Drummer Buddy Miles is suing the estate of Jimi Hendrix and several record labels for millions of dollars, alleging he was not paid royalties for his collaborations with the guitarist more than 30 years ago.
The drummer in Hendrix’s short-lived Band of Gypsys, Miles, 56, said in the suit filed on Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court, that he received virtually no money for his work.
The band was formed in 1969 and Miles left a year later. He said his collaborations with Hendrix produced 38 songs that he either performed on or co-wrote, including “Vodoo Child,” “Rainy Day Dream Away,” and “Machine Gun.”
“Buddy helped Jimi co-write songs during the course of their friendship and partnership,” said Brenton Horner, a lawyer for Miles.
As an unknown in 1965, Hendrix signed a one-page contract to create an album for Ed Chalpin, a principal in independent label PPX. Hendrix, Miles and bassist Billy Cox formed the Band of Gypsys, one of the first all-black rock bands, to make an album to fulfill Hendrix’s obligation to PPX, according to the suit.
Horner said there was a “verbal understanding” between Miles and Hendrix that they would share proceeds of the songs, but their professional relationship got sidetracked. Horner said Miles left the band after Hendrix’s manager sabotaged a performance in Madison Square Garden on Jan. 28, 1970, by slipping Hendrix LSD backstage prior to the show, rendering him unable to perform. Hendrix died in September 1970.
The suit names Experience Hendrix LLC, Authentic Hendrix LLC, Dagger Records, Vivendi Universal’s MCA Records and Universal Music and Video Distribution, EMI Group Plc’s Capitol Records and EMI Records, and Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Bros Records, as defendants.
Hendrix’ stepsister, Janie Hendrix, who has the rights to his music and likeness and who runs Experience Hendrix, declined comment. Universal, Warner and EMI also declined comment.
Horner, said Miles only recently resolved litigation with his prior management “who he believes kept him largely in the dark. Since then we’ve been trying to recreate and reconstruct Buddy’s business affairs over the past 30 years.”