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mitch mitchell-hendrix recording sessions

Does anyone know where I can find info on how
Mitch Mitchell was recorded for Are You
Experienced? Mics,placement,who the engineer was
how the drum sound was created? Who was there?
Who has shared their memories? I'm curious from
both a drummers and producer/engineers'
perspective. any input,guesswork or conjecture
would be appreciated.



bhuvan Fri, 07/09/2004 - 06:41

hey lefty, i totally agree with the appeal that kind of a kit sound has. in fact, i recently switched over to using coated heads myself. waiting to go to the studio to see what happens with that.

of seeing these guys live, i saw a cobham concert with jean luc ponty. man, was he flying!

i've also seen trilok gurtu live. you should really check out some of his stuff if you haven't. it will blow your capsules to a different dimension! Sun, 12/07/2003 - 23:03

EMP (Experience Music Project) in Seattle has an excellent permanent collection of Hendrix related material. I am talking the entire stage setup of instruments/PA, clothing, photos, the Electric Ladyland desk. If you love music, I highly recommend a trip to Seatlle and EMP. Especially during Bumbershoot (best music festival in the world). David

drbam Mon, 12/08/2003 - 05:50

Eddie Kramer was the engineer. Considered in the league with Sir George Martin for sure. Here's a site that can get you started on some basic trivia:

There was a wonderful interview with Kramer in one of the mags a couple of years ago (can't remember which) that described some of his work with Hendrix. In the current issue of Modern Drummer, there's also a nice list of Mitchell's best work. Mitchell was a huge influence on me and I had the good fortune to spend an entire evening with him in the late sixties.


leftydrummrr Tue, 12/09/2003 - 11:29

Thanks for replying. I've read what I can about
Eddie Kramer. Everybody wants to know what his
secrets were to that "Bonham" sound. He wasn't
telling much in the Modern Drummer interview
recently,but who could blame him. Thats his
discovery,his work. Mitch Mitchell is a huge
influence on me as well. You talked with him
back in the day at the height of his popularity?
Incredible! Sometimes I listen to the first
three Hendrix albums,and the drum tracks sound
so primitive. Thats part of their genius. The more
I learn,the more I appreciate that sound. Its not
overprocessed,no Pro Tools,just talent and
spontaneous ceativity. Amazing,evn almost 30 years
later. Tue, 12/16/2003 - 10:36

Mitch Mitchell was fantastic. It is hard for me to get excited about many drummers or performances any more due to the DAW "fix everything" capability. I don't know that "fixing everything" really fixes anything. It seems to encourage a lower level of musicianship. All the time I read complaints online about poor performances from people who want to "Pro Tools It". I guess it is like nuclear power- we discover the technology before we have the ethical capability to properly manage it. Modern radio rock = Three Mile Island? :D David

leftydrummrr Wed, 12/24/2003 - 11:37

I feel the same way about "modern rock" in
general. Whats real,whats machine? Sure,lets push
the envelope and experiment with technology,but
when it ceases to be a total human performance,
whats the point? Dont get me started on"fixing"
marginal takes in the studio. The drummer in me
wants to know who really played what and how.Use
advances in recording for clarity and transparency
so I can be heard better,if I have something
worth listening to. The process anyone can buy,
talent cannot be bought.Thanks for your insight.

JeffWebb Thu, 12/25/2003 - 19:43

I just saw Billy Cobham in performance a couple of weeks ago here in town and purchased his most current cd. It was a performance recorded live in Europe with Kenny Barron and Ron Carter. In one of the later pieces on the recording, Billy was changing sticks and you heard him drop the sticks and they hit the ground.
They left it in. I really appreciate that they left it in. It made me realize that this was a live performance and what I was hearing is what really happened. It is an excellent cd and Billy Cobham has really grown (awesome task considering how wonderful he always was). This is one of the many reasons that I like jazz so much. It is ALWAYS a live session and you are hearing live musicians interacting with each other. Not the anticeptic clean flawless sound that we are capable of getting with all of our new gadgetry, but a performance.
I remember when rock was like that.....what happened to us?

Mitch Mitchell has always been one of my very favorite rock drummers. I only got to see him perform live once back in the 1960's with Hendrix at Madison Square Garden, but what a great drummer and consummate pro he is. He's even BETTER

leftydrummrr Fri, 12/26/2003 - 17:27

WOW! you saw Mitchell live at the Garden back in
the day,here comes the pun,what an Experience.
I can only imagine. You never know when you can
look back at an event you were actually at and
realise its historical signifigance. I think we have changed for the oldest reason in existence,,commerce,insert your word here,
the all mighty dollar. Its so easy to find that
'formula' sound in any style of music. Copy it,
make your band sound similar,and you're signed.
Creatvity or uniqueness is not rewarded at the same level now,or for a long time now. When you
consider "House of the Rising Sun " was recorded
for about $10,and sold how much,its a good
indication what direction rock music has taken.
Don't get me started,again. Anyone willing to
share their memories of Mitch Mitchell performing
live? Anything appreciated. Thanks

Profile picture for user cruisemates

cruisemates Mon, 03/29/2004 - 08:48

The band was at the session along with producer Chas Chandler (ex-bassist for the Animals). I have a book about Jimi Hendrix sessions that says for the song "Are you Experienced" a basic rhythm track was recorded and then another rhythm track of drums, bass and guitar was added and then flipped over to play backwards.

The whole was then bounced as a stereo track to second 1 inch 4-track machine for the 0-dubs. Hendrix used to constantly force Mitchell to listen to backward drums and try to get him to play that way (according to book).

Elsewhere in the book it says Mitchell was recorded with just a kick mic and an overhead (pictures show an RCA 44 about 3 feet directly over the snare). It says Mitch also convinced Eddy Kramer to mike the toms. Pics show goosenecks folded down next to the toms so I am guessing the bottom heads were off and mics were placed inside. There are no mics over the toms heads.

Another pic from a different session shows a Sennheiser Md422 over the rim of the snare.

Hendrix used 4 Marshall cabinets with a U-67 placed 8-feet in front of them - max volume.

The thing about Mitchell's sound is that it is old-school and very common for the late 60s. You heard the sound of the entire set as an instrument, not so much the individual drums (except for the kick). That is very different from what you hear today with a wide stereo spread for the toms and cymbals. He didn't even have stereo overheads.

The book is called "Jimi Hendrix Sessions" by Johm McDermott. Most of it is pretty dull, but there are some nuggets of info. Like most such books, the focus is not so much on recording technique, but on "history".

leftydrummrr Fri, 06/25/2004 - 18:32

Thanks Paul! I appreciate this valuable info. You are right,Mitch's
drum sound is so old school,and I dig it. The old recording methods
added some intangible,everytime you listen,you can pick up something new. It doesn't come across on new drum tracks,you
hear it once,thats all there is,you heard it all,its over.

Thanks Again,