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Noel Redding, 57; Bass Guitarist in Jimi Hendrix Band

May 14, 2003|From Associated Press

DUBLIN, Ireland — Noel Redding, bass player for the legendary Jimi Hendrix Experience from its formation in 1966 through its dissolution three years later, has died. He was 57.

Redding was found dead Monday at his home in the town of Clonakilty in southern Ireland, his manager, Ian Grant, said Tuesday. An autopsy was planned to determine the cause of death.

While Hendrix was clearly the most influential member of the group and one of the great names in rock history, the entire band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland in 1992.

Chas Chandler, a former bassist for the Animals who became a rock manager, recruited Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell to form the Experience with Hendrix in England.

The band produced three groundbreaking albums of psychedelic rock -- "Axis: Bold as Love," "Electric Ladyland" and "Are You Experienced?" Its hits included "Purple Haze," "Hey Joe" and "Foxy Lady."

The group broke up in 1969 before the famed Woodstock appearance by Hendrix, who died the next year after barbiturate intoxication led to his suffocation.

Redding wrote two Experience songs: "She's So Fine" and "Little Miss Strange."

Born Dec. 25, 1945, in the English Channel port city of Folkestone, Redding played with the Modern Jazz Group and the Loving Kind before joining the Experience.

He has said his greatest achievement was playing the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, where the Experience made its American debut and Hendrix lit his guitar on fire.

After the breakup of the Experience, Redding formed his own band, Fat Mattress, which released a 1969 album of the same name, followed by "Fat Mattress 2" in 1970. Both were re-released as a set in 2000.

Later, he formed the Noel Redding Band, which recorded "Clonakilty Cowboys" in 1975 and "Blowin' " in 1976. Other recordings included "On Tour" in 2001 and last year's "Love From Bunkr-Prague."

In 1990, Redding and Mitchell each published books about their experiences.

"Jimi's death was the most lucrative act of his sad career," Redding wrote in "Are You Experienced?" in which he alleged that the Hendrix estate owed him money.

In February, Redding threatened to sue Experience Hendrix, the company that manages the Hendrix catalog, for up to $5 million in lost earnings. The estate rejected the claim.

Redding played most Friday nights for the last 20 years at De Barra, a Clonakilty pub, Grant said, often with his friends John Coughlin from Status Quo and Eric Bell of Thin Lizzy.

Redding is survived by his longtime partner, Deborah McNaughton. A funeral was planned for the weekend in Clonakilty.

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