[Slowhand] Slowhand Digest, Vol 9, Issue 99

Shevawn Eaton CD0SBE1 at wpo.cso.niu.edu
Tue Apr 3 15:04:06 EDT 2007

The debate here about Clapton "getting by" these days is fascinating to me. I wonder how many of us are as physically capable as we were 30+ years ago--and guitar playing at Eric's level is obviously quite physical. I know my hands don't quite type as fast as they did in my 20's. My piano playing is a bit less quick, less smooth 30 years later.

Some of you are musicians. How many of you are doing the same set list you were playing 30 years ago? Do you do it with the same intensity? The same pleasure? Every song? Every time?

And how many musicians ARE out there after 30 years for us to compare Eric to? How many are playing as well as they did 30 years ago? How many more of them are just downright scary these days? I can think of many in that category, with many more no longer playing at all, dropped off the face of the earth, or dead. To say nothing of the fact that those early days of playing were charged and energized by speed, coke, pot, heroin and alcohol a good part of the time, particularly when performing. Now he's clean and sober. The guy even quit smoking. Even he has said, how to you compete with someone who everyone thought peaked by age 27. At least he didn't just roll over and die.

Now, about emotion. After successful rehab, operating clean and sober, working the program and growing out of your own pain and anger, folks find more inner peace and CAN seem more laid back, when in reality, they are simply less troubled and less angry at their core. For a musician, that lack of anger and pain is certainly going to show through in his music. What I see now in Eric live, more so than when he was younger, was that he seems happy and having fun. Relaxed. Complacent? Maybe. Less intense, for sure, but I don't think that is a bad thing unless you are looking for the Eric that was playing in Cream. If that's the case, we will never see the likes of that again. He's still talented, but his creative path has moved in a different direction, and he doesn't need all the chemical supports now he did back then. I guess I'm just saying he's different now, just like all of us after 30 years. Not worse. It just isn't that black and white of an argument.

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