A musician’s smile speaks volumes.
Eric Clapton just left my hotel room after a 40 minute interview for “Johnnie Be Good”. I know the documentary just took a huge leap forward. Mr. Clapton was supposed to arrive at 10:00 a.m. At 9:58 there was a knock at my door. In walks a rock icon. We made small talk. I asked him if he’d ever heard Johnnie’s solo on the Buddy Guy song “7-11”.
He said he hadn’t, so I played a little for him. He smiled that musician smile, the smile of respect reserved for other guys who can play. We talked about “Hail! Hail! Rock and Roll”, the first time Clapton shared a stage with Johnnie. Then we moved on to Eric’s “24 Nights” peformances when he invited Johnnie to London to perform with Robert Cray, Buddy Guy, and others. We also talked about Eric’s longtime commitment to recognizing artists who came before him as a way of explaining why he agreed to become part of this documentary.”What I loved about Johnnie is that he was so open towards me. He recognized me. He made me feel like I was an equal. You have to remember where I come from, I was a little white kid looking up to these guys. It was a joy to play with him. It was a joy and a privilege.”When reality exceeds the dreams you have for a documentary, it’s an indescribible feeling. I’ve been listening to Clapton’s music for over thirty years and now the icon Eric Clapton is part of my documentary. I explained to him that years ago when the documentary was being planned, one of the first names Johnnie mentioned was Eric Clapton. Upon hearing this, Clapton again smiled that musician smile. What a great day.This is the beginning of an east coast road trip which will take me from NYC to Woodstock then Boston. John Sebastian, Levon Helm, and Al Kooper are doing interviews in the days to come.The journey continues….. Art HollidayDirector, JOHNNIE BE GOOD