March 16, 2012

Beware of Mister Baker

I read Jay Bulger's 2009 profile of Ginger Baker in Rolling Stone; This 2012 biopic (Bulger is the writer-producer-director) is an excellent extension and sequel to that profile.
While Keith Moon and John Bonham were revered for their "hammer of the gods" rock and roll drumming, Ginger Baker was the best jazz drummer of his generation and a revolutionary rock drummer...and a terrible human being.
Over the course of months Bulger lived with Baker on his horse farm in South Africa, interviewing Baker, seemingly immobile in his leather recliner. Through these interviews and interviews with all his bandmates, wives, children, and peers, we discover an overlooked savant drummer and essential member of Cream and Blind Faith- two influential and outstanding bands which only lasted two years each, because no one can stand to work with Baker. Baker pushes away anyone who grows close to him, destroys every relationship, and refuses to compromise. A self-destructive, violent, drug-abusing madman who somehow survived to this day (age 72) while so many of his contemporaries didn't make it out of the 1970s.
Strongly recommended for all rock fans. The wealth of live concert and TV footage from every phase of his life is spectacular.
Paramount Theater, Austin TX