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Mogwai's Stuart Braithwaite calls Eric Clapton a “complete joker” for anti-vaccine stance

Eric Clapton and Stuart Braithwaite
(Image credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images; Mariano Regidor/Redferns)

Mogwai's Stuart Braithwaite has spoken out about Eric Clapton's anti-vaccine viewpoints, calling the former Cream guitarist “a complete joker.” 

Speaking to the Independent, Braithwaite said he was surprised that anyone would listen to what he had to say, and referred to a notorious 1976 speech in which an intoxicated Clapton took to the mic onstage and endorsed the far-right British politician in a racist tirade.

“I’m surprised anyone listens to what Eric Clapton says anyway,“ said Braithwaite. “He’s a complete joker of a guy that’s made his career from copying black musicians but then quotes Enoch Powell.”

Lest we forget, Clapton is not a healthcare expert; the English guitar player shot to fame for his talents with an electric guitar. But he has branched out of late, sharing boilerplate anti-vaccine propaganda that has been repeatedly debunked by healthcare bodies, and issuing statements refusing to play shows where proof of vaccination is required. 

He’s a complete joker of a guy that’s made his career from copying Black musicians but then quotes Enoch Powell

Stuart Braithwaite

What is ironic is that Clapton has been vaccinated. After reporting side effects from the AstraZeneca vaccine, he said that he feared he “would never play again“ .

Clapton recently released a new song titled, This Has Gotta Stop, with the lyrics containing a barely concealed anti-vaccine message that could have been written by Covid-19 itself: “I can’t take this BS any longer / It’s gone far enough / You want to claim my soul, / you’ll have to come and break down this door.”

Clapton also joined Van Morrison on his the anti-lockdown song Stand And Deliver, but the veterans are not alone in occupying the musicians against Covid vaccines – it is a demographic that includes the likes of Right Said Fred and Ian Brown. Perhaps they could form a band.

Braithwaite, however, is not amused. “It’s the toxic mix of weed and YouTube,“ he said of anti-vaccine propaganda and the conspiracist mindset. “People probably shouldn’t be looking to Ian Brown for sensible advice in the first place.“

“It’s quite depressing to see people reaching for these really shit conspiracy theories that are totally made up bullshit when the actual fact of the matter that all the billionaires have all got 10 times richer in this time when everybody’s absolutely fucked, that’s a real thing that’s happening that everyone should be furious about. Instead, everyone’s convinced that Bill Gates is turning them into a magnet or some shit. It’s depressing.“

You can read the rest of Braithwaite's typically unsparing interview over at the Independent. Mogwai's new album, As The Love Continues, is the Scottish post-rock band's first UK number one album, and has been nominated for a Mercury Prize. You can order it here.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.