Tuesday, August 19, 2008

“No Junior Ginger Bakers…”

Today in rock history, Peter Edward "Ginger" Baker was born in 1939 in London. Can you believe he’s almost 70 years old? He’s still going strong too, if his performances at the Cream reunion concerts in 2005 are any indication. I was able to see him with Cream at Veteran’s Auditorium (a horrible place to see a concert, by the way!) in Des Moines, Iowa in the fall of 1968, which was a high point of my young life at that point. I remember manic energy and ear-splitting volume, if nothing else, from that concert…Little known bits of trivia about Ginger: Baker always insisted on having his two bass drums nailed to the floor at the venue he was playing live. In 1965 he played at the Shaftesbury Hall, Cheltenham which was then a part of St. Paul's College. The stage boards were new and of high theatrical quality. Baker pulled a hammer and four inch nails from his bag and proceeded to nail his drums to the floor. The caretaker flipped and started to shout at him, but Baker persevered and completed the task. As a firmly established jazz drummer, he dislikes being referred to as a "rock drummer." Finally, the title of this piece comes from when Bruce Springsteen was looking for a drummer for the E Street Band, which Max Weinberg eventually took over, the ad required "No Junior Ginger Bakers.” Ok, now I think that would be high praise: I did aspire to be one in my youth, and I’m still trying! Let’s enjoy some vintage Ginger Baker, thanks to www.garylessard.com and www.wikipedia.org for the info, and keep bangin’ them skins!

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