Red hair flying, eyes glazed over, skin pulled tight over bulging bones, hands flying at the speed of light, and a perfect beat flowing out of drumsticks. This is Ginger Baker. You want to meet a badass rock star? He is your man.
Yesterday I finally got around to watching the documentary Beware of Mr.Baker, and it was worth the wait. Talk about an all-star cast. The film features interviews with Carlos Santana, Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, Neal Pert, Johnny Rotten, and the man himself, Ginger Baker.
If you’re not a follower of jazz (because Baker is at the end of the day a jazz drummer) or ’60s & ’70s rock-n-roll, you may be unfamilar with Ginger, but I suggest you get familiar! Give him a listen. My personal favorite is his drum solo in “Toad.”
This man is a raving lunatic, an asshole, and a drum genius. In my personal opinion he is one of the most talented drummers around, and Eric Clapton agrees with me. I can put a record on and listen to him play the drums for hours, but after watching this film I can’t decide if I would love meeting him or feel compelled to punch him the face. I wonder who would come out on top, Myron or Ginger? He is over 70 years old, and age has not mellowed him one bit! He broke the director’s nose on the last day of filming, with his cane! This man played with some of the best musicians of all time, and I mean the best! He has been married 5 times, lived in at least 5 countries, been in countless fights, was a relentless chain smoker and major junky, and is somehow still alive.
This film’s name says all you really need to know: Beware of Mr.Baker! But no matter how much you may want to hate him, you’ve got to respect him.
Just to give you all a taste, here are some of my favorite quotes from the film: “He looks like the devil.” “Ginger Baker is a motherfucker.” “He, personally, is what drums are all about!”