Page 1 of 1

Beware of Mr. Baker

PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 10:44 pm
by Chris P

no other wordiage necessary

Re: Beware of Mr. Baker

PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 12:30 am
by Adam Blake
Thanks for the clip, Chris. Who was that who was assaulted by Ginger at the end?

Can I tell my favourite Ginger Baker story? Are there ladies present? Oh well...

First of all, I have no idea if this is true but I hope it is - and pardon me if I've told it before. Sometime in the early 70s, Ginger Baker's band were booked to follow Roy Harper on the bill at some festival. Harper was well into the second hour of his set when he heard a loud noise behind him. Turning around he saw Ginger Baker setting up his drum kit. Stopping in mid-flow he asked Baker what the hell he thought he was doing. "Ah, you've played long enough, you little cunt", replied Baker. To his great credit - and perhaps to Baker's surprise - Harper did not take this lying down. Casting aside his guitar he launched his slight 5'3" frame at Baker and dragged him to the ground where the two of them wrestled furiously in full view of the audience - two great British counterculture heroes locked in mortal combat. They were separated by astonished roadies still spitting and snarling at each other. Love and peace off to London and Manchester respectively.

Re: Beware of Mr. Baker

PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 8:23 am
by AndyM
I never knew Roy H was that short. Explains a lot.

Re: Beware of Mr. Baker

PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 9:12 am
by Chris P
Adam Blake wrote:First of all, I have no idea if this is true but I hope it is

It is true, I was there (Glastonbury 1981) - although I can't vouch for the dialogue you quote. The fight was on the main stage (the prestigious headline slot of the day & Harper was overrunning)- I don't recall any rolling on the ground, but punches and verbal insults were thrown, and roadies seperated them while they still flailed and frothed. I found Roy's set dull, but Ginger's band were really something with Trimmer and (Billy) Jenkins on sax and guitar.

The man Baker assaults in the film trailer is the film maker himself

No way is Harper 5'3"

Re: Beware of Mr. Baker

PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 9:42 am
by Adam Blake
Thank you, Chris! For confirming the story. It had assumed the quality of an old myth. It's great to know it's true. By the way, I've met Harper. He's certainly no more than 5"5".

Re: Beware of Mr. Baker

PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 9:43 pm
by Chris P

Roy Harper put it thus

'Later I'm playing the gig, going down quite well, building up to the finale. Then Ginger starts walking on with drums, setting up right in front of me, destroying everything. I couldn't believe it. So I left the microphone and said 'Hey, what you doing?' And he said, 'F--- off, you've been on here too f---ing long, you c---' and his band started bringing all their gear on.

'So I started to seethe, nudged one of his drums with my left foot and he lunged at me. I just burst, turned round and gave him one right in the guts. Ginger goes, 'Urrgghh you c----.' Then we were fighting and the stage was full of people. I completely flipped my lid.' '

There we were at a festival dedicated to peace and love man and I hit someone. He may have been the thickest idiot at the festival but I'd actually hit him.

After that I was filled with frantic remorse and basically just wanted to hit everyone, everything I could lay my bloody hands on.' 'So they got hold of my arms and carried me off, looking like I'm ripe for Broadmore, wearing this human straightjacket, screaming 'You f---ing bastards. 'I'd lost it altogether, I was fighting f---ing mad.'

According to Harper the crowd then proceeded to bottle Ginger , one hitting him on the head


Hello... I want to add my piece about the fight onstage between Harper and Baker... Glastonbury 81.
It was the most unforgettable thing i ever saw on a stage. Harper was doing fine... we were warmed up and enjoying the show; after a handful of numbers I recognised Baker onstage and a fist fight kicked off. I remember Roy H hitting out and people grappling and tumbling around. Harper got forced off-stage by people holding his arms as he struggled furiously.

There were boos and bottles as Baker started up... They impressed us but rocks came at the band.. sharp chunks of granite or similar. A near fist sized chunk arked from a long distance and smacked Ginger on the forehead. It should've killed him surely but he didn't miss a beat. He continued with furious energy till the end of his set.

Next day I saw Baker walking around the site with a thick black gash on his forehead, obviously in need of stitches. Baker was asking people if anyone knew who the bastard was who threw the rock.

Keith Emslie Mitchell


Re: Beware of Mr. Baker

PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:19 pm
by Adam Blake
Riveting stuff, Chris.

I'm with Harper on this one. Baker is a bully and Harper stood up to him. God knows, I know about people over-running at festivals and there are other, more civilised ways of getting them to curtail their sets than just marching on with your equipment. I doubt whether he would have tried that with Aswad, or Motorhead for that matter. He thought he could get away with treating Harper like that because he's just a little hippy all on his own with an acoustic guitar. Hah!

Re: Beware of Mr. Baker

PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:35 pm
by Chris P
I'm with neither, but more with Ginger here. Harper pompously, vaingloriously, and inconsiderately massively overran his time, and note he was also the one who threw the most punches & was the most aggressive. More pertinently his set was dull and Ginger's was fantastic seat-of-the-pants musical excitement & interaction - unrecreatable and of the moment.

I was there as a teenage record trader that year, we hired a van & brought a load of LPs on sale or return from Recommended Records. Our best selling item was probably this with its yukky of-its-time cover


Re: Beware of Mr. Baker

PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:59 pm
by Adam Blake
Harper? Pompous? Vainglorious? Aggressive? NOOooo.... surely not? haha!

I've got that "Live at Dingwalls Dance Hall" album. Hardly any of it was recorded at Dingwalls. The Henry Cow side is great. But you knew that...

Re: Beware of Mr. Baker

PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2013 9:53 am
by DavidM
Here's a bit more about the film, and interview from a presentation of the film at the BFI;

It's all so weird. Ginger Baker seems such a walking disaster, I'm left feeling voyeuristic; like watching something in a circus sideshow.

Has anyone had a chance to see the documentary ?

Re: Beware of Mr. Baker

PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2013 11:51 am
by Adam Blake
He seems like a sad old man. Poignant when he says he has hundreds of regrets. So many of that generation of musicians seem to come to sad ends. I guess the trauma of being born into WW2 and the excitement of the 60s doesn't leave much room for a dignified old age.

Baker was a medium to good to very good jazz drummer who, had he not been catapulted to extremes with Cream, would probably have had a happier life carrying on the legacy of his mentor Phil Seaman. His long heroin addiction would have taken it out of him, but he might still be doing the odd week at Ronnie's, happily finding polyrhythms in his hi-hat, behind a younger generation of British jazzers who would indulge him as an eccentric grand-dad, rather than being interviewed by and for 'Classic Rock' fans eager for shocking anecdotes about the old days. (I include myself in this, by the way.)

Re: Beware of Mr. Baker

PostPosted: Sat Jul 27, 2013 12:24 am
by john poole
I saw it in the cinema a couple of months back, it was both funny and sad, although my sympathies were more with his various wives, children, and fellow musicians. It's available to watch from Curzon Home Cinema for a small fee ... -mr-baker/

Re: Beware of Mr. Baker

PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2015 12:32 am
by Garth Cartwright
Finally got to see this as Peckham library have it on DVD. I've heard so much about Ginger being a monster there wasn't much to surprise me here - beyond giving his 15 year old son cocaine in Italy then sending him back to England on a coach. A thoroughly unlikeable man. Thankfully the film does not try and make him out to be anything but this. That said, he is quite an entertaining interviewee (at times) and there's interesting stories about Phil Seaman and Fela and others. Did they mention his time with Hawkwind? If they did I missed it. Not that it's important to his career - just a gig. I like a little Cream and probably my favourite post-Pistols Lydon is the Album he cut with Bill Laswell producing and Ginger on drums (Lydon is the most tedious celeb interviewee here, doing his panto act) but I've never listened to any other of the artists he has worked with. Should I?

As John noted it's his wives and kids you end up feeling empathy with - Baker comes across as such a selfish, destructive man. How he has managed to remain alive when so many less crazed, less drug addled, less chain smoking have passed I don't know. He even survived Lagos in the 70s - tho I guess playing polo with the military rulers lent a degree of protection.

I most enjoyed the bits about how he played and what he contributed to Creem's songs - and he's right about losing out on publishing credits: same as James Brown's drummers! Oh, i agree with his comments on John Bonham and Keith Moon - he is a far more interesting drummer than either.

Final thoughts: the rock band/star era really is over, isn't it? Creem were worshipped. Now rock bands are just plain old entertainers, akin to jugglers or country singers or who ever else diverts attention.

Re: Beware of Mr. Baker

PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2015 9:42 am
by Jarlath
This is being shown on BBC1 7th July at 22:35 as part of the Imagine series