Saturday, July 31, 2021

Some Sad But True, Hilarious Genius From Dave Everley


Eric Clapton and Van Morrison are among a number of rock stars who've loudly touted Covid-sceptic and anti-vaxx sentiments since the pandemic arrived. Here we ask: does rock have a Covid conspiracy problem?

Nothing riles a privileged multi-millionaire rock star like the threat of The Man clamping down on their freedom. Eric Clapton has announced that he will bravely take a stand against the UK government’s decision to implement a vaccine passport system for gigs and nightclubs by not playing any.

“I wish to say that I will not perform on any stage where there is a discriminated audience,” proclaimed the man who is so anti-discrimination that he once said “Keep Britain white” and suggested that all “foreigners” should be deported from the UK midway through one of his own gigs. “Unless there is provision made for all people to attend, I reserve the right to cancel the show.”

It’s strange that a 76-year-old who spent decades off his wanger on whatever untrialled drugs were shoved under his hooter is taking a righteous stand against something scientifically designed to minimise the chances of catching a virus that has been a factor in the deaths of four million people worldwide.

But no, it seems our septuagenarian freedom fighter copped a couple of bad doses of the Astra-Zeneca vaccine, the second of which caused pain and numbness in his extremities but, crucially, didn’t cause him to keel over and die. “But the propaganda said the vaccine was safe for everyone,” he sniffed.

Ah, “the propaganda”. While it’s churlish to feel bad for an elderly man having a rough time of it, that old Numbhand is couching his experiences in the language of the conspiracy theorist undercuts any sympathy. The fact that his statement emerged via Telegram, a networking and social platform beloved of right wing extremists and don’t-take-the-red-pill fanatics suggested that Clapton might have spent a fair bit of the last 18 months fashioning elaborate headgear out of protective Bacofoil. 

He’s not the only pensionable truth-warrior huffing like a walrus in a health farm at the state of things. Rock has a COVID conspiracy problem. In 2020, while the pandemic was in full swing, Clapton’s old mucker Van Morrison released a single called No More Lockdown. “No more government overreach/No more fascist police disturbing our peace,” he mumbled with all the revolutionary fervour of a man tugging himself off over the Daily Mail financial pages. Yes, this was a protest against social distancing by someone who is to sociability what the average pot of apricot yoghurt is to long distance running.

That sheeple-bomb was just an aperitif for Van’s 28-song Latest Record Project: Vol. 1, which is essentially a shopping list of grievances about everything from the shadowy cabal that owns the media (They Own The Media) to the sinister forces that are wreaking havoc on a sleepwalking populace (pretty much everything else). “Fight the pseudoscience and speak up,” frothed Van. Pseudoscience? Propaganda? You say “potato”, I say “genetically engineered tuber designed to download the contents of your brain and send them straight to Elon Musk’s iCloud.” And yes, Eric Clapton appears on one song

These two creaking relics are just the tip of the Rock Stars Who Have Said Dumb Shit About COVID iceberg. A steady stream of musicians of declining cultural relevance have served up zinger after conspiracy-based zinger over the past 18 months.

“The pandemic planned and executed to make us digital slaves,” tweeted former Stone Roses frontman Ian Brown last year, before dropping a song titled Little Seed Big Tree, which managed to bring “5G radiation” and “Doctor Evil with a needle” into the equation. Brown and former Verve singer Richard Ashcroft have both pulled out of festivals due to proof-of-vaccination entry requirements - the latter dubbed Sheffield’s Tramlines event a “Government Experiment” (he neglected to add “… as a way of looking to get a struggling live industry back on its feet”).

And then there’s Morrissey. Oh god, there’s always Morrissey. “Con-vid,” is how this great Speaker Of Truth described the pandemic, likening life under lockdown to slavery. Yes Moz, not being able to go to the cinema to see The Fast And The Furious 9 is exactly like being kidnapped and forcibly transported to work on a plantation on another continent. And don’t even get us started on Right Said Fred.

It’s not just British musicians whose best days are long behind them that have been spouting this QAnon-adjacent bullshittery. Life Of Agony singer Mina Caputo claimed the disease “was created in a lab”, despite zero evidence to back it up. Ted Nugent, who seems to be half man and half demented human dogwhistle these days, called it “a scammy pandemic”, shortly before getting a nasty bout of the non-scammy variant and wheezily back-pedalling. Iced Earth guitarist-turned-would-be-overthrower-of-government Jon Schaffer claimed it all was just “a psychological warfare campaign on the people more than it is a serious pandemic.” What happened to that guy anyway? He’s been awfully quiet recently.

But the U OK Hun? Award goes to former Fear Factory bassist Christian Olde Wolbers, who went full conspiro-nut crazy on Facebook: “KILLING Anti-Commie protestors, this is the main reason they INTENTIONALLY released the BIOLOGICAL WEAPON Covid-19 that was CREATED in a laboratory in Whu Han [sic] China. Change my mind.” Jesus. Things are really messed up when Jon Schaffer isn’t the craziest person in the last two paragraphs.

COVID denial and its wing-ding spin-offs have become a badge of honour for musicians who believe that either a) rock’n’roll still has the clout to speak truth to power, or b) Bill Gates really is secretly implanting tiny robots into our bloodstream in order to get us to buy all those unsold Microsoft Zune players he’s had in a warehouse since 2008. Either way, it’d be interesting to know what Adam Schlesinger from the Fountains Of Wayne or The Stranglers’ Dave Greenfield or John Prine think about it, except we’ll never find out seeing as they’ve been killed by a disease that Ted Nugent says doesn’t exist.

The frustrating thing is that there are a handful of valid points buried in the boggle-eyed ranting. When Van Morrison says that the live music industry has been ruined by the pandemic and that governments have done nothing to help, he’s right - though refusing to play gigs because of proof-of-vaccination requirements isn’t going to help anybody. 

Similarly, the subject of vaccine passports is a complicated and emotive one that at least warrants discussion. Just not by a bunch of paranoid halfwits who confuse being able to string a few notes together with a working understanding of virology.


From the Paul Is Dead! mob to the Elvis Is Alive! crowd, rock’n’roll has always had its own in-house industrial-conspiracy complex. These are mostly harmless, unless you’re an 86-year-old Elvis Presley living incognito in Fucknuckle, West Virginia and your cover’s about to be blown. This is different - it’s a bunch of wealthy celebrities peddling dangerous misinformation to people who probably don’t have the same access to high-end health care if they get banjaxed by a potentially lethal virus.

Yet just like the Dead Elvis crowd, rock’s COVID conspiracists are so intractable in their belief that they’re right that it just makes you want to hop on the next spaceship with Jeff Bezos and go find a planet which contains something approaching intelligent life.

Still buying the anti-vaxx line? The next time you find yourself in hospital with a highly contagious and potentially lethal virus, shoo away the doctors, send back the oxygen tank and ask for the bloke who sang Wonderful Tonight instead. Who needs science when you’ve got Eric Clapton?


 (H/T Tinpot)




Gene Oberto said...

Numbhand, I loved it. Drop the mic, Dave Everley.

neal t said...

I don't come here for brilliant writing, it's the insight to tunes from 1 whose got his ear on the pulse of the record product that brings me here but this is way above your pay grade. it should be read by all. well done

Sal Nunziato said...

Neal T.
All credit to Dave Everley.

A Walk In The Woods said...

Amen. I'm still a huge fan of Van and have listened to him more than ever during the pandemic. But of course I agree that he, Clapton, and others have taken a really unfortunate position that seems to be "all about me" and their personal inconvenience and doubts.

Instead of what we need now which is "all about the world" (which by the way includes a lot of vulnerable friends, family, coworkers, and others we might come in contact with if we're not vaccinated).

And to take it further, we're all "all about me" in the end, one might say - we all value our chosen type of life, freedom, etc - but even THAT is solved by just getting vaccinated and following the rules.

Because the sooner we all do that, the sooner we get a version of our normal lives back. Which we want too, Van 'n Eric.

Todd said...

Just a thought...

daudder said...

Clapton is such a weird guy....great guitar player, OK singer...wife stealer, band jumper and magnet for tragedy. When he is on, he is great, when he goes off he is quite miserable.

what I did not know, is that he inadvertently responsible for the "Rock Against Racism" getting started. Seems he went off on a racist rant during a concert in Birmingham, and a photographer (and wickedly funny letter to the editor writer) sent off a note to NME, Melody Maker, etc which resulted in RAR staring.

Youtube clip attached.

kodak ghost said...

Nice one. Just about sums up where I'm at too.

New thread... Musicians who are pillocks but who have produced some amazing music in their time. Second thought - that list would be endless.

VM is supposed to be headlining a big festival in UK soon. Be interesting to see the reaction

Stephen said...

To the Claptons and Trumps of the world...........
Nothing worse than IDIOTS with money (who use their power and wealth to ignorantly influence).
If COVID is not real, then use your power, influence and money to find out why all these people are sick, dying and dead!!!!!!

Michael Giltz said...

Amen, brother. A useful reminder that the art is separate from the person, since I still really enjoy a good 20 years of Van Morrison, some key Eric Clapton, all of the Smiths and a chunk of Morrissey, that awe-inspiring Stone Roses debut and so much more, no matter how idiotic the artists may be at times. Never meet your hero!

Sal Nunziato said...

"A useful reminder that the art is separate from the person"

Getting harder and harder these days.

And Morrissey can take it on a hop. He came out of the womb with a slap and a "go fuck yourself" from the doctor.

FiveGunsWest said...

Age-ists are we now? This pompously platitudinous pork butchery of the English language not once mentions Clapton took the jabs and it affected his joints and hands so bad he feared he'd never play again. Funny how much zealotry there is just in having some berk shove an experimental treatment in your any convert to a new religion these new adherents condemn everything outside their echo chamber.

After WW2 the Nuremberg Code, designed to deal with the (Nazi) gov't giving experimental medical treatments to a population without informed consent is a crime against humanity. Even just pressuring, like you guys, or brow beating, like you guys, is a crime against humanity. At least you fit right in to the Party back then.

Choke on this:

Health & Human services, a division of the Federal gov't has the VAERS, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System. According to them 11,140 so far have died from the vaccinations, the week before last 2,092 deaths from vaccinations were added versus 1,918 deaths from the virus. Countries with the highest vaccination rates are showing the most new Covid cases. They say the real numbers are much higher as the gov't doesn't record these events. They are voluntarily reported. This is a US gov't website.

For the third consecutive week, states with the highest number of coronavirus cases also had the highest vaccination rates, Karine Jean-Pierre, the deputy White House press secretary, said on Friday

M_Sharp said...

Great article! I wonder if Eric's years of drug and alcohol abuse (and age) may have been a factor in the side effects he had from the vaccine. It's obvious he never considered that.

Yo, FGW:
From the VAERS web page "Selected Adverse Events Reported after COVID-19 Vaccination", updated July 26, 2021:

This is a US gov't CDC web site.

"Reports of death after COVID-19 vaccination are rare. More than 342 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the United States from December 14, 2020, through July 26, 2021. During this time, VAERS received 6,340 reports of death (0.0019%) among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine. FDA requires healthcare providers to report any death after COVID-19 vaccination to VAERS, even if it’s unclear whether the vaccine was the cause. Reports of adverse events to VAERS following vaccination, including deaths, do not necessarily mean that a vaccine caused a health problem. A review of available clinical information, including death certificates, autopsy, and medical records, has not established a causal link to COVID-19 vaccines. However, recent reports indicate a plausible causal relationship between the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine and TTS, a rare and serious adverse event—blood clots with low platelets—which has caused deaths."

One last time: "VAERS received 6,340 reports of death (0.0019%) among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine",
"Reports of adverse events to VAERS following vaccination, including deaths, do not necessarily mean that a vaccine caused a health problem. A review of available clinical information, including death certificates, autopsy, and medical records, has not established a causal link to COVID-19 vaccines."

Have a good day! :-)

Anonymous said...

Jeezus, 5GW is a thick'un, innit?
Even if I accepted his numbers at face value (and M Sharp's post indicates I should NOT), am I to believe that 11k deaths are worse than the millions who've died from Covid? Or even if you just count American deaths (in case his 11k is American Covid deaths only), 11k deaths is worse than over 600k? Well, shit, let's outlaw seatbelts because I'm sure there've been some instances where they didn't save a life! I'm guessing 5WG might be, um, single, so mayn't have kids, but if he did, would he turn down a surgeon's proposal for an experimental procedure if it could save his kid's life, or say bark back at the "berk" for even offering?
Look, it's this simple: Clapton's shots didn't go well, which is not uncommon (I am absolutely the ONLY person I know who suffered no ill effects from my dose). So he's fine to talk about how bad it went, and the (legit) scare it gave him. Lotta folks I know had bad experiences when they got their wisdom teeth pulled. But they didn't imply that folks should ignore the reality of their tooth pathologies! And even if they did, WISDOM TEETH ARE NOT CONTAGIOUS!
I had to look up the other artists mentioned in the article, and saw that by-and-large they were metal folk, which is not a stratum of humanity I give much truck to on mental acuity, rightly or wrongly. Clapton and Morrison, tho, I can say are big disappointments.
C in California

claudecat said...

I've really enjoyed your recent rants on this subject Sal! Clapton is just the tip of the iceberg apparently, along with Van, whose music I've enjoyed far more over the years. In fact, aside from Derek and the Dominos and parts of the Beano John Mayall album, I doubt I've intentionally listened to any Clapton at all in my lifetime, despite having earned a living playing blues for most of the 80's.

I'd like to invite Eric, Van, Ted, and all the rest of these wackos to move to Florida. Then all we have to do is get Bugs Bunny to saw that mf-er off, like in the old cartoon! Of course, they all might be dead from COVID before Bugs gets a chance...

Shriner said...

AGAIN: FGW is lying about the numbers reported to VAERS again.

There are a total of 5775 total potential after-any-vaccine reported deaths in 2021 -- ending on Jan 23.

And there have been 394 reported deaths in the month of July entirely in VAERS.

Data is easily downloadable here:

Nice to see he's sticking to the false talking points (I mean obviously blatant lies) about 2000 deaths in "the week before last".


(Up to you if you want to keep giving the dude air, Sal -- I'm happy to keep pulling out the real numbers to refute his falsehoods...)

Sal Nunziato said...

As much as I loathe people like FiveGunsWest...people who ignore facts, figures and real data...people who promote fake news...people who do more harm than good...I am able to find an infinitesimal bit of respect because he is not a smug coward who hides behind a computer screen anonymously. FiveGunsWest has a blog! I'll give him air time until I think it's gone too far, and I appreciate you and anyone who continues to refute with facts.

buzzbabyjesus said...

Wow! That's good.