Legendary UK drummer Ginger Baker has passed away at the age of 80.
Peter Edward ‘Ginger’ Baker was a founding member of Cream and also the short-lived supergroup Blind Faith, both with Eric Clapton and the latter with Steve Winwood.
In a statement Steve Winwood said,
“A very sad loss, and my condolences to his family and friends.
A loss also for his contribution to music. He was well-grounded in jazz from very early on, and later managed to combine this with African and rock music to create his own inimitable style of playing.
I was lucky to play with him in Ginger Baker’s Air Force, and to meet and work with such luminaries as Phil Seamen, Harold McNair and Graham Bond. And also in Blind Faith with Eric Clapton and Rick Grech. Although his appointment was very unorthodox (he showed up on the doorstep and said, ‘Here I am’) – he made a great contribution to the Blind Faith album which has withstood the test of time.
Beneath his somewhat abrasive exterior, there was a very sensitive human being with a heart of gold.
He’ll be missed.”
After the demise of both groups Baker formed his own Ginger Baker’s Air Force in 1970. That was also short-lived. Baker then built a recording studio in Lagos, Nigeria. Paul McCartney & Wings recorded ‘Band On the Run’ at Baker’s Batakota (ARC) Studios. The studio went bust not long after and its failure sent Baker to drugs.
Paul McCartney said in a statement,
Ginger Baker, great drummer, wild and lovely guy. We worked together on the ‘Band on the Run’ album in his ARC Studio, Lagos, Nigeria. Sad to hear that he died but the memories never will.
Ginger Baker withdrew from the music industry throughout most of the 80s. He had developed a heroin addiction and withdrew to Italy where he lived on an olive farm until he overcame the addiction.
In 2005, Baker, Clapton and Jack Bruce reformed Cream for a series of concerts at the Royal Albert Hall and Madison Square Garden. You can now buy the event on DVD.
Baker revealed he had ‘serious heart issues’ in 2016. He was taken to hospital on 25 September. Ginger Baker died 6 October, 2019 at age 80.