SKF NOTE: A snippet from Jim Clash’s four-part interview with Ginger Baker for Forbes magazine.
JUN 16, 2015 @ 9:52 PM
Cream Drummer Ginger Baker’s Early Influences, How He Kicked Heroin Habit
Jim Clash CONTRIBUTOR
Jim Clash: You are a jazz drummer at heart. Name some of the greats who you have met and/or played with.
Ginger Baker: I’ve played with Art Blakey, a totally unrehearsed thing in Munich in 1972. I’ve played with Elvin Jones. One of the nicest compliments I’ve ever had was from “Philly” Joe Jones when he heard me play. He said, “Man, you tell a story.” There was also playing in Nigeria and getting the whole audience on their feet!
JC: I know people here in America who consider you the best of all time.
GB: I wouldn’t quite say that. I think I’m one of them, for sure. I had my own thing, which Phil Seamen had, which Art Blakey had. When you hear them playing, you know who it is. Max Roach, “Philly” Joe Jones, Elvin Jones. It goes back to “Papa” Jo Jones and [Warren] Baby Dodds. All of these guys had a huge influence on me, but I didn’t copy them. Probably the biggest influence was Phil Seamen. He was God. He heard me play one night and said afterward, “Sit down, I want to talk to you. You’re the only drummer I know who’s got it.”