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Ginger Baker: Hellraiser: The Autobiography of the World's Greatest Drummer Paperback – July 9, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 292 pages
  • Publisher: John Blake (July 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844549666
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844549665
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #323,166 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Like a Ginger Baker drum solo, this unique autobiography is an exhilarating adrenalin rush of drama and excitement."  —Record Collector


"Instant classic memoir."  —Mojo

About the Author

Ginger Baker was born in Lewisham, London in 1939 and brought up along with his sister and cousin by his mother and aunt. After forging his reputation on the London jazz scene, he found phenomenal success by forming Cream with Jack Bruce and Eric Clapton in 1966. Ginger lives in South Africa, where he is an avid correpsondent to the letters pages of various polo publications.

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Customer Reviews

You'll discover while reading his book.
Mehdi Hmh
I love the book and was glad he had a lot of pictures as well as a life time of stories.
Janice Kisor
Baker does have an ax to grind with Jack Bruce, which is not news to me.
Kindle Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 51 people found the following review helpful By David K. Mulhern on April 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you are reading this review, you probably already know that Ginger Baker is an extraordinary drummer, and was 1/3 of the rock group "Cream" in the 1960s.

If you are not of that generation, you may not realize how highly esteemed Ginger Baker is/was musically. Recently Charlie Watts, the drummer with the Rolling Stones, presented him with a lifetime achievement award. High praise, indeed. His music is very exciting, quite complex, powerful, athletic, often ecstatic, always passionate. He's an inspiring and wonderful musician.

This book certainly tells the story of a young man from a modest London background, growing up as a competitive cyclist, and eventually getting into drumming. We learn about his early musical experiences and training from other great jazz drummers. So it's nice to get a feeling of his musical formation (as they say, "nobody comes from nothing" -- i.e., every musician has his influences).

The musician later branches off into polo. Interesting progression of competitive, driving, physical, rhythmic activity: cycling - drumming - polo. Unusual, but one can see the connection, and that's very interesting. Throughout the book his native intelligence and wit shine through.

What is much less interesting (indeed, I ultimately found it quite dreary and depressing) is the decades of drug abuse, the failed marriages, the endless confrontations, the promiscuous sex, the legal difficulties, and the general chaos that seems to have defined Baker's life.

Don't get me wrong: I truly love his playing and I deeply admire him as a musician. But it has to be said that he has led a very hard life, largely because of his own bad choices.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By D. Caldwell on January 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Even though he likes to portray himself as a tough nut I think Eric Clapton is right in his estimation of Ginger Baker when he said according to Ginger Baker "you're not really a hard nut at all".
The book was conversational in style and gave an interesting account of a great musician and his life. Albeit a bizarre life full of giant leaps forward and giant leaps backwards!
People talk a lot about how amazing it is that Keith Richard is still alive. I'd have to say the same for Ginger Baker but even moreso!
He's not charitable to many of his peers in the music world but I suspect a lot of that is tongue in cheek. That is apart from his ongoing issues with Jack Bruce. I suspect that this relationship falls well into the category of sibling rivalry. They have produced some great recorded music together over the years and in the end this is what they will be remembered for.
One final observation. Ginger mentioned at one point that he was annoyed by Gary Moore not being able to front up to some BBM gigs because he cut his finger and he blew his ears at rehearsal.I felt the same way in the early seventies when Ginger was "taken ill in the dressing rooms" at Manchester Free Trade Hall and the Air Force concert had to be cancelled after we were all in our seats!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Richard Wiliams on August 17, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I think this is an honest book, from Ginger's standpoint, but music historians and those with some knowledge of the facts are going to be disappointed. There is very little detail on Gingers recordings, and certain projects he participated in are absent entirely. His hatred of Jack Bruce pervades the pages from beginning to end, and I get the impression that he never listens to his own recordings once the session is over. Certainly ignoring a disk like Middle Passage boggles my mind.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Nina Bennett on April 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I have always said, much to the amusement of some of my musically inclined friends, that Ginger Baker is the greatest rock drummer ever. Now Baker says it himself-over and over and over. His memoir is as much about his polo experiences as his musical ones. He has quite a knack for being in the midst of chaos, much of it self-caused. Baker is rather open about his well-known difficulties working with Jack Bruce, which continued far beyond Cream days. He is also open about his decades-long struggle with addiction. He comes across as a self-centered spoiled brat, so my advice is to crank up Cream and remember Baker for his amazing talent on the skins.
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19 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Brenda Joan Pratt on February 16, 2011
Format: Paperback
Ginger Baker- "Hellraiser"

If you're looking for stories of drug abuse "Hellraiser" is the book for you!

If you're looking for stories of broken relationships "Hellraiser" is the book for you!

If you're looking for stories of sexual conquests "Hellraiser" is the book for you!

If you're looking for stories of professional jealousies "Hellraiser" is the book for you!

If you're looking for stories about horses and polo "Hellraiser"is the book for you!

If you're looking for stories about African Geography "Hellraiser" is the book for you!

If you're looking for stories about Ginger Baker's nearly fifty year career in music you'll have to wait because Music is an afterthought to all of the above in "Hellraiser". A prime example of this occurs when the death of Graham Bond in 1974 is remembered in one small paragraph and then Baker proceeds to discuss Polo in Nigeria. Bond was a VERY important person in Baker's life not only with the Graham Bond Organization but with Ginger Baker's Airforce. I could go on and on.

Another thing that is I.M.H.O. inexcusable is the omission of Mr. Clapton and Mr. Bruce in the acknowledgements and "thanks to". I can only imagine how things would have been so much different in Ginger Baker's life and career if it hadn't been for Clapton, Bruce and CREAM.

After forcing myself to finish this "mess" I'll think twice before I ever buy another Bio by a Drummer. I've read the Fito De La Parra and Bill Bruford books so after three strikes I'm out.

Tim
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