The director of a new film profiling Ginger Baker is interviewed in the new issue of Uncut (dated January 2013, and out now), explaining why the Cream drummer broke his nose during filming… As a companion piece, this week’s archive feature finds Baker’s former bandmate, Eric Clapton, providing a painfully frank account of his days in Cream – psychedelic drugs, 24-hour confrontations and their love of Pet Sounds included.
Uncut: It’s often said that the model for the power-trio style of Cream was Buddy Guy’s band. Is that how you recall it?
Eric Clapton: I’d seen Buddy live and it was unbelievable. He was in total command and I thought, “This is it.” So yes. That’s where the idea came from. It seemed to me you could do anything with a trio – at least if you were a genius and a maestro like Buddy Guy. I was suffering from delusions of grandeur in that direction.
After the Bluesbreakers album, the “Clapton Is God” graffiti was already starting to appear round London, wasn’t it? Around that period, yes. But I don’t take back what I say about delusions of grandeur, because once I stepped into the reality of trying to realise my musical vision with Cream, it just disappeared. On the first day of rehearsal with Jack and Ginger it was obvious to me that I didn’t have what it took.