As fall tours roll out in conjunction with rising Delta variant cases, the divide is widening between the artists who request COVID vaccination mandates and “passports” at their shows and artists who feel it’s an infringement on rights. Speaking of the latter, it’s long been reported that classic rock figurehead Eric Clapton is anti-vax; he recently said in response to a UK “vaccine passport” mandate that “unless there is provision made for all people to attend, I reserve the right to cancel the show.” Now, Queen guitarist Brian May is coming for Clapton.
Speaking to The Independent, May, who is very pro-vax, said, “I love Eric Clapton, he’s my hero, but he has very different views from me in many ways. He’s a person who thinks it’s OK to shoot animals for fun, so we have our disagreements, but I would never stop respecting the man.”
He added, “Anti-vax people, I’m sorry, I think they’re fruitcakes. There’s plenty of evidence to show that vaccination helps. On the whole they’ve been very safe. There’s always going to be some side effect in any drug you take, but to go around saying vaccines are a plot to kill you, I’m sorry, that goes in the fruitcake jar for me.”
Clapton has been a longstanding critic of the UK government’s pandemic restrictions. Last December, he and the similarly cranky Van Morrison teamed up for the anti-lockdown track “Stand And Deliver,” which met with significant backlash. He’s also recently lamented that his stances have cost him professional relationships, saying, “I would try to reach out to fellow musicians and sometimes I just don’t hear from them anymore. My phone doesn’t ring very often. I don’t get that many texts and emails any more. It’s quite noticeable.”