Today I was listening to Clapton’s “Crossroads” and I didn’t change the channel. I don’t think that’s ever happened before. I guess I’ve made my peace with him.
It’s hard for me to put into words what annoys the shit out of me about Clapton. I’m not opposed to British dudes recasting the blues. I’m all about the troubled love and theft that fuels our creative engines. I’m not opposed to his guitar playing.
In part, I think it’s this. Somehow, Eric Clapton remains a student of the blues. Just for comparison, I looked up Jimmy Page and “student of the blues” and got nothing. But do that search with Clapton and all kinds of things pop up, like this article from the New York Times.
Today in Salon.com, there’s an article about the writer and director of “Black Snake Moan” and he’s talking about the blues. At the end, he says,
They don’t realize it’s true exorcism music. These men of the Delta
were not Uncle Toms. They were bad-asses in a time when you could get
hung from a tree for speaking your mind. They were the first to sing
about injustice and pain. And to sing about the injustice of the heart.
And maybe that’s the difference between Page and Clapton for me. I believe that Page is, if not exorcising, at least wrestling with demons. I still feel like Clapton is practicing for the time when he may be called on to do that work.
But in the end, I guess, I don’t see the crime in that.