Jimi Hendrix Encyclopedia
March 07th, 1969
Hendrix visits Noel Redding at Olympic Studios during a recording session for Fat Mattress.
Later that evening, Jimi Hendrix travels to Ronnie Scott’s to enjoy an evening of performances by Roland Kirk & His Quartet.
April 18th, 1969
Ellis Auditorium, Memphis, Tennessee [Two Shows]
With Fat Mattress
Set List: [Second Show]
I Don’t Live Today
Hear My Train A Comin’
Sunshine Of Your Love
Star Spangled Banner
Voodoo Child (Slight Return)
Burdened with an exhaustive schedule of personal appearances, the tense relationship between Hendrix and bassist Noel Redding further deteriorated. Frustrated, Hendrix reached out to old friend Billy Cox, with whom he had served in the US Army and performed on the famed R&B ‘chitlin’ circuit’ prior to leaving for New York.
The bassist reunited with Hendrix backstage at this Experience concert in Memphis. “We met when the Experience played in Memphis,” Cox explains. “He told me that he wanted me to be his bass player. He said that things weren’t in the order the way he wanted them and would I come as a friend and help him out. He said he’d take care of me and everything would be okay and so I gladly accepted. I went back to Nashville, closed my publishing company, dropped everything else and left for New York.”
Three days after the backstage meeting in Memphis, Cox joined Hendrix at the Record Plant recording studio in New York.
December 14th, 1969
Just months after leaving the Experience to front Fat Mattress, Noel Redding’s group was coming undone. Rolling Stone magazine was among the first to reveal the group’s undoing.
“Despite reports to the contrary, Noel Redding’s Fat Mattress was not breaking up. Redding became ill during the group’s million-dollar American tour. In a statement from the Robert Stigwood Organization (Fat Mattress’s management company) said, “Fat Mattress’s debut tour of America has been postponed because of lead guitarist Noel Redding’s sudden illness.” Chas Chandler, the group’s manager strongly denied all rumors pointing the groups split saying “Noel flew home from New York after consulting his doctor and Rik Grunnell, head of the Stigwood office in the States. Noel will be taking a complete rest over the Christmas holiday at a secret address. New plans for Fat Mattress will be put into operation and announced in January.”
December 27th, 1969
Despite initial reports that Fat Mattress had not disbanded, new information surfaced about the group’s messy split. Guitarist Noel Redding left for home after suffering what was being called a “nervous breakdown.” A spokesman for the Robert Stigwood Organization said, “the American tour could have been worth a million dollars.” Meanwhile, Jimmy Leverton of Fat Mattress told Melody Maker “the whole thing got out of hand. It was down to a personal thing within the band. We just couldn’t go on.”