Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce… το πρώτο supergroup…
- Fresh Cream, 1966
- Disraeli Gears, 1967
- Wheels of Fire, 1968
- Goodbye Cream, 1969
- Live Cream, 1970
- Live Cream Volume II, 1972
- Royal Albert Hall London May 2-3-5-6 2005, 2005
[SPOILER]Interview with GINGER BAKER, Music Mart magazine, June 2006.
How did you first come across Jack Bruce?
[GB]: “I was doing a jazz gig at the Cambridge University May Ball in 1962, and there was another group on the bill called Jim HcHarg’s Scotsville Jazzband, and Jack was the bass player. He was standing beside the stage going: ‘Man, I want to sit in.’ We were getting a bit pissed off with him, so in the end, we let him sit in and we played a ballad with an incredible chord sequence, just to fuck him up. And he played it.”
How did you meet Clapton?
[GB]: “That was during the Graham Bond Organisation, which came out of the Alexis Korner Band… With Graham Bond, Dick Heckstall-Smith, me and Jack. And we had to lose Jack for really bad behaviour on stage, and I got the job of firing him. He still thinks it was my idea… It wasn’t. It was after a discussion between Graham, Dick and I that we decided he had to go.”
Why did you have to fire Jack?
[GB]: “He was shouting at people on stage - particularly me. So Graham asked me if I’d do it, and I was a junkie at the time, and firing people wasn’t difficult at all. We were playing a gig with The Yardbirds. We were outside having a spliff, and this young bloke came up to me and said: ‘I know you, Baker… You’re not a fucking hard-nut at all.’ I had a reputation for doffing people. It was Eric, and I got on with him immediately. He was a really cool bloke, and he used to come and sit in with the Graham Bond organisation.”
Were you aware of Clapton’s reputation when you first met him?
[GB]: “I was totally unaware that he’d got a reputation of any description at all, but I really liked his guitar playing. I’d been running Graham’s band for about three years, because Graham was a lunatic. I handled all the money and ran the band, and Graham was going in the opposite direction to me. I was trying to get straight and Graham was trying to get fucked up, drug-wise. So I thought - What the fuck am I doing running this band when I could get my own? So I decided to do that.”
How fast did things progress from there?
[GB]: “John Mayall’s manager told me they were playing in Oxford, so I drove down there. I saw them in the interval, and Eric said: ‘Man, come and sit in.’ And it was total. Eric and I just took off. The gig wasn’t really happening at all, but when I sat in, Eric sort of exploded. After the gig, I said to Eric - I’m getting a band together, would you be interested? And he said yes straight away. Well, then Eric suggested Jack, and I thought - ‘oh no’.”
So you thought: ‘Oh no… Not that Bruce again’?
[GB]: “Yeah… exactly. I spent the whole journey home with my wife discussing whether I should talk to Jack. My wife was quite fond of Jack, because he can be a very charming guy. When he’s Dr. Jekyll, he’s fine… It’s when he’s Mr. Hyde that he’s not. And I’m afraid he’s still the same. I tell you this - there won’t ever be any more Cream gigs, because he did Mr. Hyde in New York last year.”
In what way did Jack turn in to Mr. Hyde?
[GB]: “Oh, he shouted at me on stage, he turned his bass up so loud that he deafened me on the first gig. What he does is that he apologises and apologises, but I’m afraid, to do it on a Cream reunion gig, that was the end. He killed the magic, and New York was like 1968… It was just a get through the gig, get the money sort of deal.”
Why do you think Cream was so short lived in the first place?
[GB]: " It just got to the point where Eric said to me: “I’ve had enough of this,’ and I said so have I. I couldn’t stand it. The last year with Cream was just agony. But it didn’t start off like that. In 1966, it was great. It was really a wonderful experience musically, and it just went into the realms of stupid.”[/SPOILER]