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MourningStar
10-15-08, 11:48 PM
Hendrix drummer Mitch Mitchell stoked for new Experience
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v667/XiKano/PHOTO/50c7ccc908_ltpmit10132008.jpg
By Jed Gottlieb | Monday, October 13, 2008 | http://www.bostonherald.com | Music News Photo

Itís hard to be the greatest guitarist in history of the universe with a dud drummer.

Maybe impossible. Luckily, we never need to find out thanks to Mitch Mitchell.

Jimi Hendrixís Scottie Pippen, his Ed McMahon, his Ron Weasley, was Mitchell, the drummer in the Jimi Hendrix Experience and the guy behind the kit at Woodstock, Monterey and the Isle of Wight.

Almost 40 years after Hendrixís death, Mitchell, 61, is preparing for the Experience Hendrix tour, which stops at the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom on Wednesday, Providence Performing Arts Center on Friday and the Orpheum on Saturday. Mitchell and fellow Hendrix cohort, bassist Billy Cox, will team with axemen Buddy Guy, Jonny Lang, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Eric Johnson and Aerosmithís Brad Whitford - because it takes at least five guys to come close to Hendrix. Mitchell took a break from packing to tell us why heís still playing Jimi classics.

Herald: At your age, what gets you flying across the Atlantic to play with these guys?

Mitchell: One word, three letters. F-U-N. And also, letís put it this way: I didnít play with Billy Cox for many years, so playing with him is like putting on your favorite pair of sneakers or your favorite slippers. It feels so comfortable. Iím also one of those really lucky people that still loves playing drums. If it gets to be work, I wonít do it.

You didnít work a ton with Billy back in the day. How do you work as a rhythm section?

I have to correct you on that. Billy and I worked with and without Jimi quite a lot in the studio in í68 or maybe í69. We got to know each other and worked together without Jimi later. We quite get on with each otherís playing.

Howíd you meet Jimi and howíd you know you wanted to play with him? Better yet, howíd he know he wanted to play with you?

(Laughs) Well, thatís a question for Jimi. But I was working with a band in the UK, doing mostly r&b covers. That band got disbanded on a Monday and on Tuesday I got a call from (Hendrix manager) Chas Chandler asking if Iíd fancy playing with this guitarist heíd brought over from America. We met in this sleazy little club, and (Jimi) was this guy in a Burberry raincoat. We did some Chuck Berry and took it from there. I suppose it worked.

On these tours, youíve shared the stage with both legends such as Buddy Guy, the Doorsí Robby Krieger and Rolling Stonesí veteran Mick Taylor and young guys such as Lang, Shepherd and pedal-steel innovator Robert Randolph. How does your playing fit with all these different guitarists on this tour?

Itís a cliche, but these shows keep you on the balls of your feet. I think itís really healthy for my playing. Itís challenging. Last year I got up and sat in with Buddy Guy. It wasnít planned or anything. But it felt OK. (Laughs). After all, they didnít complain. Then thereís someone like Eric Johnson. I met him in Los Angeles 25 years ago but I havenít really played with him, so thereís always new players to connect with.

Is there anyone that gives off the same spark as Hendrix?

No. Iíve got to keep it quite straightforward on that. Iíll never go looking for that, because it doesnít exist. Itís like trying to compare John Coltrane to Wayne Shorter. You canít. Iíll never go along with a straight Jimi tribute thing because it doesnít exist and it never will. People have different interpretations of the songs and thatís good, but itís not the same. People need to remember Jimi didnít go up to 11 on the amp all the time, he kept the undertones. People forget that.


Article URL: http://www.bostonherald.com/entertainment/music/general/view.bg?articleid=1125157

ap0llo
10-16-08, 01:48 AM
Nice to see he's alive and kickin'! And I agree with him on that answer he gave to the last question. Sharp guy he is, but hey he probably knew Jimi best.

The Earth Blues
10-16-08, 05:22 AM
Can't wait till Saturday. I'm seeing him in Boston!

I saw them exactly the same day last year in New Hampshire. Incredible!

Steev
10-16-08, 05:46 AM
Thanx MS ! ! :)
In 7 days 10/23/08 my 10 yr old is gonna find out just how hot 2/3's of Jimi's band was . . . .
An immensely bittersweet pity 'bout that . . . . .
I'm taking him to see the show in Philly at The Tower.
If they do House Burning Down [how could they?] he will pass out in his seat ;)
I'm going to do my best to get backstage to "hand deliver" a set of pics I took of him & Noel at a gig I did sound for them for in Delaware - 1987 [which I promise will go up later today] and, well, I don't know exactly what will come afterward.
I'll probably babble like an idiot. . . . . Actually, this time I will not do that. :)
Thanx much 4 the article. It was nice to wake up to :)
Peace Forever

MourningStar
10-16-08, 10:22 AM
^
Looking forward to everything you can lay on us Steev!


...Sharp guy he is, but hey he probably knew Jimi best.Well, almost everyone close in Jimi's circle may make that claim. The 'real-deal' is how well Jimi knew you!

Herman Cherusken
10-16-08, 10:29 AM
Thanx MS ! ! :)
In 7 days 10/23/08 my 10 yr old is gonna find out just how hot 2/3's of Jimi's band was . . . .
An immensely bittersweet pity 'bout that . . . . .
I'm taking him to see the show in Philly at The Tower.
If they do House Burning Down [how could they?] he will pass out in his seat ;)
I'm going to do my best to get backstage to "hand deliver" a set of pics I took of him & Noel at a gig I did sound for them for in Delaware - 1987 [which I promise will go up later today] and, well, I don't know exactly what will come afterward.
I'll probably babble like an idiot. . . . . Actually, this time I will not do that. :)
Thanx much 4 the article. It was nice to wake up to :)
Peace Forever

Sounds awesome, seeing Mitch and Billy play live, not to mention hopefully getting backstage and have a chat with the guys. Amazing...

Mitch Mitchell and Billy Cox, such great musicians and stand up guys in every which way, I truly love them...

MourningStar
10-16-08, 01:31 PM
A few years ago when he did a very similar tour, it was reported that Mitch's performance left much to be desired and that some type of chronic illness was the prime suspect. I'm hoping he's recovered. Go Mitch!

The Earth Blues
10-16-08, 08:03 PM
I saw Mitch last year and he seemed fine. He wasn't great, obviously, he's very old now. But he kept time.

Anyways there is a chance I'll get to see Mitch or Billy before the show. Any questions anyone would like me to ask them?

Last year I met Billy and he was one of the nicest people. I was starstruck but now that I've experienced that the first time, I think it'll be a little easier to have a talk.

Herman Cherusken
10-16-08, 08:21 PM
Mitch turned 60 this year, while Billy turned 66 this October and they dont get any younger...

Nice The Earth Blues, just from the top of my head, one thing that I really would be interested to know is if Jimi spoke any with Billy about his deeper spiritual beliefs, and if so, if Billy was on the same page. And how much Billy think Jimi's indian background influenced him as an individual and his music...

Another question that would be interesting is if he think Mitch's drumming better suited Jimi's playing than Buddy Miles?

And does he have any plans writing a personal biography of his days with Jimi?

Milan
10-16-08, 08:22 PM
"Any questions anyone would like me to ask them?"

yeah, why in half of Hendrix books his birthdate is 9 july 1946, and the other half says 9 july 1947.

edited to add: even Wiki article says "9 july 1947".

another edit: just checked his book. the man says that during the Exp. tour with the Monkees in july 1967, "I had my 21st birthday..."

... meaning he was born in 1946.

what gives?