Eric Clapton has revealed he is living in pain and struggles to play the guitar after being diagnosed with a neurological condition several years ago. The British blues guitarist recently told Classic Rock Magazine his condition wouldn't improve and that he was considering retirement after a music career spanning five decades.
Suffering from back pain while touring in 2013, Clapton was diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy, a type of nerve damage which can cause muscle weakness, tingling and numbness in a person's arms and legs. "I've had quite a lot of pain over the last year," he said. "It started with lower back pain and turned into what they call peripheral neuropathy, which is where you feel like you have electric shocks going down your leg." "And I've had to figure out how to deal with some other things from getting old."
The 71-year-old released his 23rd studio album I Still Do last month but conceded touring had become "unbearable". "[It's] hard work to play the guitar and I've had to come to terms with the fact that it will not improve." "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."
Clapton ranked second in Rolling Stone magazine's greatest guitarists of all time and is the only person to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame three times. His most notable songs include Tears in Heaven, written after the death of his son in 1991, and Layla, recorded in 1970 with his band Derek and the Dominoes. After recovering from alcoholism and drug addiction at the height of his career, Clapton said he felt lucky to still be alive. "By rights I should have kicked the bucket a long time ago. For some reason I was plucked from the jaws of hell and given another chance."
Despite being hampered by his condition, Clapton is rumored to have secretly collaborated with the Rolling Stones on their latest album, due out later this year. According to the UK's Sun newspaper, Clapton recently recorded two songs with the iconic rock band at a West London studio.