"I probably like about five percent of what they did"
Baker, who has never been shy when it comes to taking shots at the bands of his generation, singled out Zeppelin drummer John Bonham in particular, asserting that he wasn’t “anywhere near what I am. He wasn’t a musician”.
When asked by Forbes if he considered the hard rock four-piece to be a “good” band that came from Cream’s influences, Baker responded, “Jimmy’s [Page] a good player. I don’t think Led Zeppelin filled the void that Cream left, but they made a lot of money. I probably like about five percent of what they did – a couple of things were really cool. What I don’t like is the heavy bish-bash, jing-bap, jing-bash bullshit.
“Years ago, John said, ‘There are two drummers in rock and roll, Ginger Baker and me’. There’s no way John was anywhere near what I am. He wasn’t a musician. A lot of people don’t realize I studied. I can write music. I used to write big band parts in 1960, ’61. I felt that if I was a drummer, I needed to learn to read drum music. I was so good at side reading, a guy in one of the big bands told me to get two books. I studied them at the same time. One was about the rules of basic harmony, the other how to break them all [laughs].”
But Baker reserved most of his scorn for heavy metal as he attempted to distance Cream from the genre their credited as being an important influence over. “These people that dress up in spandex trousers with all the extraordinary makeup – I find it incredibly repulsive, always have. I’ve seen where Cream is sort of held responsible for the birth of heavy metal. Well, I would definitely go for aborting [laughs].
“I loathe and detest heavy metal. I think it is an abortion. A lot of these guys come up and say, ‘Man, you were my influence, the way you thrashed the drums’. They don’t seem to understand I was thrashing in order to hear what I was playing. It was anger, not enjoyment – and painful. I suffered on stage because of that [high amplifier] volume crap. I didn’t like it then, and like it even less now.”