Beware Of Mr Baker

Directed by Jay Bulger
  • US / South Africa
  • 92 minutes
  • 2012
Winner, Grand Jury Prize for Documentary, SXSW

Legendary drummer Ginger Baker was as well known for his monstrous rock ’n’ roll behaviour as he was for his skin-pounding in the supergroups Cream and Blind Faith. But the ‘world’s greatest drummer’ didn’t really hit his stride as a musician until 1972, when he discovered Fela Kuti’s Afrobeat. Setting up shop in Lagos, Baker built a recording studio, sat in on records recorded by Kuti and became one of the first proponents of World Music. After leaving Nigeria, Baker returned to his pattern of drug-induced self-destruction before settling in South Africa a little over a decade ago. The 73-year-old now lives in seclusion with his young bride and 39 polo ponies… 

Jay Bulger spent three months living with the rock legend, recording numerous hours of interview footage. The result is a rollicking and frequently hilarious encounter with one crazy drummer, enhanced by interviews with Stewart Copeland, Charlie Watts, Johnny Rotten, Neil Peart, Mickey Hart, Lars Ulrich and others. Beware of Mr Baker, indeed – in the first scene of the film, Baker cracks a cane across the bridge of Bulger’s nose, showing that Baker’s ferocity has not dimmed one bit. 

Vancouver International Film Festival