Buddy Miles Biography

George Allen Miles Jnr., 5 September 1947, Omaha, Nebraska, USA, d. 26 February 2008, Austin, Texas, USA. A teenage prodigy, Miles was a powerful, if inflexible, drummer and a veteran of several touring revues prior to his spell with soul singer Wilson Pickett. In 1967, he joined the Electric Flag at the behest of guitarist Mike Bloomfield, whose subsequent departure left the drummer in control. Although the band collapsed in the wake of a disappointing second album, Miles retained its horn section for his next venture, the Buddy Miles Express. This exciting unit also included former Mitch Ryder guitarist Jim McCarthy. Their first album, 1968’s Expressway To Your Skull, was full of driving, electric soul rhythms that had the blessing of Jimi Hendrix, who produced the album and wrote the sleeve notes. In 1969, Miles joined Hendrix in the ill-fated Band Of Gypsys before continuing his own career with the Buddy Miles Band and the rumbustious Them Changes album, the title track of which was a minor US hit. As an integral part of the artist’s career, the song was not only featured on Hendrix’s live set Band Of Gypsys, but provided one of the highlights of Miles’ 1972 collaboration with Carlos Santana, which was recorded live in an extinct Hawaiian volcano.

Having participated in an ill-fated Electric Flag reunion, Miles continued his prolific rock/soul output with a variety of releases. Despite enjoying a seemingly lower profile during the 80s, Miles was the guiding musical force behind the successful California Raisins, a cartoon band inspired by television advertising. In the mid-90s Miles reappeared with an accomplished album on Rykodisc Records that included his interpretations of ‘All Along The Watchtower’ and ‘Born Under A Bad Sign’. Following a series of very ordinary albums in the late 90s, he teamed up with former colleague Billy Cox to record 2006’s The Band Of Gyspys Return. Miles died of congestive heart failure in 2008.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.