In a recent interview with The Times, Van Morrison stated that the negative reviews for his recent songs protesting the COVID-19 lockdown were due to enemies of free speech. The songs include “Born to Be Free,” “As I Walked Out” and “No More Lockdown,” as well as Eric Clapton collaborations “Do You Want to Be a Slave?” and “Stand and Deliver.”
Morrison told The Times, “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 [Clapton]… 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…” he continued. “If you do songs that are an expression of freedom of speech, you get a very negative reaction.”
While Morrison may have a different idea of what “freedom of speech” means, his controversial opinions have continued to be reported by the press. Still, in spite of the reactions to his recent comments, he hasn’t let differing opinions prevent him from speaking his mind.
“I heard that some music promoters met with the people at Imperial College who are running the whole thing…” he told The Times when asked whether he thought live shows would return. “Well, really, Klaus [Schwab] is running the whole thing…” Klaus Schwab is executive chairman for the World Economic Forum. “Freedom is not a given any more. You have to fight for it. That’s where the blues come in.”
Last year, Morrison said limited-capacity concerts are a product of “pseudo-science,” and called people to pressure the Irish government into allowing full-capacity shows. “This is not a sign of compliance or acceptance of the current state of affairs, this is to get my band up and running and out of the doldrums,” he wrote. “This is also not the answer going forward. We need to be playing to full capacity audiences going forward.”
Morrison has plans to release a double album called Latest Record Project: Volume 1 this May. The album features singles such as “Only a Song” and “Love Should Come With a Warning” alongside tracks with titles like “Where Have All the Rebels Gone,” “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished,” “Stop Bitching, Do Something,” “They Own the Media” and “Why Are You On Facebook?”