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The production of the authorized career-spanning "Eric Clapton Visual Anthology" continues. When completed, the documentary will represent the most comprehensive overview of Eric's 50+ year career ever assembled.
The producers have previously asked fans around the world to search their personal archives for rare photographs, video and film of Eric Clapton prior to 1980 both on and off stage. The scope of the search has been expanded to include Eric Clapton-related ephemera from 1963 to 1974. Things like music magazines from around the world, newspaper reviews, venue-specific programmes, fan-club items, tickets, radio station memorabilia, radio broadcasts / air checks, concert posters, record company items etc.
Film and photographs - even snapshots - and memorabilia from the British Jazz / R&B / Blues Club Scene 1958 -1964 is also being sought. These items do not have to feature Eric Clapton. The producers are seeking material like photos of club exteriors, patrons inside of the clubs, musicians and bands performing, club membership cards, advertising posters, newspaper clippings etc. for historical background.
An invitation to fans to participate in this exciting project was also included in Eric Clapton's 2009, 2013 and 2015 Concert Programmes. "The Eric Clapton Visual Anthology" was first announced in April 2006.
So, check your attics, closets and other storage spaces for 8mm or 16mm home movies, video, photographs of Eric as a group member and solo artist, and related ephemera / memorabilia from the following periods:
- The Yardbirds
- John Mayall's Bluesbreakers
- Blind Faith
- Delaney & Bonnie & Friends
- Derek & The Dominos
- Eric on and offstage 1970 to 1980, but particularly in the early 1970s
If you have any items in the above categories, contact the producers directly by email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your complete contact information, including telephone number. Please describe the material you have to the producers in your email or letter, but do not send your items initially. You will be credited and compensated if your material is used.
Where's Eric! Q&A With "Eric Clapton Visual Anthology" Producer, Larry Yelen:
Where's Eric!: Has there been a name change in the project? When it was first announced a few years ago, it was called "The Eric Clapton Video Anthology." In EC's tour programme for 2009, it's referred to as the "Visual" Anthology. Is this because video tapes have become obsolete and it will now be available in a digital format?
LY: As the project has progressed, the title evolved and it's now "The Eric Clapton Visual Anthology."
Where's Eric!: Without giving away any "trade-secrets" so to speak, can you give us an update on how the project is going?
LY: Where do I even begin? I think the short answer is, extremely well. To know, Scooter (Weintraub) and I are actually in our sixth year of production and we're still researching archival stuff like madmen, because it's in our genes to do so. But we have mapped out a detailed outline as to content / storyline and will be moving into the off-line editing process shortly. As to when it will "hit the street," there's currently no specific timeline.
Where's Eric!: How has fan response been so far?
LY: If you mean with regards to archival materials, the response itself has generally been wonderful and Where's Eric!, along with Eric Clapton.Com are responsible for much of it, so we owe you a great debt of thanks. Cecil, who works with Eric, has also been extremely helpful in many, many ways. As no one could have envisioned the production process becoming a saga unto itself, it's been challenging to be as responsive to the generous folks who've contacted us as we would have liked. We've made a handful of outright purchases of some material, but have largely had to offer reassurances to many people that they need to be patient with the process. I believe that we can begin making additional deals imminently. We start to feel better about the time commitment we've all made when considering that it took something like seven years for Bob Dylan's "No Direction Home" to be completed and an even more incredible eleven for Patti Smith's "Dream Of Life."
Where's Eric!: What kind of material are you still hoping to find for it?
LY: Well, if someone would like to come forward with a multi-camera, 16mm shoot of the Bluesbreakers from March 1966, I'm sure we can find a place for it, lol. Short of that, and more reality based, I think virtually any material from the Mayall days would be most welcome. Overall, the single biggest find could be those twenty minutes or so of Derek and the Dominos performing on Johnny Cash that hit the cutting room floor. We know for a fact it once existed because there's surviving stereo soundboard audio. But any and all Dominos photos, film, ephemera is still a priority for us, along with similar for The Yardbirds, Cream, Blind Faith and Delaney and Bonnie periods, then up to and through the entire 1970s.
Where's Eric!: So, if someone has things like snapshots from the Twisted Wheel in Manchester or the Flamingo Club in London in 1964, a minute of film of Eric with the Bluesbreakers, photos of the Dominos at the East Town Theater in Detroit, their high school yearbook had photos of Cream performing in the school gym, tickets and posters from the early years of his career, or a family member worked at a recording studio 35 or 40 years ago and they have audio tape or photos of EC during a recording session stored in a closet, they should get in touch?
LY: Without a doubt! We are also interested in generic film and photographic material documenting these lost-to-time venues, including exterior photos and home movie film. This was a vastly under-documented era in music and that's full of color and says volumes about what it took for Eric and a relative handful of others to create this incredible scene and then building it into a global phenomena. Early on in the project we had a wonderful kick-start by having Virginia Lohle of the great Star File agency as head of photos who, as you know, represented some of the world's most elite Clapton photographers. Sadly, Ginny passed away a few years ago, but her wonderful work still inspires and carries on through us.
Where's Eric!: Can you "name check" a few of the people who have been interviewed for "The Eric Clapton Visual Anthology" so far?
LY: Sure, we have done over 60 interviews, if you can believe it. A number of them took place at the two Crossroads festivals, only small portions of which wound up on the official DVDs. Still others were done for the Anthology only, such as those with Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Roger Waters, Steve Winwood, John Mayall, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Pattie Boyd, Leon Russell, Stephen Stills, Jack and Ginger of course, Robbie Robertson and on and on. We're looking at Eric's career in totality, 360 degrees, as if a hologram, with the goal being to cover all aspects from the ultimate insiders, those who knew him best and played with him through all the eras. Sadly, we've lost a number of folks who played really important roles -- among them Ahmet Ertegun, Billy Preston and Delaney Bramlet -- but we were fortunate enough to have the privilege of doing interviews before they departed the scene.
Where's Eric!: It's probably still too early to mention a definitive number of DVDs, but it seems that this project is going to be more along the lines of "The Beatles Anthology" than "Amazing Journey: The Story of The Who"?
LY: I think you have that right. I worked on "Amazing Journey" and the intent was never to be as comprehensive as, say, The Beatles. Both collections represent high water marks in the annals of rock music documentary, but each has a markedly different approach from the other. That said, the Clapton Anthology will, arguably, wind up being more comprehensive than either. We may start off with as many as four DVDs initially and then release another set in the future and keep adding to that in an open-ended manner. With regards to formatting, I don't want to give away too much of what some will call unique but, for starters, virtually all the performance clips will be shown in their entirety, which is certainly something the avid fan will be happy about.
Where's Eric!: Can you explain why these projects take so long? It's more than just finding the material and editing it together, isn't it? There's everything from script-writing for the voice-over to synching audio / film to legal clearances to package design ...
LY: I really appreciate that you asked that. It's everything you say times about a thousand, lol. As I said, we're in our sixth year of production. Eric has had this extraordinary, nearly continuous 45+ year career that shows no signs of letting up. Having done some of the most important work of his career in the past five years -- two Crossroads festivals, the incredible Steve Winwood concerts, the Robert Johnson album and DVD, the appearances with the Alllman Brothers and Jeff Beck -- it's all we can do to keep up with him!
Where's Eric!: Larry, thanks so much for taking the time to answer these questions about "The Eric Clapton Visual Anthology"!
This interview was conducted on 21 May 2009