Ginger Baker

A pivotal member of Cream and Blind Faith and leader of several of his own bands, the notoriously cantankerous Ginger Baker is widely regarded as one of the most influential rock drummers of all time. Born Peter Edward ... Read more »
Born: 08/19/1939 in Lewisham, South London, England, GB

Filmography

Actor (1)

Beware of Mr. Baker 2012 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Biography

A pivotal member of Cream and Blind Faith and leader of several of his own bands, the notoriously cantankerous Ginger Baker is widely regarded as one of the most influential rock drummers of all time. Born Peter Edward Baker in Lewisham, South London in 1939, the red-haired musician first took up his instrument of choice aged 15 and later studied under legendary British jazz drummer Phil Seamen before further honing his craft in several trad jazz bands in the late '50s and early '60s. After replacing future Rolling Stone Charlie Watts in the legendary R&B outfit Blues Incorporated, Baker co-founded The Graham Bond Organisation, where he first showcased his signature drum solo, "Toad," and eventually, despite the group's name, became its de facto leader. Problems with substance abuse and Baker's volatile working relationship with the group's bassist Jack Bruce derailed their career and they split after just two albums in 1966. However, just months later, the two archenemies decided to put their differences aside and join ex-Yardbirds guitarist Eric Clapton to form Cream, the British blues-rock trio who virtually revolutionized the genre in the space of just three years. Renowned for performing with two bass drums, Baker's pulsing, jazz-inspired technique was integral to the band's pioneering sound, while co-credits on the likes of "Sweet Wine," "Blue Condition" and "Passing The Time" proved he was just as a talented a songwriter. As with Baker's previous outfit, tensions between him and Bruce led to Cream's demise and after one final run of shows, the group called it a day in late 1968. Just eight weeks later, Bruce reunited with Clapton, alongside The Spencer Davis Group's Steve Winwood and Family's Ric Grech, to found one of rock music's first ever supergroups, Blind Faith, who made their US live debut in front of 20,000 fans at Madison Square Garden and scored a UK chart-topper with their self-titled one and only LP before splitting in 1970. All of the members, bar Clapton, then joined Baker in his eponymous fusion rock group, Air Force, for two studio efforts before Baker moved to Nigeria for six years where he worked with Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti on various records including 1972 solo debut, <i>Stratavarious</i>. In 1974, Baker teamed up with brothers Adrian and Paul Gurvitz for three albums under the guise of Baker Gurvitz Army, while the '80s saw him add Hawkwind, Public Image Ltd. and Bill Laswell to his extensive list of collaborators. Following a brief stint with Masters of Reality, Baker formed another eponymous trio with jazz bassist Charlie Haden and guitarist Bill Frisell, and hooked up with Gary Moore and former bandmate Bruce in short-lived power trio BBM. After a run of Cream reunion shows in 2005, Baker took center stage in "Beware of Mr. Baker" (2012), a compelling and critically-acclaimed documentary which detailed his financial difficulties, battles with drugs and famously short temper. The quartet Ginger Baker Jazz Confusion then formed a year later before Baker released his first solo record in 14 years with 2014's <i>Why?</i>

Milestones

2012

Is subject of documentary, "Beware of Mr. Baker"

1969

Forms first eponymous band, Ginger Baker's Air Force

1966

Joins Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce in Cream

Bonus Trivia

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Baker published his autobiography, Hellraiser, in 2009, in which he announced he had a degenerative spine condition and emphysema.

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Baker has played on Paul McCartney and Wings' Band on the Run, Jens Johansson and Jonas Hellborg's Unseen Rain, Jack Bruce's Cities of the Heart and Andy Summers' Synaesthesia.

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