[Slowhand] More Old Clapton Insights on Jimi

Kevin Wilson kevin.wilson at arivia.co.za
Fri Mar 31 02:52:44 EST 2006

Perhaps the rest of what Clapton had to say about Jimi in the Rolling
Stone interview should also be included to qualify what he was trying to


EC: I fell for it. After a while I began to suspect it. Hav-ing gotten
to know him, I found out that's not where he's at, not where he's at at
all. The stuff he does on stage, when he does that he's testing the
audience. He'll do a lot of things, like fool around with his tongue and
play his guitar behind his back and rub it up and down his crotch. And
he'll look at the audience, and if they're digging it, he won't like the
audience. He'll keep on doing it, putting them on. Play less music. If
they don't dig it, then he'll play straight 'cause he knows he has to.
It's funny. I heard that here he came on and put on all that shit in his
first set and people were just dead towards it. And in his second set he
just played, which is great.

He had the whole combination in England. It was just what the market
wanted, a psychedelic pop star who looked freaky, and they're also still
hung up about spades and the blues thing was there. So Jimi walked in,
put on all the gear, and made it straight away. It was a perfect
formula. Underneath it all, he's got an incredible musical talent. He is
really one of the finest musicians around on the Western scene. If you
just scrape away all the bull-shit he carries around you'll find a
fantastically talented guy and a beautiful guitar player for his age. I
just can't take it all, all the plastic things.

JW: Who started the hair thing?

EC: I guess Dylan started it. It's funny, 'cause it's gone into a
fashionable thing in England. I did it 'cause I liked Dylan's hair. I
went and had my hair curled. Then Jimi came on with curly hair, and his
band did it to complete the image, and everybody else did it 'cause they
dug Jimi and other people did it 'cause they dug me, I guess. It became
quite a trend in England to have curly hair.


The Clapton perm started around Feb. 1967, prior to the first trip to
the USA. The earliest picture I've seen is reportedly from 19 Feb. 1967
at Granby Hall, Leicester, England. If nothing else, having different
hairstyles in the old days contributes a lot to identifying periods more
accurately in Eric's career.


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