The Rolling Stones guitarist discussed Clapton’s “old-fashioned” views on vaccines in a new episode of Rolling Stone‘s Music Now podcast. “I love Eric dearly. I’ve known him since forever, and we’ve had ups and downs,” Richards said. “This COVID thing, it’s split people up and made people sometimes go awry for a while, you know?”
Clapton has been an outspoken critic of vaccines and vaccine mandates, criticizing the United Kingdom’s lockdown measures in a series of songs written with Van Morrison. He also collaborated with Italian vaccine skeptic Robin Monotti on his solo single “Heart of a Child,” which he released in December.
Although Clapton insists he isn’t an anti-vaxxer, he said he has been “ostracized” by friends, family and fellow musicians due to his controversial opinions and songs. He also vowed to not to play at venues that required proof of vaccination on his fall 2021 tour, though he ultimately reneged on that promise.
“I just want to get rid of this damn thing, and the only way I can see us doing it is everybody does as the doctor says,” Richards added. “I don’t understand quite why some people are getting so wound up about it. You wouldn’t get wound up about the flu or something, you know what I mean? And that’s even worse. And I’m no doctor, but hey, this thing works in various nasty ways on people, and we all have to bear with each other. We all have to have a little sympathy.”
Elsewhere, Richards said he received a note from Paul McCartney after the former Beatle described the Stones as a “blues cover band,” which led to some good-natured ribbing between both artists. “Paul and I know each other pretty well, and when I first read it, I said, ‘There’s been a lot of deleting and editing going on here,'” Richards said. “And the next day I got a message from Paul saying, ‘If you’ve read this shit, it’s all out of context, believe me, boys.'”
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