ST. PAUL, Minn. – Eric Clapton is playing "Cocaine" in concert again. The recovering drug addict and alcoholic, who founded the Crossroads Centre addiction recovery center on the Caribbean island of Antigua, stopped performing the song written by J.J. Cale when he first got sober.
"I thought that it might be giving the wrong message to people who were in the same boat as me," Clapton recently told The Associated Press.
"But further investigation proved ... the song, if anything, if it's not even ambivalent, it's an anti-drug song. And so I thought that might be a better way to do it, to approach it from a more positive point of view. And carry on performing it as not a pro-drug song, but just as a reality check about what it does."
Clapton's band shouts out "dirty cocaine" during the song.
"It's one of those songs that you can take it any way you like," Clapton told the AP. "But it very clearly says in the opening verse, 'If you wanna get down, down on the ground,' I mean, that's, I think, the focal point of the song. That's what the song's about, is that, you know, there's a price."
Clapton also said he missed playing "Cocaine," with its signature guitar riff, "just purely from a musical point of view."
Eric Clapton, 61, is on the North American leg of his world tour. His duet CD with J.J. Cale, "The Road to Escondido," is scheduled for release Nov. 7.