Eric Clapton Working on New Album, Planning 2018 Shows


Eric Clapton Working on New Album, Planning 2018 Shows

–Russell Hall

Good news for Eric Clapton fans: the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer has a new studio album in the works. In a just-published interview with Rolling Stone, the veteran rocker said the LP will be a mix of original material and covers.

“I’m in the middle of it,” said Clapton, revealing that the album “started with the leftovers” from a clutch of rare demos that laid the groundwork for his 2014 album, The Breeze: An Appreciation of JJ Cale. “I still have some JJ songs that we’re playing [around] with. Sometimes we mix them with dub, sometimes we take it back to pure country.”

Clapton went on to say he’ll “do some shows next year.” One of the forthcoming concerts – a July 8 performance in London’s Hyde Park with special guests Santana, Steve Winwood, and Gary Clark Jr. – was announced several weeks ago. Regarding additional shows, Clapton is quick to say he “doesn’t see it as touring anymore – just one date at a time.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Clapton reflected on how the balance between art and commerce shifted during the decades after he first came onto the scene.

“It was a good time,” he said, referring to the ‘60s and early ‘70s. “There wasn’t a consciousness about what would be successful or not. It didn’t matter as long as you took a shot at everything and just kept on playing. And if anyone came in, [they could] join in. It was open. By the time I got to the ’90s, I was really confused about the competitive nature of music.”

On a more positive note, Clapton dismissed recent articles that suggest the guitar is in danger of losing its preeminence in contemporary music.

“There is always something to listen to, to aspire to, with the guitar,” he said. “It is still the most flexible instrument. You can improvise on it. You have such freedom. I don’t think there is a limit to it. Anyone who talks about [the guitar’s irrelevance] should listen to Roebuck Staples. It is so moving. And that’s in the past. So it’s not about what’s to be. It’s already there. If you can get in touch with that, you can do anything.”