By Jimmi Mayes
For greater than fifty years, Chicago drummer Jimmi Mayes served as a sideman in the back of a number of the maximum musicians and musical teams in heritage. He all started his occupation taking part in the blues within the juke joints of Mississippi, sharpened his exchange lower than the mentorship of drum legends Sam Lay and Fred under within the steamy nightclubs of south Chicago, and hit it monstrous in ny urban at the back of such tune legends as Tommy Hunt from the Flamingos, Marvin Gaye, and James Brown.
Mayes performed his drums at the back of blues giants Little Walter Jacobs, Jimmy Reed, Robert Junior Lockwood, Earl Hooker, Junior Wells, Pinetop Perkins, and Willie “Big Eyes” Smith. He lived for your time with Motown sensation Martha Reeves and her relations and traveled with the Shirelles and the Motown assessment. Jimi Hendrix used to be one in every of Mayes’s top buddies, and so they traveled including Joey Dee and the Starliters within the mid-1960s.
Mayes lived via racial segregation, the civil rights circulate of the Sixties, the combination of rock bands, and the emergence of Motown. He individually skilled the sexual and ethical revolutions of the sixties, used to be robbed of his musical royalties, and survived a musical drought. He’s been a pimp and a drug pusher―and lived to inform the story while such a lot of musicians haven't. This sideman to the celebs witnessed tune background from the simplest seat within the house―behind the drum set.
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Additional resources for The Amazing Jimmi Mayes: Sideman to the Stars
That’s the kind of entertainment they used to have in Chicago. I played on 63rd Street for about five months. Club Arden was a small place, but it stayed tight every night. Five times a night, five nights a week, we played blues and whatever kind of music was popular on the radio. We had different lead singers. At one time, we had McKinley Mitchell, who later became one of the biggest singers and entertainers in Chicago, other than Muddy Waters. Blues great Billy Boy Arnold used to come to sit in on the harmonica.
Walter was a beautiful cat, but we couldn’t go out of town without his reefer. He had a place he would go before we left town to make sure he had it. ” I would take a hit with him, and we would smoke a little reefer together. It wasn’t very often, because I tried to stay focused on what I was doing. If you were a star, you could get as stoned as you wanted because the band had to follow you. But, you couldn’t get stoned if you were in the band, because you had to follow the leader. As far as I know, reefer is all Walter ever used.
I stopped working as a bus boy about that time, too. The doctor told my parents, “Look, he can’t keep burning the candle at both ends. Either he is going to work at Donnelly or you’re gonna have to let him play music. ” I didn’t want to work at Donnelly, anyway. I wanted to play the drums. That’s when I started working at the clubs up on 63rd Street in Chicago. I was living in New York City when Little Walter died in 1968. He was in a fight outside a club on the south side of Chicago. He wasn’t hurt very bad, but his injuries aggravated some damage he had suffered in previous fights.
The Amazing Jimmi Mayes: Sideman to the Stars by Jimmi Mayes