October 6, 2019

RIP: Ginger Baker, Cream’s volatile drummer, dead at 80. “While Rolling Stone magazine once ranked him the third-greatest rock drummer of all time, behind Moon and Bonham, Baker had contempt for Moon and others he dismissed as ‘bashers’ without style or background…With blazing eyes, orange-red hair and a temperament to match, the London native ranked with The Who’s Keith Moon and Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham as the embodiment of musical and personal fury. Using twin bass drums, Baker fashioned a pounding, poly-rhythmic style uncommonly swift and heavy that inspired and intimidated countless musicians. But every beat seemed to mirror an offstage eruption — whether his violent dislike of Cream bandmate Jack Bruce or his on-camera assault of a documentary maker, Jay Bulger, whom he smashed in the nose with his walking stick. “‘John Bonham once made a statement that there were only two drummers in British rock ‘n’ roll; himself and Ginger Baker,’ Baker wrote in his book. ‘My reaction to this was, ‘You cheeky little bastard!’”

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