Best known as the drummer in Jimi Hendrix's Band of Gypsys, Buddy Miles also had a lengthy solo career that drew from rock, blues, soul, and funk in varying combinations. Born George Miles in Omaha, NE, on September 5, 1947, he started playing the drums at age nine, and joined his father's jazz band the Bebops as a mere 12 year old. As a teenager, he went on to play with several jazz and R&B outfits, most prominently backing vocal groups like Ruby & the Romantics, the Ink Spots, and the Delfonics.
In 1966, he joined Wilson Pickett's touring revue, where he was spotted by blues-rock guitarist Mike Bloomfield. Bloomfield had left the Paul Butterfield Blues Band earlier in 1967 and was putting together a new group, the Electric Flag, which was slated to be an ambitious fusion of rock, soul, blues, psychedelia, and jazz. Bloomfield invited Miles to join up, and the band made its debut at the Monterey Pop Festival; unfortunately, the original lineup splintered in 1968. With founder Bloomfield gone, Miles briefly took over leadership of the band on its second studio album, which failed to reignite the public's interest.
With the Electric Flag's horn section in tow, Miles split to form his own group, the similarly eclectic Buddy Miles Express. Signed to Mercury, the group issued its debut album, Expressway to Your Skull, in 1968, with Miles' fellow Monterey Pop alum Jimi Hendrix in the producer's chair. In turn, Miles played on Hendrix's Electric Ladyland album, and later took part in an all-star jam session that resulted in Muddy Waters' Fathers and Sons album.