A Rockapaedia Obituaries
Bands: Experience, Fat Mattress,
Redding died aged fifty-seven in his home in Clonakilty, County Cork,
Ireland on 11th May 2003, just three weeks after the death of his mother. A post mortem was carried out on 13th May at Cork University Hospital in Wilton, Cork. The report concluded that Noel Redding died from "shock haemorrhage due to oesophageal varices in reaction to cirrhosis of the liver". He was survived by a brother, a sister and a son; Nicolas Noel Redding, by his former Danish-born wife Susanne.
In the village of Ardfield, local people erected a plaque to his memory.
Three months prior to his death, Noel Redding had threatened to sue Experience Hendrix, LLC, the company that manages the Hendrix catalogue, for £3.26 million in lost earnings. The estate rejected his claim and went on to release a post- humous compilation album entitled The Experience Sessions in 2004. Along with unreleased takes of Redding-penned Experience album tracks "She's So Fine" and "Little Miss Strange", the album contained unreleased songs recorded by The Jimi Hendrix Experience which Redding had written whilst with the band. Most of the tracks are out-takes from the Axis: Bold As Love and Electric Ladyland albums, and feature Noel Redding on guitar with Jimi Hendrix on bass. It also featured a live version of Jimi Hendrix's "Red House" with Noel Redding on rhythm guitar. Notably the album features the song "Dream", but omits the other Noel Redding-penned song "Dance" which was recorded during the same session on which Jimi Hendrix participated on bass. Written by Noel Redding for drummer Mitch Mitchell to sing, Jimi Hendrix would later take Noel Redding's guitar riff and use it for his own song "Ezy Rider", which was first released on the posthumous album The Cry of Love.
A town square in Noel Redding's hometown of Folkestone was renamed "Noel's Yard" as a memorial, described as being "a public 'Theatre in a Square' which promotes commerce, the arts, entertainment, as well as the best of British seaside living within a vibrant and safe creative community".
In 2013, an art exhibition was opened to mark the 10th anniversary of Noel Redding's death. It was opened by his brother Anthony.
Noel Redding was born at Royal Victoria Hospital in Folkestone, Kent, U.K. to Margaret and Horace Albert Redding. Noel 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.
Noel's first band was The Lonely Ones in 1961 with John Andrews on bass, Bob Hiscocks on rhythm guitar, Mick Wibley on drums, Pete Kircher on vocals. 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.
At age seventeen, Noel Redding went professional and toured clubs in Scotland and Germany with Neil Landon and the Burnettes, which were formed in late 1962, and The Loving Kind, formed in November 1965. In addition, The Lonely Ones reunited in September 1964, and Noel Redding remained with them a year before taking his leave.
Noel Redding switched from guitar to bass on joining the Jimi Hendrix Experience. He was the first person to join the Experience. With that 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 Jimi 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 amplifiers. 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 Jimi Hendrix and drummer Mitch Mitchell would loosely play. Noel Redding wrote and sang lead on two album tracks, "Little Miss Strange" and "She's So Fine."
In 1968, Noel Redding formed the group Fat Mattress with another Kent musician, Neil Landon on vocals. The band also included Jim Leverton on bass and keyboards and Eric Dillon on drums. Noel 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 Noel 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. Noel 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 on guitar and Les Sampson on drums, and Noel Redding himself switching back to bass. They released one album, Road in 1972, with the three members taking turns on lead vocals.
Noel Redding moved to Ireland in 1972. He formed The Noel Redding Band with Eric Bell from Thin Lizzy, Dave Clarke, Les Sampson, and Robbie Walsh. Despite the band's name, Noel Redding shared songwriting and lead vocal duties equally with Clarke. They released two albums for RCA, three tours of the Netherlands, two tours of England, one tour of Ireland, and a 10-week tour in the US. The band dissolved after a dispute with their management company. Tracks recorded for a third unreleased album were later released as The Missing Album on Mouse Records.
In his book Are You Experienced?, co-authored with his long term wife Carol , Noel spoke openly about his disappointment in his being cut off from the profits of the continued sale of the Hendrix recordings. He signed away his royalties in 1974 and in 1980 sold the bass guitar he used with the Experience to a collector. Noel Redding had received one hundred thousand dollars as a one-off payment after he had been told that there would be no more releases of Jimi Hendrix Experience material. This was before the advent of CDs and DVDs.
In 1990, Noel Redding and his wife were involved in a car crash returning home from a concert in Glounthaune. Carol was left brain dead by the accident, with Noel Redding later stating that she was in intensive care on life support and after four days he had to make the terrible decision of shutting down the machine. They had been together for seventeen years and, just two days prior to the accident, Carol had finished helping Noel co-write his autobiography.
In 1997, Fender produced the Noel Redding Signature Jazz bass in a signed limited edition of 1000. Premiered at the NAMM Show in January 1997, the bass was based on the 1964 Jazz bass which Noel used throughout his time with the Experience. Noel Redding tracked down the person to whom he had sold the bass some years prior, who agreed to allow Fender to inspect it. Noel Redding stated that "Fender had got the original bass from him, copied it, and sent him a prototype, and it was exactly the same as his original bass and that they did a brilliant job.
After meeting San Franciscan musician and songwriter Keith Dion in London during the awarding of an English Heritage Blue Plaque Award in 1997, Noel performed several tours across the United States with Dion's band "3:05 AM". Recordings from these tours were released on the UK and European releases "West Cork Tuning" and "Stone Free". Video footage from these tours were shown in May 2014 during the now annual Noel Redding Tribute Festival held in Clonakilty each year. Positive feedback was also received from the Irish Cultural Minister and the head of the Irish Film Board.
Redding's last performance was in Clonakilty at De Barras pub, where he had held the Friday night residency for nearly twenty years, performing with some of the local musicians who appeared on his last album.
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