So raise your hand if you’re excited about the new Ginger Baker documentary! Good friend of the blog Greg recently passed along this New York Times review, which paints a pretty intriguing picture…
Animated sequences depict a ship, rowed by the drummer’s red-haired avatars, zigzagging the globe — from London to Nigeria to Los Angeles and other spots on the way to his current home in South Africa — leaving a trail of not entirely metaphorical smoldering wreckage.
Animated sequences? Red hair? Not entirely metaphorical smoldering wreckage? Count me in!
In full disclosure, Beware of Mr. Baker will, whenever it gets distributed more widely, be my formal introduction to a figure I’m only just now learning about. Though I own a few Cream albums and have heard “White Room” and “Sunshine Of Your Love” as many times as any living, breathing human should have, I can’t say that I would have been able to tell you a single thing about him before I read that Times review. As it stands now, I can tell you that he was the drummer for Cream, was nicknamed for his hair color, and seems to have racked up a substantial amount of antipathy in his time, despite being, according to some, the greatest rock drummer ever.
The weird thing is that, before reading that review, I had already sketched out a post about a red-haired drummer who I consider to be the greatest I’ve ever seen, but it wasn’t going to be about Ginger Baker. It was going to be about Kevin Walsh.
If you caught yesterday’s post about Pretty & Nice and their fantastic new release, Us You All We, you already know that Walsh is the drummer who played on 3 of the EP’s 4 tracks. (OK, OK, so technically he’s on all 4, given his vocal contribution to “Hibernate,” but now you’re just being difficult.) I got to see Walsh play with Pretty & Nice 3 times over the course of the last few years, and each occasion felt momentous, like I wasn’t just watching something — I was witnessing it. Such a combination of speed and control should be impossible, yet there it was, an incontrovertible reality unfolding right before my eyes. I’ll never forget it.
He’s since parted ways with Pretty & Nice, but lucky for us, he’s playing with a new Boston-based group — The Most Americans. Not only are they the proprietors of a kickass band name, the greatest drummer I’ve ever seen and a hilarious installment of patriotic pictures on their Facebook page (the bacon dyed to look like an American flag is a personal favorite), they’re also the proprietors of a super cool pair of demo tracks, released just last month as An American Demo in Brighton, MA, U.S.A. It’s an impressive opening salvo, and I encourage you to check out/download the fantastic second track, “Cassius,” below. But before you listen, I feel obligated to warn you about something. The lyric that comes just before the 2-minute mark — “The king of the world was not a killer of kings” — will get stuck in your head, and you will listen to the song over and over again to scratch the itch.