SHORT TAKES : Clapton Prays Before Concerts

<i> From Times Wire Services</i>

Rock guitarist Eric Clapton, a recovering alcoholic and former heroin addict, often leads prayers before going on stage, a band member says.

Bassist Nathan East said the nine-member band gathers in a circle to pray before every show on the 26-city U.S. tour to promote Clapton’s best-selling “Journeyman” album.

“Eric usually leads, but sometimes we take turns,” East said. “Everybody believes in God. Everybody just believes in that energy. It’s nothing heavy, but it’s pretty special. A lot of times, there’s a downward spiral connected with rock ‘n’ roll, so we pray.”

Clapton, 45, performed Monday night at Arizona State University.