R.I.P. Buddy Miles

Drummer Buddy Miles died on Tuesday night.

I don't have any personal anecdotes about him and won't claim to be anything of an expert on his entire career, but I do know that "Band of Gypsys" has always been my favorite Jimi Hendrix album and Buddy Miles is a huge reason for that. Absolutely nothing against Hendrix's Experience cohorts Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell, but the manner in which Jimi was locked in with fellow Gypsys Billy Cox (bass) and Miles on the recording of that Jan. 1, 1970 show just floors me every time I listen. All of the mind-blowing guitar heroics are still there (especially on "Machine Gun"), but Cox and Miles were able to bring out a previously unheard hard-hitting funkiness from Hendrix.

There are only six songs on the album and Miles sings lead on a pair, "Them Changes" and "We Gotta Live Together." (The 1999 double-disc release "Live at the Fillmore East" expands the original album to 16 songs.) On an album full of highlights, his songs stand tall next to the Hendrix-penned tunes.

Below is a live clip of "Them Changes" from one of the Fillmore East shows. Bask in its awesomeness.

By David Malitz |  February 27, 2008; 5:52 PM ET Appreciations
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As a fellow drummer Ihave admired Buddy's talents for years, not only with Hendrix, but also his work with others, such as JohMcLaughlin on his psychedelic album,"Devotion"....intense!
I was also fortunate enough to see him in his own band in the 80's in California, and was amazed at his astounding singing voice! An all round great musician, and far too young to leave this Earth.


R.I.P.Buddy Miles.

Posted by: Nick. | February 28, 2008 3:43 PM

Buddy Miles...
this typewriter's for you....
Glen "sticks" Hill

Posted by: hector | February 29, 2008 4:25 AM

RIP Mr. Miles.

Posted by: M | February 29, 2008 10:07 AM

This was a real shock to me. I performed on stage with Buddy Miles in October of 2006. They gave Buddy a label signing party at SRS Studios in Hollywood, California. I sang lead vocals for him on "These Changes", "Down By The River" and "All Along The Watch Tower". Damn, rest in peace, brother. It was a pleasure and honor working with you.

Posted by: Bjackback | February 29, 2008 2:07 PM

Let's not forget his work with "Electric Flag" !! Truely groundbreaking !!

Posted by: MD Mecartea | February 29, 2008 2:52 PM

Buddy Miles was not only a great drummer but had a wonderful voice. As singer for The Electric Flag, The Buddy Miles Express, songs with The Band of Gypsys and the voice of the Californisa Rasins. We'll miss you Buddy, now reunited some of the other greats that have passed before you, Heavens Band. Peace and Love Buddy.

Posted by: Hugh B. | February 29, 2008 3:16 PM

"Down by the ri--verrrrr, I shot my Baaaay-beeee!"
Lyrics from Neil Young's "Down By The River" as sung into a huge hit by Buddy Miles in 1970.

"Well my mind's been going thru them changes. . ."
Another 1970 hit, written and performed by Buddy Miles .

Dear Mr. Buddy Miles,
Back in the day when I was a developing young musician, I was greatly influenced by you and your music. Really.

Your rendition of "Joe Tex" with the big horn section opening is what our band opened with in the early 70's. The lead-off tenor sax solo was played (and jammed delightedly every time) by yours truly. I think all in the band liked starting the set with that lively and powerful song -especially we horn players.

I've never seen your show live, or met you in person. But I've seen all of your album jackets and many photos of you playing with Hendrix, too.

The photo of you with the big 'fro sitting at your Stars and Stripes drum set is an American classic.

I've listened to a your music so much that I know your voice and your drumming. Man, as the rare, singing drummer, you encouraged a whole army of wannbe lead-singer drummers to pursue the difficult task of singing lead while drumming. Wow! Both hands and both feet working in tandem/counter tandem to play the beat, control the volume, add dynamics and accents while skillfully singing the right notes and telling the story at the same time, it's no wonder why I and many, many others admire you.

Mr. Buddy Miles, your bold and hip persona leaves a pleasant sensation in my mind.

You had some deep mooded, lengthy, memorable, soul wrenching grooves too:

"Be on my side I'll be on your side . . .There is no reason for you to hide"
(from Down By The River) was only one of them.

Thank you, Buddy Miles.

May You Rest In Peace Forever (and really funk up the Jam Sessions in musician's heaven with that powerful drumming and soulful singing of yours.)

Marvin J. Miller
February 27, 2008


Posted by: Marvin J. Miller | March 2, 2008 1:09 AM

buddy lived a great love..embodied mucical graciousness,like enviting me onstage for 45 munites to drum while he played organ,bass,and lead,even tho i didnt know all his stops and breaks,smiling,and loving and sharing .at the costa plenty ranch,we will jamm again on the other side bro,out back round the drum circle........

Posted by: john young,s.b.wash. | March 3, 2008 9:53 AM

Well another great one passes,I was only seventeen when Miles entered my life and he never left...It seems odd that just a month ago I introduced his music to a friend who in turn has passed along the gift to others...memories will never die the music plays on..you will be missed, your music will live on.

Posted by: Jim Burke | March 5, 2008 5:02 PM

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