John ‘Mitch’ Mitchell, legendary drummer with The Jimi Hendrix Experience, died yesterday. He was just 61.
Before joining Jimi in late 1966 Mitchell was a desirable session drummer, playing on tracks by The Pretty Things, Georgie Fame and The Blue Notes, and The Riot Squad. His fast jazzy style was unmistakable, and he toured the world for three years with The Jimi Hendrix Experience, before the band called it a day in 1969. He also drummed as part of The Dirty Mac band on The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus show in ’68. From the 70s until his death Mitchell kept busy with various low-key session work, and continued to promote the Hendrix brand. Mitchell had just been on the 2008 Experience Hendrix US tour, traveling coast-to-coast promoting the band’s music alongside a group that included Buddy Guy. The 18-date journey finished in Portland, Oregon, where he died of natural causes in a city hotel room.
Speaking to Shindig! magazine late last year, Mitchell reminisced about his 60s work, recalling ‘fond memories’ of supporting The Yardbirds whilst in The Riot Squad, and how proud he was of having worked with ‘creative and clever’ producer Joe Meek. Mitchell’s last live performance in the UK was in October 2007.
The best tribute you could pay someone like Mitchell is with Youtube footage such as this. Put simply: pulverising.