Happy Birthday to Eric Clapton, who turns 68 on Saturday (March 30th, 1945)!!! Since his mid-'60s stint in the Yardbirds, through John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Cream, Blind Faith, Derek and the Dominos, and his solo career, Clapton -- who was affectionately dubbed "Slowhand" by his fans -- has come to personify the best in blues-rock guitar.
One of the downsides to having such a long and influential career is that Clapton's current work is always measured against his past successes. He admits that he's easily insulted when people tell him that they prefer his earlier work: "People have said to me, 'Your best work was with Cream.' And I think, 'Oh, well, I know you think you're paying me a huge compliment, but in actual fact, it's kind of, y'know, it's a little bit upsetting that you don't care about what I'm doing now.'"
Clapton, who's married with three young daughters at home and an older one from a previous relationship in school, also said that having a stable family and home life keeps him grounded: "I'm hoping, maybe, that there's an evolution going on in my character, which makes it so that I'm just a little bit more accessible -- a little bit more sane -- about the reality of what I need to be, y'know, and what my life is composed of these days. I'm married and I have kids, and that, that home thing is actually there, and is actually waiting for me. So it's not so much anxiety about that anymore. Nothing has to be that drastic or dramatic as it used to be."
Newly released is Eric Clapton's latest studio set, Old Sock -- his 21st studio album and his first since 2010. The disc features two new original songs, "Every Little Thing" and "Gotta Get Over," in addition to covers of some of the legendary guitarist's favorite songs from throughout his life. The disc includes tracks from Leadbelly, J.J. Cale, Peter Tosh, George Gershwin, Gary Moore, and others, while featuring guest appearances from Chaka Khan, Steve Winwood, Paul McCartney, and more.
In commemoration of 2013's "Record Store Day" on April 20th, Cream will release a three-LP set of their Royal Albert Hall London May 2-3-5-6, 2005 album. The set will have a limed run of only 1,500 copies.
Earlier this month, Clapton told Rolling Stone, saying, "The bit onstage, that's easy. If I could do that around my neighborhood, that would be great. You have guys in Texas that play their circuit, and it keeps them alive. But for me, the struggle is the travel. And the only way you can beat that is by throwing so much money at it that you make a loss. So the idea is I'm taking a leaf out of J.J. (Cale)'s book: When I'm 70, I'll stop. I won't stop playing or doing one-offs, but I'll stop touring, I think."
Eric Clapton North American tour dates (subject to change):
March 29, 30 - Hollywood, FL - Seminole Hard Rock Live
April 2 - Charlotte, NC - Time Warner Cable Arena
April 3 - Raleigh, NC - PNC Arena
April 5 - Uncasville, CT - Mohegan Sun Arena
April 6 - Pittsburgh, PA - Consol Energy Center
April 12, 13 - New York, NY - Crossroads Guitar Festival at Madison Square Garden Arena
Photo Courtesy of PRPhotos.com