Eric Clapton just released a new studio album called I Still Do, but the guitar legend reveals in a new interview that he’s battling health issues that have made it difficult for him to play his instrument.
Clapton tells Classic Rock magazine that he’s been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy – a condition that can affect a person’s muscle strength, balance and coordination, as well as cause numbness and tingling in the hands or feet.
“I’ve had quite a lot of pain over the last year,” he admits. “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.”
He adds, “And I’ve had to figure out how to deal with some other things from getting old.”
Clapton also tells the U.K. magazine that after years of abusing alcohol and drugs when he was younger, he feels lucky to still be alive at the age of 71.
“Because I’m in recovery from alcoholism and addiction to substances, I consider it a great thing to be alive at all,” he says. “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.”
Also in the interview, Clapton shares recollections about his various groups and musical projects over the years, including with The Yardbirds, John Mayall’s Blues Breakers, Cream, Blind Faith and Derek & the Dominos.