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Noel Redding

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I've always been a fan of the music of Jimi Hendrix but only recently read in depth about the band history and specifically Noel Redding. 

Can't help feeling a bit sorry for him

From what I've read from various sources -

He wasn't a bass player and initially auditioned as rhythm guitar but they decided to go with a 3 piece and Noel was asked to switch to bass as they liked his big hair and image! Many of his parts were over dubbed or completely replaced on all 3 albums by Chas Chandler early on and then Jimi himself on Electric Ladyland. He was eventually replaced by Jimi's old friend Billy Cox and when they decided to get the original three back together he was dismissed again when they changed their mind. Years later he sold his original bass to a collector and signed away his rights to royalties as he needed cash.

I suppose you could argue that he was lucky to get the part and should have been thankful for the experience he got (excuse the pun) but can't help feeling a little sorry for him. I find the whole Jimi Hendrix story very interesting.

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he certainly was unlucky, having to play bass in a band with Mitch Mitchell on drums, one story was they need someone to keep it simple just to hold the whole thing together

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Noel himself wrote a book, Are You Experienced: The Inside Story Of The Jimi Hendrix Experience, published in 1996. Though it had some insights on Hendrix it swiftly descended into whole chapters detailing Redding's post-JHE life in Ireland, the years of bitterness, management injustices and endless litigation. A very, very depressing read. 

Edited by KK Jale

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In Different Every Time, the biography of Robert Wyatt, he talks about the time Soft Machine toured America with the Jimi Hendrix Experience. He says some interesting things in general about Hendrix and is complementary about Redding's role in keeping everything together during performances.

Edited by Len_derby
Biography not autobiography!

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You just have to watch some of the performances, especially the live footage, to see that without Noel, everything would have descended into chaos very quickly with the guitar & drums going off in all directions, it was Noel that kept them "on track".

 

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32 minutes ago, Skybone said:

You just have to watch some of the performances, especially the live footage, to see that without Noel, everything would have descended into chaos very quickly with the guitar & drums going off in all directions, it was Noel that kept them "on track".

 

Indeed. Arguably the role of the bassist in most bands. It's our job to lay down a solid foundation so the guitarists, vocalists and occasionally drummers can be 'creative'.

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1 hour ago, Skybone said:

You just have to watch some of the performances, especially the live footage, to see that without Noel, everything would have descended into chaos very quickly with the guitar & drums going off in all directions, it was Noel that kept them "on track".

 

Yes i read that. He kept the beat to allow Jimi and Mitch to be more creative. From the live performances Ive seen he is a solid player. Jimi is said to have expressed early on it was always the intention to change the bass player. I think he was just waiting till he had hit the big time before he could get his friend Billy in.

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7 hours ago, KK Jale said:

Noel himself wrote a book, Are You Experienced: The Inside Story Of The Jimi Hendrix Experience, published in 1996. Though it had some insights on Hendrix it swiftly descended into whole chapters detailing Redding's post-JHE life in Ireland, the years of bitterness, management injustices and endless litigation. A very, very depressing read. 

I've just ordered a copy!

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I got to work with Noel just before he died around 16 years ago.  I think I've told this story on here before, but I walked up to him while he was setting up and clapped one of my big paws on his shoulder to ask him to give us a line check (I was FOH engineer in the venue, helping them get set up).  I nearly broke him, he was very frail.  He looked like he was very drunk, but in my naivety it could have been something stronger.

He was doing a mini "supergroup" with him, Eric Bell (ex Thin Lizzy) on guitar and John Coughlan (Status Quo) on drums.  When they started, someone was tuned about a tone out, and from Eric Bell's reaction, I'd say it was Noel.  Eric was professional to the crowd and also pretended to retune his guitar, , but his face couldn't hide he was miffed!

I remember very little of the music and how well he played.  Maybe as a massive Experience fan I was watching with rose coloured glasses because here was one of my heroes, but after the initial embarrassing bit, I don't remember anything about the music, so I would guess it wasn't that great, or my cup of tea.  I think EB was very loud, and JC was never my favourite drummer (IMHO only).

I just remember Noel being helped into a car and driven away afterwards, it was all a bit sad to see.  I don't remember hearing him speak at all either on stage or off.  I think he died about a year later.

 

 

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I saw the Eric Bell band at The Flowerpot in Derby very soon after NR died. Eric dedicated a song to him and made a little speech. He obviously had real affection and respect for the guy.

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7 hours ago, Huge Hands said:

I got to work with Noel just before he died around 16 years ago.  I think I've told this story on here before, but I walked up to him while he was setting up and clapped one of my big paws on his shoulder to ask him to give us a line check (I was FOH engineer in the venue, helping them get set up).  I nearly broke him, he was very frail.  He looked like he was very drunk, but in my naivety it could have been something stronger.

He was doing a mini "supergroup" with him, Eric Bell (ex Thin Lizzy) on guitar and John Coughlan (Status Quo) on drums.  When they started, someone was tuned about a tone out, and from Eric Bell's reaction, I'd say it was Noel.  Eric was professional to the crowd and also pretended to retune his guitar, , but his face couldn't hide he was miffed!

 

 

 

I saw that line up at an Alexis Korner memorial gig at Buxton Opera House. It was all a bit thrown together and approximate at times but they got through it!

Edited by KevB

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I'm a big NR and JH fan, so I'm a little biased.

IMHO NR did a fantastic job with Jimi. There's a lot of stuff written wrongly over the years over he played/didn't play that. I've read a good number of books on the subject(s), and it's pretty safe that NR played on the first 2 albums, and parts of the 3rd (JH played a bit on EL, plus Jack Casady's on there too....the entire sessions are a bit of a haze to all involved!

JH could have replaced Noel if he'd have wanted to, I'm sure - but he didn't. There's been loads of stuff also written over the years about he was also planning to dump Mitch, Billy Cox was going to quit....to do this, do that.....all we're left with are the actual events. Noel did leave in '69, management wanted them to reform early '70 (did a Rolling Stone interview), but it never happened. The management side of JH is worth reading in to - it is very, very sinister indeed.

Noel and Mitch sold their rights long before the reissue era, and before dead rock stars became such big currency. Not surprised there was bitterness - the whole Experience Hendrix corporation....JH's half-sister (I believe they only met a handful, if that, of times) running the whole show, whilst even JH's real brother is shut out. Very nasty wranglings, whilst the pointless re-issues and digging keep on going, and the branding gets more and more ridiculous.

Still, the original records are out there, together with some great live and session stuff. I for one love Noel's tone, his style, equally as much as I enjoy Billy Cox's more traditional approach. Two different players for two different eras.

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The whole Hendrix story seems to be a chronic case of mismanagement and greed, mostly at the hands it would appear at the hands of Mike Jefferies. You have to wonder if it would be tolerated by the industry now, or even a few years later.

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I interviewed him after yet another box set had been released. Asked him if he had it and what he thought of it. Told me his copy had been delivered previous week: 'That'll be £28 COD, Mr Redding...'

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Sad how Noel ended up,  but...........even knowing how it would end,  I doubt he would have traded his life for any of ours.  He was there and he was great.

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Yep, none of us can say we played bass at Hendrix at Monterey! That opening Killing Floor riff is immense. 

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19 hours ago, spongebob said:

IMHO NR did a fantastic job with Jimi. There's a lot of stuff written wrongly over the years over he played/didn't play that. I've read a good number of books on the subject(s), and it's pretty safe that NR played on the first 2 albums, and parts of the 3rd (JH played a bit on EL, plus Jack Casady's on there too....the entire sessions are a bit of a haze to all involved!

I have read somewhere that Hendrix recorded an awful lot more bass than is commonly believed. Essentially the whole of Axis Bold as Love with the exception of Spanish Castle Magic and She's So Fine. I have nothing to back this up, but listening to the tracks, they do appear to have more in common with the bass on Watchtower than they do with Are You Experienced tracks.

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28 minutes ago, dlloyd said:

I have read somewhere that Hendrix recorded an awful lot more bass than is commonly believed. Essentially the whole of Axis Bold as Love with the exception of Spanish Castle Magic and She's So Fine. I have nothing to back this up, but listening to the tracks, they do appear to have more in common with the bass on Watchtower than they do with Are You Experienced tracks.

The sad thing is no one really know what he played on as there are so many conflicting stories by people who have long gone. I also read Chad Chandler played bass on the recording of Hey Joe. 

To be the bass player in such an iconic act of the 60s producing only 3 albums, and people not knowing what songs you played on is very sad indeed

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I remember seeing a bass of his for sale in Ireland a few years before he died. Apparently in later life you could find him plodding along with blues bands in local bars. Didn't Fender release a Noel Redding signature Jazz?

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41 minutes ago, bonzodog said:

 

To be the bass player in such an iconic act of the 60s producing only 3 albums, and people not knowing what songs you played on is very sad indeed

Some of the CDs released since 1996, are quite remarkable. I'd recommend South Saturn Delta at least. The others are very good also. Sad that the many hours Hendrix spent in the studio was not released in his lifetime. Some of the stuff released before the family got hold of the estate was dreadful. One track, Star Spangled Banner, at Woodstock fades out on the opening riff of Purple Haze.  That's really s*** . Thankfully the 2 CD Woodstock set is available. I think the bass is mixed better on Watchtower on the CD compared to how I remember it.  That's the one supposed to have been played by Hedrix on a short scale (from Bill Wyman?) while Noel was sulking down the pub, or something like that. Who knows?

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18 hours ago, scalpy said:

The whole Hendrix story seems to be a chronic case of mismanagement and greed, mostly at the hands it would appear at the hands of Mike Jefferies. You have to wonder if it would be tolerated by the industry now, or even a few years later.

The band got badly ripped off by all accounts, with a huge amount of cash going 'overseas'. Of course if you're in your twenties, taking a lot of acid, meeting nubile young women and generally living the life of a rock star on tour, the money side of it would most likely seem irrelevant, or at least unimportant.

Edited by discreet

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