From page 10 of Classic Rock Magazine July 2003
Noel Redding: 1945-2003
Former Jimi Hendrix Experience bassist dies on eve of Hendrix royalty issues court case.
NOEL REDDING HAS DIED AT his home in Ireland. Best known for his three-year spell as the bassist of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Redding was 57 years old. Friends found his body in his bathroom. County Cork police commented: “We’re not investigating anything. The house was secure.” Redding’s death was eventually attributed to natural causes, and came just weeks after the death his mother.
The news was broken by Redding’s partner Deborah McNaughton, who said: “An extremely gentle and gracious soul, Noel had a kind of chivalry and nobility about him, and was kind to everyone bar none, people and animals alike.” Although his instrument of choice was the guitar, Folkestone-born Redding was hired to play bass for Hendrix in 1966, and was with him until Jimi disbanded the Experience to form the Band Of Gypsys with Billy Cox and Buddy Miles in 1969. Post-Hendrix, Redding reverted to guitar with his own group Fat Matress, which lasted for two albums. He also bought a house in Cork. But when work dried up he signed all his future Hendrix-related income back to Hendrix’s estate. Having been told there would be no more Hendrix releases, he accepted a payment of $100,000 – in the days before the CD boom. Understandably,
Redding was highly critical of the way that royalties from those days were handled. When speaking to Classic Rock in late 2000, he even claimed to have been forced to pay for his own copy of the four-CD anthology ‘Jimi Hendrix Experience’, released by Experience Hendrix, who administer Jimi’s catalogue. “It was sent cash on delivery,” he told us, incredulous. “Imagine that. £29.53 I had to pay – and I played on it. Frightening.”
A statement from from Experience Hendrix, said: “We mourn the loss of Noel Redding. His contributions to the Jimi Hendrix Experience shall never be forgotten. Our prayers go out to his family and friends during this difficult time.” As a member of the Experience, Redding was inducted to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1992. But his last years were difficult. He played on Mountain’s ‘Over The Top’ album in ’95, then formed the band Cork with Mountain drummer Corky Laing. His final Noel Redding release, ‘Live From Bunkr. Prague’ included versions of some Hendrix classics.
In an interview last year, he remarked: “I should’ve been a plumber. That’s a joke... but plumbers get paid.” Ironically, Redding and current manager Ian Grant had spent the past two years preparing to take the royalty issues to court.
“We were on top,” Grant maintains sadly. “Now Noel will never know how it turns out. He was a kind, considerate man, especially given what happened to him with royalties. He’s now with Jimi, I guess, and they’ll be comparing notes.” Grant insisted the case wasn’t about money: “Noel told me: ‘If I do win $5million I’ll only give it away’. And I’m sure he would’ve done,” Grant told the BBC. “Every Friday night he used to play at a pub, The Barra, in Clonakilty, where he lived. He was just happy to pick up his bass and play with his friends.”