Journey’s Neal Schon Explains The Truth Behind Eric Clapton’s Offer

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In a recent tweet in honor of Eric Clapton’s birthday, Neal Schon revealed what actually transpired during the jam session with Derek and the Dominos and Clapton’s invitation to him.

A lot of people recently wished the 78-year-old musician Eric a happy birthday on social media. Neal was one of many who paid tribute to Clapton by sharing some fond recollections from his earlier years. The Journey guitarist talked about meeting Derek and the Dominos and jamming with them at the Berkeley Community Theater.

His tweet stated, “Happy Birthday Eric! I’ll never forget when we met and I jammed with you at Berkeley community theater with Derek and the Dominoes.

Schon confidently stated that the story was real and that he had been hanging out with the band for a few months when a fan tweeted Neal asking if it was true that the British rocker had wanted to recruit him to the act. As he was too young and unprepared to come to England, he declined Eric’s offer and instead joined Carlos Santana, another legend.

He replied, “Yes, only because I had been hanging out with the band for months also; I was very young and not quite ready to move to England. I absolutely loved Clapton, and he had a huge influence on my playing.”

One of the six-string guitar greats, Clapton, wanted to collaborate with Neal, but the rocker thought he wasn’t ready to leave his home country and relocate to another continent. He decided to play with Santana in order to establish himself there.

Neal also revealed that in an interview with Joe Bonamassa. When he was asked, “True or false: Eric Clapton asked you to join Derek and the Dominos? Why did you turn him down?”

He revealed, “True. It was really crazy. I didn’t really recall what my ex-manager [Herbie Herbert] recalls, and I saw a program on Reelz the other night, there was a documentary on us that he was in, and he was telling the story about Clapton coming in while I was jamming with Santana.”

“We were coming up with material for the record that I was about to be on. He didn’t know at that time that I was about to be in the band, but they would always invite me to the studio to hang out.”

“And so, we’re in there, jamming in the weird hours of the morning, and here walks Eric. I was like the shy little kid, and I was shocked because he was a mentor to me, a major mentor to learn how to play by listening to all of his records.”

“He sat down and we played a couple of hours. Then he got up and said, ‘I got to get out of here, I got a show tomorrow at Berkeley.’ I was just astounded and couldn’t believe what was going down. Even though I’ve never even talked to him. Then I went into the studio the next day. There was a note from him that he wanted me to come by Berkeley and jam with him in Derek and the Dominos.”

He added, that he got a ride over there from someone nice enough.  “I didn’t have a car or a driver’s license – and I walked in, and Herbie Herbert was already over there. His story sounds – he didn’t know I was coming. I had gotten asked by Santana that day to join the band that day that he had asked me to go in. Right before I was in to meet him.”

“Eric said, ‘Well, I’m really glad you came. I really want to jam, and I would love for you to be in the band.’ And I was like, ‘Well, I’d love to. But I just got asked to be in Santana. And then he [Herbie] claims that he took me outside and had his hand around my throat and said, ‘You little m********** ,’ and that I said, ‘Go ahead, call Rowley up,’ and he goes that sure enough, they did.”

“But it was funny. He goes, ‘What would you like to play?’ And I said, ‘Well, I’d like to play the whole night.’ And so he got a laugh out of that, and he says, ‘Tell you what, let me talk to the band for a second. I’ll come back to you.'”

“And I moved out of the room and went to talk to Herbie. He wanted to kill me for saying that Santana asked me.’ I came back in, and he says, ‘I’ll tell you what, we’re gonna play 7-8 songs, and I’m gonna introduce you as a good friend who’s gonna come on stage and play the rest of the show with us.'”

“What I can’t believe is that nobody took a picture of that night. There was a really crappy recording that someone found, even barely audible. I was like, ‘Just one picture, man,’ and it just does not exist.”

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