“When people underestimate what he does – they want to try doing it”: Eric Clapton praises Robbie Robertson 

“It’s so difficult to recreate that kind of on the edge of expression feel and not making a mistake, not blowing it.”

Eric Clapton and Robbie Robertson both playing guitar on stage in 2013

Image: Larry Busacca / Getty

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Eric Clapton has praised musician Robbie Robertson in a rare interview on YouTube, and most prominently his work as guitarist and songwriter in The Band.

Clapton gives few interviews these days, but has chatted with The Real Music Observer about his admiration of the Canadian musician as well as other controversial topics, including his support of Robert F Kennedy Jr.’s presidential campaign.

In the interview, Clapton shared that when he heard of Roberton’s recent passing, he decided to revisit The Band’s music. “The Band to me was amazing because they were all giants,” he says. “Every one of them was a giant on his own, and [Robbie] was the visionary. I have no doubt that he wrote all those songs.”

He also went on to reiterate that he would have joined The Band if he could have, despite feeling as though it wouldn’t have worked out: “If you had taken that to its conclusion and Robbie had said, ‘Do you want to join?’ when I was up there, I may have said yes. But I wouldn’t have done that because I was already a celebrity [at the time] and none of them personally, individually, were celebrities.

“That was their thing – even their name was [about] anonymity. That was also what was magnetic for me because I always wanted anonymity, I wanted to be in the rhythm section. And if that would have been possible to sneak in, even if I’m disguised, and played rhythm guitar then we could have done it. But it was never gonna happen.”

He later shared how he admired Robertson as not only a songwriter, but a musician: “When people underestimate what he does – they want to try doing it,” he states. “The intros to songs, the little things that sound like they’re scrappy and off the cuff, which is part of his unique attractiveness to me – he sounds like he’s only just now working out that this will work.

“I’m sure it’s a lot more crafted out than that. I know him well enough to know he was really precise about what he did. It’s so difficult to recreate that kind of on the edge of expression [feel] and not making a mistake, not blowing it. It’s really, really difficult,” he explains.

As we reported yesterday (25 August), Clapton also addressed his attempted donation of $5,000 in support of RFK Jr. His donation was invalid as not only is Clapton a British citizen, but also his donation surpassed a limit of $3,300. He refers to the move as “naive” around the 20 minute mark.

Watch the full interview below:


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