|02-29-2008, 12:38 PM||#1|
Join Date: Apr 2001
RIP Buddy Miles
One of my Fav's:
Flamboyant rock drummer with Jimi Hendrix in his Band of Gypsys
Buddy Miles, the American rock drummer who died on Tuesday aged 60, was a member of Jimi Hendrix's Band of Gypsys from 1969 until Hendrix's death in 1970.
During his career Miles played on more than 70 albums, and appeared with musicians such as Stevie Wonder, David Bowie, Muddy Waters, Ike Turner, Barry White, Prince and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Part of Miles's appeal as a rock musician was his physical appearance. From his command post behind his drum kit he held audiences spellbound with his Stars-and-Stripes shirts, high-brushed Afro hairstyle, massive frame and engaging smile.
Born George Allen Miles on September 5 1947 at Omaha, Nebraska, Buddy took his nickname from the drummer Buddy Rich and was considered something of a child prodigy, playing drums in his father's jazz band, the Bebops. George Sr had played upright bass with Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Charlie Parker and Dexter Gordon.
As a teenager Buddy Miles played in a variety of bands, including Ruby and the Romantics, the Ink Spots and the Delfonics. In 1967 he formed Electric Flag with Mike Bloomfield, guitarist with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. When Electric Flag broke up after their second album, Miles formed the Buddy Miles Express.
This was the era in which the demarcation between black and white artists in rock music began to be broken down (Jimi Hendrix himself was the first black musician to become a "white" rock star), and Miles was part of this process.
He had met Hendrix in Canada when both were acting as sidemen for other artists in the early 1960s. As Hendrix started to include guest artists on his recordings, he invited Miles to participate, and Miles played with him on two tracks on the influential Electric Ladyland album (1968). Later their friendship led to various collaborations, Hendrix producing the Buddy Miles Express release, Electric Church, in 1969. Soon afterwards Miles joined Hendrix in the short-lived group, Band of Gypsys. A notable feature of its line-up was that all the players were black. This was a first for Hendrix and was seen as a move towards reconnecting with his soul roots. Perhaps the group's best known album was Live at the Fillmore East, which featured Billy Cox on bass guitar; it was recorded on New Year's Eve 1969, the last night of the 1960s.
But a month later, when Hendrix appeared to suffer a (probably drug-related) breakdown on stage (there were suspicions that someone had spiked his drink), Miles was fired by Hendrix's manager, Michael Jeffery. Although the Band of Gypsys was wound up, Miles continued to work with Hendrix until his death in September 1970.
Miles went on to produce other records under his own name. Soon after Hendrix's death he re-recorded Them Changes, a song he had written and recorded with the Band of Gypsys. It became his signature song, and later featured on a live record he made with Carlos Santana.
Signed to the Casablanca record label, Miles released the album Bicentennial Gathering Of The Tribes, an echo of his friendship and collaboration with Hendrix, who had Native American blood.
In the late 1970s Miles was sent to prison after being convicted of theft, serving his sentence at the California Institution for Men at Chino and at San Quentin - at both institutions he formed his own bands. He was released in 1985, and the following year found work singing in the highly popular California Raisins Claymation advertising campaign (the California Raisins were a fictional R&B group); he was also lead vocalist on two California Raisins albums of 1960s R&B covers. He rejoined Carlos Santana as a vocalist on Santana's album Freedom.
In 1999 Miles appeared on Bruce Cameron's album, Midnight Daydream, featuring the former Hendrix musicians Billy Cox and Mitch Mitchell, as well as Jack Bruce and others.
In 2006 Miles released a final live album, The Band Of Gypsys Return, the result of a reunion with Billy Cox to re-record songs from the original live album of 1970.
Buddy Miles is survived by his partner, Sherrilae Chambers.
|02-29-2008, 01:47 PM||#2|
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Twixt Hell & Highwater
Wow! I hadn't heard of this. I saw the Buddy Miles Express at the Whiskey (or was it the Ash Grove?) many moons ago. I was really into the Electric Flag album. He still owes me a harmonica. He was at a free concert on Christmas Eve in '69 held in the Laguna Hills and one of his guys asked if anybody had a harmonica. I lent him one of mine. My C harp. The ahole never gave it back. Bygones. RIP, Buddy.
|03-11-2008, 03:38 AM||#5|
Tebowing the long haul
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: TX, USA
Buddy was pretty bad off. He really struggled for those last years. He spent many of them wheelchair bound and broke.
His handlers were a bunch of idiots, and I never met any of his people that I thought were really looking out for him.
Thankfully, those days were lived outside of the spotlight, and everyone can remember him for the good things.