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Eric Clapton Hints at Retirement, Says Touring is 'Unbearable'

The guitarist also says Cream reunion would be a "tragic confrontation”

Eric Clapton
Erika Goldring/WireImage
June 27, 2014 12:20 PM ET

Eric Clapton may not be long for the road. In a new interview with Uncut magazine, the legendary guitarist said he is considering curtailing his touring efforts going forward.

"The road has become unbearable," he said. "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."

Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Guitarists: Eric Clapton
Clapton, who turns 70 next year, suggested he is likely to spend more time in the studio in the coming years. "There are tons of things I’d like to do, but I’m looking at retirement too," 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." When asked if he plans to stop playing guitar altogether, Clapton replied, “Maybe. It might be that I can't, if it hurts too much. I have odd ailments."

This isn’t the first time the guitarist has hinted at retiring his road show. 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."

In his chat with Uncut, Clapton also discussed the possibility of a Cream reunion. Though from his comments, the prospect of getting the band back together seems highly unlikely. "I haven’t spoken to Jack [Bruce] or Ginger [Baker] for quite a time," he said. "I don’t think there’s been any line of dialogue between any of us – or between me and them, that is to say – since the American affair [the trio’s Madison Square Garden shows in 2005].

"After that I was pretty convinced that we had gone as far as we could without someone getting killed," he continued. "At this time in my life, I don’t want blood on my hands! I don’t want to be part of some kind of tragic confrontation."

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