Around a year and a half ago, Brooklyn writer Jay Bulger grew obsessed with making a documentary about one of the greatest — and crankiest — drummers to ever walk the earth, Ginger Baker. He moved to Africa and located the onetime member of Cream and Blind Faith in a gated community, where the 69-year-old musician and polo enthusiast currently resides; he has previously been booted from homes in England, Nigeria, Italy and America.
In his feature “The Devil and Ginger Baker” in RS‘ new issue, Bulger details Baker’s current condition (he starts his days with curses and a morphine inhaler but still plays competitive polo) and asks Baker to look back at his youth, when he was training to be cyclist in the Tour de France and turned to drumming only after he was hit by a cab and wrecked his bike. (Watch Baker discuss his crushed dream in footage from Bulger’s forthcoming documentary 10 Goal Drummer, above).
Baker opens up about jamming with Mick Jagger (“This effeminate little kid showed up, and I hated him”), the birth of Cream, the end of Blind Faith (which Baker insists was unrelated to his growing heroin problem) and the night Jimi Hendrix died — a night he was seeking the legendary guitarist to come get high.
In the above clip, Bulger asks Baker if he’s surprised that he’s actually even lived this long. “Amazed, actually,” Baker replies. “God is punishing me for my past wickedness by keeping me alive and in as much pain as he can.”