Monday, March 30, 2009




Happy Birthday to Eric Clapton, who turns 64 today (March 30th, 1945)!!! Since his mid-'60s stint in the Yardbirds, through John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Cream, Blind Faith, Derek and the Dominos, and his solo career, Clapton -- who was affectionately dubbed "Slowhand" by his fans -- has come to personify the best in blues-rock guitar.

Last month Clapton teamed up with fellow former Yardbirds guitarist Jeff Beck for a handful of dates in Japan and later this spring will undertake a 14-city tour with former Blind Faith bandmate Steve Winwood. Clapton says that he doesn't mind reigniting past partnerships as long as they go as smoothly as Cream's 2005 series of concerts did: "Well, we all knew where we were, for one thing. You know, we were kind of in the same place at the same time. I suppose from just having really come full circle in my own life and really enjoying my family and feeling like it would be good to do something worthwhile, not just leave that as a memory. You know, when, when everyone was still available to do it."

One of the downsides to having such a long and influential career is that Clapton's current work is always measured against his past successes. He admits that he's easily insulted when people tell him that they prefer his earlier work: "People have said to me, 'Your best work was with Cream.' And I think, 'Oh, well, I know you think you're paying me a huge compliment, but in actual fact, it's kind of, you know, it's a little bit upsetting that you don't care about what I'm doing now.'"

Clapton, who's married with three young daughters at home and an older one from a previous relationship in school, also said that having a stable family and home life keeps him grounded: "I'm hoping, maybe, that there's an evolution going on in my character, which makes it so that I'm just a little bit more accessible -- a little bit more sane -- about the reality of what I need to be, you know, and what my life is composed of these days. I'm married and I have kids, and that, that home thing is actually there, and is actually waiting for me. So it's not so much anxiety about that anymore. Nothing has to be that drastic or dramatic as it used to be."

Clapton kicks off his next set of solo dates May 11th in Dublin. His joint tour with Steve Winwood begins on June 10th in East Rutherford, New Jersey at the Izod Center.