By Scott Vanderpool

After watching the trailer for the new CBGB nightclub story (reviewed here by KZOK web-czar Chris Coyle) starring Alan Rickman and a host of current rock and roll dirtbags acting as former rock and roll dirtbags, you need a good rock and roll movie to wash that taste out of your mouth, and so I offer the winner of this year’s SXSW Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary, Beware Of Mr. Baker., currently running on Showtime On-Demand.

Directed by Jay Bulger, it’s a catch-up with Cream drummer Ginger Baker at age 73 (he’ll be 74 August 19th). Things we learn about one of rock’s great eccentric personalities include:

  • It was the jazz-trained Ginger that invented many of the conventions of rock and roll drumming we take for granted these days.
  • Ginger and Cream bass player Jack Bruce had played together before in the Graham Bond Organization, and fought like angry dogs in both bands, sometimes coming to blows. Eric Clapton broke up Cream largely because he was tired of mediating their frequent fights.
  • Clapton scoffs at the idea of John Bonham, Keith Moon, or Neil Peart as “rock’s greatest drummer”….”it’s Ginger”, he says.
  • Ginger ended up drumming with Blind Faith when he showed up uninvited at a jam session between Clapton and Steve Winwood. Clapton wanted anybody but Ginger, but Winwood talked him into it.
  • Ginger has never managed his money well, but recently lost his farm in South Africa after blowing the mountain of cash he made for the Cream reunion shows in 2005, shipping some 25 polo ponies there. Ginger plays polo. Polo? Good god.
  • The film’s title is taken from a sign Ginger had made for the gate to his South African compound.

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