Messages : 3691
Date d'inscription : 05/06/2010
Messages : 3691
Date d'inscription : 05/06/2010
|Sujet: Re: Billy Cox Lun 12 Juil 2010 - 18:24|| |
Music of Jimi Hendrix keeps bassist Billy Cox on the road
Talk to bassist Billy Cox today for even just a few minutes, and his passion for playing music becomes readily apparent. But in 1970, reeling from the death of longtime collaborator Jimi Hendrix, Cox was ready to give up music for good.
“I lost my best friend; a lot of negative things happened, and I was at the age when I wasn’t really prepared mentally for a lot of disappointments,” Cox said during a recent phone interview from his home in Nashville. “But I grew physically, spiritually and musically since that time.”
According to Cox, it was the spirit of the music that persuaded him to continue performing.
“I used to hear the elder statesmen of music tell me, ‘Once a musician, always a musician,’ ” Cox said. “The music wouldn’t let me retire. You never retire.”
Cox, now in his 60s, is still performing the music he made with Hendrix at clubs in and around his hometown, and also nationally with the Experience Hendrix tour. The 2008 version, which heads to Albany’s Palace Theatre on Thursday is the largest Experience Hendrix tour yet, encompassing 19 shows across the U.S.
“We try to give the fans their money’s worth, and try to touch their spirit in the name of Jimi Hendrix,” Cox said.
The tour was initially conceived as a one-off show in September 1995, when Hendrix’s father, James “Al” Hendrix, founded Experience Hendrix, L.L.C., to oversee his son’s legacy. The first show, dubbed the Jimi Hendrix Electric Guitar Festival, was held at the annual Bumbershoot Arts & Music Festival in Seattle. In 2004, the Experience Hendrix tour included three West Coast dates; last year, the tour hit the East Coast with seven shows.
“The celebration can only get bigger because of the energizing musicians and fans that have kept the spirit alive,” Cox said.
For all these tours and one-off shows, Cox has been involved, along with Jimi Hendrix Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell. The two were members of Hendrix’s backing band during his final years, playing behind the guitarist at Woodstock and in the studio during the recording of what would have been Hendrix’s follow-up to 1968’s “Electric Ladyland.” Cox, who was also bassist for the Hendrix-led Band of Gypsys, didn’t need to re-familiarize himself with the songs much at all.
“I never really got away from them,” Cox said. “I have a local group, we do a few sets and do Hendrix songs, and I still have my CDs and my albums that I keep around, and play them and get refreshed with them. It’s a part of my life.”
The tour is now organized by John McDermott and Hendrix’s half sister, Janie Hendrix.
Among other returnees to this year’s tour is blues guitarist Buddy Guy, a notable influence on Hendrix. Other guitarists of note who are new to the bill include Howlin’ Wolf guitarist Hubert Sumlin, Aerosmith axman Brad Whitford, Jonny Lang, pedal steel player Robert Randolph, Eric Gales and Eric Johnson.
“I’m looking forward to playing with Eric Gales; to me, he’s probably one of the greatest guitar players east of the mighty Mississippi,” Cox said. “Eric Johnson, I’m looking forward to playing with him also, he’s also a magnificent player. Quite a few of them will be on the tour.”
Cox knows a thing or two about playing with great guitarists. He met Hendrix in 1961, while both were in the U.S. Army, stationed at Fort Campbell, Ky. After hearing Hendrix play guitar at a club on the base, Cox introduced himself and the two began jamming together. For Cox, the meeting was a stroke of fate.
“I’ve often said that everyone’s life is predestined, and that was destiny, something I didn’t walk away from,” Cox said. “I heard him playing and I joined him.”
Cox’s influences at the time included bassists such as Ray Brown, Charlie Mingus and Wes Montgomery’s brother, Monk Montgomery. According to Cox, he immediately clicked with Hendrix.
“We started jamming, we looked at each other, and bang,” Cox said. “We got along very well together; we had the same likes and dislikes.”
The two formed an R&B group, the King Kasuals, after leaving the Army, touring throughout the South before Hendrix relocated to New York City. As many fans know, Animals bassist Chas Chandler discovered Hendrix there, and relocated Hendrix to England to assemble power trio The Jimi Hendrix Experience. After Cox turned down an invitation to join the group, guitarist Noel Redding claimed the bass spot.
But by 1969 The Experience had broken up, and Hendrix, looking to form a larger band, teamed up with Cox once again, as well as Experience drummer Mitchell, guitarist Larry Lee and percussionists Juma Sultan and Jerry Velez. This band performed at Woodstock in 1969 before breaking up, with Hendrix and Cox forming Band of Gypsys with drummer Buddy Miles. Mitchell was soon back in the fold, however, and this is the band Hendrix played with in his final years.
The trio spent much of its time in 1969 and 1970 recording songs for the follow-up to “Electric Ladyland,” with a good part of the sessions winding up in a posthumous construction of the album, “First Rays of the New Rising Sun,” released in 1997.
Search for perfection
Often, the band would spend entire nights in Hendrix’s studio, Electric Lady.
“Jimi was a perfectionist when a lot of people just wanted to get done and get out of there,” Cox said. “A lot of times, we would go into the studio at 8 in the evening and come out the next day at 12 in the afternoon, still energized, and that energy and creativity was what we put into the music. He became a perfectionist and taught me to be a perfectionist in the studio.”
Despite the seriousness of the sessions, the band found time to have fun.
“Sometimes, our friends would come, and we’d go to Studio B and jam,” Cox said. “Johnny Winters, Stephen Stills in the studio, and some unknowns, and we would just play and have fun playing, get renewed with our energy... After all, we did all this when we were in our 20's; that’s an age where you never get tired.”
It’s also the age of many of the fans who head out to Experience Hendrix shows. Cox, who compared Hendrix to classical composers Johannes Brahms and Ludwig van Beethoven in terms of musical impact, said he is happy with the response the tour has gotten in past years and looks forward to this year’s shows.
“Incredibly, over 50 percent of the fans who ask for autographs are 13, 14, 15, or 20, 23 years old,” Cox said. “It’s been two generations since Jimi and I were there, yet his music is so fresh, it transcends generations because of the creative form that he did. He was an incredible genius at arranging. We’re sold out everywhere we go, and that makes me really feel good, to be a part of a music that has lasted this long.”
Messages : 3691
Date d'inscription : 05/06/2010
|Sujet: Re: Billy Cox Lun 12 Juil 2010 - 18:25|| |
"When Jimi Hendrix died, he left such a void. His music was very much ahead of its time," declares Billy Cox. "It's really hard for me to believe that this music is 40 years old. It still sounds so fresh today. His music really is everlasting."
Of course, Cox knows Hendrix's music better than most — he helped make a lot of that music as the bassist in the Band of Gypsys with drummer Buddy Miles and as a member of the final incarnation of the Jimi Hendrix Experience with drummer Mitch Mitchell.
But he first met Hendrix and played with him long before Hendrix earned his reputation as a superstar guitar god.
"It was destiny," Cox says quietly. "And destiny had blessed me."
It happened back in 1961 at Fort Campbell, Ky., where they were both stationed as members of the 101st Airborne Division. "I went into the service club, and I heard this guy playing guitar," recalls the bassist. "My ears heard something that no one else heard — I heard what he was going to sound like. We started jamming, we became friends and started a band. We were discharged together, and we started gigging together on the chitlin' circuit. He knew that destiny was calling him. He joined this little band, and he'd get stranded. Then he joined another band and got stranded. Finally one day he told me that some guy was going to send him to England and make him a star, and he wanted me to go, too. But I had fallen on hard times. I was renting an amp, and I only had three good strings on my bass. The fourth was tied together with a square knot. So he said, 'That's alright. I'll make it, and I'll send for you.' And he did. That's a real friend."
Of course, Cox was there for Hendrix's legendary performance at the 1969 Woodstock festival. "It was just incredible," Cox recalls. "Everything was going along great until Jimi got to 'The Star Spangled Banner.' If you listen to the live recording of that song you'll hear me playing along on the first eight or nine notes, but we'd never rehearsed that song, and something just told me to lay back. So I did. I just stood there and listened like everybody else. What an incredible performance that was."
Tonight at the Palace Theatre, Cox and Mitch Mitchell will be reunited as the key performers in "Experience Hendrix," the all-star tribute that also features a nonstop parade of such great guitarslingers as Buddy Guy, Jonny Lang, Aerosmith's Brad Whitford, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Eric Johnson, Hubert Sumlin, Bernard Allison and others.
"Not only was I Jimi's bandmate," Cox explains, "but I was also one of his fans." But ask him to pick his favorite Hendrix song, and Cox is flummoxed. "All of them. I love 'Foxey Lady.' I love 'Red House.' I love 'In From the Storm.' I can't pick just one."
He'll get the chance to play those songs and more tonight. But he's also proud of the fact that he also gets the opportunity to expose a whole new generation to the wild and wonderful music of Jimi Hendrix.
"The kids who come up to me after the show asking for autographs are all 14 and 15 years old, so his music has transcended yet another new generation of music fans who know that if you're going to play a guitar, you have to go through Jimi Hendrix. No ifs, ands or buts about that. He was a genius."
Messages : 3691
Date d'inscription : 05/06/2010
|Sujet: Re: Billy Cox Lun 12 Juil 2010 - 18:26|| |
Why the ongoing fascination with Hendrix?
Kramer: Hendrix's music is timeless. It's music for the ages. It's music that every successive generation of kids are searching for, searching for something that is real. They come upon Jimi's music and say, 'Aha!' Not only do they feel the music, but they are in awe of the guy's technique: How did he create those sounds? This music will continue to enthrall each successive generation.
Cox: It's the spirituality of Jimi Hendrix himself. He was in touch with something, a higher power. The kids intuitively know that.
Rosas: It's as fresh now as it was back then. It just says he was way ahead of his time.
What was Hendrix's early sound like?
Cox: He was growing musically. He knew destiny was eventually going to smile on him if he continued the path. He didn't do a lot of pyrotechnics, but he was very fluid onstage. People gravitated toward that. They knew he was not only a player, but that he was involved in the genre 150 percent.
How about in the studio?
Cox: We had an opportunity, even Eddie Kramer himself, to see the genius of Jimi Hendrix. Not only was he a superb guitarist and master musician, he also was a master engineer. He knew what he wanted, how much volume he needed, attenuation, whatever. He had that genius in him at practically whatever he did. I spoke at (Indiana University) and my opening words were 'Every now and then a spirit slips through the portal of time into this reality and blows our minds.' That's what Jimi Hendrix did.
How is the tape vault?
Kramer: Fortunately, we've been able to get back pretty much everything that Jimi had ever recorded. The Beatles have been able to sort of minutely track everything they ever did. In Jimi's case it's not quite like that; there has been some stuff that was missing, but for the most part we've filled in all the gaps. We're at the point now where we're releasing stuff, live concert footage, that's coming up. I can tell you now we're working on a piece that's something that's been in the works for a couple of years that hopefully will come out next year. I'm very pleased about that.
What do musicians want to know about Hendrix?
Kramer: When one is talking to a musician who's totally into the Hendrix technique, there are aspects of the technique they might ask about. The last piece we put out on DVD was Woodstock, and that's an amazing work because when you study that and watch his hands, that's an object lesson in how to play the guitar. I get asked technical questions about how he played. I can relate the fact that he used his thumb as a barring mechanism for the whole neck of the guitar. What amps, how loud?
Cox: The type of strings he used. What he did with the guitar itself. What type of pickups did he use? More than anything else, they're thinking Jimi Hendrix creativity and his genius was mechanical. It was not. It was spiritual.
How did this tour happen?
Cox: We've been doing this on a small scale for the past seven or eight years. I've never played Denver before. We've done Los Angeles, Seattle. Early on we had Keb' Mo', Slash, Buddy Miles, myself.
How did he influence you?
Rosas: When I was in junior high school, in the seventh grade, when Jimi was introduced to the world, that's when I found out about him. The music was just so different, so different than all the stuff that was going on. And then for myself, being a left-handed guitarist, there was something I could identify with. I thought 'Wow, being left-handed ain't too bad.' Everything about Jimi was so unorthodox. Also being a black man in America playing rock 'n' roll music. He had everything going on.
Messages : 3691
Date d'inscription : 05/06/2010
|Sujet: Re: Billy Cox Lun 12 Juil 2010 - 18:26|| |
By Jerry Fink
Rain was pouring down that night when bass player Billy Cox sought shelter on the porch of a service club in Fort Campbell, Ky. The 1961 storm would change his life forever. A window on the porch was ajar and he heard guitar music coming from inside Service Club No. 1, a place where soldiers came for relaxation after a hard day of work.
“[g]Immediately I sensed something about the playing,[/g]” Cox recalled during a telephone interview from Omaha, Neb. “[g]I didn’t know exactly what it was — sort of a mixture of Beethoven and John Lee Hooker.[/g]”
He went inside and introduced himself to the enigmatic young GI with the guitar, whom the world would later know as Jimi Hendrix.
“[g]I had played in a marching band and in the high school symphony and when I introduced myself he said, ‘I’m just sitting here jammin’. You play bass, why don’t you check one out and we’ll do some jammin’ together.’ So I did and when we started playing some songs it was like I’d been playing with him for years.[/g]”
It was the start of a lifelong friendship. Unfortunately, the life was too short for Hendrix, who died in 1970 at age 27.
Cox will be among the artists performing Saturday when the Experience Hendrix Tour comes to The Pearl at the Palms.
“[g]I saw him put 25 years on a guitar in five years, because with him it was a night and day affair,[/g]” Cox says. “[g]He intuitively knew that one day he was going to make it.[/g]”
He says there was a difference between the public and the private Hendrix.
“[g]Privately he was an introvert who was wise well beyond his years,[/g]” Cox says. “[g]He only had a high school education but he knew things about the universe, about religion and the stars. I think God had anointed him.[/g]”
They formed an R&B band called the King Kasuals and after their discharge got a gig nearby in Tennessee.
“[g]We played at Fort Campbell and at all the little service clubs and we got pretty decent,[/g]” Cox says. “[g]Jimi was discharged a month before I was and we wound up playing at the Pink Poodle in Clarksville. We made enough money to rent a little house. We knew at that time that when you reached 18 you got out of the house, you left your home. We knew we couldn’t go back home, we had to make our way in the world. So we got the little house, but we knew that was a small city and the world was waiting for what we were doing. We were just trying to figure out how we were going to present this thing.[/g]”
They knocked around the East and ended up in Nashville, which had a thriving R&B scene.
“[g]We were with the band in Nashville for three or four years and then Jimi finally got itchy feet,[/g]” Cox says. “[g]He knew destiny was calling him.[/g]”
He left Cox’s band four or five times and finally didn’t return.
“[g]The last time he called me he said this guy in New York had discovered him and was going to send him to Europe and make a star out of him,[/g]” Cox says. “[g]He wanted me to go with him, but I told him, ‘Jimi, I’ve fallen on bad times. I’m renting an amp, I have three strings on my bass and the fourth string is tied in a square knot.’ He said, ‘That’s OK. I’ll make it and I’ll send for you.’ And you know what, he did. He was a man of his word.[/g]”
It was for the Woodstock Festival in 1969. Hendrix’s bass player, Noel Redding, left the group and Cox was recruited to join Hendrix’s new group — a short lived rock band called Gypsy Sun and Rainbows.
Sun and Rainbows is not to be confused with Hendrix’s Band of Gypsys, a temporary group he formed to play four concerts at Fillmore East in New York — two on New Year’s Eve in 1969 and two on New Year’s Day in 1970. After the four concerts, Hendrix went back to the Jimi Hendrix Experience.
Cox — who now produces gospel television shows in Nashville — has the distinction of having performed with Hendrix in four bands.
“[g]It was an incredible experience,[/g]” Cox says. “[g]What a ride, like being on a roller coaster.[/g]”
Almost 40 years have passed since Hendrix died unexpectedly after a night of drinking in London in September 1970. But his music is still very much alive.
“[g]This tour bears witness to the musical genius of Jimi Hendrix,[/g]” Cox says. “[g]It helps to confirm something I have been saying since he died — and that was that Jimi Hendrix would one day go in the category of the masters such as Bach, Beethoven and Mozart. His music has become timeless.[/g]”
The tour has been an annual event since 2000 and has been growing every year.
“[g]Last year we had eight or nine dates and we doubled that this year — and every one of them have been sold out,[/g]” Cox says. “[g]Hopefully next year we will triple the number of dates.[/g]”
He says the fan base keeps growing. “[g]We’re playing for four generations now.[/g]”
Cox believes Hendrix’s music will be around 500 years from now.
“[g]He was a creator, not just a musician,[/g]” he says. “[g]Every now and then a spirit slips through the portal of time into this reality and whey they slip through they blow your mind — people like Shakespeare and Mozart. Jimi Hendrix was one of those people.[/g]”
Messages : 3691
Date d'inscription : 05/06/2010
|Sujet: Re: Billy Cox Lun 12 Juil 2010 - 18:27|| |
Billy Cox :
"This course is an elective in the music department in a lot of these schools, on Jimi Hendrix. That's really something. Who would've expected that? He would really be proud of that.
To me, it was probably the most memorable time and chapter in my life, to have had played with and known someone as great as Jimi Hendrix, and I consider myself to be very fortunate to not only know him, but to have played in his band and be a part of the intricate music that has lasted over 38 years.
It's amazing, last night we were in Denver, Coloradoand the place was packed. And people were screaming for 'more, more' -- they just couldn't get enough. Even today, (what we did) 38 years ago still rings fresh.
If you play a guitar today, you can't bypass him and go on. You have to go through Jimi Hendrix in order to reach the plateau of a complete guitar player.
Jimi called me and he was searching for his bassist, he said he was going to take me to Europe and make me a star. And I told him, 'I'd like to come, but I've fallen on bad times. I'm renting an amp, I've got two strings on my bass and the others tied in a square knot.' 'You've really fallen on bad times,' he said. 'So, I'll tell you what I'll do. I'm going to make it and when I do, I'll send for you.' What a great friend.
He was being sued for $50 million, Band of Gypsys came because of necessity. Myself and Buddy Miles were great friends, and we said, 'Well, we don't care about getting paid.' That's what friends are all about. Sometimes you don't realize that closeness that friends have with each other."
Messages : 3691
Date d'inscription : 05/06/2010
|Sujet: Re: Billy Cox Lun 12 Juil 2010 - 18:28|| |
LiveDaily : Looking back on the first Experience Hendrix tour, did you ever have one of those moments during the set when you saw one of the guitarists was really getting it? I mean, there's nobody that can be Jimi but do these players seem to channel his magic once they get up there with you and Mitch (Mitchell)?
Billy Cox: Yes, it happens all the time. There are two kinds of guitar players: The ones who admit they were influenced by Jimi Hendrix and the ones who won't admit they were influenced by him. And I know when they are not being straight with me, because there will be a phrase or a lick that reminds me very much of what Jimi was all about. I mean, he was an innovative, free-thinking guitar player with a lot of disciples. And today, the 10-, 12-, 16-year-old kids who are just learning to play guitar are asking for our autographs and to meet us because they are seriously into Hendrix. Thanks to a tour like this, we have transcended yet another generation. As long as there are guitar players, they will be emulating guitar phrases of Jimi's.
The further away we get from his passing, the more we realize what an innovator he was, and the greater respect he gets from other great players.
Right. And even though, during these tours, it's a musical testimony to Jimi's greatness, ... it's really a musical celebration.
I was born in 1961, the year you met Hendrix, so I obviously never saw him live. But when I watch you guys on film, although it's billed as Jimi Hendrix, there was a lot of collaboration going on. Can you talk about that give and take with Jimi on stage night after night?
I think we all became more spiritual beings when we were on stage with him because Jimi was a very spiritual person. And I think we communicated spiritually--I mean, a lot of the impromptu playing we did was unspoken. It was more felt than anything else ... it's difficult to explain it. We felt each other. For example, sometimes, Jimi didn't want to play 12 bars, he wanted to play 18 bars, and we would just know when and where to go. He couldn't really explain that either, but you would often hear him describe that on-stage experience as being in church or referring to it as a religious experience.
Did he ever sit down with the two of you to give you cues?
Not really. We watched a lot of his movements and we naturally got our cues from that.
Based on a lot of his TV interviews, I get the idea Jimi was very humble. Can you remember a particular interaction with a fan or a fellow musician off stage that made you say to yourself, "fame has not spoiled this man"?
Whenever somebody would come up to him and start going off on him about how great he was, he would stop them and say, "I'd like you to meet Billy Cox, or Mitch Mitchell." Of course, his ego only responded on stage. When he got off stage, he was a different person. He was very cordial, a genuine human being, despite what the press wanted to throw on him at the time. He was a very giving person.
How did he react when he was listening to himself, like during recording sessions? Was he keyed in on the ensemble?
He would always come at it from the musical perspective, the words and the messages he was trying to relay. We were the producers, and Eddie Kramer, who worked with us. There was never anyone in the studio but us. There were times when Kramer was on the right and Jimi was on the left and I was in the middle, and Mitch might join in. We would give Jimi complete freedom with the producing because we knew how creative he was.
Between you as friends, what were the favorite times you had with Jimi Hendrix?
He was my friend and I miss him today. From the clubs out partying to the performance stages, we enjoyed a lot of great times. And he had a great, quick sense of humor. That's what I miss most about him.
You must have been asked a million times about what went through your mind when you heard he was gone. But I'd like to know what went through your mind when you decided to pick up the pieces and go on?
I gave up playing completely. I think Charlie Daniels was the one who came looking for me to play with him a few years later. But I still wasn't fully committed to the music business. My father said to me one day, "Your friend is gone. But we all have our time here on this planet. You've done what you had to do musically. And it may take five, 10, 20 years, and you will have your day again. And until that day comes, you have to take care of yourself." And since than, that's what I've tried to do.
How much preparation is involved before you all actually hit the road together in this upcoming Experience Hendrix tour?
Well. I've played with most of these gentlemen before. They are always organized, fun and easy to move around between the venues. The band gets together for just one day of good rehearsing. You know, we've been playing this music for 36 years, so it's mostly a matter of what key is comfortable for whose voice. And we come out there like 12 different groups united under one cause, and man do we have fun!
Maybe there are some true Jimi Hendrix fans who see this tour as taking something away from the man, but I think you and everyone involved is seeing this as being a gift to give to the most hard-core Hendrix fans. Is that right?
Thirty-six years later, if you put on a Hendrix CD, it still sounds fresh and new. For me--and I played on a lot of this material--I still hear something new every time I listen. That's what makes his genius so great. The music itself, he was constantly trying to improve on every aspect of the music, which makes the music great. Someone once said, "Don't try to be better than your contemporaries, or your predecessors, just try to be better than yourself." And that's what Jimi did for our entire time together.
Source : http://www.livedaily.com/news/12956.html
Messages : 3691
Date d'inscription : 05/06/2010
|Sujet: Re: Billy Cox Lun 12 Juil 2010 - 18:28|| |
EXPERIENCE HENDRIX: Billy, you're originally from where?
COX: Way back, my family moved from Wheeling [West Virginia] to Pittsburgh. My brother still lives there. He teaches at the University of Pittsburgh.
EXPERIENCE HENDRIX: You're from a family of musicians?
COX: My mother was a concert pianist, but she played piano in church. That was my influence, listening to Brahms, Handl, Beethoven, Mozart, and Liszt. I had two uncles; they both played saxophones. One used to pinch-hit for Lionel Hampton and Duke Ellington because he was a good saxophone player. He's passed on now. He was an excellent musician. I saw my mom one time, when I was a kid, play with my uncles, and they made beautiful music.
EXPERIENCE HENDRIX: What was your first instrument?
COX: I started off on the violin, then the piano. Then I got in the marching band and played the saxophone about three years. Finally, I moved to Pittsburgh and played trumpet and saxophone. All that time I was never getting satisfaction out of the instruments. It was just something that was in my soul and in my spirit that I knew I was supposed to play, but I never did get a hold to it. Finally, when I was going in my senior year in high school, I was walking down the street late after band practice at school. I went by a place where they had various bands. I heard the resonance of this bass all through the air and I told my buddy, 'That's it! That's it!' I ran down to the club I would have made a good sprinter at that time and it was Lloyd Price's band playing. The bass was pumping out personality. I introduced myself to the bass player when they took a break. That was the first electric bass that I ever saw.
EXPERIENCE HENDRIX: You took formal lessons?
COX: I was in the symphony. I got kicked out a lot because I liked to play pizzicato [hums several plucked low notes] and we had a teacher that was strictly for the arts and he liked to have the bass players to play with their bows.
EXPERIENCE HENDRIX: Were you listening to jazz bass players on records?
COX: Yes. Charlie Mingus was one of my early influences, along with Ron Carter and Ray Brown. Paul Chambers lived down the street, but he stayed on the road a lot because at that time he played with Ray Charles. All these guys were very big influences on me.
In the early '60s, I couldn't afford a bass. I tried to get a bass and lost one to a pawnshop because I was washing dishes and had those little menial jobs you have to have, unfortunately. So I waited till I got in the military to buy my first bass. A friend of mine had an electric bass. I kept it more than he did. [laughs] It didn't belong to me.
EXPERIENCE HENDRIX: You met Hendrix at Fort Campbell in Kentucky. You and he shared a passion for music that set you apart from the other paratroopers?
COX: We met in the army. I think if we stop and settle ourselves down, every person has a destiny in life. I think if you get focused, sometimes it'll come clear to you. So, I think Jimi knew his destiny and I knew my destiny. We did it! It took years and there were trials and tribulations, which all led up to that destiny in life.
EXPERIENCE HENDRIX: Tell me about the band you and Hendrix had early on?
COX: The [King] Kasuals is the band we had here in Nashville. We did covers. We left Ft. Campbell after we did that stint there. We got discharged. We played a lot in Clarksville [Tennessee] and we wound up stranded in Indianapolis. Stories, stories, stories.
Then we came back to Clarksville and then some club owners here came and got us and we started playing here in town.
EXPERIENCE HENDRIX: Any thoughts on Hendrix's early musical influences and his reportedly wild stage antics with the King Kasuals? Was it something like T-Bone Walker playing behind his back and doing splits in the'40s and'50s?
COX: Hendrix was a sponge. You listen to his music and you hear country & western. You hear Curtis Mayfield and you hear B. B. King and you hear Albert and Freddie King. You hear Chet Atkins. You hear a collage of guitar players. T-Bone Walker was one of his influences along with 150 others.
EXPERIENCE HENDRIX: You chose to stay in the Music City rather than accompany Hendrix on the road as a sideman for various R&B stars. Why was that?
COX: That's a long story. Jimi hit the road one, two, three, four, five, six, seven times, and each time I would go and talk to the [bandleader]. There's something about what he'd say; I don't think it's cool to go with him. So Jimi'd go out and, two months later, he'd call me and say, "Hey, man. I'm stranded in St. Louis." So I'd send him the money and he'd come back. Then this other [R&B star] would come through town so we'd go talk to him. And the guy'd say, "Well, I can't give you a guarantee, dada dada dada.' So, I'd say, "I don't want to fool with him." I was a little more stable but [Hendrix] knew I was very supportive of what he was all about and what we were really about.
Destiny was calling, but at that point of time he didn't know how he was going to project this plan to the masses so he did the best he could.
Finally he called me and told me that this fellow [Chas Chandler] had discovered him and was going to take him to England and make him a star. Jimi said, "I told him about you, so come to New York." I told him: "Jimi, I'm doing so bad now and I'm renting an amp." I said, "I've got three strings on my bass, the fourth is tied in a square knot." He says, "Ok, I'II go ahead and I'II make it enough for you." And that's what he did. You see, what had happened prior to that, he had come through Nashville when I was living on Jefferson Avenue. I was out on the porch in the summertime and I saw this [car pull up] and out jumps Little Richard and he and Jimi came over. Richard said, "Hey, man, do you know who I am?" I said, "Yeah, man, I know who you are."
He said,"Well, Jimi told me about you. Come on, pack your stuff and come on the road with me!" I said, "Look, mister, I don't care if you are the Shah of Iran! I've got to give this band at least a week's notice!" He said, "Well, you missed the best opportunity...
EXPERIENCE HENDRIX: With Hendrix gone, you stayed busy with music here?
COX: Uh huh, I was working and then I joined Johnny Jones' group. We did a lot of things. We did the Night Train show here that came on every Saturday night on Channel 5, and then we traveled to Dallas, Texas, one weekend out of the month to do [TV show] The Beet! Oh, we had a lot of work. We were probably the #1 black R&B band in the city.
EXPERIENCE HENDRIX: You crossed paths with [Texas music legend] Gatemouth Brown...
COX: All of them, everybody at one point in time. When that band disbanded, it showed how dynamic the band was. The horns wound up being the Muscle Shoals Horns. The drummer went with Joe Tex. We all dispersed in our various directions.
EXPERIENCE HENDRIX: Almost thirty years ago to this day you received a phone call from Hendrix. What did he have to say?
COX: He wanted to go in a new direction. He said, "Man, can you please just... [Cox's voice trails off] It's a long story how I got the telephone call and all that. I went and then he said, "I'm going to set things up for you." By now, I was in New York and we were working on new things and a new spirit came into play we did a lot of stuff!
We would go in the studio at 8:00 in the evening and come out the next day at noon. People wonder how do you do it. Well, you have to dedicate your life to whatever you're all about, whether you're a painter or a ballplayer or whatever. You have to be serious and you have to love this thing no matter if it's greater than you love yourself. If you can't sacrifice, then you're going to be mediocre.
EXPERIENCE HENDRIX: Was there a special vibe present in the studio? Did you have any inkling that Hendrix felt he'd been boxed in creative-wise and needed to forge ahead in that new direction?
COX: [sighs] I think he was boxed in by too much business. Either you had to be a creator free to create or you had to be a businessman and stick with the books, pay the bills. I understand they don't do the entertainers that way now, but I don't know. Either you create or those other things stifle your creativity. So, when I came on board I didn't have any of those hang-ups. I was free and he wanted to be free.
I was in [upstate] New York maybe two or three months, a long time before Woodstock. When Woodstock came, we decided to do some other things. Some people weren't happy with it but we did it.
EXPERIENCE HENDRIX: Like having a larger band?
COX: Well, when you say larger, we just added guitar and some congas because we liked rhythm. Larry Lee was, in Jimi's earlier years, his mentor. But Larry felt a little insecure because Jimi had developed into this guitar player of multi-plans. But, anyway, we got a larger group.
EXPERIENCE HENDRIX: Tell me about Woodstock.
COX: The mind-boggling thing was there were so many people. No one had anticipated so many people being at one festival. There was just a wave, an ocean of people. But it was all good.
EXPERIENCE HENDRIX: The Band of Gypsys. Do you see yourself now as a father of modern R&B?
COX: Not really. Band of Gypsys came into play because of contractual problems that Jimi had. However, we had complete control and complete freedom to do and play anything we wanted to play. Therefore, without the restrictions that managers, record companies, and people put on creative people, the [nights at the Fillmore] became a very, very good concert. It was a concert that Rolling Stone said was one of the ten greatest ever. I think if managers and record companies would learn to leave the people with creative juices alone and let them create, then we could have better music. But I don't think they ever learned from that.
EXPERIENCE HENDRIX: Buddy Miles had more of a fatback sound while Mitch Mitchell was more in synch with jazz players like Elvin Jones.
COX: Buddy can play that. He's played with jazz artists and I've heard him play all the licks but he preferred to kind of lay in the pocket. Mitch calls him a cement mixer. I call him a freight train. The guys who Buddy idolizes are Elvin Jones and Chico Hamilton. Buddy's been around. Buddy told me the other day; "Man, I left home when my mama let me gig when I was 11 years old." That's all right!
EXPERIENCE HENDRIX: Hendrix was going to collaborate with jazz arranger Gil Evans.
COX: ...and Miles Davis. These guys who played jazz and did it for a living heard Jimi's playing and heard the Band of Gypsys and said, "Hey, wait a minute! What is this?" [laughs] You can't pigeonhole this group. For a long time we were in Down Beat and in Circus Magazine. A b flat is a b flat; f natural is a f natural. It's just good music and I enjoyed being a part of it.
EXPERIENCE HENDRIX: The songs were always evolving?
COX: They were always evolving. I was once asked, if Jimi were living today, what kind of music would you be playing? That's an unfair question to ask me. The intro to "New Rising Sun" is more of a Mozart-type thing, then we went into a nice little rhythmic pattern after that. He just didn't live long enough, but in the latter days we were getting more into a classical type of playing.
EXPERIENCE HENDRIX: What have you been up to in the many years since Jimi left us?
COX: I did what I feel that God intended on me to do ... so music is of importance to me today as a hobby. I'll go out and do a few gigs here and there but I'm not on the road anymore. Maybe if someone says, "Hey, we've got a gig," we might go. We might not, too. Mitch is here in the States now and we've done some sessions work.
SERKIN: I could write a book about Billy. The last 15 years of being involved with him. Of course, Mitch came back into the group. Management wanted to regroup the Experience and at one point in time they [Hendrix, Mitchell and Noel Redding] did get together to do a Rolling Stone interview in January of 1970 that never came to light.
COX: We toured Europe as The Experience.
SERKIN: [Cox nods in agreement as Serkin begins to speak again] They tried to call it the "Cry of Love Band" tour. They tried to change history over the years. I remember about the time the Band Of Gypsys album came out and Mitch was back in the group. Billy is on bass still and they are touring as the Jimi Hendrix Experience. That was the word I got. It was on all the posters. That's what it said on the contract for their very last gig in Germany on September 6,1970. Why they tried to write Billy out of history, I don't know. That's a little bit of misinformation that I'd like to dispel.
EXPERIENCE HENDRIX: Audiences craved hearing the old Experience hits.
COX: Well, naturally, the people can only express what they know about and when they heard "In From The Storm," "Dolly Dagger" and the "Roomful Of Mirrors" they loved them too. In fact, they didn't realize that there was some new stuff that they had never heard that sounded just as good.
SERKIN: That was a problem for Jimi though. A lot of those songs were cut in late '66 and early '67 and by the time the'7Os rolled around, they are four years old...
COX: Tired of it!
SERKIN: ...and they were still yelling out "Purple Haze" and "Fire" and all that and no one would let the man grow. I went to that Memphis concert where Billy hooked up with Jimi and the next day in the local newspaper it said Jimi didn't do what he was supposed to do. He didn't burn his guitar and most of the night he just stood and played. Hey, I was there.
COX: They were looking for pyrotechnics! When Jimi left me that last time, what I did was form a publishing company up on Music Row [in downtown Nashville] and I had a good relationship with the landlord and I had a recording studio out back. I was building up my catalog gradually and all of a sudden when he called me, I just dropped everything. I said, "Hey, my buddy needs me," so I gave stuff away and sold stuff.
EXPERIENCE HENDRIX: What do you miss most about him?
COX: Everything. This is like a guy who is one of your best friends. You tell him everything and you go out and party and laugh and have a good time with. He was that type. We had a good time.
COX: People ask me who was the better drummer, Mitch or Buddy. First of all you can't pigeonhole these guys. Buddy's a bad ass. Mitch is a bad ass. I like playing with both of them because they're good. If they're good musicians, I like playing with them. Musicians who aren't that good, they don't spark that thing in me.
EXPERIENCE HENDRIX: Who's the better jazz bass player, Charles Mingus or Paul Chambers? [laughter]
COX: They had different styles but they're both good. [pauses] It was fun and I enjoyed that stint with Jimi. I just wish it could have lasted forever.
EXPERIENCE HENDRIX: Someone told me you've been doing some gospel projects.
COX: I've done everything. I play with a group called Bob Holmes & the Jazz Excursion. I play in church. I play country. I played with Charlie Daniels for a year-and-a-half. Music is music. I love music. I gravitated toward it when I was very young and I think music is an integral part of all our lives whether we play an instrument or a radio. When doctors are bringing us into the world they've got music and when we're dying somebody's singing or playing something so we can't get away from it. It's here. [laughter]
EXPERIENCE HENDRIX: What do you like to listen to?
COX: Anything that is good. Bluegrass, if it's done right ... pop, jazz, rock, blues, the whole thing. You can't limit yourself and say, "Well, I just like that music." I hate to hear people do that to themselves because they miss the experience of music and living.
EXPERIENCE HENDRIX: What do you think of the music industry today?
COX: [Shakes his head disapprovingly] Where is the creative source of what music is all about?
We can't hear it anymore. Someone has stepped on the creativity. Why? Why can't we hear new ideas? I've heard some rap artists who have taken what we've done and sampled it. But that's been done, we've done that. Where are we going? Where are we headed?
EXPERIENCE HENDRIX: Jazz, blues and rock right now generally draws on tried and true musical formulas.
COX: We've heard that. Rehash. Creativity happens everyday, every hour. So where is it? I haven't heard anything refreshing on the radio in a year-and-a-half. Give us creative music!
Source : http://www.jimi-hendrix.com/magazine/602/602,interviews,billycox.html
Messages : 3691
Date d'inscription : 05/06/2010
|Sujet: Re: Billy Cox Lun 12 Juil 2010 - 18:29|| |
Nashville bassist Billy Cox, Jimi Hendrix’s longtime friend and collaborator, recalls a guitar god who still casts a long shadow
Me and Jimi Hendrix
By Ron Wynn
The year was 1961, and Billy Cox ducked into a service club near Fort Campbell, where he was stationed with the Army. There, onstage, was another soldier playing guitar. Cox, just 20, was himself an exceptional bassist, but this guy onstage — man alive. Cox was bowled over. After a quick introduction, the two became fast friends and musical collaborators and remained that way for nine years — until Cox received word that his friend, Jimi Hendrix, had died. He was only 27.
Billy Cox's personal relationship with Jimi Hendrix ended on a September night in 1970. But his professional relationship with the Prometheus of rock guitar has never really ended. They started together as scuffling musicians on Nashville's Jefferson Street R&B circuit, playing in a combo called the King Kasuals and gigging at clubs such as the long-gone Del Morocco, where Hendrix once famously walked 30 feet into the crowd soloing — a taste of things to come. Hendrix went overseas to Europe and stardom, while Cox gigged at home. But the two never lost touch, and when Hendrix made his iconic appearance at Woodstock, the man playing bass beside him was Billy Cox.
Over the 40 years since, Cox has remained a vital part of the Hendrix legacy, from his appearances on various posthumous projects to his participation in the current Hendrix Experience tours. This year, he'll be joined by such ardent Hendrix admirers as Joe Satriani, Eric Johnson, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Jonny Lang.
Now Cox, a longtime Nashville resident, is prominently featured on the new release Valleys of Neptune (Legacy), the first in an ongoing series of items being issued as part of an extensive new contract with Sony signed by Hendrix's stepsister Janie. Released along with it this week are sparkling reissued versions of Hendrix's three studio albums, Are You Experienced, Axis: Bold As Love and Electric Ladyland — the last of which is the only double LP Hendrix issued during his lifetime, and the only one of his titles to reach No. 1.
With former Hendrix bandmates Noel Redding, Mitch Mitchell and Buddy Miles deceased, Cox is keenly aware of his position as a keeper of the Hendrix torch. Impassioned and thoughtful, Cox detailed his feelings about many things in regard to Hendrix during a freewheeling recent interview that began with Valleys of Neptune, but thankfully wasn't restricted to that disc.
"The first thing that's really important when it comes to me and Jimi Hendrix is the fact we were friends," Cox says. "We did everything together — bowling, hanging out, just talking with each other. He was totally about music, and he was also the most brilliant person I've ever been around when it comes to almost any subject. I used to say he came from a portal to another galaxy. He was so more advanced in so many areas than someone in their 20s."
Cox and Hendrix became familiar faces in Nashville's vital R&B scene of the 1960s, where giants ranging from Etta James to James Brown brushed shoulders with obscure local talents. Back then Hendrix had an apartment above a beauty parlor next to the Del Morocco and was a common sight in Jefferson Street's clubs. But it was clear even then that he heard a signal from the future. The late WLAC DJ Hoss Allen used to tell how Cox, a sought-after session player, had convinced him to hire Hendrix for a run-of-the-mill recording date — only to have the future guitar god drive him to distraction with his psychedelic riffage.
Hendrix, Cox explains, wasn't just a brilliant instrumentalist. "He was a bandleader, a composer, an arranger, a soloist and a singer," he says. "He excelled at all of these, was a genius in every facet when it came to music."
As a result, he's also been the subject of endless theory, conjecture, gossip and urban legend. Cox is less than thrilled with many of the stories that have circulated over the years and most of the books written about Hendrix. He refuses to validate or verify the tales about "cutting" contests in North Nashville clubs involving Hendrix and various local guitarists, or disputes that reportedly occurred on bandstands during visits from R&B and soul luminaries.
"You should only believe about 25 percent of the things that have been written about Jimi over the years," Cox says. "I don't even want to talk about the stuff that happened when we were playing here in Nashville together. For one, I'm writing my own book and I'm going to set the record straight with it. For another, there are people who have deliberately exaggerated things or made up stuff, and I don't want to get into a thing of constantly answering whether this story or that story is true."
Cox has not relished being hounded for the past four decades by biographers, acolytes and amateur rock historians. For many years, he was content to run a Nolensville Road pawnshop, a legend hidden in plain sight while the history he made loomed all the larger. But when he starts to talk about Hendrix, it's clear that he's protecting the man he knew — and the experiences they shared — from the garbled mythology.
"I'll tell you this," Cox says, "Jimi did ask me to go with him overseas when he finally got his big break, and I told him at the time, man, I got three strings on the guitar. We stayed in touch and later he did send for me. We reunited and that period was unforgettable."
He refutes notions that many of Hendrix's finest studio performances resulted from jam sessions rather than preparation. "Jimi and I would talk about music all the time, and I mean, in great detail," Cox says. "He'd work out arrangements beforehand, then when we got in the studio he would expand it.
"I remember there were times in the hotel where he'd just get up at 2 a.m. and start writing stuff down. I'd call that automatic writing. Sometimes he wouldn't even seem like he was totally awake. The next morning there would be three new songs written down, all of them complex and amazing. There would be times in the studio where I had to bear down and not get carried away just hearing the stuff that Jimi was producing on the guitar. That guy's genius on the instrument really can't be overstated.
"Many times we'd put a song together off a riff or lick that I was just experimenting with," Cox adds. "That's how 'Dolly Dagger' got written. I was fooling around with a bass line, playing in the street, and Jimi heard me and yelled out the hotel window, yeah, keep on playing that. Then he began adding his own licks and melody things on top and we kept building till we got 'Dolly Dagger' out of it."
As for the Band of Gypsys, the celebrated funk-rock trio featuring him, Hendrix and drummer Buddy Miles, Cox says it was formed simply because "Jimi had gotten himself into a financial bind with a contract he'd signed that wasn't exactly the greatest. He needed to work and do some things in a hurry that would make some money. So we got together and did the album and toured. It was a wonderful experience, but that's the real reason why that band was formed."
Today, Cox's steady, propulsive bass work can be heard on both singles released thus far from Valleys of Neptune, which contains seven unreleased Hendrix tunes plus other songs culled from previous releases. His playing adeptly fulfills the instrument's traditional rhythm role while simultaneously providing dazzling moments throughout. Cox smartly layers his lines underneath Hendrix's slicing guitar licks on the title tune, while he both drives and frames the lengthy solo and vocal on "Bleeding Heart," Hendrix's jagged cover of an Elmore James signature number.
Cox is also among Hendrix band members and studio/technical figures who contribute interviews and commentary to the making-of DVDs that accompany the CD reissues. Besides Valleys of Neptune and the Band of Gypsys LP, the list of other Hendrix albums featuring Cox includes South Saturn Delta, Live at Woodstock, Live at The Fillmore East, Nine to the Universe and First Rays of the New Rising Sun, the release that came from Hendrix's final sessions. To see them together, check out DVDs such as Live at the Isle of Wight 1970, Live at Woodstock, Rainbow Bridge, and footage from a guest appearance on a broadcast of The Dick Cavett Show.
Since Hendrix's death Cox has continued working with an array of musicians, among them Charlie Daniels, Bruce Cameron and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Inducted last October into the Musicians Hall of Fame, Cox forges ahead. His forthcoming new CD will appropriately be titled Last Man Standing. He also continues work on the book he hopes will correct misconceptions and bogus stories about Hendrix.
Though he enjoys some current players, Cox has no illusions another Hendrix will come along anytime soon.
"There's only two types of guitarists around today," Cox says. "There are those who admit being influenced by Jimi Hendrix, and those who try to pretend they aren't. We will never again see anyone like him, and I was blessed and privileged to know him and have played with him for the time that I did."
Messages : 2465
Date d'inscription : 04/06/2010
Age : 45
|Sujet: Re: Billy Cox Jeu 28 Oct 2010 - 10:18|| |
Does it feel like 40 years since Jimi left?
No, it just feels like yesterday. Everything is still fresh in my mind -- what little mind I have left.
Well, they say if you remember the '60s, you weren't there. Did you ever think you'd be the guy who ended up carrying Jimi's torch?
No. My latest CD is entitled The Last Gypsy Standing. I think that sums it up.
Why do you think Hendrix's music has remained popular for so long?
Because it's the music of a master. Do we ever get tired of Brahms? Do we ever get tired of Beethoven? Handel? Liszt? We never get tired of them for the same reason we never get tired of Hendrix. People think Jimi was a hard rocker, but he wasn't really. He was a master musician. He would spend hours and hours in the studio just to perfect the music. Sometimes a spirit slips through the portal of time into this reality and blows our minds. He was one of those spirits.
What's the goal of the Experience Hendrix shows? Recreating the music or reinterpreting it?
It's about celebrating the music, with a little bit of reinterpretation. We've brought a few of the things into this millennium. But when the Boston Pops plays the music of the masters, they do it the way it was meant to be interpreted. Faulkner said, 'Don't try to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.' It's just like that.
When you met him in the Army, how was his playing?
Awesome. I mean, it was still very amateurish, but intuitively I knew there was something special. I can't explain it. He had a destiny. Fate is the cards you're dealt at birth; destiny is what you do with those cards. I heard him playing in the service club. We were kids, in our teens. I had played bass but laid it aside. But when I told him I played, he said, 'Hey baby, they got an electric bass there, let's do some jamming.' That jamming was magical. He looked at me and I looked at him, and it was like we knew each other.
He originally wanted you to be in the Experience, right?
He called me before he went to England, and said, 'Billy, this guy's going to send me to Europe and make me a star. Get your stuff together and get up here.' I said, 'Jimi, I've fallen on hard times. I've got three strings on my bass and the fourth one's tied in a square knot.' He said, 'That's OK. I'll make it and I'll send for you.' It took him a couple of years but, hey, he did it.
What about the stories that he ended up being controlled by gangsters? Was it as bad as that?
Not really. There was a lot of business stuff. Jimi didn't want to get involved in business; he just wanted to make music. But I know they paid me well and they paid him. They moved us around in first class. We had some good times. And we had some times when we just didn't feel good and were wore out.
What would Jimi make of all this?
He was not that braggadocious type of individual. He had the wisdom of a 70-year-old guy in his 20s. He used to say that egos have a tendency to destroy people. So he probably would just laugh and say, 'Whatever.' That was Jimi.
Source : http://www.torontosun.com/entertainment/music/2010/10/27/15849421.html
Messages : 1128
Date d'inscription : 06/01/2011
Localisation : strasbourg
|Sujet: Re: Billy Cox Jeu 31 Mai 2012 - 19:04|| |
R&F n° 128 de septembre 77 : "Big Bass Boys" sur les bassistes de Rock (et de jazz):
Messages : 151
Date d'inscription : 20/07/2010
Age : 64
Localisation : Lorraine
|Sujet: Re: Billy Cox Sam 15 Fév 2014 - 19:35|| |
Nouvelle interview de Billy Cox
|Sujet: Re: Billy Cox || |