Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton has been talking to the BBC about the new hard-hitting movie profiling his career, Life In 12 Bars, and at admits that – at the age of 72 – he’s increasingly anxious about playing live—and going deaf.

Clapton told presenter Steve Wright he was worried about being able to play guitar and sing “proficiently” due to the ailments he has including tinnitus. “I am still going to work. I am going to do a show at Hyde Park [British Summer Time Festival] in July. The only thing I am concerned with now is I am going deaf, I’ve got tinnitus, my hands just about work.

“I’m hoping that people will come along and see me just because, or maybe more than because I’m a curiosity. I know that is part of it, because it’s amazing to myself I’m still here."

Clapton admitted last year that he’s been in pain after damaging his nervous system, which is why he's finding it hard to perform, however, he’s “come to terms with it.'”

He said: “I’ve had quite a lot of pain over the last year. It started with lower back pain, and turned into what they call peripheral neuropathy. [It’s] hard work to play the guitar and I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that it will not improve.” Clapton says he will thus limit his shows to avoid “embarrassing myself.”

The biopic, with its double-meaning title, also starkly addresses Clapton’s battles with alcohol and substance abuse that stretched through much of the 1960s and 1970s before he embraced sobriety in 1987.

He shared: “For at least 20 years I was a basket case, and that is putting it lightly. I drank more than you can imagine, a Special Brew with vodka. It looked like you were just drinking lager, but in fact, you weren’t. There is no doubt – I went into a cave of self-pity and despair and the only thing that was the light at the end of the tunnel was this music.”

The profile movie "Life In 12 Bars," directed by Lili Fini Zanuck, is in theaters today. It covers Clapton’s whole career from John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers through Cream to his solo years, as well as addressing his many relationships with women and colleagues. Clapton admits: “It’s difficult to sit through because it goes on so long about the difficult part of my life. I think it’s important for people to see that there is a happy ending, it’s like a redemption concept. If you are going to go and see it, be prepared for a heavy ride.”