Goodbye, Goodfellas memories. Photo courtesy of Anthony Mariani

I’m really disappointed in friends and “friends” who went to the Eric Clapton show at Dickies Arena after “Slowhand” has done everything possible to slander the COVID vaccine because he had a bad reaction to the jab. (Can inanimate objects be slandered? They can now!) What is wrong with you? Why are you throwing money at some washed-up milquetoast whose only new song in 100 years is about breaking the lockdown (so brave) and whose blindingly easy guitar noodlings can be heard at any local blues jam on the planet any night of the week? So disappointing. For the Clapton-going “friends,” a.k.a. people I haven’t talked to in years or don’t even know, you’ve been unfollowed. No precious likes for you! For the friends I know, all I can say is that it must be nice to be “apolitical” or “above politics.” Many of us haven’t been graced with that privilege. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Am I saying that by going to a concert, a mere gathering of people listening to music and having a good time, you’re working against us crawling out of this mess and being able to return to life as normal? Yes. Yes, I am. Celebrities who don’t believe in science, who have millions of followers, and who are actively working against health and safety not only do not deserve an audience but should be boycotted. Go ahead. Go through our magazine and point out all the advertisers who don’t require masks for entry or merely only recommend them. I’ll go on to say there’s a big difference between 25 people at a bar/restaurant most nights of the week (200 on weekends at best) and 5,000 people stuffed into a hermetically sealed venue. I mean, I’ve been actively disliking all of my favorite Cream songs as they pop up on my Pandora stations. I’ve even actively disliked “Cocaine,” easily one of my Top 10 party songs of all time. (She don’t lie.) And you all are going to a concert by this guy? WTF?

There’s one thing to make a mistake or let your dumbassery take over. Lots of celebs make mistakes. Some apologize. Some double down. Some just back into the shadows for a year or two until we forget about it. This guy, this old, rich, white guy, he’s been making it his mission to discredit a vaccine that’s easily saving millions of lives just because it gave him a bad reaction. Is he so self-absorbed that he believes he’s above being an anomaly? I guess when your whole life has been one big party with you in the middle of every group selfie, being reminded of your humanness must be a shock. The worst part is that all the smack he’s talking about a life-saving vaccine is fueling the right-wing echo chamber to keep using him to suggest VAX BAD. The whole point is to make Grandpa Joe look like he’s failing. And if you think conservatives aren’t above sacrificing the rabble to gain political points, you haven’t been paying attention. Our lieutenant governor said old people should go out and fucking die to keep the economy humming to protect the orange stain. Yeah. That happened. By railing against the vaccine, Eric Clapton is rousing his undoubtedly old, undoubtedly wealthy, undoubtedly white, probably racist fan base to avoid the jab but keep going to concerts, keep doing the “Stand and Deliver” (which is also the name of an awesome, earlier, far superior Adam Ant song). And now some of those poor saps are going to die. News flash: Unless old age gets him, our president will be just fine.


If you have enough time to post a pic from a concert, you have enough time to google the facts. Pay attention. I hope we can be friends again soon. — Anthony Mariani


Courtesy Facebook

Next Wednesday, It’s Big Bertha at Tulips

Not this Wednesday but the 22nd, one of the longest-running projects of any musical discipline will be making a fun, rowdy, knotty, rhythmic appearance at Tulips FTW (112 St. Louis Av, 817-367-9798). Bertha Coolidge has been doing its rock-fusion thing forever (21 years, officially) but now only about once a year. Well, Wednesday, the 22nd, will mark a reunion show. Back in the day, a Bertha gig was an event for everyone, straight-ahead lovers, free lovers, bebop lovers, rockers, rappers, punks, the general unwashed, all manner of person in between. It was an event. Haven’t seen Bertha since the West 7th-Black Dog days but would love to crash this show. The main selling point is that they will be trotting out “new material.” Vibist/organist Joey Carter, guitarist Paul Metzger, bassist Aden Bubeck, and drummer Rick Stitzel take the stage 7-11:30pm. Tickets at Prekindle. Wear a mask. — A.M.


Courtesy Facebook

Manic Monday

The Near Southside will be the place to be Monday as two formidable shows go down in two different venues.

At 7pm at MASS (1002 S Main St, 682-707-7774), the brilliantly, no-doubt ironically named Church Girls will take the stage as part of a massive tour that started last week and winds through the end of October. COVID? What COVID? Just kidding. I bet these lighthearted rockers are safe and healthy. I bet their openers — locals The Roommates and Cool Jacket — are, too. Tickets at Prekindle.

And at Tulips FTW, it’s another Soul’d Out Monday, this time with old-school Fort Worth crooner/rapper Nuwamba, who was all the rage back in the mid-aughts but kind of went somewhere else or left Fort Worth or something a couple years later. Anyway, he was doing the Drake sing/rap/sing thing years before that Torontoian ever thought to. Tickets at Prekindle. — A.M.


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  1. Feeling a little self righteous today, Anthony? I’ve been vaccinated, so I feel pretty safe going out. I’m not going to quit living my life to try to protect people that do not want to be protected. It is very unlikely that I will end up in the hospital if I have a breakthrough case, and it’s highly unlikely that I would transmit it to anyone else given that I’m still working from home. So I do not feel my decision to go to this concert had any impact on the health care system capacity. I would be willing to bet that at least 70% of those in attendance had been vaccinated. I don’t agree with Clapton’s stance, but he did get the vaccine. His only policy that affected the show was that there could not be a vaccine mandate for entry. He never mentioned the virus or vaccine at all during the show.

  2. I couldn’t do it… I got in on great pre release floor tickets…NOT CHEAP…before his crap “opinion” and his stupid anti vaxxer anthem. Ticketmaster wouldn’t allow refunds so I sold them at a $250 loss. Thanks for intentionally creating a super spreader event for the most arrogant and selfish among us.

  3. Steven Van Zandt (of the E Street Band) on Eric Clapton-

    Eric Clapton is the most important and influential guitar player that has ever lived, is still living or ever will live. Do yourself a favor, and don’t debate me on this. Before Clapton, rock guitar was the Chuck Berry method, modernized by Keith Richards, and the rockabilly sound — Scotty Moore, Carl Perkins, Cliff Gallup — popularized by George Harrison. Clapton absorbed that, then introduced the essence of black electric blues: the power and vocabulary of Buddy Guy, Hubert Sumlin and the three Kings — B.B., Albert and Freddie — to create an attack that defined the fundamentals of rock & roll lead guitar.

    Maybe most important of all, he turned the amp up — to 11. That alone blew everybody’s mind in the mid-Sixties. In the studio, he moved the mic across the room from the amp, which added ambience; everybody else was still close-miking. Then he cranked the ****ing thing. Sustain happened; feedback happened. The guitar player suddenly became the most important guy in the band.

    Intellectually, Clapton was a purist, although there was little evidence of it in the beginning. He supercharged every riff he knew, even things I remember as note-for-note tributes, like Freddie King’s “Hide Away,” on John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers With Eric Clapton. When he soloed, he wrote wonderful symphonies from classic blues licks in that fantastic tone, with all of the resonance that comes from distortion. You could sing his solos like songs in themselves.

    I first saw Clapton with Cream, at the Cafe Au Go Go in New York in 1967 — sort of. I stood outside. It was sold out. I couldn’t get in. But you could see them — the band was right in the window. And it was loud, even outside. In those days, musically, Clapton was a total wild man. He stood there, not moving a muscle, while he issued the most savage assault you had ever experienced, unless you were at the debut of Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” and your seat was in front of the cannon. And when his creativity, passion, frustration and anger all came together, it was frightening. His solo in “Crossroads” on Wheels of Fire is impossible: I don’t know how he kept time while he played.

    I’ve never said more than a casual hello to Eric, so none of this is inside information. But I believe that his guitar playing changed radically in the early Seventies because singing and songwriting became more important to him, and Robert Johnson had a lot to do with that. Clapton was so moved by Johnson’s music that he wanted to write and sing with the same passion, clarity and truth. You hear the frustration — of not being able to do that — in his Sixties guitar work. The first time I heard real anger and aggressive sexuality expressed in guitar playing was on that Mayall record. If the solo in “Have You Heard” isn’t the sound of a **** ripping through trousers on its way to the promised land, I don’t know what is.

    Bob Dylan’s Basement Tapes and the Band’s Music From Big Pink started a move back to American traditional music, and those recordings were a big influence on Clapton. Around the same time, Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett were encouraging him to write and sing. You can hear how good he is at both on Eric Clapton, the album he made with them, as well as his change in tone from Gibson-dirty to Stratocaster-clean.

    Layla was, for me, the last time everything — the singing, songwriting and guitar playing — were all at the same high intensity level. It’s Clapton’s most original interpretation of the blues, because the hellhounds on his trail had a face: unrequited love. But Clapton’s guitar playing is still terrific. The thing is, he had seven years of the most extraordinary, historic guitar playing ever — and 40 years of doing good work. Being the best has got to wear you out. So he pulled back, like Dylan and Lennon did. The sprint is cool — the marathon is better. Clapton has followed in the footsteps of his mentors: He’s become a journeyman.

    Anyone who plays lead guitar owes him a debt of gratitude. He wrote the fundamental language, the binary code, that everyone uses to this day.

    The day may come, if you’re a young rocker, when you’ll hear one of Clapton’s mellow, contemporary ballads on the radio and think, “What’s the big deal?” Put on “Steppin’ Out.” And bow down.