Guitarist Robert Cray Drops from Eric Clapton Tour over Anti-Lockdown Song

(INSET: Robert Cray) Eric Clapton Performs at Gas South Arena on Friday, September 23, 2021, in Atlanta. (Photo by Robb Cohen/Invision/AP)
Robb Cohen, Jeff Daly/Invision/AP

Blues guitarist Robert Cray has dropped out of Eric Clapton’s U.S. tour citing the British guitar legend’s anti-lockdown stance as well as his public opposition to coronavirus vaccine mandates.

In an interview with the Washington Post, Cray said he backed out from a tour with Clapton after the latter released a song last year comparing lockdowns to slavery.

The song in question is “Stand And Deliver,” a joint release with fellow sceptic Van Morrison that saw Clapton sing: “Do you wanna be a free man / Or do you wanna be a slave? / Do you wanna wear these chains / Until you’re lying in the grave?”

As he explained to the Post, Cray – a black man born into a segregated community in 1953 Georgia – rejected such a comparison.

Cray revealed he sent Clapton an email after he heard the track last December, saying “his reaction back to me was that he was referring to slaves from, you know, England from way back.”

According to the report, Cray cut ties with Clapton, making contact one last time to formally exit his planned stint opening for Clapton on tour.

Cray went on to address a photo Clapton had taken with Texas governor Greg Abbott, who has publicly backed anti-abortion laws and election integrity measures.

“There’s this great photo [from 2013] at Madison Square Garden after the show, with B.B. King sitting in a chair, Jimmie Vaughan, myself and Eric sitting behind him,” Cray told the Post. “And I looked at that picture of Gov. Abbott, Jimmie Vaughan, and Eric Clapton in that similar pose, and I’m going, ‘What’s wrong with this picture? Why are you doing this?’”

Eric Clapton has long been vocal in opposition to lockdown measures, vaccine passports, and vaccine mandates, as Breitbart News reported.

Specifically, Clapton has publicly opposed forced shutdowns and expressed skepticism of coronavirus vaccines after experiencing what he described as debilitating side effects from the Oxford-AstraZeneca shots.

Back in May, the music legend announced he will not play at venues that require audience members to be vaccinated before attending concerts.

Clapton was spurred to comment after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said starting in September concert halls and stadiums would require fans to provide proof of vaccination against the coronavirus before entering events.

Clapton also released a new, pro-freedom single in which he rails against authoritarians who crush individual liberties. “This Has Gotta Stop,” which the singer dropped back in August, features the refrain, “This has gotta stop / Enough is enough / I can’t take this BS any longer.”

This isn’t the first time Eric Clapton has used music to air his views over the loss of freedoms during the coronavirus pandemic.

As Breitbart News reported, Clapton teamed up with Van Morrison last year to release the single “Stand and Deliver,” which criticized government-imposed lockdowns, and sparked the reaction from Robert Cray which has now gone public.

Follow Simon Kent on Twitter: or e-mail to: skent@breitbart.com

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