Kofi Baker (son of the late Ginger Baker), Malcolm Bruce (son of Jack Bruce) and Will Johns (son of Andy Johns and nephew of Eric Clapton) bring the incredible legacy of 60s band Cream back to life. An immersive multimedia experience show of electrifying live music, interplayed with archive footage of the original band, unseen interviews and personal anecdotes from the trio growing up with the legends who were CREAM.
Cream was a musical and chemical explosion, born in the 60s out of one of the most creative eras in history. In two short years, the band catapulted from their electrifying debut album Fresh Cream to the international stage. Cream created the blueprint for every supergroup to follow and developed a sound like no other before. Hendrix, Zeppelin, Purple soon employed the same musical chemistry, with long-lasting effect. Fifty years since their blues experimental debut classic, the bloodlines of that hallowed trilogy come together to pay tribute to Cream’s four-album reign over the psychedelic frontier of the late 1960s.
Kofi Baker, Malcolm Bruce unite with Will Johns to unleash the sound that roused a generation. Re-igniting the power and freedom of classics ‘Sunshine Of Your Love’, ‘Strange Brew’, ‘White Room’, ‘Spoonful’ and ‘Badge’ – performed by the next generation of Cream, accomplished musicians in their own right whose lives and upbringing have been steeped in the Cream legacy.
The Music of Cream is a unique concert salute to most explosive groups of all time, in the hands of those that knew them best. A multimedia experience, Kofi and Malcolm interplay live with their fathers on the big screen. Classic moments in rock history with Clapton are brought back to life by his nephew Will Johns. A truly immersive experience for Cream lovers, Intimate and performed by close family members of the original band with their skilled musicianship.
As a schoolboy, I was an avid Cream and Clapton fan. Bought the albums and even saw the Blind Faith concert in Hyde Park. I jumped at the chance to speak with guitarist Will Johns about family life, the blues and the current tour. Will, being the son of legendary recording engineer and producer Andy Johns (the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix), had had a significant impact on Will’s career, as did having the late George Harrison as an uncle when he married Will’s Aunty Pattie.
What was like growing up in a musical fraternity?
Well, I lived in a basement flat and weekends and holidays were spent visiting uncle Eric (Clapton). I remember him picking me up in his Ferrari at school where I would take great pleasure in waving at my pals. So I would be taken away, dipped into the musical batter so to speak, then returned to my other single parent struggling lifestyle. It was a funny mixed bag lifestyle.
Will picked up a guitar at the age of 10 but properly got going at the age of 15. “At that point, I was living in south-west Ireland, a bit of a loner. I taught myself by trial and error. I played along with cassettes. Then someone showed me a blues scale, and it all made sense. My mother was sceptical of my progress and challenged me to improve. I took on the challenge, and it was the best encouragement.”
When did you meet with Kofi and Malcolm?
One of my first bands was the Tramline, and I was gigging around London. We did a show in South Kensington, which is where I met Malcolm; he was in the support band. Co-incidentally Eric came to that gig; I was about seventeen. I met Koffi fairly recently. We have got to know each other very well now and are firm pals.
Where did the idea of the Music of Cream tour originate?
It came from Kofi, after playing various tribute concerts he reached out to lifelong friend Malcolm to form the three-piece. I wasn’t involved with the original line-up but was invited later to sit in with them. I was thrilled and flattered to be asked. It was the start of the process, and the synergy between us was undeniable. Moving forward, we’re playing their music but on our slant and angle, very much honouring and respecting the music. The instruments have moved on and developed too.
We discuss the band playing as a three-piece format. Will:
“Yes, it’s so perfect. The inspirations and musical ideas and intentions are so quick and psychic. The three-piece is complete, lots of improvisations, and it’s always fresh and different. We explore the repertoire of Cream’s music through improvisations; we continuously strive to make it more fun, entertaining and slick. The projections also add another dimension; especially Mark Rubenstein’s images, the family photos and stories that we share. We are making it the best show possible. There is an archive sequence of Ginger Baker playing the drums, and the actual drum sounds are coming from Kofi in sync, it’s quite trippy. I’m sticking my neck here, but I feel that Kofi’s musicianship, rhythmically and sonically has surpassed that of his father, that’s saying something of his talent and work ethic.”
As the son of the legendary Ginger Baker, Kofi has a name synonymous with drumming excellence. He first performed live with Ginger on the iconic BBC TV show, ‘The Old Grey Whistle Test’, proving at six years of age that he had inherited his father’s talents. He has played the drums with behind Jack Bruce, John Lennon and Steve Marriot. He joined Malcolm Bruce and Will Johns for the inaugural Music of Cream 50th Anniversary Tour in Australia and New Zealand in 2007, playing to almost 8000 people over seven nights.
Bassist Malcolm Bruce is a composer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and engineer. He grew up in the thick of rock royalty and, via the Guildhall School of Music, began playing professionally at sixteen years of age. He has shared studios and appeared on recordings with Little Richard, Elton John, Eric Clapton, DR John and Joe Bonamassa, and recorded and performed with his father in the UK, US and Europe.