This should be a heartwarming story: Three younger family members of British blues-rock legends Cream are launching a Cream tribute tour, heading out on the road playing their forefathers’ music five decades later. Ginger Baker’s son Kofi will be on drums, Jack Bruce’s son Malcolm will be on bass, and Eric Clapton’s nephew Will Johns is holding it down on guitar. Charming, right? Maybe until you hear from Kofi Baker, who seems to absolutely despise his dad.
In a new Rolling Stone interview, Kofi discusses the tour and his hostile-to-nonexistent relationship with his father, who was depicted unflatteringly in the 2012 documentary Beware Of Mr. Baker. Kofi says the movie got it right. Here’s his description of drum lessons from Ginger:
If I didn’t get something right immediately he’d shout and swear at me and smack me around a little bit. I was only there for about three months, so I had to get a crash course.
And here’s Kofi on the pressure of becoming a drummer in his famous father’s shadow:
I didn’t really care. It’s never really bothered me because my dad is such an asshole anyway that it’s not like I was stressed about making him proud or anything. So, no, it wasn’t really stressful.
Kofi also shared some thoughts on the fallout from Ginger leaving the family, including squatting in a house they’d been evicted from. His thoughts on his father back then:
Well, I didn’t really know him. It wasn’t an issue. I just played drums and stayed alive. It didn’t really dawn on me until I was a bit older what an asshole [he was] and what he’d done. I’d think, “He had all this money!” Once he did that 2005 reunion and made a whole bunch of money again I was like, “Wow, he’s made 5 million dollars. Things are going to change now.” I said, “Dad, why don’t you buy property with this money? The best thing you can do is buy real estate and I’ll rent it from you. That way I’ll pay money to you rather than someone I don’t know.” And he was like, [Perfect Ginger imitation] “Fuck off, no. I’m buying my horses.”
That’s when I realized this guy doesn’t give a shit. That was when I realized he doesn’t really care. None of us are speaking to him, me or [my sisters] Nettie and Leda. It’s kind of a shame. I emailed him a couple of days ago to just say, “Dad, what the hell? Why don’t you support me or say something nice?” No response. I just thought I’d try one more time. He’s getting old.
And when Ginger Baker dies? “I doubt I’ll be that sad,” says Kofi. “He’s disowned me so many times in my life. It’s like he’s been dead to me for a long time anyway.”
There is much, much more, most of it incredibly sad. On the bright side, the tour could be fun? Get full details here.