In an interview with Dan Forte for Guitar Player in 1985, Clapton was asked:"Your early playing was largely defined by how aggressive and forceful it was, but did you have that killer instinct also?"
He replied: "Absolutely. And it's still there....there is a way of approaching it. There would always be a loudmouth in these situations - just like samurai films. If you ever saw 'The Seven Samurai', the best swordsman of all gets into a situation where he doesn't want to fight, but he's up against this bull of a man who's saying he is the best. The samurai finally says "No, I won. But if you insist, you can say you won." That's what I do: I let the loudmouth or the villain mouth off, get it all out of the way, and then I just come in very quietly - like B.B. I would imagine. Just one note or something that will shut everyone up - if you can find it (laughs)..."
"...I went through a period of trying to minimise everything - take shorter solos... My idea at the time was that by minimising it, I would make it more potent...I was trying to look at it like I was B.B.King or J.J.Cale but B.B. is B.B. and I am me. It's no good adopting someone else's personality or philosophy..."
..."Funny enough, what I like about my playing are still the parts that I copied. My favourite bit is still the B.B. or Freddie lines..."
The photograph of B.B.King illustrated here shows him playing a similar, but not identical Gibson, on stage with Clapton in concert, at the Apollo Theatre, Harlem, New York, June 15, 1993.