October 28, 2008
Bourjailly: Eric Clapton's Gun Sale
By David E. Petzal and Phil Bourjaily
One of my first albums, which I bought in 1972 and dearly loved, was “The History of Eric Clapton.” It’s a two-record chronicle of Clapton’s awesome pre-suck period – Yardbirds, Cream, Blind Faith, etc. – when he kept his mouth shut on stage and played the guitar, which he did (and still does when he wants to) about as well as anybody ever has or ever will.
In the mid-70s, Clapton quit being a guitar hero to embark on a long career as a mediocre pop singer. Listening to Clapton bleat his way through fluff like “Wonderful Tonight” when he could be soloing is like watching Michael Jordan flail at minor league pitching when he could have been defying gravity in the NBA finals.
What does this have to do with guns? This: there’s money in singing bad songs badly, and Clapton has made a pile. Bless his heart, he also likes to “shoot” (which is British for “hunt") and he’s bought a lot of really nice shotguns over the years. Now he needs to get rid of some old guns to make room for new ones.
You’d think he could just buy another gun cabinet, but whatever. Not surprisingly, his collection centers on bespoke English guns. Here are a few of them.
The auction is set for December. Me, I don’t need a gun with Clapton himself engraved on the sideplate (like the William Evans pair, one of which is shown above) but how great would it be to own a pair of Purdeys with Clapton’s initials on them? It would take me right back to 1972.