Drugs and jazz…


Ginger Baker early 60s

I’m sure that many times drugs played a major part in the many arguments my parents had, though of course in my earliest memories it was just upset at ‘bad feeling’ I had no idea what it meant or what had caused it. Later I came to understand what would set off the carnage and that in some was ways was worse because I knew where it was headed and where it would end; in violence. Mum would get black eyes and use the old chestnut excuse that she’d ‘walked into a door.’ She sported other bruises too. Yet she says now ‘I gave as good as I got’ and fondly remembers an incident when they were beating each other with lumps of wood when naked. In fights with his current wife my Dad says, ‘it’s just like Liz and I’. To them alone it is some warped expression of love.


Drug problems were of course at the root of many disagreements and the use of drugs made everything more emotional and certainly darker. During the Graham Bond years, my father made his first of many attempts to get straight and took me with him ‘up to London’ to Wimpole street to see the doctor who prescribed to many addicts, Lady Frankau. We waited for the bus that day on Neasden Lane where a low brick wall borders the shrub filled garden of a square and wholly unremarkable three-story apartment block.


Dad held my hand as I walked along the length of the wall, then sat me on his shoulders at the bus-stop where we sang ‘bus, bus hurry up’ together. He was excited at the prospect of collecting his script and getting high. Yet he maintains that after Lady Frankau had praised me as a ‘beautiful child’ he looked at my face and ditched the precious script on the way home. He then attempted to do a tour of the North of England whilst going ‘cold turkey.’ When he returned he went back to Lady Frankau and asked for help to withdraw using a process he tried on every occasion he got ‘messed up’ again. This involved the use of a drug called ‘physeptone’, though to me it is a ‘word’ I’m familiar with hearing very often throughout my childhood and beyond. The difficulties of withdrawal and stresses of running a band and dealing with family life only increased the conflict at home.

3 thoughts on “Drugs and jazz…

  1. I´m So Glad, I´m So Glad… to have found this blog! I will follow it closely here from Sweden. As I wrote on your facebook, You Are The Reason… I´m playing the drums. I´ve always dreamed of taking lesson from you!

  2. White Room, my all time favorite…Thanks for this great song. As I am a drummer you truely inspired me with your fantastic, fanstastic drumming. Many Many thanks 2 u, Mr Baker!

  3. hi ginger, its nice to hear graham name again,he was a good friend of mine back in the day, i met him thru a mutual friend song writer billy gilson,what happened to grahams beautiful daughter,u also met you ginger in days when we had our problems with drugs,clean now 23yrs, did in the field, had a spell working in harrow,last time we met was at pansy potters, real name dave driscoll, dont know what become of him,seen you play so many times behind what was the biggest drum kit in the world. take care pete

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