Q&A and Guest Playlist: Classic Clapton's Mike Hall
Classic Clapton features front-man Mike Hall who not only looks like Eric, he sings and plays guitar like him too! The band comprises 4 excellent musicians who stunningly recreate Slowhand’s electrifying stage performances. The whole of EC’s illustrious career is covered including Cream, The Bluesbreakers, The Yardbirds, Blind Faith, Derek & The Dominos and the solo years.
They have toured throughout the UK including numerous sell-out shows. They have appeared at The Royal Festival Hall and Glastonbury Festival where they were a major success. In the past few years they have played numerous concerts in Europe including Spain, Estonia, Holland & France. In 2009 & 2016 they toured India. In 2017 they appeared in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
We caught up with Classic Calpton’s front man Mike Hall (via email) to find out what he is up to during this strange period.
How are you staying positive?
To be honest, we feel very lucky at the moment. I realise that many people are in a much worse position. We have our health. We also have a lovely garden so I have been spending a great deal of time gardening. The weather has been good, so this helps with staying positive.
What are you using your time to do?
Before the pandemic I used to go swimming every day. Now I try to go for a walk. I moved to Cramlington about a year ago. I didn’t know the area that well, but now I am beginning to explore the local countryside. I have discovered some really nice country walks that I would never have realised existed otherwise.
Is this time sparking a new kind of creativity?
In 1998 I sold my business and began to concentrate on the band full time. At the time I promised myself that I would learn to play the piano. That never happened, but now I have the time and so I have begun practicing scales and going through a beginner’s instruction book. I have absolutely no skill on the piano so it is quite a contrast from playing the guitar. I love playing the acoustic guitar best of all, so I have also been searching through some old song lyrics which lend themselves to acoustic guitar, not necessarily Clapton songs. Perhaps some of these songs will be included in future After Midnight unplugged gigs.
What are the big challenges?
One of the biggest challenges at the moment is staying positive, especially when the news is so depressing. The statistics of infections and the death rate are relentless. As a result, some of my friends have stopped watching the news. However, there have been some very up-lifting stories for example the fund-raising activities of 99 year old Captain Tom Moore who at the time of writing this has raised over £7 million. Well done Tom. The example of the selfless NHS workers is heart-warming and so is the work done by Care Home workers some of whom are looking after my 93 year old father. I haven’t been able to see him for several weeks apart from Skype.
what have you been listening to?
I am something of a hoarder and still possess dozens of old VHS music videos. So the lock-down has given me the time to copy some of them to DVD. While doing this I have found some great concerts from the 80’s & 90’s by artists such as James Taylor and Mark Knopfler. I discovered a concert by Sting which took place at The Buddle Arts Centre in Wallsend. I also found a 90’s TV series from Tyne Tees Television called North Stars which demonstrated how many talented musicians came from the North East including John Miles, Bryan Ferry, Prefab Sprout, Kathryn Tickell, not to mention Sting and Mark Knopfler.
What’s the thing you’re most looking forward to doing when it’s all over?
Obviously I am looking forward to performing concerts again with Classic Clapton. I have spent part of the past few weeks re-arranging concerts which were supposed to take place in March & April. At the moment it looks as though our next shows will be at the end of June in Worcester & Milton Keynes, subject to the lockdown being lifted of course. Dave Robson & I have an After Midnight unplugged gig on 7 August in Cullercoats. This is an acoustic show with 2 guitars and a variety of covers by The Beatles, Eagles and The Byrds as well as Eric Clapton. It’s always very enjoyable. But the big one for Classic Clapton this year is our 35th Anniversary Concert at Sage Gateshead on 4 December. We hope lots of people will join us to celebrate the end of this terrible Coronavirus crisis.
Stay healthy everyone. Lots of Love from Mike Hall x
Mike Hall shared with us 10 songs that he felt were appropriate for the current situation. Check out his playlist below: >>>