"We did some Chuck Berry and took it from there. I suppose it worked."
November 12, 2008 4:43 PM   Subscribe

Mitch Mitchell, best known as the drummer in the Jimi Hendrix Experience, dead at 61. The last member of the trio to pass away, Mitchell was found in his hotel room early Wednesday morning. Give the drummer some!
posted by The Card Cheat (64 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's been a lousy year for '60s rock legends.

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posted by The Card Cheat at 4:43 PM on November 12, 2008


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posted by dbiedny at 4:45 PM on November 12, 2008


Damned shame. Hendrix was undisputably the star of that outfit, but Mitchell was definitely no slouch behind the kit, and was often downright dazzling. RIP, skinpounder.
posted by jonmc at 4:57 PM on November 12, 2008


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posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:58 PM on November 12, 2008


Wow, those three didn't have long lives at all! They partied pretty hard, to be sure...

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Along with Moonie, one of the jazziest rock drummers.
posted by chuckdarwin at 5:06 PM on November 12, 2008


Mitch Mitchell sure could play the drums.
posted by Divine_Wino at 5:13 PM on November 12, 2008


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One of my favorite BANDS. Yes, the Jimi Hendrix Experience was a band. (not that people think it's not, but more that the other members rarely get credit for their contribution). He was indeed an incredible drummer.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 5:21 PM on November 12, 2008


Will there be a Jimi Hendrix Experience reunion in heaven?

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posted by jonp72 at 5:23 PM on November 12, 2008


One of my favorite BANDS. Yes, the Jimi Hendrix Experience was a band.

Let Me Stand Next to Your Fire is still, to my mind, one of Mitchell's stand-out performances. He's all over the damn place and holding it all together at the same time. Phenomenal playing that every aspiring drummer should study.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:28 PM on November 12, 2008


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posted by Lynsey at 5:29 PM on November 12, 2008


Aw, goddammit. RIP, Mitch.
posted by middleclasstool at 5:32 PM on November 12, 2008


. Damn, I always thought that he didn't get enough recognition.
posted by octothorpe at 5:42 PM on November 12, 2008


Fuck. I'd hoped the "Experience Hendrix Tour" would give him the recognition he so undeniably & richly deserved.

RIP, Mr. Mitchell. Thank you for your incredible rhythms and percussive punctuation. You were a genius, a force for joy and impulse, and one of my heroes.

Dang....

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posted by batmonkey at 5:53 PM on November 12, 2008


He's the only one who could stand up to Jimi. The tug-of-war between them on Are You Experienced? is one of the finest elements of any recording I know.

Thank you for your music. Much respect, Mitch, and rest in peace.
posted by SaintCynr at 5:56 PM on November 12, 2008


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posted by motty at 6:03 PM on November 12, 2008


Bummer! RIP
posted by auralcoral at 6:08 PM on November 12, 2008


Damn.

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posted by marxchivist at 6:28 PM on November 12, 2008


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posted by doctor_negative at 6:30 PM on November 12, 2008


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posted by stubby phillips at 6:33 PM on November 12, 2008


C |X---------------|----------------|----------------|----------------|
H |----x---x---x---|x---x---x---x---|x---x---x---x---|x---x---x---x---|
S |----o--o----o---|----o-------o---|--o-o---o-----o-|--o---o-o---o---|
B |o-------o-o---o-|o-o---o---o---o-|o---------o-o---|----------o---o-|

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posted by kuujjuarapik at 6:44 PM on November 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Damn. One of my favorite drummers.
And, yes, his work on "Fire" is astonishing.
posted by Dr. Wu at 6:50 PM on November 12, 2008


Damn.

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posted by Sailormom at 6:51 PM on November 12, 2008


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There was so much Elvin Jones and other jazz greats in his style, and he enhanced Hendrix big time. Why Jimi went with Buddy Miles on drums later, during his "Band of Gypsies" period, I still don't know. That clunky style ("Machine Gun" at the Fillmore, for example) was like the antithesis of Mitch's sophisticated work.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 6:51 PM on November 12, 2008


Sad news. Only 61 though? I could've sworn he was older than that.
posted by bardic at 7:04 PM on November 12, 2008


Well, there's an interview with Mitch on one of those YouTube pages, where he says that his relationship with Jimi was pretty distant, so maybe Jimi just wanted to play with someone else who he could get along with or something.
posted by awfurby at 7:04 PM on November 12, 2008


And as long as we're waxing nostalgic, I agree completely that Mitchell and Redding don't get enough credit as musicians. But you know who doesn't get enough credit for his song-writing (as opposed to his phenomenal musicianship)? Hendrix. Great pop sensibilities at times. In a good way.
posted by bardic at 7:09 PM on November 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


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posted by fatbaq at 7:20 PM on November 12, 2008


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posted by Webbster at 7:20 PM on November 12, 2008


Mitch Mitchell was Hendrix's most consistently successful musical partner, and probably the only one who approached working on Hendrix's level. That he didn't enjoy more success and exposure post-Experience was one of rock's greatest missed opportunities.

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posted by Herodios at 7:21 PM on November 12, 2008


And as long as we're waxing nostalgic, I agree completely that Mitchell and Redding don't get enough credit as musicians. But you know who doesn't get enough credit for his song-writing (as opposed to his phenomenal musicianship)? Hendrix. Great pop sensibilities at times. In a good way.

Yeah, exactly.
posted by Divine_Wino at 7:29 PM on November 12, 2008


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posted by the sobsister at 7:37 PM on November 12, 2008


I think it was about the hundredth or so time I saw this legendary performance that I noticed that, around when Jimi is doing his thing, the drummer guy was still going at it....quite skillfully, too. This prompted an immediate re-listening of every Experience produced media I had.

Simply awesome.

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posted by shoebox at 7:50 PM on November 12, 2008


Jennings!
posted by tellurian at 7:59 PM on November 12, 2008



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posted by swift at 8:08 PM on November 12, 2008


Mitch Mitchell spoke to me once. He said: "What are you doing here?" before summoning burly men to have me pitched of their dressing room. (Jimi spoke to me too. He said, "Hey, man." Very cool, like.)

Let me also second the above comments about the superiority of Mitch Mitchell to any other musician Hendrix played with, and also about Hendrix's superb pop sensibilities. Hendrix singled handedly ushered in the era of swinging dick guitar players, and ruined rock in the process. But he himself was a one-off miracle of art.
posted by Faze at 8:13 PM on November 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


That clunky style ("Machine Gun" at the Fillmore, for example) was like the antithesis of Mitch's sophisticated work.

Yes. I always much preferred the black/white trios to that Fillmore Band. Sorry to hear about Mitch, who I only saw once way back when but always liked. (It happened to be the day, I found out many years later, that the Experience first played The Star-Spangled Banner in public — August 16, 1968 — which Jimi thought should be star-spangled because it was the 30th anniversary of Robert Johnson's death.)
posted by LeLiLo at 8:16 PM on November 12, 2008


I never liked Redding, but I always liked Mitch.

Too bad. All these great musicians are disappearing. Happens all the time, but as a fellow drummer I know this guy's work intimately, and he'll be missed.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:24 PM on November 12, 2008


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posted by nickyskye at 8:43 PM on November 12, 2008


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posted by Lukenlogs at 9:03 PM on November 12, 2008


I think it was about the hundredth or so time I saw this legendary performance that I noticed that, around when Jimi is doing his thing, the drummer guy was still going at it....quite skillfully, too.

Something else to mention is that Mitchell was only 19 when he played at that famous Monterey Pop gig, much like Michael Shrieve of Santana wowed the fans at Woodstock two years later only a month after he turned 20. (Mitchell actually was born about a week and a half before Carlos Santana.)

Also, The Dirty Mac, one other band Mitchell was asked to join, included as its other three musicians John Lennon, Eric Clapton, and Keith Richards!
posted by LeLiLo at 9:50 PM on November 12, 2008


Seekerofsplendor said what I was coming in to say basically. Mitch Mitchell seemed to approach playing with Hendrix minus the hurt and ego that Noel Redding always dragged along. They complimented each other pretty perfectly.

I liked him better than Keith Moon actually. Whereas Moon was genuinely did seem out of control at times when he got 'jazzy', Mitchell always kept the beat there and audible. He was a more solid drummer IMO.
posted by stinkycheese at 9:54 PM on November 12, 2008


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I'm having to use that dot far far too damn often lately.
posted by Wolof at 9:55 PM on November 12, 2008


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posted by mosk at 9:55 PM on November 12, 2008


Aw hell. Damn. This is a big one. I remember clearly the first time I heard Fire. My older cousin had Are You Experienced, which had just come out. I was 10, and I already knew I wanted to be a drummer (hey, Ringo and all), but when I heard those crack-like-a-whip drum breaks at the top of that tune, wow, that really spoke to me. It really turned me on. It was a defining moment, and I was sure I was gonna be a drummer after that.

He was one of the truly great rock drummers. The polar opposite, stylistically, of John Bonham, another tub thumper who's way up there in my list of tippy top faves. Bonham held down the beat like, well, gravity. Like a law of nature. Mitchell propelled it with what seemed like one big, never-ending fill. Now, a propensity for endless filligree, flourish and fills is something that, in the hands of many a lesser drummer, leads to the death of groove, but not in Mitchell's case. His beat was like fire, like sparks, like licking flames that kept Hendrix continually moving forward. Mitchell's drumming was as electric as Hendrix's guitar. It was exciting as hell.

Goodbye, Mitch Mitchell. Your music meant a hell of a lot to me.

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posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:44 PM on November 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


stinkycheese: you're so right, man. Keith Moon was one of the rock greats as well , but but just lacked the control, finesse and perhaps the discipline that Mitch Mitchell had in spades.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 10:56 PM on November 12, 2008


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posted by Kinbote at 11:35 PM on November 12, 2008


my favorite drummer, evar. yeah flapjax - electric.
so it is complete: jimi, noel, mitch.
heaven ever been experienced?
posted by lapolla at 12:09 AM on November 13, 2008


Lovely fluid drummer, very underused.

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posted by mandal at 2:17 AM on November 13, 2008


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posted by harriet vane at 2:20 AM on November 13, 2008


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posted by about_time at 3:15 AM on November 13, 2008


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posted by fixedgear at 3:46 AM on November 13, 2008


When I think of Mitch Mitchell I think of "Gypsy Eyes."
posted by Restless Day at 3:56 AM on November 13, 2008


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posted by Dr-Baa at 5:31 AM on November 13, 2008


Mitch was the fucking man...
As someone said, one of the jazziest rock drummers around, and worked so perfectly with Jimi.
posted by opsin at 5:34 AM on November 13, 2008


Wow. That closes a big chapter. Damn -- I was going to see that Hendrix Experience tour when it came to our local theatre -- if only to catch Buddy Guy playing with Mitch.

RIP, Mitch.
posted by VicNebulous at 5:57 AM on November 13, 2008


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posted by tiger yang at 7:48 AM on November 13, 2008


oh man, this sucks. I spent my youth learning to play drums like Mitch Mitchell. He was honestly one of my absolute favorites.
posted by shmegegge at 8:24 AM on November 13, 2008


Sad to hear it. Manic Depression was the best example of his talents, I think.

Now there can only be one Mitch Mitchell.
posted by Paid In Full at 8:44 AM on November 13, 2008


Give the drummer some.
posted by tighttrousers at 9:55 AM on November 13, 2008


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posted by dagosto at 11:08 AM on November 13, 2008


There goes a part of history. Hang on, Billy Cox.
posted by ersatz at 11:11 AM on November 13, 2008


Just last week I was looking at Hendrix clips on YouTube and oddly I found myself paying more attention to Mitchell than usual. Simply an amazing drummer.
posted by cropshy at 2:24 PM on November 13, 2008


Experienced.
posted by rageagainsttherobots at 7:44 PM on November 13, 2008


Twenty-one gun salute in the form of drum solos: one, two, three...
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:54 AM on November 15, 2008


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