Rock musician Noel Redding, best known for his stint as the bassist of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, was found dead yesterday (May 11) at his home in Ireland of unknown causes, his manager Ian Grant has confirmed to Billboard.com. He was 57. Redding, an accomplished guitarist based in the U.K., joined Hendrix’s band in 1966 and played on the three Jimi Hendrix Experience albums — writing two songs as well as playing bass — before parting ways with the legendary guitarist in 1969.
Redding also made numerous recordings with his bands Fat Mattress, Road, and the Noel Redding Band. The artist’s most recent release was a live album, “Live From Bunkr. Prague,” which came out last year on Grant’s Track Records label and included Hendrix songs. His mother reportedly died last week.
“I am very shocked to learn of my partner’s death,” reads a statement from Redding’s companion Deborah McNaughton, posted by Grant on the Track Records Web site. “Noel was extremely gentle and gracious soul. He had a kind of chivalry and nobility about him and he was kind to everyone bar none, people and animals alike.”
In a statement from Experience Hendrix, which oversees the guitar legend’s catalog, Hendrix’s family said, “We at Experience Hendrix 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.”
In an interview last year with Billboard.com, Redding recounted his trials and tribulations in attempting to recover unpaid royalties for his work with Hendrix. “I should have been a plumber. That’s a joke. But the thing is, plumbers get paid,” he said. “But there again, I’m still playing, thank God. That’s the main thing.”
The fight for those royalties has been ongoing, according to Grant. “We were about to be in court over it, and we were on top,” he says. “And now he will never know how it turns out. I don’t know what will happen with it now. I’ve only been working with him for about two years. I was on a mission to right the wrongs that had been done to him.
“In working with him, I know him as a very kind, considerate man, especially given what happened to him with royalties and such,” Grant adds. “He struggled at various times to reap the benefits of that part of his career … He’s now with Jimi, I guess, and they’ll be comparing notes.”