Eric Clapton on Roger Waters’ political views: “It takes a lot of guts, and he suffers from it terribly”

Eric Clapton has shared his stance on Roger Waters‘ outspoken political views, saying that it “takes a lot of guts” and has seen him “suffer from it terribly”.

The Pink Floyd icon has made headlines countless times in the past for his often-unfiltered political opinions – namely his criticism of the State of Israel.

Just a matter of months ago, he faced multiple accusations of anti-Semitism after speaking out on the Israel-Hamas war. One particular example came back in February, when he lashed out at Bono, describing him as “disgusting” and “a shit”, following the U2 frontman using his Sphere residency shows to pay respect to those killed during the October 7 attack at the Israeli music festival Supernova.

“We have to start saying to these people, your opinion is so disgusting and so degrading… sticking up for the Zionist entity,” Waters said in an interview shortly after U2 dedicated ‘Pride (In The Name Of Love)’ to those who died during the festival.

“What he did a couple of weeks ago in the Sphere in Las Vegas, singing about the Stars of David, was one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever seen in my life.”

A separate time saw him accuse Israel of “abusing the term anti-Semitism to intimidate people like me into silence”, and back in November he speculated that the “fishy” attacks perpetrated by Hamas on October 7 could have been a “false flag operation”.

He has repeatedly denied all accusations of anti-Semitism and explained that his disdain is towards Israel, not Judaism.

Roger Waters performs on stage at The O2 Arena during the ‘This is Not A Drill’ tour, on June 06, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Jim Dyson/Getty Images)

Now, fellow rock veteran Clapton has backed Waters’ political outspokenness and recalled how he has seen the singer “suffer” as a result.

The topic arose during an interview with The Real Music Observer, when the guitar legend was asked what he thinks about people urging musicians to “stick to music” rather than get involved in political matters.

“I don’t respond to the word ‘should’ very well. Anyone that tells me what I should be doing, I’m going to do the opposite,” he responded. “Not just out of spite, but because who are they to tell me how to live my life? I don’t interfere with them.”

He continued: “I love Roger. I love him. We are brothers and he goes his way about it, and it takes a lot of guts, and he suffers from it terribly. I’ve seen him sit on the window ledge in tears and say ‘It’s morning here in Manhattan and I’m in tears again’, you know?

“I can’t do that, I am on the verge of tears a lot when I think about what’s going on and the evil there is, but I also have to carry a positive message of hope, and he does too. Music is a healing agent. I believe that there is a system of thinking about how you conduct yourself in that realm, and to be responsible not to offend people.”

He added: “Gandhi had it down, but I don’t really want to follow his path, because if he wanted people to follow his thinking he would go on a starvation diet and he would risk his life and that’s when they knew he was serious. A lot of people really don’t expect me or Roger to stick to what we say, but we do. And I think I have a responsibility because of what I told you earlier that I’m there carrying a message of hope, for love, peace and freedom you know that’s my responsibility as a musician.”

The comments from Clapton also come after Waters found himself as the subject of a documentary, The Dark Side Of Roger Waters, which was produced by the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism and collates various incidents of alleged anti-Semitism levelled against the musician.

Rogers spoke out against the documentary with a post to his official website, dismissing the project as “a flimsy, unapologetic piece of propaganda”. He later claimed that it “indiscriminately mixes things I’m alleged to have said or done at different times and in different contexts, in an effort to portray me as an anti-Semite, without any foundation in fact”.

In the documentary, one of Waters’ controversial concerts in Germany is explored. It took place back in May last year and was criticised by the US State Department, who described it as “deeply offensive to Jewish people”.

Roger Waters performs on stage in December 2023. CREDIT: Agencia Press South/Getty Images

The gig saw him appear on stage wearing a black trench coat with a swastika-like emblem. At the time the musician defended the choice, claiming that the segment was a statement against fascism, injustice and bigotry and called criticism of it “disingenuous and politically motivated”.

In April that year, Waters won a legal battle to play a concert in Frankfurt after it was initially cancelled over claims of anti-SemitismClapton signed a petition to aid this decision – and more recently, it was reported that he had been dropped by his label BMG over his comments on Israel.

As for Eric Clapton, the comments in support of Waters also come following him getting heavily involved in politics throughout his career. Just last year, he joined forces with Stephen Stills to help raise millions of dollars for the Presidential campaign of controversial Democratic candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Before then, he established himself as an opponent of the COVID vaccine ever since it was developed. In 2021, the guitarist revealed that he would refuse to perform at any venue that required proof of vaccination. He later joined Van Morrison on an anti-lockdown song.

The post Eric Clapton on Roger Waters’ political views: “It takes a lot of guts, and he suffers from it terribly” appeared first on NME.

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