Hoopla

Cream again rising to the top

David Geraghty photo

Music of Cream rises to the top with the next generation, coming to the Paramount Theatre in Cedar Rapids on Saturday (11/10). Band members are (from left) guitarist Will Johns, Eric Clapton’s nephew by marriage; bassist Malcom Bruce, son of Jack Bruce; and drummer Kofi Baker, son of Ginger Baker.
David Geraghty photo Music of Cream rises to the top with the next generation, coming to the Paramount Theatre in Cedar Rapids on Saturday (11/10). Band members are (from left) guitarist Will Johns, Eric Clapton’s nephew by marriage; bassist Malcom Bruce, son of Jack Bruce; and drummer Kofi Baker, son of Ginger Baker.

The sons of late iconic rock stars forming bands in tribute to their late fathers is hardly unique.

Dweezil Zappa has fronted Zappa Plays Zappa for years as a tip of the cap to his late father, Frank Zappa. Zappa delivers his father’s music in a note-for-note manner.

“I look at what Frank created as classical music,” Zappa said. “I can’t change what he wrote.”

Jason Bonham plays Led Zeppelin in the memory of father John Bonham’s contribution to Led Zeppelin. Bonham, a drummer, just like his dad, also is reverential when it comes to Zeppelin.

However, The Music of Cream is different. The band — composed of vocalist-bassist Malcolm Bruce, son of Jack Bruce; drummer Kofi Baker, son of Ginger Baker; and guitarist Will Johns, Eric Clapton’s nephew by marriage — actually jam on Cream favorites.

“Cream never played a song the same way,” Bruce said by phone from Richmond, Va. “We’re honoring their music but we’re not replicating every note. I get what Dweezil Zappa is doing. He’s a fantastic musician. We just have different approaches. I’m sure my father would be fine with it.”

Jack Bruce died in 2014. His Cream bandmates are still alive and approve of The Music of Cream project.

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“Kofi’s father is fine with it,” Bruce said. “Will spoke with his uncle, and Eric Clapton, who is a very private person, quietly has given our band his approval. We’re keeping the music of Cream alive. We’re having fun jamming and improvising and also playing some of the songs straightforward. There is nothing like playing classic Cream, like ‘White Room’ and ‘We’re Going Wrong.’”

The trio, performing Saturday (11/10) at the Paramount Theatre in Cedar Rapids, will jam in front of footage of the original band on a big screen, along with never-before-seen video and photos.

“It’s a reminder of a great band,” Bruce said. “There’s nothing like Cream. This show will trigger a lot of memories for people.”

Bruce wasn’t born when Cream existed. However, he remembers his father playing music around his London home.

“Records were always on in our house and then we had guests come over, like (guitar hero) Allan Holdsworth and (drummer) Tony Williams. My dad loved to play with those guys. I would hear him play live and I heard the Cream records when I was a kid. I loved those songs as a kid and they still resonate with me.”

Bruce knew he would follow in his father’s footsteps.

“I wanted to become a musician from as long as I can remember,” he said. “My dad was all for it. However, he didn’t pay for everything for me. He wanted me to earn it. He came from a working-class background. He challenged me. I studied classical music and I’m writing an opera at the moment.”

But the Music of Cream is Bruce’s focal point.

“This is our priority,” he said. “I’m so happy we’re doing it. I look out into the audience and I can see how much they’re enjoying it.”

Bruce also witnessed the power of Cream from the audience. He attended the 2005 reunion shows in London and New York.

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“That was amazing, since my dad couldn’t have been prouder,” Bruce said. “It was now or never for a reunion then. My dad had a liver transplant (in 2003). The three of them realized they should do a reunion in case somebody wasn’t around anymore. They kept the music going and now we’re doing the same.”

The Music of Cream, which debuted in Australia in 2017, still is in its infancy. By the time the musicians perform in Cedar Rapids, they will have fewer than 30 shows under their belt.

“It’s still early for us as a band,” Bruce said. “Who knows what we can do?”

The Music of Cream might have to change its name since the trio plans to release original material.

“We’re making our own music,” Bruce said. “We recorded some demos that show so much promise. We would love to do a record of new stuff. But we also would like to continue playing Cream songs. There was never a band like Cream.”

GET OUT!

WHAT: The Music of Cream

WHERE: Paramount Theatre, 123 Third Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids

WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday (11/10)

TICKETS: $35 to $175 VIP, Paramount Ticket Office, (319) 366-8203 or Paramounttheatrecr.com

BAND’S WEBSITE: Musicofcream.com

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We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

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