Eric Clapton won't play venues requiring proof of vaccination: ‘Do you wanna be a free man?’

Eric Clapton is one of the most revered and influential guitarists of all time, Nov 8, 2016. | Screenshot: YouTube/ Eric Clapton

Popular rock and blues guitarist Eric Clapton announced that he is engaging in a “passive rebellion” and will not play at venues requiring attendees to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

The United Kingdom native said he “reserves the right to cancel” his shows following an order made by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson mandating large indoor gatherings such as concert halls and event venues obtain proof from visitors that they have been vaccinated.

“I feel honor-bound to make an announcement of my own. I wish to say that I will not perform on any stage where there is a discriminated audience present," the 76-year-old rock legend announced, according to Rolling Stone.

 “Unless there is provision made for all people to attend, I reserve the right to cancel the show,” he declared.

Clapton shared his announcement with a link to a song he created titled, “Stand and Deliver,” performed with singer Van Morrison. The song is pegged as Clapton's anti-lockdown song.

“Do you wanna be a free man? / Or do you wanna be a slave?” Clapton sings in the song. “Do you wanna wear these chains / until you’re lying in the grave? / … I don’t wanna be a pauper / I don’t wanna be a prince / I just wanna do my job / playing the blues for my friends.”

“Manga Carta, Bill of Rights / The Constitution, what’s it worth? / You know they’re gonna grind us down / until it really hurts / Is this a sovereign nation / or just a police state? / You better look out, people / before it gets too late.”

Clapton, who was vaccinated earlier in the year, openly talked about his “disastrous” reaction to the AstraZeneca vaccine in May.

The musician took the injection to prevent COVID-19. However, he rebuked the media’s “propaganda” following his experience. 

The three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame argued that it’s misleading for the media to suggest that “the vaccine was safe for everyone.” Clapton's side effects to the vaccine were so bad he feared he would never play guitar again.

“I took the first jab of [the AstraZeneca vaccine] and straight away had severe reactions, which lasted 10 days,” he penned in a letter to anti-lockdown activist and architect Robin Monotti Graziadei.  

Graziadei publicly shared the letter with Clapton’s permission to do so.

Clapton received the first dose in February and the second dose six weeks later. He admitted he only took both shots because he had “a little more knowledge of the dangers.”

“Needless to say,” Clapton continued, “the reactions were disastrous: my hands and feet were either frozen, numb, or burning, and pretty much useless for two weeks. I feared I would never play again.”

Clapton said he “should’ve never gone near the needle” because of his “peripheral neuropathy,” but felt misled by all the press assuring that the safety of vaccination.

“I continue to tread the path of passive rebellion and try to tow [sic] the line in order to be able to actively love my family, but it’s hard to bite my tongue with what I now know,” he maintained.

According to The Wall Street Journal, studies show the vaccines have varying rates of effectiveness, with the Pfizer vaccine said to be 39% effective in reducing infection and 91% effective at preventing severe illness. The statistics do, however, suggest that the vaccines reduce the impact of the infection. 

This week, reports have reiterated that even vaccinated people can contract and spread COVID-19. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported over 5,900 cases of fully vaccinated people being hospitalized or dying from COVID-19 breakthrough infections as of July 19.  

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