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Dave White

Ginger Baker: "I'm not a rock drummer. I never was a rock drummer."

By May 16, 2013

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In a business full of enigmas, Ginger Baker stands out, not because he's an enigma, but precisely because he isn't.

"There's no myth about Ginger. He is exactly what he is," says his former Cream and Blind Faith band mate Eric Clapton, one of the many people Baker has known, worked with, and influenced who populate the new (on DVD) release of the film, Beware of Mr. Baker.

I qualify the newness of the film, because it was screened at SXSW in 2012, and was shown in theaters later in the year. With Baker, as Clapton suggests, what you see is what you get. What you see in this film is a sometimes angry, even violent man (hence the film's title) with a past that includes drug and alcohol abuse, and almost as many failed marriages as car wrecks.

What you also see is a masterful musician, a prodigy according to the people who knew him as a teenager, when he got his first gig as a drummer without ever having played drums, and without being able to read music. As for his claim that he is not now and never has been a rock drummer? Sorry, you'll just have to read the review and watch the clips.

Review: Beware of Mr. Baker

Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images

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