Mitch Mitchell may not have been the Jimi Hendrix of the drums, but he was Jimi’s guy behind the kit at his biggest gigs and boldest recordings.
Mitchell, 61, who was found dead Wednesday of natural causes in a Portland, Ore., hotel room, laid down the beat for the Jimi Hendrix Experience on “Purple Haze,” “Little Wing” and scores more. He also backed the incendiary guitarist at the Woodstock, Monterey and Isle of Wight festivals.
Unlike drum peers rooted in simple, blunt blues and rock playing, Mitchell deftly enhanced Hendrix’s wah-wah genius with a jazzman’s dexterity – and fire.
The last surviving member of the original Experience – Hendrix died in 1970, bassist Noel Redding died in 2003 – Mitchell had wrapped up the Experience Hendrix Tour in Portland on Nov. 7. Last month, he spoke with the Herald from his home in England shortly before the tour’s three New England stops.
“I’m one of those really lucky people that still loves playing drums,” he said. “If it gets to be work, I won’t do it.”
Mitch Mitchell, drum solo in Sweden, Jan. 1969
via Boston Herald: Mitch Mitchell was Hendrix’s greatest collaborator