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Thread: Noel Redding: Guitar And Bass Interview 1997

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    Noel Redding: Guitar And Bass Interview 1997


    By Lothar Trampert

    G & B: You played very early in Germany ...

    Noel: Cologne was the first city I met, that was 1964, I was 18. At that time I was playing with Neil Landon & The Burnettes; We played in Storyville, at the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Ring. Hahaha, I remember that. And in Frankfurt, Wuppertal and Duisburg I played then ... Yes, I was still very young. At 17 I became a professional, but I had to wait a year to get a work permit for Germany.

    G & B: For these jobs, you were still guitarist ...

    Noel: Sure. I started with the violin at the age of nine, which was a hard thing. Then I played mandolin, then I tried the banjo, and with 12 or 13 I started playing guitar. One year later I played in my first small band. And at 17 I was a professional.

    G & B: What kind of music did you listen to in the mid-1960s, so the time when you met Hendrix?

    Noel: The early things, that was Skiffle music, what Lonnie Donegan did - everyone knew that. Then I heard Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Hank Marvin and The Shadows. As a child I've always heard Radio Luxembourg, who played such things. Yes, and then came Booker T. & The MGs. When we later worked in Germany, the club owners always wanted to hear "pop music"; And when we played in Frankfurt, where all the American GIs came, I heard something from the Blues for the first time. There always came a few black Americans, they told what or brought me a plate with. And I had not really heard of it before. I'm a rock-n 'roll musician who comes from the Skiffle.

    G & B: And the story that you played bass with Hendrix for the first time is really true?

    Noel: Yes, I was just a guitarist before. I had just had an audition for a job at Eric Burdon, but they got someone else. Someone then asked if I could play bass. I said, "No, but I'll try." And then I came into conversation with this American gentleman (Jimi), we drank some beer, and he then asked me if I wanted to play in his band. As a bass player! I really had never played bass before. That's it.

    G & B: Can you remember your equipment?

    Noel: Yeah. We played three numbers, without singing. A drummer was there, a keyborder, Hendrix and I. Chas lent me his bass, it was an old epiphone, a great semiacoustic. I can not remember the amp. Today I only play a Fender Jazz Bass, and I've been playing it since the Experience time. And I use Rotosound strings, since 1967. I've always been playing plectrum with Jim Dunlop picks. And as far as the amps are concerned, I do not care what I play. Main thing, the thing is loud! Tube, transistor, that makes for me no difference. I'm not so petty. When I'm on the road in Germany and I'm playing these workshop gigs, I'm not even taking my own bass. Either I lend myself for the tour, or I play with what I find.

    G & B: Do not you find it interesting that most young bands, thirty years later, still play with the stuff that was on the stage at the time?

    Noel: (nods) Marshall, Fender, Gibson, Epiphone - they all go back. And as I said, when I play bass, I play a jazz bass, when I play guitar, I take my Gibson Acoustic with a pickup. For the past three weeks, I've been playing electric guitar again. From Fender I got a Telecaster Custom ...

    G & B: You have not touched an electric guitar in the last few years?

    Noel: No, it just started again. I played mostly bass.

    G & B: With Experience you have played a lot of shows, TV shows from the beginning. How did it happen at the time? Have you always played live?

    Noel: Mostly we played absolutely live. In 1967, however, we also played shows like "Top of the Pops", and we had to record a backing track at 10 AM. In the evening at 7 PM, Jimi was singing live, for our playback. But we always rather live played. (Grins) However, the sound engineers often had a hard time with us.

    G & B: It must have been quite loud ...

    Noel: Yes, that was it.

    G & B: And at your big gigs the sound should have been rather strange at that time: lots of guitar, a bit of drums and vocals, almost no bass. There was also no PA but a vocal ...

    Noel: (nods) Mmh. We did not even have monitors. It was like in the Proberaum, even when we were playing in a large hall. We started with Marshalls. In the US, we had these Sunn-Amps for a while, I had three 400-watt tops, six boxes each with 2 x 15 "stuff, and another box had Jimi directly in ear. He played four Marshall boxes over two or three Marshall amps. And monitors did not exist. In 1969, we got an old PA system for Mitch, because he actually did not hear anything at all. He is also always gladly quoted that he has always looked at my foot, if he no longer knew where he was in the song.

    G & B: I would like to experience this old sound, in a hall of that time, and with this equipment. You can not imagine it if you have not experienced it.

    Noel: Yeah, that's it. No monitors! (Grins) Today they even have soundchecks.

    G & B: To what extent were you involved in working on the first albums on the compositions?

    Noel: I wrote some songs, but Jimi came from 90 percent. It was published by She's So Fine and Little Miss Strange. In some arrangements I was already involved. Jimi has also used some of my riffs without my permission; but whatever…

    G & B: So he worked on yours after you left the band?

    Noel: Yes, they appeared later: 'Crash Landing', in this song 'Midnight', this is my riff. (The album did not appear until 1975, however, and is more than controversial and less than audible, because strange musicians have re-recorded the songs to Outtakes by Hendrix's voice and guitar), but also with experience numbers like, Foxy Lady 'came from me. For this song, No end, and the idea with the B in the end came from me. I would have had 10% rights of the arrangement, hahaha!

    G & B: On the other hand, this band was a showcase for interaction, and then something like this must happen when working together on song ideas.

    Noel: Oh, yes! Of course that was so. When we recorded, we first learned the numbers in the studio. We practiced, sampled things, etc - and Chas (Chandler, the producer), god bless him, just took that up. So he took our rehearsals. He sometimes said, "All right! Come on over and listen to it! "Hendrix then put a few guitar sounds on it, some percussion came, we sung backing vocals, that was it ... - that was how it was!

    G & B: Do you have a favorite album of the Jimi Hendrix Experience?

    Noel: Yes, Axis: Bold As Love.

    G & B: We think so. Is it true that you left the band after a gig on 29 June 1969 in Denver, Colorado?

    Noel: That's right.

    G & B: Did you ever play with Jimi or Mitch?

    Noel: In 1970, I recorded an album in New York, and Jimi came by and played a few tracks; But there were also conflicts. The last time I played with Mitch was ... (considered) 1989 in Ireland. That was the last time.

    G & B: What is he doing today?

    Noel: I do not know. He lives somewhere in France. No idea what he is doing ... Fortunately I'm still working a lot.

    G & B: What did you do after 1969?

    Noel: After the experience came "Fat Mattress", in 1971 I had a band called "Road", a trio. We lived in Los Angeles. Then I moved to Ireland and did not play at all. After two years the "Noel Redding Band" came together with people from Thin Lizzy and Steve Marriott; We made two albums in 1974/75. Then I had an acoustic band, you call it "Unplugged", hahaha! From 1980 to 1990 I lived with my wife Carol Appleby, she died with an Autounfall. After that, I just worked a lot, in these last seven years ... (thoughtfully) I've been on the road for 34 years now.

    G & B: What are your plans for the next time?

    Noel: First I come to Germany, then I play in Vienna, I go to Los Angeles in January, because there they present a "Noel Redding Bass" on the NAMM show. And on Sunset Boulevard I should put my hands in the wet cement, hahaha!

    I've been to the NAMM show this year, and it was great. Fender folks asked me if I wanted to write a few autographs. But of course! (Grins) Three full hours later I had to go to a second hand shop. Hahahaha! That's how it is! Otherwise, I am still working on a book. My wife has already made a book from my diary records and notes, "Are You Experienced?" (London, 1990, author). And now I'm planning a different approach: I'll take back my diary, but write every day my personal comments, from today's point of view.

    G & B: Have you ever felt like a pop star?

    Noel: No. I've never jumped on the stage, and Mitch, of course, not. We were always the people behind the frontman. Sure, Jimi could not have done it without us on stage: when he played a solo, Mitch often moved along, and when they wanted to go back to the music, I was there, as a guide. I never wanted to be a pop star, but always a really professional musician.

    G & B: This concept, which you have just described, made the experience, as far as the interplay is concerned, much more interesting than other trio's, as Cream, B ...

    Noel: Yes! Hendrix was a blues musician, Mitch was a very jazz-oriented drummer and I was rock musician. And that was it: blues, jazz & rock. This made the band interesting, I think.

    G & B: And as a singer, Hendrix, a rhythm and lead guitarist, played with himself.

    Noel: Exactly. I always say he was the only one who could play Rhythm and Lead at the same time. And he did.

    G & B: Do you remember when the first bands that were more or less clearly oriented to the experience?

    Noel: It was about 1968/69, there were a few such bands. Rory Gallagher, god bless him, he was strongly influenced by Jimi. And also Gary Moore: He came to one of our gigs in Belfast, where he was just 13 years old, that was 1967. And that type of Thin Lizzy, Scott Gorham, saw us in America in 1967 when he was 14; I met him later. And Sting saw us in Newcastle at the age of 15 - I met him a few months ago in Italy - and he says that he is still very much alive to the band; It impressed him.

    G & B: What goodbye was that when you left the band: a separation for personal or musical reasons?

    Noel: The band was the highlight of their career, and I thought it was time to stop. Chas (Chandler) was also of this opinion. After that, it really did not really get any better. I was told that I should play again, but it did not happen, for some reason.

    G & B: When did you receive your last check for work with the Experience?

    Noel: I never saw a check or something like that for anything I did with the experience. I just got money for my two songs, and that's it. Otherwise there was nothing. Nothing at all. But this is a story in itself ...
    Last edited by RobbieRadio; 07-25-17 at 01:17 PM.

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