Robbie Robertson on The Band, Rebellion and His Friendship With Eric Clapton
majority of the songwriting was mine, it just leaned in my direction. It could have been his record, a duet record -- though I kind of hate duet records now that I think about it -- or it could have been my record. So after we finished writing these songs he told me that this was really my record and he would just play on it.
Watch the Band Perform 'Up On Cripple Creek'
How did your friendship with Eric Clapton begin? I heard that, at some point, he tried to take your place in the Band.
I first met Eric in Los Angeles around the time 'Music From Big Pink' came out at a mutual friend's house. He told me the record had such an affect on him that it changed the way he felt about the music he was playing at that time and wanted to change direction -- which was quite a compliment, saying it like that.
That's when we first knew one another and we kept in touch off and on throughout the years. But he did come to Woodstock to visit with us, and I thought he was just curious but then he said years later that the real reason was that he had come to join the Band. I made a joke out of it saying, 'Were you implying that they need a new guitar player?'
If he had asked what would you have said?
We don't have any more bedrooms.
I understand that was the reason he broke up Cream?
Well, that's what's been said. He probably had other reasons for wanting to break up Cream.
On the new album you address, lyrically, some issues that you were weary of bringing up earlier in your career. What inspired that openness?
I'm not really sure. You can stand around all day long and ask why, but things come to you at different times. For some reason, the process of making this record became very reflective and personal for me. I usually