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Cream Alumnus Has Hippie Flashback

Of the Oakland Press

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He played for them in the late ’60s with Cream, but Jack Bruce does not, and has never, considered himself a hippie.

“I never really felt a part of that,” says the singer and bass virtuoso, who formed the “supergroup” with guitarist Eric Clapton and drummer Ginger Baker and is part of this summer’s Hippiefest tour. “I think we were probably too old to be hippies; we were almost between the Beat time and the hippie thing. But when (Cream) got to San Francisco in ’67, there was a lot of that going on, so I think we were hippies by default.”

Nevertheless, Bruce, 65, is not at all surprised that Cream’s fusion of free jazz, blues and rock went over as well as it did in the psychedelic era.

“There was a freeing of people’s kind of consciousnesses back then,” he notes. “I think Ginger and myself brought the free jazz influence to rock, and Eric certainly brought the blues — not that there hadn’t been other people doing things like that, but I think

we were the first band that got a lot of

attention for doing it.”

And even though he’s had a rich career since Cream broke up in 1968, Bruce is sticking to the group’s material for his Hippiefest appearances.

“I thought about doing a (Spinal Tap’s) Derek Smalls and doing a 40-minute free jazz thing, but I don’t think that’d go down too well,” Bruce said with a laugh, adding that Cream may play again at an October ceremony in London when Baker will be receiving a Drummers Achievement Award by cymbal maker Zildjian.

“I think (Cream) is obviously what I have to do, and I enjoy doing the songs. People haven’t heard them a lot live, so if this is a chance for them to do that, I’m happy to play them.”

Hippiefest, featuring Jack Bruce of Cream, Eric Burdon & the Animals, Melanie, Badfinger featuring Joey Molland and Terry Sylvester of the Hollies, plays at 7 p.m. Saturday (Aug. 2) at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $35.50 pavilion, $10 lawn. Call (248) 377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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