By any yardstick he was a truly magnificent mad-man drummer. People always mention his rousing interplay with Hendrix on “Let Me Stand Next To Your Fire” and “Third Stone From The Sun,” but the restraint and simplicity he brought to “Red House” has always struck me as somehow more profound. I’ve always adored the crack-like sound from his snare drum on that track, like the sound of a baseball bat slamming against the side of a wooden doghouse.
Here‘s an mp3 of “Red House.”
Mitchell was my landlord when I moved into the top half of a two-story house on Franklin Avenue in the hills in early ’87. He and his girlfriend lived downstairs. And then one day he was off to England (or so I recall) and I never saw him again. My immediate suspicion when I read about his passing this morning is that the age-old rock musician syndrome had played a part, but let’s not go there right now.