Farewell Ginger Baker

October 6, 2019

George Stroud/Express/Getty Images


We lost legendary drummer Ginger Baker over the weekend. He'd been in ill health for a while.

His playing was beyond outstanding, which you probably will read everywhere, but the importance of he and the earth moving band Cream cannot be overstated.

The music was changing and Cream was leading the pack.

Three piece with three geniuses that weren’t afraid to see how far they take the jamming and improvisational aspect. This was really against the grain in 1966, but it really gave the whole hippie music thing a whole new meaning dimension.

Jimi Hendrix jammed with Cream early on thanks to manager Chas Chandler of the Animals knowing a ton of the right people.

The thing really took off in the USA with the advent of these weird radio stations popping up on the FM side of the dial. You had to listen your parents Magnavox Hi-Fi to hear that FM world which was usually a wasteland of symphony and other stuff a teenaged me was not interested in.

Here is Detroit of course it was WABX, WKNR-Fm, WXYZ-Fm etc. They could play these long jams from bands like Cream, Iron Butterfly, Chambers Brothers, Vanilla Fudge etc.  Heavy music man...Then when Cream released the “Wheels of Fire” album with one LIVE disk it was mega.

Now, add to that Ginger Baker going off like madman on TOAD and the trail had been blazed. That drum solo took us to Mars and back and set off a ton of musical echoes.

I interviewed Ginger and Jack around 1990 when they played the Ritz. I don’t have a tape, but I remember Jack did most of the talking.  

Although I had been on Detroit radio for a long time by then, I remember still being in awe. Awe-some describes the whole ride we took thanks to Ginger Baker and the others of that heyday.

He’ll be missed.