Hey Joe: Great drumming or overplaying?

Erberderber

Senior Member
Hey Joe by Hendrix came on the radio the other day and it was the first time I'd heard it in a good while. I remember marveling at it as a kid, impressed with all those fills, but now as I'm approaching 40, maybe my tastes have changed. As I listened the other day, I couldn't help feeling that a lot of those fills were unnecessary and the drummer should have stuck with "playing the song" as a lot of people talk about on this forum.

So what is it folks? A master class in in triplet and 32nd note fills or a load of unnecessary embellishments? How do you see it?
 
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Drumolator

Platinum Member
We sometimes play it in our band. IMHO, it is great drumming. Peace and goodwill.
 

Gottliver

Senior Member
As a side note, Noel Redding wrote that one. Jimi was reluctant to play it live as it wasn’t his song. Supposedly drove Noel mad. Or so i read in a bass player mag years ago. The drumming is fantastic. Mitch Mitchell is a tasteful jazz rocker. Him and Densmore are iconic.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
So what is it folks? A master class in in triplet and 32nd note fills or a load of unnecessary embellishments? How do you see it?

I see it as lead guitar, playing along with "lead drums" and "lead bass".

After finishing with the chords of the main riff in the first two measures, Hendrix is playing blues guitar fills nearly the whole time in the second two measures. So it's kind of a free for all, once the chords are finished. If you take a magnifying glass to the rhythm of those guitar fills, there are some moments where the drum fills clash a bit, but there are lots of moments where things are lining up, too.

Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding sound a bit immature as players, because, well, they were! They were 21 or 22 when Hey Joe was released. Kids, basically, trying to create something new. Not a ton of experience or training was informing their musical choices.

And this was revolutionary stuff back in 1967. It was a display of technical prowess, a fusion of blues and rock and psychedelia and anti-war sentiment, and it was very much in style. But yes, 50 years later, Hey Joe is not the most sensitive accompaniment on the drums, or from a rhythm section. But it's not supposed to be. That wasn't the goal. They weren't trying to back up Sam and Dave.
 

T_Weaves

Silver Member
I read an interview with Rick Laird, bassist for Mahavishnu Orchestra, a while back. He was asked what it was like to play with the other members. He said something to the effect of....."I set the table so the others can break the dishes." I would ascribe that assessment to Noel Redding as Mitch and Jimi were both lead players as mentioned in the above post. Glorious drumming on that tune.
 

J-Boogie

Gold Member
To the OP, its both...in its most raw and youthful and glorious way!!


edit....ha just saw T_Weaves described it as glorious too, gmta
 

WhoIsTony?

Member
As a side note, Noel Redding wrote that one. Jimi was reluctant to play it live as it wasn’t his song. Supposedly drove Noel mad. Or so i read in a bass player mag years ago. The drumming is fantastic. Mitch Mitchell is a tasteful jazz rocker. Him and Densmore are iconic.

Noel Redding did not write Hey Joe ... nor did anyone in that band
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Mongrel

Silver Member
Simply put...

Mitch Mitchell's drumming makes that tune the emotional powerhouse it is....

In my opinion of course....lol.
 

No Way Jose

Silver Member
I'm listening to Hey Joe now. Still sounds awesome.

Yeah it's hard to decide if it's overplaying or great drumming.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
It's quintessential Mitch Mitchell. Pick pretty much any Experience song and you're unlikely to hear him laying down a straight 2 and 4. It's what he was employed for and what he was encouraged to do by the artist himself. What he did may not have worked for a lot of artists, but behind a guy like Hendrix I think he was a prime example of playing what's required.

Guys like Mitchell, Moon, Bonham and Paice were excellent examples of bringing something to the table that perfectly suited the music they were supporting. They all "played to the song". Just goes to show that playing to the song doesn't always mean laying back and disappearing into the shadows. That point does sometimes get lost here though, so I can see how its intended meaning could easily be confused.
 

Lennytoons

Senior Member
One of my favorites. I practiced to this song when I was a kid learning how to play and memorized it note for note. At a local jam recently a guitar player started it up and we absolutely nailed it. A few of the patrons looked shocked that I knew the song so well. Lots of compliments afterwards. I think I even got a groupie out of it! Mitch Mitchell was an original...and a great drummer.
 

WallyY

Platinum Member
That song is a great example of how relative the term "play for the song" can be.

My sentiments exactly.

The Roy Buchanan version of Hey Joe got me to realize that it's a murder song and played polite just won't do.
 

oldskoolsoul

Silver Member
..Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding sound a bit immature as players, because, well, they were! They were 21 or 22 when Hey Joe was released. Kids, basically, trying to create something new. Not a ton of experience or training was informing their musical choices..


A few more of those immature examples..:

* Jim Morrison was only 24 on The Doors debut album, i guess thats why those lyrics and performance sound that immature..

* Angus Young was only 20-24 on everything from T.N.T. till Highway To Hell, i guess thats why those songs and guitar parts sound that immature..

* Amy Winehouse was only 20-23 from Frank till Back to Black, i guess thats why she always sounded that immature..

* Keith Moon..............................................

* etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc..


All of them, only children, just trying something new and with a little more musical training they would have made some better choices and they would have sounded much more mature..

Same for Mitch Mitchell..

Edit.

I mean, we all realize that this thread is about Mitch Mitchell..?
 
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