Director: Jay Bulger
Starring: Ginger Baker, Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, Stewart Copeland, Mickey Hart, Jay Bulger
Written by: Jay Bulger
Running Time: 100 mins
Original UK Cert: 15
Original UK Release: 17th May 2013
Many people may not have heard of Ginger Baker. He is, even in his own words, one of the greatest drummers of all time. Yet he was (is) the original hellraising rockers, a man who was a god behind the skins and a devil everywhere else. This fascinating, sometimes funny, sometimes tragic documentary, cuts through all the myths and lays the truth out from the mouth a cantankerous old man living in South Africa. To say Baker is volatile, he even attacked the director, hitting him across the nose.
Jay Bulger conducted an interview with former Cream and Blind Faith drummer, Ginger Baker. He returned to his home in South Africa to film another interview that covers his whole life, from his love of jazz, the forming and destruction of Cream, his drug abuse, travelling to Africa and discovering Fela Kuta and how he amounted a fortune and lost it all.
Baker doesn’t take fools gladly, which is shown often during his reminiscent of his life, often questioning why he should answer Bulger’s often simple questions. He leads us on a journey from losing his father at an early age (his father died in World War II) to discovering jazz music and the sound of the drums.
Throughout the film, there are interviews with former band members, who had first hand experience working with Baker. The most interesting of these are from Eric Clapton, who worked with him in Baker’s most famous bands, Cream and Blind Faith. Clapton shows that this was a man who he respected musically but was genuinely scared of in real life.
What makes Bulger’s fascinating documentary so eye-opening is that he refuses to sugar coat anything. What you see is Ginger Baker, warts and all. He comes across as obnoxious, difficult, vile and often just unapproachable. Sitting in a leather recliner with his sunglasses on, his foot constantly moving like it’s on a pedal of a drum, it’s like he doesn’t want Bulger there. yet confesses he likes his company, even when he’s verbally abusing him.
His family, a mix of love and hate, speak frankly about his life, some with a surprising respectfulness, while others are spitting venom. Musicians from across the board all speak of his genius, how he changed the face of drumming forever. Mixed in with archive footage and dark graphic animations, this is a story that will shock, surprise and anger. Yet under it all there seems a man with no regrets.
Beware Of Mr Baker is a documentary that, if you are a fan of music, you have to check out. If you have never heard of Ginger Baker, then it’s time to discover him. If you’ve heard of Ginger Baker, you know exactly what to expect.
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