Richard Clapton

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Richard Clapton

AC/DC famously sang, “It’s A Long Way To The Top if you want to Rock and Roll” and from chatting to Richard Clapton before his Lonesome Voyager show hits town, the music scene in 2015 is definitely a rollercoaster. There are ebbs and flows of popularity and having been in the rock industry for the past 50 years, Clapton has experienced both sides of the coin.
“If you really make your music with the right motivation, it all comes around. It’s like a rollercoaster mate, you go up and you go down and you go up and then you go down, and those of us who don’t mind the rollercoaster ride are able to sustain a career for 40 years or more,” Clapton says.
“I’m really concerned because I think in this century, young artists are able to go up the mountain but they struggle to go back down. I think there is already some casualties by artists that seemed to be groomed by their soccer mums. Your 15 minutes of fame is great, but you have to realise it will end in 15 minutes.”
On the back of the success of ‘The Best Years of our Lives’, telling the truth about working and living in the Australian music scene throughout the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, Clapton is currently on the road for the Lonesome Voyager tour that takes its title from the final song of his debut release Prussian Blue. Taking a little bit of influence from 2005’s Rewired, Clapton is teaming up with long-time collaborator Danny Spencer to play classic tracks from years on the road.
“This tour is something that I have never done before and in that respect it’s very exciting,” he says.
“The songs we’re covering are from the stories that I cover in the book. It’s a look at my career and the Melbourne music scene throughout the ’70s to the ’90s and there is definitely going to be a lot of storytelling and stripping the songs back to simple arrangements, it’s a lot of fun though, mixing things up and doing things differently for a change.”
Talking about the start of his illustrious career, there are several stories from years on the road and touring all around the world. Breaking into the Rolling Stones’ hotel room on their tour of Australia in the ’60s is up there as well as travelling and writing in Germany which formed the basis of his debut album.
“Being a homeless person in the ’70s was a lot easier than today. I put my thumb out and hitchhiked and I lived with a Danish dentist and his wife for three months in Copenhagen and with this really rich German guy in Hamburg for a couple of months,” Clapton says.
“There was a spirit and a soul to the human race in those days. It was very different and there has been a big seismic shift from those days to now. It’s funny because Prussian Blue only sold 2000 units and the record label wanted to dump me.”
Looking forward to the future, Clapton is set to head over to Nashville, Tennessee to work with acclaimed producer Mark Moffett in November on the follow up to 2012’s Harlequin Nights. A big fan of Ryan Adams, we’ll just have to wait and see if he makes an appearance on the next album.
Written by Tex Miller
When & Where: GPAC, Geelong – October 9