Eric Clapton started his musical carer when he was still a teenager in 1962 and quickly became one of the most influential guitarists in the world after working with The Yardbirds, John Mayall, Cream and Blind Faith.
The musician who mixed Blues and Rock and Roll during his entire career was a huge inspiration for countless generations of artists and accomplished incredible numbers on his career, even becoming one of the best-selling artists in the history of music. He had sold an estimated amount of more than 280 million records worldwide.
Even though he had accomplished almost everything he could during his career, the musician talked a guitarist that in his opinion was so good that would make him feel insecure everytime he had the chance to watch him playing live in concert.
The great guitarist that Eric Clapton said would make him feel insecure
By the early 80s, Eric Clapton already had been a member of many successful bands and already had a good solo career with many hit songs. He also had the chance to meet and play with many of his Blues heroes, even tooking some of them on tour with him.
But in 1983 a new guitarist and singer appeared on the scene, coming out of Texas, releasing his debut album “Texas Flood”. Stevie Ray Vaughan quickly became during that decade one of the most praised artists in the music business and helped to revive Blues music, taking that kind of music to the mainstream again.
In an interview for the film “A Tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan” released in 1995 (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage), the British musician recalled his late friend and said he would feel insecure everytime he saw him play because of how talented he was.
“I remember being fascinated by the fact that he never ever seemed to be lost in any way. It wasn’t ever that he took a breather or paused to think where he was going to go next. It just flowed out of him. Always seemed to flow out of him. Actually even that doesn’t come just with virtuosity, practice or any of those. It’s not a question of doing it over and over again or anything like that. It’s just that he seemed to be an open channel. It just flowed throught him. He never ever seemed to kind of dry up.”
“Because when I play, I sometimes stop. Every now and then I just stop and think ‘what I’m going to do know’. I don’t want to repeat myself. So I get caught up somehow. You freeze and most players do. I never saw him do that. So he was channel in some way.”
“I saw him play in London one time. So I sat about six rows back at the Hammersmith Odeon and for about the first 10 minutes I though I wasn’t going to be able to take it because it was so loud. I thought ‘I can’t take this’ and actually got used to it. Within 20 minutes after after that I was used to it and it was right. It got me, become all right.”
“At the same time was kind of like that thing I had to surrender to it completly and in a way. When we were in Alpine Valley I couldn’t let myself do that. I had to put up a bit of resistence in order to keep my own kind of self-esteem up. Because I wouldn’t been able to go on otherwise. I’m not joking. To been up to completly absorbed by what he was doing, I would have thought “what’s the point?’ And done kind of done a runner and I cleared off, run away,” Eric Clapton said.
Clapton and Stevie had the chance to meet each other and perform together many times during the 80s. They were together on the last festival Vaughan ever did, only a few hours before his tragic death. He passed away in a helicopter crash at the age of 35 in 1990.
The first time he heard Stevie Ray Vaughan playing, Clapton was so shocked he had to park his car
The first time that Clapton ever heard Vaughan playing was in the David Bowie famous song “Let’s Dance”. The British guitarist was driving his career and had to park because he was so stunned that he couldn’t continue to drive. He also recalled that story in the same interview he gave for the film “A Tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan”.
“I was in my car. I remember thinking ‘I have to find out before the day is over who that guitar player is. That doesn’t happen to me very often. About three or four times in my life I felt that way in a car listening to the radio where I’ve stopped the car, pulled over and listened and thought: ‘I’ve got to find out before the end day’. Not sooner or later. But ‘I have to know now who that is,’” Eric Clapton said.
The guitarist continues to be a good friend of Jimmie Vaughan, Stevie’s older brother. He often takes the American guitarist on tour as his opening act.
During his short career, Stevie Ray Vaughan released only 5 studio albums. He had sold an estimated amount of more than 15 million records worldwide. He was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015 alongside his Double Trouble bandmates Chris Clayton, Tommy Shannon and Reese Wynans. The guitarist and singer John Mayer was the one who inducted the late artist and his band.