Thank you Eric Clapton...

Have you ever had a dream that felt so real you were sure you were living it, and that when you woke up you felt as if your life had changed, if even in a small way? We all have – that’s the nature of dreams.

My first band in 1968

When I was younger I had one particular recurring dream that had a profound effect on me and kept me going each time I thought of putting down the guitar once and for all and getting a real job.

From a young age Eric Clapton was my idol. I remember seeing him with Cream in 1968 – I was only 11 or so and I left my seat in the nosebleeds and went right down in front and watched mesmerized for the whole show as he played a Gibson Firebird I. That moment was inspirational and pivotal for me. That’s when I KNEW what it was I wanted to be…

Fast forward a few years and I’m in my early twenties playing in clubs and dreaming of one day making the big time. But too many dead end gigs and way too much alcohol and the dreams started to fade…

This is where the magic kicks in…

Eric Clapton in 1968

In my dream I’m in a large rehearsal-type jam room for bands – no stage, small setup. I’m jamming with a band, it sounds great, we’re grooving. I look around and see Eric Clapton with his head down playing intently. Man oh man, I’m playing with the big boys! Suddenly he looks up at me and gives me a nod of the head as if to say “your turn, let’s see what you got”. That’s how it works when you’re jamming. What follows is magical, the music is really good, like nothing I’ve ever heard or played before. We jam a bit longer exchanging nods and then it’s over. The dream ends. Back to reality!

I realize now that as a result of this inspirational dream I subconsciously made a decision to never let the music in me die. Call it crazy if you will but it helped me get through some soul-searching moments many years ago when I was thinking of quitting music and getting a day job. Every musician has those moments, it’s the nature of the instability of the music business.

I never got to jam with Eric Clapton and I haven’t had the dream for years but I’ve continued to play music for a living and I consider myself fortunate to have worked with some incredibly talented musicians and really, that’s what it’s all about. I’ve met all kinds of interesting people – some kind, some not, some crazy, but I wouldn’t trade it in for all the superstar jams in the world. I’ve got the opportunity to travel the world playing and recording my music, experiencing different cultures and living the dream.

So for that, in part, I thank you, Eric Clapton.

I look forward to many more sometimes hard, sometimes uplifting, always worthwhile experiences along this musical journey. Here’s to hoping that you are part of that journey.

Cliff Stevens Grass Won’t Grow

If you’d like to hear the most recent milestone of that journey, click here to listen to my most recent album, ‘Grass Won’t Grow’.

And I thank you for being a listener and for making it all matter.