Video Tonight’s TV highlight: Ginger Baker

Ladies and gentlemen, the always colorful Ginger Baker

An old musicians’ joke:

What does a drummer use for birth control?

His personality.

They could have been talking about the subject of Beware of Mr. Baker, a highly percussive documentary making its TV debut tonight on Showtime (8 p.m.). See the trailer for its theatrical release (below).

Ginger Baker was unquestionably one of the most talented and visionary drummers that rock music has ever seen. And also one of its most cantankerous. More than one person in this film marvels that he is still alive. But Beware of Mr. Baker captures the peripatetic, prickly drummer at home in South Africa, still feisty at 73. Well, at one of his homes, anyway. Ginger has already been thrown out of most of the civilized countries on this planet.

The documentary contains the testimony of Eric Clapton (his bandmates in the seminal British trio, Cream), Steve Winwood (his bandmate in the first “supergroup”, Blind Faith) and a host of others including Carlos Santana, Neil Peart and Johnny Lydon. And a good deal of archival footage that shows what a phenomenal musician he is.



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