Jeff Beck established himself as a guitarist’s guitarist almost as he began his music career in England in the early 1960s. He has played on a long list of albums with artists, such as Mick Jagger, Rod Stewart, Tina Turner, Jon Bon Jovi, Stevie Wonder, ZZ Top, Brian May and Cyndi Lauper and in a number of bands, including a 20-month stint with The Yardbirds, and has garnered a comparable list of awards, such as the Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental Performance six times (the most of any artist in the category).
Now, he is outdoing himself by releasing the collector’s book “Beck01” (Genesis Publications) on Tuesday, the album “Loud Hailer” (Rhino Records) on July 15 and setting out on tour with blues artist Buddy Guy. The tour stops at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, as “50 Years of Jeff Beck,” with special guests Beth Hart and Steven Tyler, starting Aug. 10.
BECK ADMIRES BUDDY GUY
“I’ve done a tour with B.B. King, and then I thought, well, the only one missing is Buddy Guy,” Beck said. “He just so happened to be celebrating his 80th year.”
Beck recalled first meeting Guy at a local club. He was there to see the bands and, after the venue announcer said Guy was up next, Beck waited in disbelief only to be happily surprised.
“He played and I never forgot it. It was like when Hendrix was the next thing. When I saw him I thought, yeah, this is derivative of Buddy Guy. But the same vibe hit me both times. You were watching something unbelievable,” Beck said.
It has been six years since Beck’s last studio album, “Emotion & Commotion,” which earned him a Grammy. Waiting to record his next album, he said, was not a deliberate decision, but a thoughtful act.
“I just cannot see the point of anybody, let alone me, making a record just to fill in the gaps if it’s not meaningful in some way. Because when you’re gone, you’re leaving something — you don’t want to leave rubbish behind,” Beck said. “Even if I was that prolific and had an album a month coming out of me I wouldn’t want to release them. I just think you’re going to overkill easily, outwear your welcome, and it’s somehow worked for me over the years.”
For “Loud Hailer,” Beck teamed up with singer Rosie Bones and guitarist Carmen Vandenberg of the London rock band Bones, who he met at Queen drummer Roger Taylor’s birthday party. The trio worked well together, writing three songs in a few days and completing the album’s foundation within a week.
Beck is pleased with how quickly “Loud Hailer” came together and believes that spontaneous creativity and raw edge performance is missing in most recordings today.
“That’s what rock ‘n’ roll was born on, the excitement. ‘Hound Dog’ is the blueprint for rock ‘n’ roll. I don’t think they rehearsed over and over again, I think they just went in and blew it,” Beck said.
BECK’S BOOK IS FULL OF PHOTOS
When Genesis Publications approached Beck about doing “Beck01,” he said he was reluctant. But after seeing the books the company had produced for Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton, he decided to comply. Beck selected the more than 400 rare and previously unseen photographs in the tome.
“I had a very nostalgic trip down memory lane digging out the photos and I tried not to tell too many stories alongside the captions because I wanted to reserve that for the Jeff Beck story, which hopefully, by the end of the year, will be shaping up,” Beck said.
“Beck01” is hand-bound in leather and aluminum and each book, which carries a hefty $495 price tag, is numbered and signed.
After five decades in the music industry Beck remains humble and slow to acknowledge his success. He credits his fans for seeing merit in his music and appreciating the dedication he has to his craft.
“I think they’re just intrigued by what I do, and they never know what’s coming. Maybe that’s it. It’s not predictable — and who needs prediction? I don’t want to make a cookie cutter album, a series of albums that sound exactly the same, like a sequel to a movie. As long as there’s no law against experimentation – yet – I think I’ll just carry on the way I have. It seems to work for the last 50 years anyway,” Beck said.
Beck shared that fans will not have to wait so long between albums again, as he plans to start writing another effort with a female singer whose name he won’t disclose at this time. He hopes to have the record ready for release by Christmas.
Source: San Gabriel Valley Tribute.