Why Eric Clapton didn’t want Ginger Baker in Blind Faith?

ginger baker and eric clapton

Cream called it quits at the end of 1968. Despite sacrificing their cohesiveness, the blues rock power trio had toiled for over two years to become one of the most well-known bands worldwide. In particular, Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce’s altercations had grown more regular and physical, with Eric Clapton frequently serving as a go-between.

Cream formally broke up following a run of farewell performances at the Royal Albert Hall. Finding his next project quickly, Clapton teamed up with Traffic singer Steve Winwood for some informal jam sessions. After the pair’s actions were eventually discovered by the music press, they started to report that a new group between the two was forming. When Ginger Baker learned of this, he made the decision to become a part of the project.

Baker later remarked, “Stevie and I got along wonderfully, musically”. He was among the best musicians I’ve ever collaborated with. I was unaware at the time that Eric most likely would have preferred to collaborate with Jim Capaldi. My relationship with Eric is peculiar in that, although I consider him to be my closest sibling. We have never been able to discuss personal matters. For instance, he never clarified why he preferred it all to be far more low-key than Cream had been.

“Steve and I were smoking joints and jamming at the cottage when we heard a knock at the door,” Clapton wrote in his 2007 autobiography. Ginger was the one. He had discovered what we were up to and had managed to locate us. Ginger’s arrival scared me because I thought we were officially a band now. That meant the whole Stigwood apparatus and all the publicity surrounding Cream would follow.

Similar thoughts of a promise made to Bruce during Cream’s demise also affected Clapton. He had promised to invite the third musician as well if any of the other two performed together again. Although Baker’s skill was a valuable addition to the lineup, Clapton made every effort to get Winwood to allow them to hire a different drummer.

Winwood said to Mojo, “I had to persuade Eric to let Ginger join”. “We had previously performed together, and as a drummer, I greatly respected and enjoyed working with him. I didn’t understand at the time how much of Cream revolved around Ginger and Eric’s interactions. I was aware that Ginger was a heavy drug user, but I did not know the potential damage from it.

In the end, Blind Faith was only around for a few months. In 1969, Clapton was done, and with Winwood’s approval, he decided to dissolve the group after just one album and one tour. It would be some time after his return from vacation in Jamaica before Baker learned of the band’s breakup.

1 comment
  1. I always liked Ginger’s playing but I don’t like much of what he did in ‘Faith. When Ginger’s in a band it seems he always makes it a drum band.

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