At 72 years old, Eric Clapton is due to play Hyde Park and adamant about continuing to work.
Yet the musician has now admitted that he is suffering from deafness and struggling to strum the guitar.
The guitar legend has revealed he’s anxious about being able to play the instrument and sing ‘proficiently’ due to the ailments he has including tinnitus, a ringing coming from inside the ear.
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Losing his touch? Eric Clapton (here in September 2017) has admitted his fears that he will embarrass himself at 2018 shows, after revealing he is going deaf and has tinnitus
In an interview with Steve Wright on BBC Radio 2 on Tuesday, Eric shared: ‘I am still going to work. I am going to do a show at Hyde Park [British Summer Time Festival] in July.
‘The only thing I am concerned with now is I am going deaf, I’ve got tinnitus, my hands just about work.
‘I mean, I am hoping people will come along and see me, me more than I am a curiosity. I know that is part of it, because it’s amazing to myself that I am still here.’
The former Cream star was speaking in promotion of his new film, Eric Clapton: A Life in 12 Bars, which hits cinemas on Friday (12.01.18), and said it’s hard to watch the movie in full because it looks back at some tough times he’s experienced.
He admitted: ‘It’s difficult to sit through because it goes on so long about the difficult part of my life.
‘I think it’s important for people to see that there is a happy ending, it’s like a redemption concept. If you are going to go and see it, be prepared for a heavy ride.’
The ‘Layla’ hitmaker revealed last year that he’s been in pain after damaging his nervous system, which is why he’s finding it hard to perform, however, he’s ‘come to terms with it’.
World’s greatest guitarist: The rocker (here in 1975) spoke about his former demons, after spending most of the 60s and 70s under the influence of alcohol and drugs until his sobriety in 1987
He said at the time: ‘I’ve had quite a lot of pain over the last year. It started with lower back pain, and turned into what they call peripheral neuropathy.
‘[It’s] hard work to play the guitar and I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that it will not improve.’
Clapton, who spent most of the 60s and 70s under the influence of alcohol and drugs until his sobriety in 1987, had said that he would limit the number of concerts he does to avoid ’embarrassing himself’.
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.’
Last March, Eric was forced to pull out of two gigs in Los Angeles at short notice because of ‘severe bronchitis’.
The 71-year-old star, lauded by many as one of the world’s greatest guitarists, said he was ‘very sorry’ for having to postpone the shows following doctor’s orders.
‘Due to severe bronchitis and under doctor’s advisement, Eric Clapton is rescheduling this weekend’s two shows at The Forum in Los Angeles,’ read a statement released on the Tears In Heaven hitmaker’s behalf.
Doesn’t want to embarrass himself: Clapton was forced to pull out of shows last March due to illness
During Tuesday’s interview, he admitted at the height of his alcoholism he would drink a self-made potent cocktail to mask just how much booze he was sinking.
The 72-year-old music legend managed to kick his addiction to drink and his abuse of prescription drugs, cocaine and heroin many years ago and in 1998 he founded the Crossroads Centre on Antigua, a medical facility for recovering addicts.
Clapton openly admits his binge drinking at its worse was out of control and he would often mix super-strength Carlsberg Special Brew lager with spirit vodka creating a strange brew to satisfy his insatiable thirst for alcohol.
He shared: ‘For at least 20 years I was a basket case, and that is putting it lightly. I drank more than you can imagine, a Special Brew with vodka. It looked like you were just drinking larger, but in fact, you weren’t.’
However, the ‘Layla’ hitmaker believes his battles with substance abuse were beneficial to his blues inspired rock music as he was able to channel his struggles and pain into his songs.
Clapton – who is a three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, once as a solo artist and as a member of The Yardbirds and also Cream – added: ‘There is no doubt. I went into a cave of self-pity and despair and the only thing that was the light at the end of the tunnel was this music.’
The show must go on: Clapton spoke about his strong desire to keep performing, and this year has a show in Hyde Park for British Summertime Festival