Just as his 23rd studio album I Still Do is released, Eric Clapton has revealed that nerve damage is making it difficult for him to play the guitar.
Clapton told Classic Rock magazine that he “can still play” but added it was “hard work”.
“I’ve had quite a lot of pain over the last year. It started with lower back pain, and turned into what they call peripheral neuropathy.
“[It’s] hard work to play the guitar and I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that it will not improve.”
But Clapton added that given his life had been fraught with addiction “I consider it a great thing to be alive at all”.
“By rights I should have kicked the bucket a long time ago,” said the 71-year-old.
Clapton was diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy (a type of nerve damage which can cause muscle weakness, tingling and numbness in a person’s arms and legs) when he was on tour in 2013.
“And I’ve had to figure out how to deal with some other things from getting old,” he said.
“What I’ll allow myself to do, within reason, is carry on recording in the studio. I don’t want to go off the boil to the point where I’m embarrassing myself.”
Clapton ranked second in Rolling Stone magazine’s greatest guitarists of all time and is the only person to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame three times and he is rumoured to have collaborated with the Rolling Stones on their latest album, due out later this year. According to the UK’s Sun newspaper, Clapton recently recorded two songs with the iconic rock band at a West London studio.