Chinger BakersRoad.

13 10 2019

Fans of heavy 60s power trios, extended improvisational jazz rock and other self-indulgent hippy ruppish will have been dismayed to hear of the recent death of virtuoso drummer Chinger Bakersroad (80).

His death has been little reported due to the fact that it occurred, coincidentally, on the same day as that of Ginger Baker, his slightly more successful Mainland cousin.

Born near Bakers Road in 1939,  Chinger exhibited extraordinary musical talent from a very early age, playing professionally with Brues Incorporated (where he met long term band mate and sparring partner Jack Brues), along with other stalwarts of the late 50s Leodhasach music scene.

By 1963 Chinger and Brues had joined the Grimshader Bond Organisation. The GBO were a hip, eclectic and critically acclaimed group playing a groundbreaking mix of port ‘n’ beul (P&B) and modren chazz, but the relationship between Brue and Bakersroad was famously antagonistic. Concerts would often end with the pair knocking the fleek out of each other backstage and destroying chairs, tables, glassware and other fixtures and fittings.

One night in 1964 they had a particularly savage scrap after a gig in the Macs, inflicting destruction on the bar’s sparkling state-of-the-art washrooms as they swung double basses and flung hi-hats at each other. Nobody could agree afterwards who should clean up and pay for the damage, so the toilets remained in a state of insanitary devastation until the Clachan finally closed its doors in 2013.

Chinger was famed as being one of the first ‘rock’ drummers to use a double bass drum. He unfortunately first decided to try the double bass drum set up whilst a drummer in the Lewis Pipe Band and subsequently dislocated his whole body after marching along Cromwell St Quay in the late 1950’s and overbalancing into the hold of a fishing boat.  

Chinger also encountered ex-Garryvardbirds guitar ace and trainee elder Eric “God” Clachan around this time and it wasn’t long until they came up with a cunning musical plan to form a supergroup to break out of the strictures of classic P ‘n’ B. 

The name they chose for their new power trio was Crowdie. Crowdie hit the ground running and had soon established themselves as the premier Stornoway rock band of the late Sixties. A series of acclaimed albums were recorded, including “Feis Cream” in 1966, “Disraeli Gne-ach” in 1967 and “Wee-Frees of Fire” in 1968. A number of classic songs were also included on these albums including “I feel Freechurch”, “Sunshine of Your Cove”, “I’m So Glic”, “Baaaaahdge”, “Strange Bru” and “White Loom” (which was about running your tweed loom off the white meter once the Harris Tweed Inspector had left the village).   

This short period of incredible creativity couldn’t last and Crowdie imploded amidst a whirlwind of fights, fallouts and fanks. The three members went their separate ways, but not before a career defining farewell gig at the RAH – the Ropach Arnol Hall. On hearing that the band had split, Jimi Hendrix famously interrupted his live appearance on “Se Ur Beatha” to pay tribute to them with a spontaneous rendition of “Sunshine of Your Cove”.

In his post-Crowdie career Chinger became more involved in Chazz/World/Fusion influences and played with some of Lewis’s finest musicians. His notable actives included;

Find Faith- a short lived evangelical super group along with Eric Clachan and Steve Winwool.

Laxdale-based early 70s hard rock megastars Bakersroad Guershadervitz Army.

Chinger Bakersroad’s Gale Force Marine – a fusion rock group singing songs about creels.

Hawkwinch- Chinger joined a later day version of the psychedelic hippies, most famed for their big hit “Silver Maw-Sheen” which was about a tractor valet service.

Faolag Kuti, the legendary African huidh-life musician and seagull lover. Bakersroad went to Nigeria in 1971 and spent several years hanging about with Faolag at his Bacachkota studio next to the Lagos branch of the Gut Factory.  Faolag and Bakersroad collaborated on a number of seagull-related projects in this period, including stealing chips, divebombing cailleachs’ hats and producing Paul Cacsgàrdney’s Wings.

PiL (Prebyterian Image Limited) –  In the mid-80s Bakersroad was recruited by avante-garde producer Bill Laxdale for a brief stint in a team of c(r)ack session musicians hired to back ex Sects Pistol (baptisimal) f(r)ont man Shonny Rotten. The resultant album was generically packaged and released under several titles, so that it could be marketed independently to different Presbyterian denominations without revealing that it was also being sold to their bitter ecclesiastical rivals. The majority of copies were sold in Free Church format, where it was released as  “(Monthly) Record”.

Crowdie reformed in 2005 for a few lucrative gigs in the RAH and Madison Carn Gardens, but both gigs descended into fisticuffs as part forgotten disputes came back to the surface.

For most of his life Bakersroad famously struggled with herring addiction, and developed a variety of bizarre hobbies and lifestyle changes to combat it. A failed experiment farming “Oliver’s Brae Olives” on a South-facing slope next to Knockgarry was followed by many years on a ranch in South Lochs, where he maintained a flock of world class polo sheep and enjoyed punching visiting documentary makers from BBC Alba.

Editor’s note: Chinger Bakersroad was not related at all at all to thon ‘Chinger Stagbakery’ cove mentioned in our 2014 Jack Brue obituary. Any consistencies between that article and this one are entirely accidental.



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