Eric Clapton Hints at Retirement, Calls Touring "Unbearable"

Will Eric Clapton's just-completed tour be his last?

We're not sure about that, but according to a new interview with Uncut, the guitarist is considering curtailing his touring efforts in the future.

"The road has become unbearable," said Clapton, who turns 70 next year. "It's become unapproachable, because it takes so long to get anywhere. It's hostile — everywhere: getting in and out of airports, traveling on planes and in cars.

"There are tons of things I’d like to do, but I’m looking at retirement too. 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."

When asked if he plans to stop playing guitar altogether, Clapton said, “Maybe. It might be that I can't, if it hurts too much. I have odd ailments."

Last year, Clapton told Rolling Stone, "When I'm 70, I'll stop. I won't stop playing or doing one-offs, but I'll stop touring, I think."

"The bit onstage, that's easy," he added. "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."

Last week, Clapton released the music video for his new single, "Call Me the Breeze," which you can check out below. The track is from The Breeze: An Appreciation of JJ Cale, a new album attributed to Eric Clapton & Friends. It will be released July 29.

In terms of friends, "Call Me the Breeze" features guitarist Albert Lee, who also famously joined Clapton on the popular live version of Cale's "Cocaine" from 1980's Just One Night album. The Breeze: An Appreciation of JJ Cale features 16 of Cale’s songs performed by Clapton, Mark Knopfler, John Mayer, Willie Nelson, Tom Petty, Derek Trucks and Don White.

Look for our interview with Clapton in the upcoming September 2014 issue of Guitar World.

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Damian Fanelli
Editor-in-Chief, Guitar World

Damian is Editor-in-Chief of Guitar World magazine. In past lives, he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor. He's written liner notes for major-label releases, including Stevie Ray Vaughan's 'The Complete Epic Recordings Collection' (Sony Legacy) and has interviewed everyone from Yngwie Malmsteen to Kevin Bacon (with a few memorable Eric Clapton chats thrown into the mix). Damian, a former member of Brooklyn's The Gas House Gorillas, was the sole guitarist in Mister Neutron, a trio that toured the U.S. and released three albums. He now plays in two NYC-area bands.