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"Amillennialism 101" -- Audio and On-Line Resources
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Eric Clapton's  Autobiography

Clapton%20autobiography.jpgEric Clapton's long-awaited autobiography, Clapton, will be interesting reading for those who grew up on Hendrix, Cream and Led Zeppelin.  To this day, I can't listen to a Cream song without thinking of old friends, good times and my 1965 El Camino complete with an eight-track tape player in the glove-box.  I spent many an hour with my Luxman amp and massive JBL speakers cranked up loud in my bedroom listening to Cream while I did homework.  My poor mother . . .

Clapton's life story is pretty much what you'd expect--drugs, girls and music.  The book is basically the story of Clapton's struggle with various addictions (primarily heroin, alcohol, and Pattie Boyd Harrison) and his never-ending quest to create the ultimate blues album.  Clapton is pretty straight-forward throughout.  No boasting about his conquests.  No repentance either.  He is remarkably humble about his talent and accomplishments and has played with about every rock and blues musician you can name.

While my interest in Clapton stems from his Cream days, Clapton looks upon that phase of his music as frustrating, drug-fueled and ego-driven.  The famous Cream jams (from their various "live" albums) were indeed chemically sustained.  This is an era which Clapton does not recall with fondness.  I guess it was better to listen to Clapton, than it was to be Clapton.

The turning point in Clapton's life came when he finally achieved sobriety about twenty-years ago.  Ironically, Clapton claims to have found no real happiness in life until some years later when he met and married his current wife who gave him three daughters.  Here's a guy who had everything the world tells us we need to have (more money than you can count, fame which secures whatever you want), and yet, who is not at all happy until he stops drinking, finds the love of his life and then settles down to raise his family.  Funny how that works.

There's no conversion story or happy ending.  Clapton was married and had his children baptized in the Church of England.  His "god" is the unknown higher-power of the twelve-step program.  But in light of the questions he raises, you certainly get the sense that if someone in his circle could only explain law-gospel to him, as well as explain to him that the power of music comes from the fact that we are divine-image bearers who will sing God's praises for all eternity, he just might listen.  Maybe the grace of God will reach him yet.

There are some minor surprises.  Clapton doesn't say as much about the tragic death of his son, Conor, as you might expect.  This tragedy occurred when Clapton was just finding himself after giving up alcohol.  He describes being completely numb to pretty much everything after so many years of heavy drinking.

Clapton also speaks about hanging out with his good friend Jimi Hendrix back in the day.  The two of them would go from club to club throughout London and then jam with whatever band happened to be playing.  Imagine a local garage band plugging away, only to be joined on stage by Clapton and Hendrix!  Now that would have been a blast for the band as well as for those lucky enough to have been in the audience.

All in all, a good read.  But know what you are getting in advance. 

Reader Comments (9)

"Back in the day." Hendrix, Clapton, Chicago, 1910 Fruitgum Company, Steppenwolf, and my '65 Ford Fairlane, two door coupe, bucket seats, 4 in the floor, and a great 8 track. Wow. I still miss that 8 track.(The 1910 Fruitgum Co. insert was supposed to be funny). But in 1974 I married the love of my life just after by God's grace coming to the Savior of my life. I played drums professionlly back in the day with a great little band and did all the things that go with that lifestyle...until. Wouldn't go back for anything in this world.
November 27, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJohnny T. Helms
PS. About a year after having the '65 Fairlane, I thought "what was I thinking." One ugly car, man!
November 27, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJohnny T. Helms
I wasn't much of a Clapton fan back in his Cream days, been much more of a fan since. His version(s) of Cocaine has to be an all time favorite song. As I've been considering buying the book, you convinced me to do so. Great post!
November 28, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterRuss
Thanks for the short review of Clapton's autobiography. I love his music. A year or so ago I bought a DVD of his 2004 Crossroads Guitar Festival. Man, what a lineup of talent; B.B. King, Joe Walsh, Robert Cray, John Mayer, even Vince Gill. I know you'd love that DVD. Still, I think the most talented guitarist is a guy named Joe Satriani. It's always sad to me to see such talent - guys like Clapton and even Elton John - who have been given remarkable gifts but haven't yet realized where those gifts actually come from. I tried learning guitar once and it ain't easy. I only hope I can jam with the likes of Clapton on the other side of the Jordan! :) As always, thanks for the great blog Kim! Oh, and the recent show on WHI regarding vocation was awesome. I wish I could have heard that 20 years ago!
November 28, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterR.J. Stevens
I idolized Clapton and Hendrix and argued with my guitar buddies over who was best. Then I heard Leo Kottke and just had to learn to fingerpick. But I still love that blues based music. I remember when Hendrix died thinking he was probably hell bound and that I was on the way myself. It was shortly thereafter that a basketball buddy of mine shared scripture with me and I was quickened to new life. I got caught up in a "holiness" church where he went. It's taken a lot of WHI and patient friends to unprogram me of some really bad teaching. One of those ingrained messages I swallowed was that rock was music from hell. Yet in my heart I knew I still liked it. I think the origin of the blues has a deep spirituality about it that perhaps can only be explained by the suffering that many of the pioneers experienced and put it into their music. I also love classical especially Bach and the order of it. Thanks be to God for the gift of music and also our liberty in Christ.
November 28, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterLTCman
Happiness and personal fulfillment are indeed funny things: at once entirely legitimate and also obscuring from ultimate truth. The answer to immorality or a-morality sure isn't morality, any more than the Gospel is about "filling a void." After all, there are plenty of sobered up and happy people who hate Christ.

(If you ever want a good show, get a third row seat at a Steve Winwood concert; "The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys" alone is worth it. A friend of mine said he'd pay $500 to see McCartney just play "Black Bird." How ridiculous, more like $675.)
November 29, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterZrim
Check out Mark Knopfler playing "Brothers in Arms" live in London or David Gilmour playing "Comfortably Numb" for two more examples of incredible guitarists who reject the One who gave them their talents.
Wasn't the line of Cain (see Genesis 4) the line with the great musicians, artists, and architects? Why would that be emphasized by Moses?
November 29, 2007 | Unregistered Commentermholst
I bought the CD, "Clapton", great tracks. Personally,I prefer Claptons earlier work, Crossroads, Badge, Sunshine of Your love, Layla "plugged in". He is a great guitarist and muscian and Ginger Baker (Cream) was probably the best rock drummer of his era.
November 29, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterCharles S.
Here's my review of the book:

This is a compelling biography of one of the greatest guitarists of all time. It really gives a fascinating picture of Clapton's life. For a pop musician biography, it could be classified as slightly less "action packed" than what one might expect, but that doesn't decimate at all the quality of this work.

The book isn't necessarily a flattering self-portrayal. A significant amount of insensitivity and womanizing is shown, and when Clapton reflects on it, he doesn't seem to be repentant. To me, it is rather sad that Clapton shows such a dismissive attitude toward the damage his previous behaviors have caused. Don't come to this book looking for a role model, because if you do you will be quite disappointed. However, I do think it is an honest portrayal of Eric Clapton as a person. In that sense, I can recommend it to people who like his music.
November 30, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMark N

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