Eric Clapton has explained why he chose to voice his anti-lockdown views throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. The one-time Cream guitarist has been publically opposed to Covid restrictions and the government vaccination program since the beginning, going so far as to say that he will not perform at concerts that require proof of vaccination.
In December 2020, amid the gloomy second wave of the pandemic, Clapton joined forces with fellow Anti-vaxer Van Morrison for the song ‘Stand And Deliver’, just one of the numerous protest tracks the duo have released. The following summer, Clapton released ‘This Has Gotta Stop’, a track that sees the rocker criticise the Covid restrictions introduced by the UK government.
Clapton has now taken part in an interview with The Real Music Observer, in which he shares his thoughts and ever-controversial opinions about the vaccine and the lockdown. Explaining the motivations behind ‘Stand And Deliver’ and ‘This Has Gotta Stop’, Clapton said: “My career had almost gone anyway. At the point where I spoke up, it had been almost 18 months since I had kind of been forcibly retired. And I joined forces with Van. I got the tip that Van was standing up to the measures.”
Clapton went on to say: “And I thought, ‘Why isn’t anybody else doing this?’ And we go back; I’ve known him since we were kids. And I contacted him. I said, ‘What do you think? What’s going on?’ And he said, ‘I’m just objecting, really. But it seems like we’re not even allowed to do that. And nobody else is doing it.’ And I said, ‘You’re kidding. Nobody else?’ And he said, ‘Nobody else.’ And I said, ‘All, I’m with you. Is there anything I can do to help? Have you got any songs?’ And of course, it was a silly, stupid question ’cause he writes two songs a day or something like that,” he concluded, suggesting that his anti-lockdown exploits have been motivated both by a desire to object and a desire for a new fanbase.
According to Clapton, Van Morrison already had ‘Stand And Deliver’ ready to go: “I didn’t know he had already recorded it,” he continued. “So I thought, ‘Oh, man. I’m getting an unreleased Van Morrison song.’ I was over the moon anyway. And it was during the process of talking about that to another musician, and then getting me excited, and then sharing that news, and I found that nobody wanted to hear that. And I was kind of mystified because I seemed to be the only person that thought that was an exciting or even appropriate idea with what was going on.”
Clapton also touched on how the public reaction to his anti-lockdown songs affected him and his family: “That challenged me even more. ‘Cause I’m a bit like him maybe. I’m cut from the cloth where if you tell me I can’t do something, I really wanna know why I can’t do it. And it seemed like I’d had a wall built around me. But I thought, ‘I’m gonna do this.’ But I did make concessions. I did take out lines or change lines a little bit just to pacify those that I really didn’t wanna hurt, people I didn’t wanna hurt or scare. And needless to say, my family and friends, they got scared, and I think they were scared on my behalf.”