Mitch Mitchell, the innovative drummer who anchored the JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE, has died at the age of 62. Mitchell passed away on November 12 in Portland, Oregon of natural causes. The London native had completed an 18-city American tour as a featured performer with Experience Hendrix, a series concert series celebrating the legacy of Jimi Hendrix featuring an all-star line-up of artists including his one-time Hendrix bandmate and dear friend Billy Cox. Other performers on the tour included Buddy Guy, Hubert Sumlin, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Jonny Lang, Brad Whitford of AEROSMITH, Robby Krieger of the DOORS, Mike McCready of PEARL JAM as well as members of LOS LOBOS and others. Portland was the tour's last stop and Mitchell had been staying in town for some vacation time before his planned return to England.
Janie Hendrix, CEO of Experience Hendrix, LLC commented, "We're all devastated to hear of Mitch's passing. He was a wonderful man, a brilliant musician and a true friend. His role in shaping the sound of the JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE cannot be underestimated. Over the course of the recent tour, he seemed delighted with the interchange with the other musicians and the audiences. There is no question that he was doing what he loved."
Mitchell began working with Experience Hendrix, the family owned company established by James "Al" Hendrix shortly after its inception. He had been featured in many of the documentaries and programs issued by the company over the years.
Before signing on as the drummer with the JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE, Mitchell had built a reputation through his work with THE PRETTY THINGS, GEORGIE FAME & THE BLUE FLAMES and had been one of the top session drummers of the time starting at the age of 14. His drumming technique was an amalgam of rock and jazz styles as he was heavily influenced by the likes of Elvin Jones and Max Roach. He joined the JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE in 1966 and performed with Hendrix and bassist Noel Redding at their U.S. debut at the Monterey Pop Festival in June of 1967. He was also, most notably, part of the later version of the JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE that included Billy Cox who performed the closing set of the Woodstock Festival on August 18, 1969. Following the death of Jimi Hendrix in 1970, Mitchell worked with producer Eddie Kramer in completing work on both "The Cry of Love" and "Rainbow Bridge" albums.
Prior to his music career, Mitchell was a noted child actor who starred in the TV series "Jennings At School" as well as numerous feature films. After falling in love with American jazz, blues and rock 'n' roll, he abandoned acting and devoted the rest of his life to music.
Mitchell was part of a super group known as THE DIRTY MAC that appeared in the 1968 TV special "The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus" joining with John Lennon, Eric Clapton and Keith Richards. He later recorded and performed with bands including RAMATAM as well as with Terry Reid, CREAM's Jack Bruce, Jeff Beck, Junior Brown and others.
Mitchell is survived by his mother, his wife of 24 years, a daughter and two grandchildren.