Amoeblog

'Beware of Mr. Baker' Celebrates One of Rock's Greatest (And Wildest) Drummers

Posted by Billy Gil, January 22, 2013 04:03pm | Post a Comment

Ginger BakerAt the beginning of documentary Beware of Mr. Baker, we’re introduced to the titular character when the misanthropic elderly man bashes his biographer in the face with a cane. Filmmaker Jay Bulger gets out of the car to show us his bloody nose, and from there we’re whisked back through not only the story of Ginger Baker, famed drummer for Cream, but also the story behind the creation of the film.

Bulger bills himself as a writer for Rolling Stone in order to get an interview with the reclusive Baker — this is a lie. However, the article Bulger comes up with once he meets with Baker in his South Africa compound does get published in Rolling Stone, providing the catalyst for the film. The brash Bulger, and his interactions with Baker, become a hilarious side story to that of Baker, the red-headed wild man who helped pioneer rock drumming as a member of Cream, with Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce. Baker’s unique, African and jazz-influenced style would go on to be widely used in hard rock and heavy metal in years to come. But Baker’s personal life is beset by drugs, family issues, several wives and money problems.

Beware Mr. Baker

However, Beware of Mr. Baker is no predictable “VH1 Behind the Music” story, nor is it a sob story. It’s more a celebration of a life thoroughly lived, and of a character whose lust for life and for drumming supersedes his ability to live normally and care for anyone else. It’s riveting viewing, even (and perhaps especially) for those unfamiliar with Baker. The film’s editing, full of animated bits, stock footage and interview footage, jump-cutting and fading with psychedelic aesthetic, is nothing short of brilliant. It also includes enlightening, often funny interviews with the likes of Clapton, Steve Winwood, Carlos Santana, Lars Ulrich and Neil Peart.

Continue reading...

(In which Job interviews Neal Morgan...)

Posted by Job O Brother, October 20, 2009 02:22pm | Post a Comment
Due to some unfortunate miscommunications between the staff here at the Amoeblog, two of us ended up interviewing the same musician, Neal Morgan, about his solo debut.

Fortunately, the interviews are vastly different, due to my professional and honed skill as a journalist devoted to hard-hitting storytelling and dedication to factual analysis, and the other interviewer, Miss Ess, who prefers a more “whimsical” and, shall we say, lying-er approach to writing.

You can read this other "interview" by clicking on this link right here.

Due to his tight schedule of touring and promoting the new album,
To The Breathing World, Neal was under the weather and frequently distracted during the following interview, which resulted in many of his answers being garbled and unintelligible. (Confidentially, I think alcohol may have been a contributing factor to this. That’ll teach me to get drunk before an interview!) I therefore had to rely on memory and occasional paraphrasing in transcribing the following Q & A. Even so, I was able to capture the spirit of our conversation, from Neal's obsession with "crushing" to the revelation of his suicidal fantasies. Read on…

neal morgan
Neal Morgan before the plastic surgery

How did you pick up playing the drums? What is it that drew you to them so strongly - so much so that any other attempts to follow other dreams were crushed?