Even at almost 80, ginger baker wanted to do it again and gave several concerts. He had already undergone open-heart surgery and suffered from arthritis and chronic lung disease.
Ginger baker died on sunday at the age of 80. The world-famous musician is survived by his fourth wife, kudzai machokoto, and three adult children.
On 19. August 1939 "ginger" – so called because of his red hair – was born peter edward baker in the london borough of lewisham. Already as a schoolboy he beat rhythms with his hand on the school bench. Aubenseiter – the other kids beat him up, his daughter nettie baker later recounted.
Baker grew up fatherless and dreamed of becoming a bicycle racer. But an accident prevented that. Instead, british jazz drummer phil seamen (1926-1972) trained him as a professional musician: "he was god," baker later told "forbes" magazine. "He heard me playing one night and afterwards he said, ‘sit down, i want to talk to you. You’re the only drummer i know who can do it.’"
In the early sixties, baker was the most admired drummer on the british R&B scene. Then he founded with eric clapton and jack bruce (1943-2014) the superband cream. That only lasted two years. Until their breakup in 1968 the celebrated trio sold several million records with classics like "sunshine of your love", "white room" and "crossroads".
Baker was especially proud of the fact that he generally played one track behind the beat. "Too many drummers are playing in front of it, and the tempo is increasing," he told "forbes". "With cream i often printed the tempo of jack and eric and did this consciously."He became most famous for his polyrhythmic solos and was to influence generations of drummers.
Many factors contributed to cream’s demise: baker’s temper often got the better of him and he repeatedly clashed with jack bruce in jahzorn – even on stage. Furthermore, the ecstatic fan base simply offered no more challenge: the audience was cheering even before the musicians had played their first notes. And the band had just finished a grueling tour: "eric [clapton] came to me and said, ‘i’m sick of it.’ and i said: ‘me too.And that was it," ginger baker recalled in forbes of the end of the cult band.
After cream’s demise, baker founded the short-lived superband blind faith with eric clapton and the jazz-rock collective ginger baker?S air force. He found a kindred musical spirit in african superstar fela kuti, set up a recording studio in lagos, and put his money into polo. Later he played in the post-punk group public image ltd of the former sex-pistols-singer john lydon.
At that time he had already been declared dead several times, because his heroin addiction was legendary. In an interview with "forbes", ginger baker recalled an incident in 1968 when he drove from los angeles to san francisco in a sports car "with three beautiful young girls". "The radio program was interrupted to announce that i had just been found dead in my hotel room due to a heroin overdose," baker recounted. "I must be in heaven, i thought. I’m on route 101, the sun is shining, the birds are sitting in the trees."
It wasn’t until 1981 that baker managed to get off heroin. He had lost his fortune in nigeria, his drums stood unused in the barn for a year, and out of desperation he grew olive trees in italy: "it was probably the best thing that ever happened to me. I have left the drug world completely behind me."
In 2005 cream reunited with their original line-up after 37 years and celebrated one last reunion in london and new york. In february 2006 the band received a grammy for lifetime achievement. Ginger baker released the solo album "why" in 2014?"And lived with his fourth wife in canterbury.