Ginger Baker’s Son Recalls Their Final Meeting
The lifelong feud between Ginger Baker and his son Kofi was resolved before the Cream icon’s death earlier this month, Kofi said.
He was able to spend some time with his father a few days before he passed, and took the opportunity to finally say “I love you” to the infamously difficult artist.
“I used to say to my girlfriend, ‘When he dies, I’m going to feel nothing,’” Kofi told Rolling Stone in a new interview. “I really didn’t think I’d feel anything. The asshole had to open up to me right before he died. I think if he’d stayed an asshole to me, maybe, it would be easier. But I didn’t think it would affect me the way if affected me.”
He recalled an argument during his teenage years when Ginger told him he didn’t care about him at all, and that the words had hung over him throughout his life. However, Kofi had already decided that he wanted to tell his dad how he really felt before hearing the news that he was in hospital.
“I sat quietly with him at first, then just thought, ‘What the fuck? I’ve got all this stuff I want to tell him.’ … I said to him, ‘Hey, I’m learning 'Blue Condition' and I’m doing your stuff. … Dad, I’m carrying on. I’m keeping everything you taught me, all the secrets and everything. I’m going to keep it going as well as I can now.’ And he just smiled, and it was just amazing.
“It was like his eyes lit up, and I told him stories about the past and everything, like the time he was smoking a cigarette while he’s pouring gasoline all over me, and I’m holding a funnel pouring into the truck… It was so amazing to actually connect with my dad.” He added: “I don’t know if people change right before they die. I think he knew he was going to die, and I think he relaxed at the fact that he could be himself. He just dropped that hard exterior. … Underneath all that temper and stuff I thought he was a really loving person. I just don’t think he could say it to me.”
A few hours after Baker’s death, Kofi had to be on stage with Music of Cream, the band that also features Jack Bruce’s son Malcolm and Eric Clapton’s nephew Will Johns. “It was really hard,” Kofi said. “If my dad is up there, wherever you go when you die, is he looking down on me? Is he seeing this extra stuff I’m adding? But the conversation I had with him, it seemed like he was just happy that I was doing it. But every time I thought about my dad that night, it was so hard to play. The drum solo was really hard. It was a really emotional thing.”
Kofi believes Ginger’s death came about when “the whole body was just saying ‘enough’” and added that he’d “just faded off to sleep.” He added: “I’m happy that he went in a good way, but I’m sad I didn’t get one more day with him. I’m just so happy that I got to hold his hand.”