Interview: Ginger Baker (Cream, Blind Faith, Ginger Baker’s Air Force, Graham Bond Organisation)

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HIT CHANNEL EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: May 2012.We had the tremendous honour to talk to Ginger Baker, the greatest living drummer. He spoke to us about his new band, Jazz Confusion, his legendary tenure with Cream and Blind Faith and many other subjects. Read below the very interesting things he told us:


First of all, how is your health this period?

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My health? Not good.


Was it difficult to choose the other members of Jazz Confusion {Alec Dankworth (bass), Pee Wee Ellis (sax) and Abass Dodoo (percussion)}?



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Are you preparing any studio work with Jazz Confusion?

No. It depends on what we will do. If we will have a record company. We don’t have a record company yet.


Were you anxious before the Jazz Confusion shows (April 27 and 28) at Ronnie Scott’s?

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The shows went very well. We did it.


Do you think your tour last year with Jonas Hellborg (bassist, John McLaughlin) was a catalyst for your decision to do more gigs?

Yeah. You’re right.


Do you like the final result of the documentary “Beware of Mr Baker”?

I haven’t seen this.


Was it flattering that all these great musicians contributed in this documentary and talked about you (Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Stewart Copeland, Bill Laswell, Nick Mason, Carlos Santana, Bill Ward, Mickey Hart and many more)?

Yeah, but I haven’t seen it. It’s great that, yeah.


How painful was the writing process of your autobiography (“Hellraiser”)?

Oh, sure it was! Sure!


Cream is the first heavy band in music history. Had you realised then how much revolutionary was your music or you treated it as something normal?

What do you mean heavy? I’m not sure if I understand what you’re saying. We were just original.


The members of Cream — from left, Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce — photographed in 1968.

Would you like to play one more concert with Cream?

No, that won’t happen.


Why Blind Faith lasted for such a short period?

Oh, there were multiple reasons. I don’t know. I think no one from the band was happy with the songs.


Last year, you old collaborator Gary Moore died. Some months before his death you called him “the Pampered Pompadour of pop”.

(Laughs) Yeah! That was my personal opinion.


Do you regret for that comment?



You did one album with Public Image Limited (“Album”- 1986). How was working with a person like Johnny Rotten?

He wasn’t really around when we did it. We just did some tracks.


Did you enjoy the period you played with Hawkwind?

(Laughs) No.


Do you have happy memories from the recordings of Paul McCartney & Wings’ “Band on The Run”?

No, I don’t. No.


How was Paul McCartney as a person?

We didn’t record it a lot at EMI studios. His EMI clan didn’t let him to come to my studio in Nigeria (ed: ARC studios in Ikeja) because it was then a hostile territory, and I didn’t want to go to other studios.


You are the first drummer who was interested in world music and especially in African music. What attracted you the most in this kind of music?

I ‘m interested in African music since the very early ‘60s. I wasn’t the first person. Phil Seamen (ed: English jazz drummer) is the guy was made me interested in African music.


Who rock star deserves a punch in the face?

I don’t think anyone really deserves a punch in the face.


You influenced countless drummers (John Bonham, Bill Bruford, Simon Kirke, Nick Mason, Bill Ward, Neil Peart). Who among your “pupils” is the best one?

I don’t know. Sorry, I don’t know.


You were with Jimi Hendrix during his last night. Do you believe the official story about his death (accidental sleeping pills overdose)?

Oh no, I don’t.


Do you think that some kind of foul play happened?

We did some damage and drunk and he might be sick. He vomited.  He could stay there, in that disgusting home (ed: where the party took place),instead of moving. I didn’t know that we would be dead after a couple of hours.


Do you believe that story?

I know it could be true.


Are you satisfied with the performance of Arsenal during this season?

No, it’s a poor choosing.


How possible is to come soon to Greece for a gig?

I don’t know if it will happen.


Have you ever been here to Greece?

I might have been (laughs). I don’t remember.


A huge “THANK YOU” to Mr Ginger Baker for his time and to Leda Baker for her valuable help.

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