James Marshall Hendrix came to England in September 1966. Chas
Chandler had discovered him a few weeks earlier playing at the Cafe Wha
in the Greenwich Village area of New York with his band Jimmy James and
the Blue Flames. Chas had heard about Jimi from Linda Keith the
girlfriend of Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones. Linda had befriended
Hendrix in New York earlier that year and had loaned Hendrix a white
stratocaster guitar that belonged to Keith Richards. Hendrix never gave
the guitar back and used it regularly at many gigs including the north
east venues pictured on this website. Chas Chandler was overwhelmed with
Jimi's performance at the Cafe Wha and persuaded Jimi to come to
England. Jimi arrived at Heathrow airport on September 24th 1966 with
nothing but the clothes he was wearing and his white stratocaster
guitar. Chas loaned him his flat in London to live in and also put him
up occasionally in his Newcastle flat in Heaton. He persuaded Mike
Jeffery (manager of the Animals and also a Newcastle resident) to take
on Hendrix and auditioned Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell who formed a
power trio with Jimi. This was the Jimi Hendrix Experience and they
first played together on 5th October 1966. The band rehearsed for a week
then played their first gig in Evreux, France supporting Johnny Halliday
on the 13th October. Three months and twenty nine gigs later they played
their first north east concert at the Kirk Levington Country Club just
south of Middlesbrough near Yarm.
This website is dedicated to Jimi Hendrix's North East connection. It is
not intended to be a comprehensive history of Jimi's life or to copy
what is commonly available elsewhere. If you would like to read more
about Jimi's life and career a good place to start is Wikipedia where
there is a good biography. Click
to read it.
Bryan James "Chas" Chandler was born at 35 Second Avenue in Heaton ,
Newcastle Upon Tyne on 18th December 1938. He lived here with his mother
until he moved out at the age of 26 when the Animals took off. He began his musical career playing
bass guitar with local band the Alan Price Combo. In 1962 Eric Burdon
joined them and the group was renamed The Animals. Using Newcastle’s
sweaty Downbeat Club as their home base, they soon built a sizable
following, eventually moving on to a residency at the more prestigious
Club A Go Go (both clubs being owned by their manager, Mike Jeffrey).
Their career took off with their move to London in January 1964. With
the release of “House of the Rising Sun” later that year, the Animals
became the first British group after the Beatles to chart a Number One
single in America. The Animals followed “House of the Rising Sun” with
seven more Top Forty hits.
"We toured non-stop for three years, 300 gigs a year and we hardly got a
penny," Chandler told The Independent newspaper in 1994.
After the group split up in late 1966, Chas turned to managing Jimi
Hendrix and recruited Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding to form The Jimi
Hendrix Experience. He also produced their first two albums. Chandler
risked nearly all his money to launch Jimi's career and sold several of
his basses to help buy Jimi and Noel their first Marshall amplifiers.
Chandler left Hendrix in 1968 during the Electric Ladyland sessions. He went on to manage and produce the English rock
band Slade for twelve years.
In 1977 Chas married Miss UK Madeleine Stringer who was from North
Shields. Initially living in a farmhouse in Surrey , then London they
eventually settled in a detached residence in Cullercoats , North
During the 1990s Chas along with his business partner Nigel Stanger (a
one-time Animals saxophonist) developed the Newcastle Arena, a
ten-thousand seat sports and entertainment venue that eventually opened
Chas died from a heart condition at Newcastle General Hospital on 17th July
1996. He was 57. His funeral took place at St George's Church,
Cullercoats, a stone's throw away from the Chandler home.
Chas's former home in Heaton is remembered with a black plaque placed on
Michael Frank Jeffery was born a Londoner and came to Newcastle's
King's College (now Newcastle University) in the fifties. He went on to
run the Club A Go Go in Newcastle, the venue where the Animals
established themselves, and became their manager around the time they
began their recording career. He also ran the Downbeat Club and the Club
Marimba both on Newcastle's Grey Street and the other Club A Go Go in
Whitley Bay. Later he took on some night clubs in Spain.
After the demise of The Animals he co-managed Jimi Hendrix along with
Chas Chandler. Chandler was more in charge of the creative side of
Hendrix's work, such as helping to assemble the Jimi Hendrix Experience
and produce their early recordings. Jeffery was more responsible for the
financial and business side. Jeffery continued to manage other acts
while managing Hendrix such as Eric Burdon and the New Animals, the Alan
Price Set (led by the ex-Animals organist), and the Soft Machine.
Mike Jeffery's role in the Hendrix story is extremely controversial and
he is often painted as a villian. He has been openly condemned by
members of The Animals who blame him for the breakup of the band
claiming that he worked them into the ground and appropriated most of
their earnings. He has received almost unanimous criticism from
biographers of Hendrix. Several have alleged that Jeffery siphoned off
much of Hendrix's income and channelled it into off-shore bank accounts,
that Jeffery had dubious connections to US intelligence services (it has
been reported that Jeffery often claimed to have worked for the CIA) and
that he had connections to organised crime.
When Chas Chandler left as producer and co-manager of Hendrix in 1968
(bought out by Jeffery) this tightened Jeffery's control over Hendrix's
professional life. He would have Hendrix tour heavily, not always at
times when Jimi felt like doing so. Monika Dannemann (Hendrix's
girlfriend) says in her book that Hendrix wanted to break off with
Jeffery and claims that after Hendrix's death he tried to distract her
from inquiries into the guitarist's demise by offering to manager her.
Buddy Miles claimed that Jeffery deliberately undermined the Band of
Gypsys' performance at Madison Square Garden by giving Hendrix acid (a
story that others feel improbable).
In September, 1969, Hendrix was apparently kidnapped and held for two
days in New York City by two men who appeared to be New York mobsters.
The standoff ended when associates of manager Michael Jeffery appeared
and peacefully regained custody of Hendrix. No police or media reports
of the incident exist, but Hendrix himself retold the story often when
confiding with friends or associates about his management problems. He
believed that Jeffery staged the kidnapping to bolster his role as
manager or as a threat of some kind.
Mike Jeffery met an untimely death on 5th March 1973 when a plane
bringing him back from Majorca collided with another over Nantes in
Jeffery was played by actor Billy Zane in the movie Hendrix.
David "Noel" Redding was born on Christmas Day 1945 in Folkestone. At
the age of nine Noel picked up his first musical instrument, the Jews
Harp, and dreamed of one day becoming a musician. Shortly after he took
up the violin then later the mandolin but everything changed when his
neighbour turned up one day with a spanish guitar. Noel was hooked and
soon had an acoustic guitar of his own. In October 1959 he got his first
amplifier and fitted a pickup to his guitar. He and his friend Pete
rehearsed for a while then plucked up courage to perform a skiffle show
at Hythe Youth Club. Whilst at art school Noel and Pete formed a band
called the Lonely Ones which achieved local success and occasionally
played in London. Noel went on to play in various other bands and
appeared as support band to some well known artists like the Hollies ,
Manfred Man and the Alex Harvey Soul Band. In September 1966, aged 20,
Noel spotted an advert in Melody Maker for a guitarists job with Eric
Burdon's New Animals. He turned up for an audition at Birdland in
London but the position had already been filled. Chas Chandler was there
at the time and he asked Noel if he could play bass and if he would sit
in with another band who was there that day. This band was Jimi Hendrix
, drummer Aynsley Dunbar and pianist Mike O'Neill. Noel had never played
bass before but gave it a try
and got the job, partly because the audition went well and partly
because Jimi liked his hair.
Noel left the Jimi Hendrix Experience in June 1969 after a disagreement
with Jimi over his plans to expand the band. He went back to being
a guitar player and toured with his own band Fat Mattress with whom he
released two albums. Later he formed the short-lived band Road and then
the Noel Redding Band and carried on working into the Nineties, playing
with Spirit guitarist Randy California (Jimi's former band mate from
Blue Flames days) and briefly joining the heavy rock band Mountain. He never
achieved a similar level of success that he had with the Jimi Hendrix
Experience. In the late 1990's the Noel Redding Band came to the re-opened Cellar
Club in South Shields where Noel had played with Jimi and Mitch more
than 30 years earlier.
Noel moved in to Dunowen House in Ardfield near Clonakilty in West
Cork, Ireland in 1972. The house dated back to 1680 and boasted
four acres of gardens and parkland, all within sight of the sea. He
played an active part in the local music scene and appeared every Friday
at his local pub De Barra in Clonakilty. Billed as "Noel Redding and
Friends" their shows were free entry and very popular. On the few
occasions when he could not appear Noel would make a point of
apologising to the audience at his next show. The pub has a "Noel
Redding Corner" with guitars and memorabilia on display.
Noel's local in Clonakilty where he played every Friday.
Noel died at his home on
May 12th 2003 from cirrhosis of the liver. He was 57 years old. In the
village of Ardfield, local people have erected a plaque to his memory.
Mitchell was born on 9th July 1947 in Ealing, Middlesex. At the
age of ten he was enrolled into a theatrical school. He was soon
appearing in radio plays and singing advertising jingles and by his
12th birthday had achieved a modest fame as the hero of the BBC TV
children's series "Jennings". He picked up the drums shortly after
and became hooked. He got a job in Jim Marshall's guitar shop in
Hanwell (Jim of Marshall amps fame) and began playing with local
In the few years
before joining The Experience (aged twenty), he had gained
experience touring Germany with the Coronets and as a session
musician (including an early recording session with Ray Davies from
the Kinks). In 1965 he joined The Riot Squad and was also making a
name for himself as one of the UK's top session rock drummers. Later
that year his reputation earned him a job with Georgie Fame and the
Blue Flames and he stayed with this band for about eighteen months
until October 1966 when the band's management decided to fold the
band and Mitch became out of work. The following day he got a phone
call from Chas Chandler. Chas and Jimi were both very
impressed with Mitch's audition but they were also impressed with
Aynsley Dunbar who had rehearsed with Jimi and Noel the day before.
They could not decide who to give the job to so in the end they
flipped a coin and Mitch won.
Mitch played drums
with Jimi right up until his final show at Fehmarn in Germany on
September 6th 1970 except for one month where Buddy Miles played
drums as part of Jimi’s Band of Gypsys project (late December 1969
to January 1970).
death, Mitch (along with engineer Eddie Kramer) finished production
work on multiple incomplete Hendrix recordings, resulting in
posthumous releases such as "Cry of Love" and "Rainbow Bridge",
later to be compiled and re-released as "First Rays of the New Rising
Mitch went on to
play with various other bands and artistes after Jimi but never achieved the
success he had with the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Bands such as The
Dirty Mac with John Lennon, Eric Clapton and Keith Richards on bass
, Ramatam (who recorded an album and toured with Emmersen Lake and
Palmer), various recording sessions and live performances including
gigs with Jack Bruce , Jeff Beck (standing in for Cozy Powell who
was sick), Hendrix emulator Randy Hansen and the Experience Hendrix
reunion tours in 2002 , 2004 and 2008 with Billy Cox (Band of
Gypsy’s bassist) and a host of special guest artists.
died of natural causes on 12th November 2008 in a hotel room at the
Benson Hotel in Portland , Oregon aged 61. Mitch's final
performance had been five days earlier at Portland's Arlene
Schnitzer Concert Hall, the final show of the Experience Hendrix
Tour. Guitarist Kenny Wayne Shepherd, who was part of the
tour, said "Today many of us have lost a dear friend, and the world
has lost a rock n' roll hero".