Happy Birthday to Noel David Redding born – December 25, 1945 – May 11, 2003!
Noel David Redding was an English rock musician, best known as the bass player and occasional lead singer for the Jimi Hendrix Experience and guitarist/singer for Fat Mattress.
Following his departure from the Experience in 1969 and split of Fat Mattress in 1970, Redding formed the short lived Road in the United States who released one eponymous album before he re-located to Clonakilty, Ireland, in 1972. There he formed the Noel Redding Band with former Thin Lizzy guitarist Eric Bell with whom he released two albums. Although by the 1980s Redding had largely removed himself from the music business, he would later perform around his new hometown with wife Carol Appleby.
Redding was born at Royal Victoria Hospital in Folkestone, Kent to Bromley-born Margaret (née Berggren) and Horace Albert Redding. He grew up on Cliff Road, Seabrook where his mother ran a guest house, with his mother, his Swedish-born grandmother, brother Anthony and sister Vicki. He attended St Leonards Primary in Hythe and Harvey Grammar School in Folkestone. At age nine, he played violin at school and then mandolin and guitar. His first public appearances were at the Hythe Youth Club then at his school.
His first local bands, in which he played lead guitar, were:
- The Strangers: with John “Andy” Andrews (bass)
- The Lonely Ones: 1961 – John Andrews (bass), Bob Hiscocks (rhythm guitar), Mick Wibley (drums), Pete Kircher (vocals and in ’62, drums). The Lonely Ones made a privately pressed EP at the Hayton Manor Studio in Stanford, Kent, in 1963, with Derek Knight on vocals, Trevor Sutton on drums, Noel Redding on lead guitar and John Andrews on bass. First recordings: “Some Other Guy”; “Money”; “Talking About You”; “Anna”.
- The Loving Kind: 1966 with Pete (Kircher) Carter (drums); Jim Leverton (bass); and Derek Knight (vocals).
At 17 Redding went professional and toured clubs in Scotland and Germany with Neil Landon and the Burnettes (formed in late 1962) and The Loving Kind (formed in November 1965). In addition, The Lonely Ones reunited in September 1964, and Redding remained with them a year before taking his leave.
Jimi Hendrix Experience
Redding switched from guitar to bass on joining the Jimi Hendrix Experience. He was the first person to join the Experience. With the band, he helped create the three landmark albums Are You Experienced, Axis: Bold as Love, and Electric Ladyland, as well as performing in some of Hendrix’s most celebrated concerts. His playing style was distinguished by the use of a pick, a mid-range “trebly” sound, and in later years the use of fuzz and distortion effects through overdriven Sunn amps. His role in the band was that of a time-keeper. This was evident in the Experience’s version of “Come On (Baby Let the Good Times Roll)” and “Drivin’ South” from the BBC Sessions. He would typically lay down a bass groove over which Hendrix and drummer Mitch Mitchell would loosely play. Redding wrote and sang lead on two album tracks, “Little Miss Strange” and “She’s So Fine.” He played the bass line on “Red House” using the bass strings on a normal six-string guitar.
In 1968, Redding formed the group Fat Mattress with another Kent musician, Neil Landon (born as Patrick Cahill, 27 July 1941, Kirdford, Sussex), on vocals. The band also included Jim Leverton (born 1946, Dover, Kent) on bass and keyboards and Eric Dillon (born 1950, Swindon) on drums. Redding played guitar and vocals, and a key part of the Fat Mattress sound was the vocal harmonies between him, Landon and Leverton. The band initially toured in support of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, requiring Redding to play two full sets each night. He left Fat Mattress after only one album with them, though some of his compositions would appear on their second album.
Hendrix’s manager, Michael Jeffery, attempted to reunite the Jimi Hendrix Experience months after the Woodstock event. The three were interviewed by Rolling Stone magazine, but no shows or recordings resulted. Redding soon went on to other projects. While living in Los Angeles he formed Road, a three-piece in the same psychedelic hard rock vein as the Experience, with Rod Richards (born as Rod Cox; ex Rare Earth) on guitar and Les Sampson on drums, and Redding himself switching back to bass. They released one album, Road (1972), with the three members taking turns on lead vocals.