‘We never had any time’: Jack Bruce says overscheduling, not internal squabbling, killed Cream

For all of their many arguments, accusations and on-stage antics, Cream really broke up because of bad management, bassist Jack Bruce says. Having issued three albums in four years, and toured incessantly through 1968, they simply burned out.

“We never really had a chance to regroup — or even get a sound system together, all the little things that make touring possible,” Bruce tells Hudson Union Society. “It hadn’t been done before, really, in the way that we were doing it. We were making it up as we went along.”

Back then, Cream would show up at a sports arena with a skeleton crew of just three people to assemble their equipment, much of which was still not developed enough to adequately reproduce their ferocious flights of musical fancy.

At one point, as the legend goes, guitarist Eric Clapton actually stopped playing — and Bruce and their idiosyncratic drummer Ginger Baker, in the midst of a pitched improvisational battle, never noticed. And yet, the albums and the concert dates just kept coming.

“I think it was quite stressful,” Bruce adds. “If we would have had a better manager, he would have said: ‘Look, take some time off — and write some songs as a band.’ That was the other thing, the songs were all mostly written by myself and (English poet) Pete (Brown, who co-wrote “White Room”). I would have loved to have written more, as a band. But we never had any time to do that.”

Cream later regrouped for a series of shows in 2005 — but, by then, each of the members had developed their own solo careers. It’s also said that old resentments remained. At any rate, the band hasn’t played together since.

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