“I had a lot of support from older drummers, like Phil Seamen, and later I met the great Americans, like Max Roach and Art Blakey and Alvin Jones.
They accepted me and I played alongside them and it was very rewarding,” he says, banging the chair for emphasis.
Later, he was a regular at Ronnie Scott’s, until his growing heroin habit prompted club owner Pete King to throw him out.
As he reminisces, names now only remembered by serious enthusiasts come tumbling out: Acker Bilk, Terry Lightfoot, Diz Disley.
He’s the embodiment of the hell-raising rocker, the man once voted “the rock star least likely to survive the Sixties”, who left behind him a string of wrecked cars, failed marriages and busted supergroups.
He has almost destroyed himself, too, with a drug habit he only kicked in the Eighties.
Talking about those early days prompts Baker to tell the story of how he first became aware he was a drummer.