2 d Newsdesk
Van Morrison claims he’s had a “very negative reaction” for exercising “freedom of speech” in his songs.
The 75-year-old singer has been open about his criticism of lockdowns and released three protest songs last year and launched a campaign to save live music amid the coronavirus pandemic, but he was dismayed that only Eric Clapton paid attention to his plea for fellow artists to “fight the pseudoscience and speak up”.
And the music legend is concerned people are being silenced for expressing alternative views.
He told the Times newspaper's Saturday Review: “The only other person who has any traction or motivation to speak out about what’s going on, to get out there and question things, is Eric.
“A few people got a petition together to end the lockdown, but nobody pays attention to petitions, do they?
“If I can write about it, I do. Poetic licence, freedom of speech … these used to be OK. Why not now? I don’t understand it. Some people call it a cult. It is like a religion. Whether anyone agrees with me or not is irrelevant.
“Just as there should be freedom of the press, there should be freedom of speech, and at the minute it feels like that is not in the framework.
“If you do songs that are an expression of freedom of speech you get a very negative reaction.”
And the ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ hitmaker doesn’t think it’s “a given” that live music will return any time soon.
Asked when he thinks gigs will be back, he said: “I heard that some music promoters met with the people at Imperial College who are running the whole thing.
“Well, really, Klaus [Schwab, the executive chairman of the World Economic Forum] is running the whole thing.
“Your guess is as good as mine because freedom is not a given any more. You have to fight for it. That’s where the blues come in.”
Van’s views on the state of the world are explored on his new album ‘Latest Record Project: Volume 1’ and he revealed he got the 28-song tracklist down from the more than 50 tracks he’s written over the last 18 months, though he insisted inspiration doesn’t come easily.
He said: “When you are on a roll you tend to write more and keep going, and with not doing any gigs one has more time to reflect.
“I write in the morning, every day from breakfast until lunch, and for that time I’ll be concentrating fully.
“Inspiration doesn’t come down the chimney. You have to work at magic. And a lot of the time it is a case of working through boredom, with the period when you’re bored generally ending up being the most creative. I talked to an artist once who told me he has to stare at a blank canvas for ages before he can start painting.”