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Published: 2014/06/27

Eric Clapton: "The road has become unbearable"

In a new interview with Uncut magazine, Eric Clapton revealed he is considering retiring from the road. “The road has become unbearable,” the guitarist told the magazine. “It’s become unapproachable, because it takes so long to get anywhere. It’s hostile – everywhere: getting in and out of airports, traveling on planes and in cars.”

In a previous interview with Rolling Stone last year, Clapton mentioned that when he turns 70, he will stop touring. Now, with his 70th birthday fast-approaching, the statement seems to be turning into reality. “For me, the struggle is the travel,” he notes. “And the only way you can beat that is by throwing so much money at it that you make a loss.”

As far as a Cream reunion is concerned, Clapton said that he hasn’t spoken to bandmates Jack Bruce or Ginger Baker for “quite a time” and that there hasn’t “been any line of dialogue between any of us—or between me and them—since the American affair.” He added that, “At this time in my life, I don’t want blood on my hands! I don’t want to be part of some kind of tragic confrontation.”


There are 37 comments associated with this post

jamesdinct June 27, 2014, 14:05:04

You know I really like Clapton’s music for the most part. But jeez he really seems like somewhat of a wimp. I mean he is an old man now basically so I guess maybe he has earned it? But has his life been that hard? Can traveling first class, with millions upon millions of dollars available to you, and being treated like a god everywhere really be that tuff? I travel a lot for work in the coach class being more or less broke and while its not always super comfortable and can get exhausting it’s not that bad. I am the last person to hate online behind a screen but I am getting a little bummed about the attitude of a guy I always appreciated.

J June 27, 2014, 14:05:43

Just do residencies man

dave the slave June 27, 2014, 14:11:26

If he wants to retire good for him. He has earned it.

Joshua June 27, 2014, 14:38:26

He can’t travel by private plane at this point? Wimpy to say the least. “Throwing money at the problem” implies he doesn’t want give up some of the profits by pinching pennies & slumming it in First Class!

jon June 27, 2014, 14:48:49

what 70 year old DOESN’T want to retire? if he plays pay to go see him. if he doesn’t want to play what difference does it make to you?

DJ Damage June 27, 2014, 15:09:56

Whoa ho ho “jon”...obviously it makes some sort of difference to jamesdinct & Joshua. No kidding, retiring at 70 is his choice, but don’t be such a dick to the folks who mourn his decision.
The DJ.

Chucky cheese string June 27, 2014, 15:23:18

The problem nowadays in the music industry is that you can really only make the big $$ by touring. But as people have said above, I am sure he is well off at this point. He probably should not do these huge tours. Do 5 nights in NYC, 5 in Chicago, and some in CA. Look at Billy Joel now. He plays MSG every month, and will continue to do so until no one wants to see him any more. I hear these shows are sold out through October.

ERICCRABOOOOOCLAPTON June 27, 2014, 15:31:27

I say get back on smack and lighten up! Clapton is a big CRABOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! U have more money than god! Lighten the fuck up! U have private piliots and drivers etc. Just sit there and take a nap between rides to the venue and hotels etc. Quit complaining there are so many unfortunate people out there and all u do is bitch!

Clive Bigsby June 27, 2014, 15:49:30

Well, there goes my chance to see Slow Hands…oh well.

Paul June 27, 2014, 16:11:51

He has such a large catalog of music, that he could travel quite a bit less and play smaller theaters multiple night with a varying set list.

Mark June 27, 2014, 16:20:11

I would venture to guess that Clapton has it better than most bands when it comes to travel…he should stop complaining

Bigwave Dave June 27, 2014, 16:34:20

Clapton owes nobody nuthin.
Customs, entourages, it can wear on a guy.
So many have tried to keep going only to become pathetic caricatures of their former selves.
He’s great. Let him go out as that.

clive bugsby June 27, 2014, 16:40:31

Oh well , Trey is so much better anyway.

Shawn June 27, 2014, 16:42:59

I think the point about travel was that to do it lavishly kills the profit margin. Those private jets and first class seats do not come cheap my friends… and I can only imagine the mobs that he might attract every time he steps out of whatever he’s in… and lets remember these shows require alot of personnel. I don’t think any of us can quite comprehend what it would be like to travel as a 70 year old Slowhand… lighten up folks.

Clive is a dork June 27, 2014, 17:28:00

trey is a dork like me…..

Monte Raff June 27, 2014, 20:01:19

Trey …..Who …..better stop smoking so much weed …..Are you f#*king serious …...Comparing Trey to Clapton …...Now I heard it all !!!

Michael June 27, 2014, 22:09:09

Retiring at 70? Hard to argue with that.

JR June 27, 2014, 23:30:44

Didn’t he say the same thing 5-10 years ago?

Allman Bros June 28, 2014, 05:31:23

Eric…retire then….people move on in life….You are a great musician,just record new music…and by the way Trey does not even come close to Mr.Clapton.

His Son June 28, 2014, 07:26:53

Throwing that idea out the window too…

Not serious June 28, 2014, 07:59:39

Retire? Guess he has never played for the love of music. Only money.

Space June 28, 2014, 11:54:32

its no big loss- judging from his recent monitor problems- aka recorded background music or vocals not synching up, what you see is not what you are getting these days anyway….
I think I was watching the concert for Geroge or some other live video and he missed a vocal queue. Why bother going out on stage then? $

Jerryh June 28, 2014, 12:08:44

Which proves again Phil Lesh is A warrior!!!!!

mb June 28, 2014, 14:04:44

Didn’t Phil just retire from touring a few months ago? Speaking as someone over fifty, I bet that the people criticizing Eric for being a wimp are all under forty. They don’t get it yet, but they will. Finally, any one who doesn’t think that Trey could play circles around Clapton at this point hasn’t listened very closely to either one.

Dave the Slave June 28, 2014, 20:41:43

Eric Clapton is ground breaking Hall of Fame guitarist. Trey will never come close to him. Clapton was in Cream. Trey is in Phish. See the difference.

adam thomas June 29, 2014, 01:12:35

give me a break, like he plays that many dates a year. Be smarter about how you tour. You dont’t really HAVE to tour. The bluesmen you have stolen from your whole career, never had it so great. You had a two hour slot at Jazz Fest and you only played for an hour and a half? your a baby and the stones are laughing at you

Clive Bigsby June 29, 2014, 10:00:45

Phish was way better at Jazz Fest.

mike June 29, 2014, 21:44:53

Trey is a realllly good noodler. But he isn’t qualified to cut clapton’s yard…

mb June 30, 2014, 08:57:17

If he cut Clapton’s yard he would definitely shred it! I grew up idolizing Eric Clapton. He was the man. For my tastes, his last great album was Slowhand and that came out in 1977. He is a master guitarist. His tone is awesome and his playing is fluid and tasteful. The thing I love about Trey, is that he is able to play a wide range of styles. He’s like Clapton, Hendrix, Garcia and Fripp all rolled into one. Phish haters gonna hate. I for one, enjoy hearing them re-interpret the sounds of the seventies with a sound all their own. Prog rock meets Americana! Maybe he’s not as “good/great” as Eric Clapton, but he sure is a lot more interesting. Just my opinion.

todd June 30, 2014, 10:55:19

Reading the responses here makes you realize what idiots most people are. What is it with people wanting musicians to stay on the road forever. Just do 5 night stands in this and that city? Unbelievable. Why the heck do people want rock bands or performers to last forever. It is almost creepy. Dude has earned the right to do whatever he wants including not playing anymore.

Jeff Martin June 30, 2014, 15:59:49

Clapton should retire. He is only a shell of himself in his younger days. The last couple of tours have been hard to watch.
That being said, he is one of my favorite, however his best days are over 20 years ago!!

j.j. July 1, 2014, 11:22:23

Exactly, do what Phil is doing: Play a residency at one venue you love, stay in a rented house or a five star hotel, and a couple months later do it again in anther city. It’s not that hard to figure out if you are a star like him with his deep pockets. He must have managers who want him to play one nighters all over the world and is convinced that’s the only way to ‘tour’. Hell, Eric, just play once and a while where you live. People will come to you. But, not me. His paint by numbers show I saw a couple years ago where he never acknowldedged the audience and never really caught fire, did no encore, just an absolutley lame non-show. Sure he’s a legend but if I want to see someone play the blues I’ll go see someone hungry and with fire in the belly and not to hear “Wonderful Tonight”. ymmv

Really July 1, 2014, 13:18:27

Over the last 40 years I have had the pleasure to see Eric perform at least 15 times, including with Cream. He is amazing guitarist and performed. He can get places like MSG, so quite that you can hear a pin drop or a loud fart, as he performs an acoustic song or dancing on their feet two songs later. I have seen at least 2500 concerts and crossroad benefits were amazing and in my top 10. I guess one of the benefits of getting older and approaching my retirement is understanding how one can look for new horizons, so I wish him luck and happiness. I never understood or at least have not understood for the last 20 years why one must hate someone just to believe some else is better. I have seen Phish also a few dozen times, and would be hard pressed to believe Trey would say he is better than Eric, how can one measure that. Both great performers and I thank both of them for what they do. I do miss my Jerry licks but can always listen to recording was he better or worse than another musician how can one judge that . As a great Saxophonist, Bill Evans, said the last time I saw him at the Blue Note, musician are not paid to make the music once on stage, but you sure need to be paid to travel. I hope Eric enjoys whatever time is left on this planet. So please wish him well, know he can always change his mind and I will be happy to attend. PS, traveling even in first class can be drain on the body.

dk70 July 1, 2014, 13:22:13

I saw Clapton w Winwood a few years back and he smoked it! Damn the haters. Who cares if he doesn’t talk to the audience? Jerry Garcia said probably one total paragraph worth of dialogue in his 30+ years of performing. Anyone who has survived this long in music will certainly have his creative peaks and valleys but you can easily put a list of 100 songs in his repetoire that kick ass. His tone taste and intonation are still second to none and his voice grows better with age to this day.

Das Singley July 4, 2014, 02:52:28

Trey smokes Clapton , Trey studied Garcia, and both can noodle circles around the guy, Clapton and Cream are just Blues, boring, but hey , he can open for them!

Jerome Baker July 6, 2014, 16:02:10

He should make a venue in his hometown like Phil ! – He would kill it !

dk70 July 8, 2014, 09:54:54

“Trey Smokes Clapton?” Why, because Clapton doesn’t play diminished scales and noodly chromatics licks with that ugly blow drier tone? Garcia called Clapton “the best guitar player in the world”. Eric Clapton (along w the Beatles, , Dylan, Stones, Zeppelin and Hendrix) is one of the most important musicians to ever play rock music.

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