[Slowhand] Old Clapton Interview after Blind Faith Fizzled Out
kevinwilson at telkomsa.net
Sat Jul 26 11:51:16 EDT 2008
Eric Clapton Interview
Keith Altman | Record Mirror | 5 November 1969
Upset, believed hurt, but Eric Clapton is only a phone call away.
Blind Faith would appear to be dead although an occasional twitch belies the
fact that it is lying down. The intriguing question is why this musical
Frankenstein's monster should lie mortally wounded after having had a number
one album and an apparently successful tour in 'Dollardom'.
Clapton, Winwood, Baker and Grech epitomise the musical talent necessary to
motivate the Super-group, but Faith have stopped motoring and never really
made it on to the Highway and so as manager Robert Stigwood reaches for his
phone to protest, we ask if 'Faith' has been misplaced and how did it
The man with some of the answers is 'musician of the year' Eric Clapton whom
I spoke to at his home just outside Surrey, where the locals still
ironically refer to it as 'The Cream's House'!
After a few minutes conversation with Eric, it became very apparent that, to
a very large extent, the group's present state of immobility, and, for that
matter, their musical contraction, have been largely caused by the fact they
are a ship without a rudder, with no one prepared to take the initiative or
Since the group's return from America they have not been in touch with each
other. Clapton will not phone Winwood less it be thought he is assuming
command and is disappointed that no one has phoned him. Everyone is being
just a little too polite and perhaps one can apply that as a musical
"After you" is the only a workable maxim if someone goes first and no one in
the Faith wants to be considered an ego-freak.
"There really was no preconceived plan as to how long the group would
continue or how permanent it would be," said Eric as though talking of some
lost friend. "The only plan was Stevie and I getting together last year and
saying we would form a band to record. From that point on everything was
coincidental. The fact that we made an album together was a miracle!
"I thought we played very well on the tour of America although we never
really lived up to the expectations of the audience. You can never really
live up to those expectations because they have fantasies about what you
will be like - that's why they label you a 'Super-group' before they've even
"But afterwards I realised that we would have been given that reception no
matter how we had performed. We could have played "Knees Up Mother Brown"
and they would have flipped out. It was a purely political situation with
the cops, the audience and the band.
"Other venues were not so successful and this was partially due to the fact
that we had insisted on not stipulating our individual names so that in some
areas, although they might have come to see Eric Clapton or Ginger Baker or
Stevie Winwood, they had no idea we were the personnel for Blind Faith.
"Another reason was that we were not emotionally what they expected - they
expected almost an orgasm; an explosion - and they did not get it. There
were a lot of compromises to be made in that band and each of us held back.
"I thought originally that Stevie and I would be a dominating force behind
which Ginger could settle back behind, but Stevie is a very reticent sort of
musician who steps back when he hears someone forcing their way through. I'm
a bit like that myself and what happened was that we were all standing back
waiting for someone to lead and no one did.
"I'm not sure what is going to happen now. No one has called me since that
American tour and I don't know whether to take that as indication that we
are not going to work again or not. If someone rings me and says we have a
session I will probably go but I'm not taking it upon myself to get things
"There are a few tapes which have been cut lying around the studio but they
are just virtually 'jam-sessions' and nothing that could be released as an
"I intend in future to play with Delaney and Bonnie as they do not have a
lead guitarist and my name will help them in Europe where they have not had
an album released and are unknown. They came from the South of America.
Strangely enough there is never any guarantee that a band that good will
succeed, but they deserve to."
Like most exceptionally talented people, Clapton is a sensitive person,
especially in those areas which affect his private person.
He admits to being aware of his own huge ego and deliberately suppresses it
to the point where he becomes humble. He was delighted to receive an award
as 'musician of the year' recently, for example, but insists there was no
real justification for it because he had not been working in England. His
enormous reputation is something which he feels he must fight as a musician.
Musical critics are people who he denies affect him much at all but I
suspect they hurt more than he cares to admit on occasions.
"Occasionally a critic will say the right thing but generally it's an
accident," says Eric. "More often they are saying the wrong thing and
disclosing their naivety. Amateur critics are the worst, like the DJ I heard
the other day on the radio who was putting down The Band.
"Most of them are too concerned with competing with each other and they very
seldom assess other than by comparison. They are too fond of comparing the
Blind Faith album to say the Humble Pie album and saying one is good and the
other is bad. That kind of thing is both irrelevant and unnecessary - but
most musicians know that."
To some people at least Clapton is beginning to be thought of as the
lease-lend guitarist - "Have guitar will travel" - and he appears to be the
pip in more than one Apple turnover. That is not to deplore his generosity
and willingness to help others, but it would be nice to see him helping
himself more. Does he not feel the need to seize the musical initiative
"I suppose I have my own fantasies about leading a group and singing and
writing my own songs," agreed Eric, "but at heart I'm a musical drifter. I'm
too lazy to get up and do it without someone giving me a good kick up the
arse. It's probably too late now anyway - there are too many good people
But not as many gifted as Mr. Clapton I fancy or potentially as musically
huge as the Faith, and if I do read the signs correctly it is not so much as
a case of 'missing, believed dead' with Blind Faith, but 'upset, believed
hurt' and like the GPO says 'a phone call brings people closer together' Mr.
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