Buddy Miles, who co-founded and was most noted for playing drums in Band of Gypsys with Jimi Hendrix. He passed in February 29th, 2008 in Austin, TX.. and was only 60 years old . The cause of death was heart failure… Miles took part in the psychedelic rock movement of the 1960s and 1970s. His unique style… blending funk, soul, jazz, and rock served as a major inspiration and influence to his contemporaries and later generations of musicians. Blood Sweat and Tears… Chicago Transit Authority owe their careers to Miles.
Miles was born Sept. 5, 1947, in Omaha, Neb., and was introduced to music at a young age by his father, who played in a do-wop band, the Bebops. As a young man, Miles cut his teeth playing drums for the Delfonics and the Ink Spots. In 1966 he joined soul great, Wilson Pickett’s touring revue and as fate would have it he was spotted by blues-rock guitar titan.. Mike Bloomfield. At the time he was considered America’s answer to Eric Clapton! Yo..
Bloomfield left the Paul Butterfield’s Blues Band earlier in 1967 and was putting together a completely new group based in San Francisco. Their name was the Electric Flag. Conceived by Bloomfield to be an ambitious fusion of rock, soul, blues, psychedelia, and jazz. They were scheduled to make their debut public appearance at the infamous Monterey Pop Festival. Bloomfield couldn’t keep it together and like most of his projects he would soon lose interest and move on to something else… the “Flag” never got its due for being the first rock band to incorporate horns… Miles met Jimi Hendrix in the early 60’s while both were “side-men” in their prospective touring bands; but didn’t begin collaborating until 1969, when Hendrix produced his first solo album, the Buddy Miles Express.
Miles, often decked out in flashy sequined clothes and an enormous Afro. He went on to drum on Hendrix’s landmark “Electric Ladyland” album before officially co-creating the Band of Gypsys with bassist Billy Cox a few months later. They were widely regarded as one of the first all African-American rock bands. Their one and only album became one of Hendrix’s most popular live recordings and to this day is considered the greatest live album of all time. Miles returned to the role of bandleader and recorded his most popular album, “Them Changes” in 1971.It stayed on the album charts for over a year. Its title cut became Miles’ signature song… It was covered on the widely acclaimed album Eric Clapton/ Steve Winwood live from Madison Square Garden; and has remained a staple in both of their live shows….
“Them Changes” live Playboy After Dark
In 1978 Miles was arrested and jailed on a bogus charge for grand theft auto and for stealing from a clothing store on Hollywood Blvd.. He served seven years in prison. First at the California Institution for Men at Chino and then at San Quentin State Prison just North of San Francisco. Even during his incarceration, Miles formed bands with the other inmates and perform for the prison guards and staff. He even worked a program where instruments would be donated to the prisoners. His musical career spanned over 40 years, and included over 40 albums, six world tours, television specials, and TV commercials (remember the “California Raisins?”). He has performed with many of the biggest names in music during his career as a singer, drummer and band leader.