Slugger O'Toole

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Beware of Mr Baker…

Mon 7 January 2013, 4:45pm

That’s Pete ‘Ginger’ Baker, by the way.  No relation…  [Are you sure?! - Ed]  In the Guardian Edward Helmore talks to the former Cream drummer as a taster for the forthcoming documentary “Beware of Mr Baker” – the “second-best rock documentary of the year”, according to Rolling Stone.  There’s also a Guardian gallery, Ginger Baker’s career – in pictures.

From the Guardian interview

Old bandmates, such as Jack Bruce – whom Baker physically attacked, precipitating the breakup of Cream – and Clapton contribute to the documentary. Asked if contemporaries such as John Bonham or Keith Moon ever measured up to Baker, Clapton is emphatic: “No. No. No. Different league. Completely.”

Instead, Baker sought the recognition of heroes such as Elvin Jones, Max Roach, Phil Seamen and Art Blakey. Not Bonham or Moon? “Don’t make me laugh,” he says. “If it doesn’t swing, it doesn’t swing. There’s lots of drummers with lots of technique. It doesn’t matter how many beats you play, it’s where you play them, and a lot of it is what you don’t play.” So what would have happened if Cream had stayed together?

“Cream only lasted as long as it did because it was successful,” Baker says. “I was lucky to be part of a movement in which I was one of the major players.”

“If truth be known,” he continues, “I was the Stones’ first drummer. We used to do the interval for Alexis Korner with Mick Jagger, who was like Korner’s protege, and Brian Jones. I got on very well with Brian, so we formed a band. Then Charlie [Watts] left Alexis Korner so I could join, and I got Charlie into the Stones. But it was Brian who set the Stones on its path.”

Here’s the trailer for “Beware of Mr Baker”.

And there’s an uncomfortable, short, Q&A session with the director and documentary subject from the BFI festival screening.  You have been warned.

On a lighter note, try this 1992 incarnation of Ginger Baker on the Masters of Reality second album, Sunrise on the Sufferbus.  Enjoy!

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Comments (8)

  1. CW (profile) says:

    They were a great band, Cream. I even contemplated going to see them when they reforned for a one-off tour a few years ago. But at £50 a shot I thought better of it.

    Those were thedays…before Clapton went all racist on us.

    One of the great survivors of rock & roll. Gerry Rafferty even wrote a song about him.

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  2. I saw Cream at the Student’s Union on their farewell tour back in 1966 or 67. Cost was about 10 shillings. Only a few 100 of us there.

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  3. Pete Baker (profile) says:

    Joe

    It’s not about Cream, it’s about Ginger…

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  4. Sp12 (profile) says:

    Ahhh, MoR’s Sunrise, the heydays of desert rock.
    Smoke till your heart beats like a fat lazy clock, turn the bass way up and spend what seems like an eternity listening to the sounds, all without a care in the world other than being too wrecked to crawl to the record player to flip it over to side B.

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  5. Pete Baker (profile) says:

    Been there, Sp12. Got the t-shirt…

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  6. Sp12 (profile) says:

    With suspicious little burn holes all over it no doubt :)

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  7. Pete Baker (profile) says:

    No doubt, indeed.

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  8. BluesJazz (profile) black spot says:

    Saw him play the Ulster Hall circa 1981/2? with Hawkwind. The place was about 3/4 full. Obligitory drum solo was crap. A band he didn’t belong in.
    That said Clapton is crap now as well.

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