Ginger Baker 1939 – 2019

Last week the drumming world took another blow as legendary drummer Ginger Baker died at the age of 80.

Orange Is The New Black.

In the time where the electric guitar really started to make some noise far beyond its amp, fresh faced hungry teens started to really push the boundaries of what could be achieved with music; Led of course by The Beatles. In their wake bands such as Led Zeppelin,The Who and Deep Purple carved their way into history.

For me, my attention turned towards Ginger Baker and Mitch Mitchell aka the unsung heroes. Cream’s ‘White Room’ remains a firm favourite of mine. Although I only discovered Ginger in 2005, not my fault I was born in the wrong era, I instantly fell In love with his grooves, kit and outrageous presence! 

Ginger’s playing brought drums more to the forefront of the music, a style Neil Peart called ‘lead drums’. It’s impossible to disagree with Neil as Ginger’s playing was far more than just ‘providing the groove and keeping time’. Keith Moon often gets the respect for his outrageous playing however Ginger blew that door off its hinges for the likes of Moon to pass through. 

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No! It’s a Supergroup!

A formidable character, Ginger was notorious for being a wild card coming to blows with Jack Bruce on a number of occasions! Despite his personality, Ginger founded Cream in 1966 with Mr Eric Clapton. Cream’s tenure was short lived, lasting only 2 years, but their music and legacy has lived on for over 50 decades since! With Cream, Ginger took drumming to a new level bringing drums to the forefront of the music. His over the top personality travelled down his arms, through his sticks and exploded all over his drum kit!

After Cream disbanded Ginger spearheaded yet another first in the world of music; The Supergroup. In 1969 Ginger started jamming with Clapton and Steve Winwood (ex Traffic) everything came together quickly and after Ric Grech joined the fold on bass; Blind Faith was born. Again the band was short lived but left vibrations in their wake that are still felt today. Every supergroup that forms owes itself to Ginger and Blind Faith. Sure someone would have eventually came up with it but the fact remains the same; Ginger did it first!

Beware the Hellraiser…

His autobiography, Hellraiser, is a phenomenal read and the Jay Bulger documentary film ‘Beware of Mr Baker’ is a must watch for any drummer! Mr Baker, Sir, Your legacy to drumming and music will be present for many more years to come and your loss will be felt around the world.

May you now Rest In Peace Mr Baker and make heaven a noisier place to be!