Peter Edward “Ginger” Baker (born 19 August 1939 in Lewisham, South London) is an English drummer, best known for his work with the rock band Cream. He is also known for his numerous associations with world music, mainly the use of African influences. He has also had other collaborations such as with Blind Faith, Gary Moore, Hawkwind, Masters of Reality and Public Image Ltd.
Baker’s drumming attracted attention for its flamboyance, showmanship and his use of two bass drums instead of the conventional single bass drum (following a similar set-up used by Louie Bellson during his days with Duke Ellington). Although a firmly established rock drummer and praised as “Rock’s first superstar drummer”, he prefers being called a jazz drummer. Baker’s influence has extended to drummers of both genres, including Billy Cobham, Peter Criss, Bill Ward, Ian Paice, Alex Van Halen, Nick Mason and John Bonham. AllMusic has described him as “the most influential percussionist of the 1960s” and stated that “virtually every drummer of every heavy metal band that has followed since that time has sought to emulate some aspect of Baker’s playing”.
While at times performing in a similar way to Keith Moon from The Who, Baker also employs a more restrained style influenced by the British jazz groups he heard during the late 1950s and early 1960s. In his early days as a drummer, he performed lengthy drum solos, the best known being the five-minute drum solo “Toad” from Cream’s debut album Fresh Cream (1966). He is also noted for using a variety of other percussion instruments and for his application of African rhythms. He would often emphasize the flam, a drum rudiment in which both sticks attack the drumhead at almost the same time, giving a heavy thunderous sound.
Beware of Mr. Baker is a 2012 documentary film by Jay Bulger about Ginger Baker. It won the Grand Jury prize for best documentary at SXSW. The title is a reference to a sign outside of his South African compound.
Watch this awesome work on one of the most emblematic drummers ever online below