Ginger Baker was a madman. A self-described hellraiser. An explosive temper known to physically attack members of his own band. He was also one of the most consequential drummers of all time.
Best known as the manic heartbeat of Cream and Blind Faith, which made him rock and roll’s first superstar on the skins, the legendary musician and personality also dedicated his unparalleled talents to exploring African music—sitting in with Fela Kuti and setting up a recording studio in Lagos, Nigeria—and jazz.
He burned bridges everywhere he went. He was in more short-lived supergroups than any sane person should. But when Ginger Baker was playing, he was the absolute best musician in the room. There will never be another.
Ryan is a writer, editor and vinyl collector currently based in Los Angeles. He started Mini Music Critic in 2017.