Saturday, April 28, 2012

Hot Docs 2012: My Thoughts on Beware of Mr Baker

Ginger Baker, who was best known for his work with the bands Cream and Blind Faith, is considered one of the most influential drummers of all time.  He is also a complete madman.

Beware of Mr Baker is candid look back at Baker's life and career as told through his own words.  The entire documentary is built around an extended interview with Baker, who is essentially narrating the story of his life.

One aspect of this documentary that interested me were the use of animated reenactments that depicted various stages of his life.  These segments used a very jarring animation style and seemed to be a representation of what was going on in Baker's mind.

Ginger Baker comes off as a very cynical man, who isn't afraid to speak his mind.  For example, he not really happy that he doesn't get any royalties from his work with Cream (despite co-founding the group).  He also prefers to consider himself a jazz drummer, rather than a rock drummer (and he doesn't think fondly of either John Bonham of Led Zeppelin or Keith Moon of The Who).

Baker's story is supported by many other interviews, including former bandmates (such as Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood) and drummers that felt influenced by Baker (include Neil Peart of Rush, Stuart Copland of The Police, and Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers).  There were also interviews with Baker's many wives and children.

Overall it was an interesting look into the method and madness of Ginger Baker.

8/10