hubert Sumlin, Chris Layton as well as Eric Gales and Mato Nanji. Five days after the tour ended Mitchell was found dead at approximately 3 AM 12 November in his room at the Benson Hotel in downtown Portland. Mitchell apparently died of natural causes according to Multnomah County medical examiner Erin Patrick. An autopsy is planned. He was the last surviving member of the original Jimi Hendrix Experience. Mitchell was to leave Portland on Wednesday, November 12th, and return to his home in England. The Mitch Mitchell Trust has been established to manage the MMT Drug Rehabilitation Through Music programme based in Bettws, Newport in Wales.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitch_Mitchell
Forever In Our Hearts, John "Mitch" Mitchell,www.nubianlink.com/gallery/jimmy.htm
Mitch Mitchell MySpace Website.profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=173449991