I always thought a rock journalist's worst gig was interviewing Lou Reed who once reduced a Guardian feature writer to tears. That was until I read Mark Ellen's interview with Cream drumming legend Ginger Baker in the current issue of The Word. Here is a sample:
Ellen: Why did you move to South Africa?
Baker: It's a long, long story.
Ellen: Well don't feel you have to tell me if it's a long story.
Baker: No, I'll tell you it. I married an American and..(Ellen informs The Word readers: this answer lasts exactly 15 minutes and 20 seconds. Any attempt to reroute Ginger from this saga is greeted with "You asked me why I ended up in South Africa and I am trying to fucking tell you alright?" Here are a few key phrases- fill in the gaps...) Green card, drug busts in 1971, Canadian border, waiver, deported, stable girl was illegal alien, knock on door, handcuffs, strip-searched in jail, thugs, dogs, guns, "You get that fucking gun out, boy and you're dead!", subpoena, investigation, best immigration lawyer in Denver, deported, found guilty of knowingly employing an illegal alien, $2,000 dollar fine, costly dental work, implant, wife, bad things, READ MY BOOK! "lost all my Cream money in Nigeria in 1975", Ireland, tax thing, "can visit UK but can't live here as they will JUMP on me", Dominican Republic, Christian/Muslim bullshit, South Africa operation on leg, nerve cut open, taking the muscle out and sticking it back again."I'm TRYING to answer your questions but you keep going off on fucking TANGENTS!" money transfers going astray, "huge fucking fraud/sex scandal in South Africa which I am not allowed to discuss for legal reasons", Cape Town.
The interview is not available online. You have to buy a copy of The Word to read it, but it's well worth it.