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  #1  
Old 07-02-2013, 08:49 PM
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Default Ginger Baker “Hellraiser”

I read many autobio’s of musicians, especially drummers. I picked this up last week, and finished.

This book proceeds along many themes – early wartime childhood, cycling, drums, heroin, drums, heroin, getting a fix, Graham Bond Organization, Jack Bruce'e ego, Cream, unfair writing credits in Cream, Jack Bruce'e ego, end of Cream, heroin, Blind Faith, heroin, mishaps in 70’s in Africa, cocaine, polo, 80's mishaps in USA, polo, Cream reunion, polo, Jack Bruce's ego.......

A great drummer, I love his work, but the book is basically a ramble of Ginger Baker bizarre, mishap stories, and addiction. He’s had an interesting series of ups and downs, and many many downs. But if you’re looking for commentary on music or drumming, I could not find much here.

Some notable quotes:

Ginger Baker was one of the few ‘young, new’ drummers who Buddy Rich ever praised, but Ginger soon after said of Buddy “a really good drummer, but he’s got no left foot” He thus fell out with Buddy Rich.

Imitating Duke Ellingtons’ drummers, Ginger and Keith Moon talking together once, simultaneously went for double bass rigs in 1965. Ginger ordered from Ludwig, so it took some time, but Moon got his from Premier down the road right away.

Aside from Blind Faith, he views his best work on record is in various jazz ensembles from the early 70’s. Probably obscure material to get hold of but I’d love to hear it.

This guy is a brilliant drummer but pretty bizarre. Anybody else read it or some to add?
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Old 07-02-2013, 09:59 PM
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Default Re: Ginger Baker “Hellraiser”

The thing about Ginger Baker was he was a jazz drummer first and then took it another direction. There is a video of his time in N Africa if interested.
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Old 07-02-2013, 10:04 PM
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Default Re: Ginger Baker “Hellraiser”

I just ordered the book from Amazon.I hope it sells well for Ginger since he's already broke having spent all the Cream reunion money.

I too was influenced by Bakers drumming.The stuff he was doing was just different and new to my ears at the time.

I was fortuneate enough to see Cream twice at the Fillmore East and Blind Faith at the Garden.

Steve B
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Old 07-02-2013, 11:26 PM
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Default Re: Ginger Baker “Hellraiser”

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Originally Posted by opentune View Post
This book proceeds along many themes – early wartime childhood, cycling, drums, heroin, drums, heroin, getting a fix, Graham Bond Organization, Jack Bruce's ego, Cream, unfair writing credits in Cream, Jack Bruce's ego, end of Cream, heroin, Blind Faith, heroin, mishaps in 70’s in Africa, cocaine, polo, 80's mishaps in USA, polo, Cream reunion, polo, Jack Bruce's ego.......
Brilliant synopsis, OT. No need to read the book now. I never knew he was into polo.

You'd have to be barking mad to trash talk Buddy's left foot, wouldn't you?
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Old 07-03-2013, 01:38 AM
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Default Re: Ginger Baker “Hellraiser”

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I just ordered the book from Amazon.I hope it sells well for Ginger since he's already broke having spent all the Cream reunion money.

I too was influenced by Bakers drumming.The stuff he was doing was just different and new to my ears at the time.

I was fortuneate enough to see Cream twice at the Fillmore East and Blind Faith at the Garden.

Steve B
Wow, you've seen some great shows living near NYC.
The book is entertaining for its stories, just not drummign or music, aside from the odd diss of different musicians. His take on Gary Moore or Jack Bruce is hilarious. he indeed has bad luck (or choices) with money.
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Old 07-03-2013, 01:41 AM
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Default Re: Ginger Baker “Hellraiser”

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Brilliant synopsis, OT. No need to read the book now. I never knew he was into polo.

You'd have to be barking mad to trash talk Buddy's left foot, wouldn't you?
Well after reading that I had to say that maybe he knew what he was talking about? One just doesn't dream those words up. So when I get tiem will have to watch some Buddy solos on u tube to see what he maybe meant.

I do appreciate Ginger has a superb left foot. Keeping that thing going through all of Toad is some kinda stamina too.

he is indeed mad about polo. Has set up a polo club wherever he moves, and one reason he may be broke is he moves all his horses stables wherever he changes countries.
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Old 07-03-2013, 05:14 AM
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  #7  
Old 07-03-2013, 06:32 PM
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Default Re: Ginger Baker “Hellraiser”

Ginger actually considers himself and Cream to be more of a Jazz band because of all the jamming and improv they did.and has said so on many occasions and really dosen't like being called a metal or rock drummer.

He had to know all the rudaments to get his union card or so he says.

He was influenced more so by Louis Bellson,Baby Dodds,Alton Red,Max Roach and his drum god was Phil Seaman.

Listen to Max Roaches solos and you can hear how he influenced Baker.

Many like Lenny White and Billy Cobham also credit Ginger with being the first fusion drummer.

Steve B
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Old 07-03-2013, 06:43 PM
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Default Re: Ginger Baker “Hellraiser”

I don't think it really matters what Ginger 'thought' he played, it is what it is. And it's not jazz...
I'd always just kind of put it in the hippy/rock slightly proggy stuff.

He may have a point about Buddy's left foot but, you could say that about nearly any non-double pedal player. Don't really know why he'd say that publicly when there are so many positive things to say about Buddy. Seems a bit arrogant, but so did some of his interviews to be fair.

I don't particularly rate Gingers left foot either. I'm sure it was great for the time, though.

He's one of those drummers I don't really know what to make of. You hear people praise him so much yet I've never heard anything by him that's made me sit up and take notice.
It may be a taste thing, it may be a time/period thing, maybe I just don't get it.

Buddy Rich is the last person any sane man or woman would want to criticize publicly though. I'm sure he made better choices than that usually...
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Old 07-03-2013, 07:01 PM
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Default Re: Ginger Baker “Hellraiser”

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Buddy Rich is the last person any sane man or woman would want to criticize publicly though. I'm sure he made better choices than that usually...
Well evidently not, given the amount of 'hellraising' in this book.
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Old 07-03-2013, 08:33 PM
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Default Re: Ginger Baker “Hellraiser”

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Well evidently not, given the amount of 'hellraising' in this book.
True, true... Sounds like he had a real nasty drug habbit.
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Old 07-04-2013, 12:18 AM
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Default Re: Ginger Baker “Hellraiser”

[quote=Chunky;1157549]I don't think it really matters what Ginger 'thought' he played, it is what it is. And it's not jazz...


I beg to differ. Ginger was first a jazz drummer in the 1950's and it most certainly was jazz that he then played. I have seen live footage of some of those earlier jazz groups.
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Old 07-04-2013, 12:39 AM
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Default Re: Ginger Baker “Hellraiser”

How is Ginger Baker and black coffee alike...













They both suck without Cream! ;)

Seriously... no left foot, huh? Personally I don't know what Buddy saw in the guy, to praise him in the first place. I think he was perfect with Cream and let's face it, "rock" drumming was in its infancy so folks like my father-in-law who thinks music died in 1970, still think Ging is the bees knees and I admit, he did finally learn how to tune drums (sort of) and manage to play fairly crisply later on, he just never impressed me that much.
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Old 07-04-2013, 12:58 AM
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Default Re: Ginger Baker “Hellraiser”

Wow Ian B, no love there for Ginge! lol

I'm guessing Buddy saw something. Clapton too. I mean Ginger was a big jazz guy with lots of chops not needed for rock, odd time sigs, and not many realize he was behind many of the song arrangements in Cream (example: the famous opening 5/4 bolero' in Cream's White Room was all his idea, and it kinda makes the tune)

I'd like to hear more of his jazz stuff if I could find it.

I would agree with you the drums in many early Cream tracks are not recorded well (but not that he cannot tune 'em). Not hisfault.
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Old 07-04-2013, 03:26 AM
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Default Re: Ginger Baker “Hellraiser”

[quote=groove1;1157644]
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I don't think it really matters what Ginger 'thought' he played, it is what it is. And it's not jazz...


I beg to differ. Ginger was first a jazz drummer in the 1950's and it most certainly was jazz that he then played. I have seen live footage of some of those earlier jazz groups.
Sorry, I didn't make myself very clear before, when I said he was not playing jazz I was referring to his time in Cream. I should have stated that.
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Old 07-04-2013, 04:48 AM
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Default Re: Ginger Baker “Hellraiser”

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Wow Ian B, no love there for Ginge! lol

I'm guessing Buddy saw something. Clapton too. I mean Ginger was a big jazz guy with lots of chops not needed for rock, odd time sigs, and not many realize he was behind many of the song arrangements in Cream (example: the famous opening 5/4 bolero' in Cream's White Room was all his idea, and it kinda makes the tune)

I'd like to hear more of his jazz stuff if I could find it.

I would agree with you the drums in many early Cream tracks are not recorded well (but not that he cannot tune 'em). Not hisfault.
He admitted on his instructional video that his ability to tune drums improved greatly since the Cream days and I don't care how the recording process went, I can hear badly-tuned drums. Don't get me wrong, there's things he did and still does that's great and there are moments when he's brilliant. I just don't see the big deal considering we all know what the REAL jazz drummers were doing long before he was around. The guy actually had the gall to compare himself to Tony Williams as an equal. Baker couldn't hold Tony's jock strap, in my humble opinion. As far as the Cream stuff goes, there is a video of them playing "Tales of Brave Ulysses" that KICKS ASS! He really pulled out all the stops here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BGlFsf9DM8 I just think the guy lacks the consistency to be considered up there with Bonham and Tony Williams type cats.

A lot of it is just that he's a sociopathic jerk and "Beware of Mr. Baker" proves it.
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Old 07-04-2013, 04:04 PM
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Default Re: Ginger Baker “Hellraiser”

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He admitted on his instructional video that his ability to tune drums improved greatly since the Cream days and I don't care how the recording process went, I can hear badly-tuned drums. Don't get me wrong, there's things he did and still does that's great and there are moments when he's brilliant. I just don't see the big deal considering we all know what the REAL jazz drummers were doing long before he was around. The guy actually had the gall to compare himself to Tony Williams as an equal. Baker couldn't hold Tony's jock strap, in my humble opinion. As far as the Cream stuff goes, there is a video of them playing "Tales of Brave Ulysses" that KICKS ASS! He really pulled out all the stops here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BGlFsf9DM8 I just think the guy lacks the consistency to be considered up there with Bonham and Tony Williams type cats.

A lot of it is just that he's a sociopathic jerk and "Beware of Mr. Baker" proves it.
You're definitely not loving Ginger are you? lol. You make a good point though.
I listened to that link and didn't really think much of. Terrible clichéd 70's drum fills. Can't really put him down for that though seens as that was the thing at the time I suppose.

The singing though... Good God!
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Old 07-04-2013, 06:25 PM
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Default Re: Ginger Baker “Hellraiser”

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You're definitely not loving Ginger are you? lol. You make a good point though.
I listened to that link and didn't really think much of. Terrible clichéd 70's drum fills. Can't really put him down for that though seens as that was the thing at the time I suppose.

The singing though... Good God!
Cliched fills though they might be...he invented them,and they were copied by many drummers like Ian Paice,John Bonham and Alex Van Halen whos drum guru was Baker.

Steve B
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Old 07-04-2013, 06:40 PM
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Default Re: Ginger Baker “Hellraiser”

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He admitted on his instructional video that his ability to tune drums improved greatly since the Cream days and I don't care how the recording process went, I can hear badly-tuned drums. Don't get me wrong, there's things he did and still does that's great and there are moments when he's brilliant. I just don't see the big deal considering we all know what the REAL jazz drummers were doing long before he was around. The guy actually had the gall to compare himself to Tony Williams as an equal. Baker couldn't hold Tony's jock strap, in my humble opinion. As far as the Cream stuff goes, there is a video of them playing "Tales of Brave Ulysses" that KICKS ASS! He really pulled out all the stops here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BGlFsf9DM8 I just think the guy lacks the consistency to be considered up there with Bonham and Tony Williams type cats.

A lot of it is just that he's a sociopathic jerk and "Beware of Mr. Baker" proves it.
And yet,both Bonzo and Tony considered him a brilliant and innovative drummer.

I've seen Zep live around half a dozen times,and I can tell you for sure,Bonham had a couple of bad nights like all pros do.So you could also say he lacked consistency.His time keeping was not the greatest either,but that dosen't deminish his body of work.

As far as personality disorders and drug abuse goes,Bonzo is WAY up there and surpassed Bakers.Bonzos was so bad it killed him.

So while Bakes won't be nominated for father of the year,and I won't be inviting him to my annual 4th of July BBQ,I refuse to judge his accomplishments based on his personality disorder,sunstance abuse and general lack of good judgement.

More than one druming icon has also praised his skills and ability to innovate,not to mention his incorporation of African rhythms into rudamental drumming.

Steve B
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Old 07-04-2013, 08:51 PM
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Default Re: Ginger Baker “Hellraiser”

Everyone's making valid points. Got to respect the pioneers, though.

I love Ginger playing Well All Right and Sea of Joy live at Hyde Park (but not Steve Winwood's vocals) - jazzy drumming, hey! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iV48XlxXGZw
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Old 07-04-2013, 09:15 PM
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Default Re: Ginger Baker “Hellraiser”

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Awesome.
He and Moonie had their toms flat, so popular with younger drummer setups today.

..... are those 20 inch bass drums?
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Old 07-04-2013, 11:04 PM
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Default Re: Ginger Baker “Hellraiser”

A important difference is that Baker had the opportunity to play exceptional compositions and arrangements - a far cry from the crap that passes today.
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Old 07-05-2013, 12:29 AM
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Default Re: Ginger Baker “Hellraiser”

He probably WAS original back then and probably has been copied by many but, I still don't really like what he does, nor am I really overly impressed with it. Probably a case of hearing so much hype about someone for years then when I finally saw video clips of him I was left scratching my head.
That can happen to anybody really.
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Old 07-05-2013, 02:44 AM
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Default Re: Ginger Baker “Hellraiser”

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He probably WAS original back then and probably has been copied by many but, I still don't really like what he does, nor am I really overly impressed with it. Probably a case of hearing so much hype about someone for years then when I finally saw video clips of him I was left scratching my head.
That can happen to anybody really.
I can understand, Chunks. I'm not sure there was a drummer alive with your double bass chops back when Cream and Blind Faith were playing so he's hardly going to wow you. A lot of it is about taste - if you liked his style you wouldn't care that his chops aren't up to that of the chopmeisters today.
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Old 07-05-2013, 01:39 PM
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Default Re: Ginger Baker “Hellraiser”

Im going to echo what chunky says here, his drumming never really did anything for me. It wasnt until I joined this forum that I even knew who Ginger Baker was. It never occured to me to seek him out as somebody to listen to.

I grew up listening to Cream, and nothing I ever heard from them made we want to play the drums. It was the Zeppelin and Who albums that really got my blood pumping as far as the drumming goes. Cream albums make me want to play the guitar.
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Old 07-05-2013, 08:33 PM
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Default Re: Ginger Baker “Hellraiser”

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Everyone's making valid points. Got to respect the pioneers, though.

I love Ginger playing Well All Right and Sea of Joy live at Hyde Park (but not Steve Winwood's vocals) - jazzy drumming, hey! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iV48XlxXGZw
I have that concert on DVD Grea and it wasn't Winwoods nor any of his Blind Faith bandmates best performances.Clapton has admitted it wasn't something he was very proud of,and they need more rehersal before playing in public.

All of them ,Ginger more so than the others ,were pretty stoned.There are a few scenes where he's playing while smoking something other than Shermans.

I was able to Blind Faith at the Garden in 69 and they were a bit better.Free opened for them and they kind of stole the show.

Steve B
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Old 07-05-2013, 08:38 PM
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Default Re: Ginger Baker “Hellraiser”

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Awesome.
He and Moonie had their toms flat, so popular with younger drummer setups today.

..... are those 20 inch bass drums?
His usual set up was 20/22/12/13/14/16 and a Leedy 6.5x14 Broadwy maple or a Supra or supersensitive 5x14.He ceven had his first Ludwig kit bass drums cut down to 11" deep.

He still used two different size bass drums with his current DW kit.

Steve B
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Old 07-05-2013, 11:08 PM
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Default Re: Ginger Baker “Hellraiser”

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I can understand, Chunks. I'm not sure there was a drummer alive with your double bass chops back when Cream and Blind Faith were playing so he's hardly going to wow you. A lot of it is about taste - if you liked his style you wouldn't care that his chops aren't up to that of the chopmeisters today.
Thanks Polly (hope you weren't being sarcastic!). You're right htough, it IS about taste and I'm just not THAT into Cream.
I can admire far simpler drummers than him but, I usually like the music. So I'm a bit biased at times.
Also a bit scarred from when I had to lay down the drums for a cover of The White Room for somebody and it was just a one of those days, ate a Chinese the night before, was a bit ill etc...
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Old 07-05-2013, 11:47 PM
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... it wasn't Winwoods nor any of his Blind Faith bandmates best performances.Clapton has admitted it wasn't something he was very proud of,and they need more rehearsal before playing in public.

All of them ,Ginger more so than the others ,were pretty stoned.There are a few scenes where he's playing while smoking something other than Shermans.

I was able to Blind Faith at the Garden in 69 and they were a bit better. Free opened for them and they kind of stole the show.
I liked Ginger's playing in that clip. So much for my taste :)

I can imagine Paul Rogers and Koss being a hard act to follow in their prime.


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I can admire far simpler drummers than him but, I usually like the music. So I'm a bit biased at times.
Also a bit scarred from when I had to lay down the drums for a cover of The White Room for somebody and it was just a one of those days, ate a Chinese the night before, was a bit ill etc...
Yep, so much is about taste. You see that every time there's a thread about Meg. Not everyone who's turned off by the White Stripes's music will dis Meg, but everyone who disses her drumming doesn't care for the band's music.

So what happened with White Room? My band is playing that tune now. Great direction the band has these days - lounge music plus two loud Cream songs lol
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Old 07-06-2013, 12:59 AM
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I liked Ginger's playing in that clip. So much for my taste :)

I can imagine Paul Rogers and Koss being a hard act to follow in their prime.




Yep, so much is about taste. You see that every time there's a thread about Meg. Not everyone who's turned off by the White Stripes's music will dis Meg, but everyone who disses her drumming doesn't care for the band's music.

So what happened with White Room? My band is playing that tune now. Great direction the band has these days - lounge music plus two loud Cream songs lol
I was just extremely ill when recording the song so now whenever I hear it I almost feel sick again! I was running to the toilet constantly and it wasn't a very pleasant day. Just one of those strange things that happens in your brain I guess.
When I used to drink the same thing would happen, I'd get ill drinking something then the net day when I was eating cereal I could taste alcohol in the milk...

Parts of my brain must share information due to lack of space...

EDIT: Not that I'm incinuating that it's because my brain is full of knowledge but, more likely because I have an 8mb storage capacity...
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Old 07-06-2013, 01:02 AM
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Default Re: Ginger Baker “Hellraiser”

[quote=Chunky;1157689]
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Sorry, I didn't make myself very clear before, when I said he was not playing jazz I was referring to his time in Cream. I should have stated that.
Got it! I never felt like Cream was anything jazz either....more like jam band.
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Old 07-06-2013, 09:58 AM
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I was just extremely ill when recording the song so now whenever I hear it I almost feel sick again! I was running to the toilet constantly and it wasn't a very pleasant day. Just one of those strange things that happens in your brain I guess.
Weird. A Clockwork Orange style memory association. So you associate the band Cream with going to the toilet. Does the association stretch to actual cream as well? :)
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Old 07-06-2013, 12:34 PM
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Weird. A Clockwork Orange style memory association. So you associate the band Cream with going to the toilet. Does the association stretch to actual cream as well? :)
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! Don't spoil that for me aswell!!!
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