Robert Cray on Eric Clapton: “I’d just rather not associate with somebody who’s on the extreme and being so selfish"

Robert Cray
(Image credit: Jun Sato/WireImage)

In a damning piece called What Happened To Eric Clapton?, The Washington Post  has spoken to a number of the guitarist's peers about not just his recent statements regarding touring regulations and Covid vaccinations, but controversy around a photograph Clapton was pictured in back in September. 

For Blues peer Robert Cray, that photograph ended his 35-year friendship with Slowhand. 

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What’s wrong with this picture? Why are you doing this?

The picture was taken after a September show in Austin, Texas and posted on Texas Governor Greg Abbott's Twitter. It shows Clapton and guitarist Jimmie Vaughan posing with Abbott backstage.

Abbott was in the spotlight at the time for his voting stances, having recently signed the US's most restrictive abortion law and a controversial Republican-backed measure on new restrictions regarding voting access. 

“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 says. 

“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

(Image credit: Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

The relationship between the pair of blues guitar icons now seems unrepairable.

“I’ve told myself, I don’t need to have a conversation,” Cray told The Washington Post. “I’d just rather not associate with somebody who’s on the extreme and being so selfish. 

"We started playing a music that wasn’t particularly popular to start off with at the time we started playing. We’ve gained some notoriety, and I’m fine with that, but I surely don’t need to hang out with Eric Clapton for that to continue.”

For the full feature, head to

Robert Cray: 10 guitarists I enjoy listening to

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.