Tony Iommi spoke recently on Black Sabbath’s new album 13 and replacing original drummer Bill Ward. When the topic of Ginger Baker came up, let’s just say he was…vague.
Iommi spoke with WWeek, and said producer Rick Rubin proposed the idea of recruiting the former Cream drummer.
“Rick suggested Ginger Baker, which we put a stop on,” he said. “We didn’t think Ginger Baker would have been…we didn’t want to go in the studio and have, um, problems. And we did try some big-name drummers, some very big-name drummers.”
What exactly is Iommi referring to when he says they didn’t want “problems”? Perhaps he’s referring to Baker’s eclectic drumming style, which over the course of his career has incorporated jazz and world music. Baker’s style did influence Bill Ward at least a little bit, though, which is probably why Rubin suggested him in the first place.
Maybe they were just worried about clashing of egos. That would explain why they recruited Rage Against The Machine drummer Brad Wilk instead of one of their classic rock peers. They preferred an accomplished but lesser known drummer over someone whom you could classify as a drumming “legend”.
Whatever the reason for turning down Baker, the album turned out pretty good anyway. So no harm, no foul, unless there’s something else we’re not hearing about…