At the Grammy Awards last February Jeff was bashfully unsettled at being prodded to the stage to co-accept the award for Herbie’s arrangement of “Imagine” along with Herbie and the other contributing artists. “I only played eight f&*%ng notes”…..Jeff said where in Hancock’s retort with an appreciative smile was “Yeah, man but those were the best eight notes”. Music fans have always cherished lines and notes they can remember, play in their head, and wait with anticipation as their turn comes round in the song being performed. Jeff took that from people like Les Paul, Scotty Moore, and Cliff Gallup , and transformed it into the little chirps and sounds we fans commonly refer to as “Beckisms.” Sure there’s always the place for the fastest gunslinger in the west. However Jeff has always chosen that path sparingly and wisely so that tunes like 'Scatterbrain' and 'Big Block' are always fresh, vigorous, and don’t become shop worn.
Steve Prior in the July issue of Vintage Guitar briefly and accurately refers to Jeff being able to ALWAYS sound like Jeff no matter what guitar is being played as this……"That's the greatness of the man - he can literally do anything. He could play the theme to 'Star Wars' on a whoopee cushion." The humor of the whoopee cushion is right up Jeff’s alley. It also allows the listener at times to relate to little inflected lines from other past artists and peers like 'Low Rider' done on this past tour and reverting back through the career catalogue 'Strangers In the Night’ and 'Groovin' among others. Yet when those lines are weaved into the performance they all sound like Jeff, as if the original tunes had indeed been written for him although we know they weren’t.
Lest this editorial ramble on for too long let this Editor add another description of Jeff Beck’s artistic genius I think we all can agree on in its’ simplicity………………….”Wonderful!”
Be seeing you.
After espousing how Jeff Beck was his favorite guitarist and loving being able to go out on the road with him, young Tyler Bryant turned and asked me, “Have you ever seen Jeff “lose it” on-stage?” I could sense that somehow Tyler wanted validation that Jeff was actually human and from this universe so I chuckled and told him about the Atlanta fall ‘75 show when the Blow By Blow tour continuation was sandwiched in between opener Aerosmith and The Faces with Rod Stewart. "Jeff’s Strat was feeding back almost uncontrollably. Jeff, obviously not happy at that moment and starting to look angrily around, was circumvented by a spread eagle diving guitar tech Al Dutton literally onto the sprawled stage floor on top of Jeff’s effects boxes. Always the showman, Jeff turned that negative into a crowd pleasing positive as he inverted his axe and pointed the headstock down at Al’s backside. The crowd knew Jeff’s upward look towards them was a Roman gesture thumbs up or thumbs down. The roar of approval was heard, Jeff feigned a couple of fatal blows, and spared Al for another day as he (Jeff) like always ripped back into a fierce solo keeping time with the rest of the band like nothing had ever happened." Tyler grinned at the story as if a huge weight was lifted from his mind.
That conversation is how the sound check ended for Tyler and his band of merry musicians at Villa 221 in Miami, Florida, Wednesday afternoon July 27th. The band retreated into the oversized green room to a feast of edible delights including Tyler’s favorite Coconut Juice. The band had arrived the day before in my town of Lauderdale by the Sea as a neighbor’s daughter is an executive for a beachside small resort Little Inn and put the boys up for a couple of days. A night before show dinner saw Tyler’s other six string guitarist, Graham Whitford, provides a comic thrill. He started shaking violently at the table and swatted his head uncontrollably. Gifted with an ample supply of curly locks, seems Graham was an inviting home for a tiny baby sparrow just looking for a place to call home.
After being buzzed by a summer shallow seeking Tarpon, Tyler was ready for both…….more ocean time relaxing and kicking some butt on the opening night of the Florida tour swing. After a brief stop to play with the vintage toys at Guitar Center Hallandale on the way to Miami, the band and their tour manager Jake Hartsfield pulled the SUV and trailer into the Villa 221 parking lot hidden away in the bustle of Downtown Miami. Bassist Calvin Webster recounted how the trailer had been rescued from the floods in Tennessee as it was being carried away by the raging flood waters.
I gave the crowd introduction to Tyler and the band to which Tyler exalted the crowd that it was quite the introduction and that the crowd should give me a hand. Relaxed by the intimacy of Villa 221 Tyler exclaimed during the show that it was like playing in their living room (to about 70 people) and they rarely get to do that. Everybody was into the rhythm of The Tyler Bryant band and their brand of what I describe as hard driving pop metal with memorable melodies, lyrics, and a high energy dose of Jeff’s young pupil Tyler Bryant who sends goose bumps on his own whether churning on his SG Special, bending on his Firebird, or tearing it up and gyrating on the Pink Cadillac Strat. Some softer originals were done by Tyler solo and with light accompaniment from either drummer Caleb Crosby or Calvin. Finally there were several band game interludes that were heartily chimed in by the rest of the group. Caleb Crosby gave a solo in your face in the middle of the audience from a single drum, drum supports, and the wooden Villa 221 floor! From Texas, Tyler had his own brand of Bull Riding 8 seconds as he gave both Graham, a Les Paul toting blues/rock prodigy of his own (and son of Brad Whitford of Aerosmith) Calvin, and Caleb their own 8 seconds to show what they could do and then the band roared into the most Who/Stones/Kinks feel of Tyler Bryant original “Big Time” which got them a standing O. So as not to let the audience forget where he came from, Tyler meshed in a little solo slow Jimmy Reed blues with the slashing Beck/Hendrix whammy thrashing climax of “Where I Want You” before ending the set only to do an encore as they would have had to run the gauntlet of the crowd to get away with less.
Go see Tyler Bryant and his band. You will leave with a smile on your face. Being of the social media generation he and his management have plenty of YouTube, Twitter, and video/news content at the homepage www.tylerbryantmusic.com. Most of all, go see Tyler open solo with his wah wah acoustic for Jeff Beck on the Canada and NW United States dates coming in October. We trust at the very least he will be joining Jeff and band for the soon to be re-released updated 2011 version of Sylvester Stewart’s (Sly Stone)”I Want To Take You Higher.”
Be seeing you.
When we heard about Martin Power's new biography of Jeff Beck, "Hot Wired Guitar" that is set for worldwide release the end of September 2011, we were of course eager for details. So, we dug up his email address, emailed him and Martin graciously replied.
Hi Dick Hope you're well. I was just finishing my e-mail to you when your name popped up in my Inbox! Apologies I'm coming back to you a little later than scheduled, but I wanted to run an idea past the publishers (more on that later) before providing full background/details on the book. Again, thanks for your patience. Here goes... To begin, I first approached Omnibus Press almost a decade ago regarding the possibility of writing a biography about Jeff. But timing, other projects and life in general meant that it only became a reality in the Autumn of 2010 when Chris Charlesworth - Omnibus' Editor In Chief and a long time Beck fan - gave it the green light. As you might imagine it's proved quite a challenge, led to at least one malfunctioning laptop, some lost e-mails and a wobbly file or two, but we got there in the end. As far as the book itself is concerned, it's come in at just shy of 500 pages (including Selected Discography) and will be released worldwide at the end of September. As Jeff has done so much over the years - and we wanted to honour that body of work as much as possible - 500 pages seemed just about the right length. On top of the words, there are also three large photo sections, with some rare pictures of Jeff dating from early 1963 to July 2011. The working title was 'Wire And The Wood', which I'm sure you'll know is an old phrase used to describe guitars. However, 'Hot Wired Guitar' appealed to the publishers more, so we've gone with that. By the way, on the matter of the cover image: Still under discussion, I think, though it might well change again - we'll see. With regard to the content/style of the biog, the onus is very much on Jeff's music. I really wanted to bring to the public's attention that - aside from being a phenomenally gifted guitarist - his contribution to Pop, Rock, Jazz, Psychedelica, World, Blues and just about every other musical form has been hugely influential. To me, bringing that fact home is incredibly important and honours the man appropriately. That said, 'Hot Wired Guitar' is also a story about Jeff's life and times - from a Rockabilly kid growing up in post-war Wallington to his rise to fame with The Yardbirds in the Swinging Sixties. From the blues rock bombast of JBG and BBA to the cooler tones of Blow By Blow and Wired. Flash, Guitar Shop, Crazy Legs, the 'Techno Trilogy’ and the recent, deserved success of both Emotion & Commotion and Rock ‘N’ Roll Party – It’s all in there. And, of course, no book about Jeff would be complete without dwelling on those guitars: the homemade 'Frankenstein', the Esquire, the Oxblood, the mad Jackson, 'Little Richard', right up to 'Anoushka' and beyond – each one has a place in Jeff’s story and its own story to tell. I was incredibly lucky with interviews for the project and talked with so many gifted people it's hard to know where to start. Former Yardbirds(and genuinely funny men) Chris Dreja and Jim McCarty were kind enough to give up their time and thoughts, as was Jeff's former manager Simon Napier-Bell, who I spoke with for a previous book. Stanley Clarke, Tony Smith, Simon Phillips, Doug Wimbish, Jimmy Hall (a true Southern gent), John Arrias and Michael Fennelly were also gracious, thoughtful interviewees. Even Jeff's old friends Roger Mayer and Mike Jopp were on hand to help, giving real insights into the teenaged Beck (plus Jimmy Page & Eric Clapton) - confirming that he's always been a planet-sized talent - even when he couldn't afford a real Strat! Of course, I mustn't forget two of the nicest guys I've ever had the pleasure to meet: Max Middleton and Mo Foster, both of whom I was fortunate enough to chat with over a glass or two of wine. More, I was able to talk to people who grew up in Fifties/Sixties Wallington and knew the area well: From the old bomb debris around Beddington Park to Jeff’s family home on Desmesne Road. Wandering around Mr. Beck's childhood haunts with that sort of help on hand was really useful, and has hopefully added some real flavour to the opening chapter of the book. In addition to these interviews, I could draw on the expertise not only of Chris Charlesworth, but also his editorial team (which included a JBG/Faces/Rod Stewart expert) to ensure I stayed on the right track. Equally, my research brought me to the British Library for several days, going through hundreds - if not thousands - of old music papers and magazines from the Sixties to the present - all of which further informed the book and threw up more Beck-related ephemera. When I add another hefty pile of magazines I accessed via my own files, there was a lot to get through (over 200 credits in all). I also visited your site and came across some new facts/articles completely unknown to me (the 2004 US tour set list/Jeff's visit to Corsica for 'Les Nuits de la Guitare', some stray catalogue numbers for the 'Discography' and the scans you made of Val Wilmer's old interviews with Jeff from 1967, etc.). This information helped greatly in filling in some blanks and I have prominently credited you and your contributors in the book's 'Acknowledgements' section. Hope that's OK. It's a fantastic site, Dick, one which you must be proud of and I'm genuinely thankful it's out there for Beck fans to explore. Of course, there were a number of people I didn't get to interview. Jimmy, Eric, Jan, Giorgio, Terry (to name but a few) and regrettably, Jeff himself. On the upside, there were also some prominent early players in the story who got in touch with me after I was finished writing the biog. While they could confirm my facts, sadly, I couldn't get their recorded contributions into the final text. Therefore, until the second print/soft cover next year, I have several interviews to hand but no place to publish them. With that in mind, I'm more than happy - and indeed, have the permission of my publisher - to give you selected extracts from these interviews for publication on your website. Hope that's of interest to you – after all, it's the least I could do - and the stories are all new, pre-Yardbirds stuff. If that works, just let me know, and I'll provide details. A couple of final points. As you'll understand from the above, like you, I have only the greatest respect for both Jeff and his work, and I'm keen 'Hot Wired Guitar' reflects that. As importantly, I've tried to be as accurate with the facts as possible. As an admirer of Mr. Beck's guitar playing and music for over 30 years, I owe him that and much more. In short, I've given it my best shot and I genuinely hope that people will enjoy the book. That's it. Apologies for the length of the e-mail, but I've tried to cover everything as best I can. If you need any more information, however, just let me know. From tomorrow I'm back at work on another assignment, so God Bless, thanks again for your help, support and interest and I hope to hear from you soon. M
About a week later we got another note from Martin....
Hope you're well - Now back at my desk again. Apologies on the late response to your e-mail, but as ever, things are still a little busy. Please God, it'll all settle down soon. Yes, Jeff has a great sense of humour - Very dry, very self-deprecating and very English. Of course, there are many examples of it throughout the biog, plus some cracking recollections of Jeff's humorous side from the likes of Chris, Jim, Simon NB, Max, Mo, Doug - All of the interviewees, actually. I won't ruin it for you by going into those recollections here, but make no mistake, Mr. Beck's love of a good joke is in there - right up to the last page!
Thanks Martin, looking forward to reading it. The book is available for pre-order at; barnesandnoble.com as well as amazon.com.
Be seeing you.
This past summer I had the pleasure of introducing Tyler Bryant to an audience as one of the few guitarists to have been privileged to share the stage with Jeff. Indeed there have been few in the role of equal stage billing/lead guitar solos but in compiling any list it pays to be complete. So I phoned up the good doctor Doc, Beckologist and baited him with the idea knowing that he would jump on it. I rattled off without thinking about it about eighteen or so. Doc quickly added a couple more and then wrote me back a bigger list. From that point on it became a game of one upsmanship with each of us sporting a parry on the other with a find or recollection also involving our mutual friend and Beck mega fan, Jim Cullen. Herewith is the list as it stands noting that Damon Johnson just was onstage with Jeff at the iHeart Festival. Also note that a few have made multi stage appearances with Jeff so we ve tried to keep those particular listings at the earliest decade that a joint appearance was made.
Please feel free to contact us here or Doc through the Multiply Site Link Guitarist's Guitarist to add as surely there are impromptu appearances especially in the UK and early career not yet cited. Here goes!
GUITAR PLAYERS THAT HAVE BEEN ON STAGE WITH JEFF BECK 1960 - 1969 John Owen (rhythm guitar in The Deltones) John Lucas (rhythm guitar in The Tridents) Chris Dreja Jimmy Page Buddy Guy Ron Wood Eric Clapton Jimi Hendrix 1970 - 1979 Bob Tench Mick Ronson John McLaughlin Rick Derringer Carlos Santana Neal Schon Steven Kindler Fernando Saunders Joe Perry Brad Whitford John Williams Barney Kessel John Renbourne Paco Pena Jim Cregan 1980 - 1989 Secret Policeman’s Ball rhythm player in 1981 Sting Les Paul Billy Squire Stevie Ray Vaughn Jimmie Vaughn Bob Dylan George Harrison John Fogerty Steve Lukather Kevin Osborn (Billy Squire's rhythm guitarist during Les Paul TV appearance) Vim Fuego (from Bad News) Nigel Planer (from Bad News) Robin Le Messurier 1990 - 1999 Slash Gilby Clarke (of Guns N Roses) B.B. King Albert Collins B.B. King's rhythm player at Apollo Hall of Fame Jennifer Batten 2000 - present Nile Rodgers Andy Fairweather-Low Charles Dennis (of B.B. King’s band) Billy Gibbons Doyle Bramhall Martin Taylor Jeff Foskett (of Brian Wilson Band) Probyn Gregory (of Brian Wilson Band) Nicky Walusko (of Brian Wilson Band) Zucchero Kirk Hammett James Hetfield John Mayer David Gilmour Kyle Bolden (of Stevie Wonder’s band) Errol Cooney (of Stevie Wonder’s band) Darrel Highham Brian Seltzer Jason Rebello Steve Prior (played 12 string on 'Beck's Bolero' offstage during 2009 tour) Pete Townshend Tyler Bryant Sharon Corr’s guitar player Robben Ford (guitarist for Patti Smith, Hendrix Meltdown Festival)
For even more info, here's a pdf document that Doc wrote that puts alot of this in context.
Be seeing you.
Jeff Beck and his band kicked off their three-week North American tour with a blistering show
at the Halifax Metro Centre on Wednesday night.
by Stephan Cooke
If they gave out medals for guitar heroism, Jeff Beck probably wouldn’t be able to stand up for the weight of them.
But neither the 67-year-old musician nor his considerable reputation needed to be propped up at the Halifax Metro Centre on Wednesday night. Both he and his band came prepared to play on the first date of a three-week North American tour, with a two-hour show that touched on most of the key periods of his post-Yardbirds career (if not all of the highlights) and for the most part lived up to opening act Tyler Bryant’s assertion that they would “melt our faces off.”
To that end, Beck came out with his guns blazing right off the bat, firing off a vigorous rat-a-tat-tat from his white Fender Strat on Plan B, freed from the electronic trappings of its original incarnation on 2003’s Jeff album. The guitarist pulled screaming runs and lightning-quick hammer-ons out of his bag of tricks, while drummer Narada Michael Walden brought the thunder of his bottom-heavy beat, before segueing into a loose funk rumble for Billy Cobham’s Stratus. As Walden drove the song towards its climax, Halifax-born bassist Rhonda Smith switched allegiance from her partner-in-rhythm to support keyboardist Jason Rebello (also pianist for Sting) while Beck let loose with perfectly pitched wails. On the song’s final beat, Walden hit his drums with such force that one of his sticks exploded, sending splinters across the back of the stage. Things were getting dangerous.
Two songs in and already my eardrums were exhausted, but in his black shades and sleeveless vest, Beck is cool and collected, grinning at the audience participation in adding a “Hey!” at the end of every riff in Led Boots, and leaning back as he winds down the band like a clockwork toy to merge the night’s oldest of his compositions, Rice Pudding from 1969’s Beck-Ola, into the soft muted tones of Mna Na Eireann (Women of Ireland), a Celtic-flavoured tune he recorded last year with Irish violinist Sharon Corr.
After the extremes of the loudest (Hammerhead) and quietest (Corpus Christi Carol) moments on his latest studio release Emotion & Commotion, again effortlessly switching gears from a monster groove into a moment of instrumental eloquence, Beck turned the stage over to Smith, announcing, “She was born in Halifax, let her kick your butt.”
And so she did, starting with high-pitched pops and creating a beat in the rattling of the strings against the frets of her bass, thumbing and plucking with an authority that was almost frightening. Her boss held his guitar aloft over his head in a “we’re not worthy” kind of gesture, and the audience of 3,000 was instantly on its feet. Clearly this was a homecoming that was long overdue.
Just as impressive as her work on the bottom end instrument was Smith’s vocal turn on Rollin’ and Tumblin’, one of the evening’s rare ventures into pure blues. Letting out a passionate guttural growl, her performance was a stew of sexual impulses, including the chunky riff she laid down over Walden’s tribal pounding, providing a sounding board for Beck’s instrumental expression of ecstasy, bouncing notes off the rhythm section with ever-increasing ardour.
Walden got in on the vocal action as well, singing with throaty soul on a version of Jimi Hendrix’s Little Wing. “For years I’ve steered clear of Jimi numbers . . . well, just because, but this one is such a strong part of my memories of Jimi,” said Beck in a rare aside to the audience before putting his own stamp on a ’60s classic with a solo purely his own, from the glowing vibrato to hammer-ons he could stop on a dime.
“Jeff, you’re the king!” hollered out one fan, but even this royal Fender bender felt the need to pay tribute to his peers, ending the main set with a dramatic interpretation of the Beatles’ A Day in the Life. Beck zeroed in on the song’s eerie undercurrent and building to a furious crescendo before slyly dropping to half-tempo for the “Woke up, got out of bed...” middle portion. Then, after dropping to a hush that had the crowd cheering, Beck and his band sounded like a symphony ascending to the song’s majestic final chord, which came crashing down as the audience rose to its feet.
The tributes continued into the encore, on a lighter note, with the guitarist strapping on a black Gibson Les Paul to pay homage to the name on the instrument in How High the Moon. Playing to a vocal track of singer Imelda May, Beck did not stray far from the path laid out by the late instrumentalist and inventor, but simply reveled in his sparkling composition for the sheer joy of it, recalling Paul’s burbling cascades while Rebello added rhythm guitar to the giddy classic. Logic dictated that the follow-up be Sly and the Family Stone’s I Wanna Take You Higher, springing from Walden’s pounding 4/4 beat and Smith’s chugging locomotive bass line, before Beck brought the heavens down to earth with the Puccini aria Nessun Dorma, the spiritual centre of his playing overcoming the cheesiness of Rebello’s synth strings.
“Bless your cotton Halifax socks,” beamed Beck before leaving the stage for the final time.
When he first came on stage, I couldn't tell if show opener Bryant had been picked for his musical ability or for his choice of haircuts, sporting a style similar to Beck's circa the Yardbirds' appearance in the 1968 snapshot of swinging London, Blow Up.
The young player from Honey Grove, Texas proved himself soon enough though, winning over his first Canadian audience with an overdriven acoustic guitar, a wah pedal, and the focused drive of a small-town rocker with big-city dreams.
“I’m not usually an acoustic player, my mama always said they were for cowboys,” grinned Bryant with an authentic sounding twang before tearing the hell out of that git-fiddle with bluesy arena rock numbers like Kick It and Gotta Have You, tunes lifted up from out of the ordinary by an endless reserve of Lone Star grit and gusto.
by Alain de Repentigny
With his sleeveless shirt under his black jacket, his hair of a young cock for 60 years and his rock star silhouette of cryogenically frozen, Jeff Beck would look ridiculous if the musician in him was not yet in 67 years, ever boil. Saturday night at Wilfrid-Pelletier, Beck was exactly as we have seen for the first time in the same place in the summer of 2009 and eight months later with his friend Eric Clapton at the Bell Centre: a boy of few words who strikes a pose , who plays the guitar very talkative as a machine gun and gives with equal pleasure in the fusion, funk, hard rock, rockabilly and more ethereal music.
This concert was at the crossroads of two previous, the more jazz-rock Jazz Festival and the other where he offered an orchestra of twenty musicians to give us songs from his latest album Emotion & Commotion.
But the English guitarist had us some pleasant surprises: Rice Pudding, from the album Beck-Ola (1969) and whose energy was intact rock; Little Wing by Jimi Hendrix, felt very, both faithful to the spirit of Jimi's friend but by its very Jeff Beck guitar solo, the joyful How High The Moon, a tribute to mentor Les Paul, but the female voice recorded clashed a little concert in the flesh, bone and sweat and, at the very end of the recall, nothing less than Bad Romance Lady Gaga, just for fun.
Jeff Beck really has nothing to his ordeal. The audience applauds the imaginative guitarist in total freedom, capable of an insane solo in Hammerhead. For him, everything looks easy and his comrades, staring at it as inviting them to do the same, farm fun, especially the muscular drummer Narada Michael Walden and bassist Rhonda Smith. The two of them even sing occasionally on his Little Wing, it's guttural voice of a Rollin 'and Tumblin' a little disheveled, then the two of I Want To Take You Higher keyboardist Jason Rebello where it prefers to deal own voice electronically with a Vocoder. When his turn to sing the success of Sly and the Family Stone, Beck let his guitar speak rather than to make us hear his golden voice ...
If he is serious, Jeff Beck cache very well. It takes a lot of nerve, or unconsciousness, to use Nessun dorma, the famous aria from the opera Turandot by Puccini. Yet without the orchestra that accompanied the Bell Centre and despite the syrupy synths Jason Rebello - particularly pervasive in the jazz-rock pieces - Beck is doing very well so his game is as poignant as it was still found in People Get Ready Curtis Mayfield - that Beck has brilliantly taken with Rod Stewart - A Day in the Life of the Beatles and the very beautiful Mna Na h'Éreann borrowed Chieftains.
Moments like these remind us that dramatically raises the guitarist crowds is also a sensitive interpreter.
A year and a half after a performance with Eric Clapton at the Bell Centre, Jeff Beck is back tonight at the Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier Montreal, where the welcomed for the first time in Jazz Festival 2009. The famous English guitarist answers our questions.
Q: You return to Montreal for the third time in two years. You have taken a liking to the show?
A: My current group is one of the best I've had. Our styles complement each other and each brings a different dimension to the group. We feed off each other on stage. There is no rivalry between us and we have lots of fun. Narada (Michael Walden, drummer) is a locomotive and his playing is very energetic. Rhonda (Smith, bassist) is a musician with incredible talent who brings a vibration and a different look to the group. The audience is stunned when she plays. Jason (Rebello, keyboardist) is just fantastic and I count myself fortunate to have worked with him for years.
Q: Recently, in addition to the jazz-rock, you've hit the rockabilly to rhythm and blues and classical music. What will you do next?
A: I always like to change direction and surprise my fans ... I am working on a new album which I hope will be very surprising.
Q: What about your reunion with Rod Stewart? If it materializes, would it look like the Jeff Beck Group for 60 years? And what would be your biggest challenge?
A: We are just in a no man's land now. I recorded stuff in the studio with my band, Rod did the same with his musicians, but as he has just taken a two-year residency in Las Vegas, I do not know when we will find the time to to work together. Currently, our challenge is in our respective schedules.
Q: Imelda May, Imogen Heap, Joss Stone and Olivia Safe sang with you in recent years. What's in the voices of women complements your game in your music? Do you prefer singing to singers?
A: I have no real preference, but I like the singers who have raw talent and unique. For (the album) Emotion & Commotion, I chose three different singers. Imelda May has a pure voice, effortlessly, and I wanted to be heard. Joss Stone is a fantastic singer, a cross between Tina Turner and Janis Joplin, and when she sang I Put a Spell On You, I knew she was the artist to interpret any given There's No Other Me it endorsed and my game was complementary. Olivia Safe has a beautiful operatic voice that enhances the student orchestra and Elegy for Dunkirk.
Q: It was with you we discovered the bassist Tal Wilkenfeld in your group in 2009. What is she doing these days? Tell us about the Montreal reared Rhonda Smith who replaced her in your group.
A: Tal is working on her own album and other projects. We keep in touch. Rhonda is a unique artist, she plays and sings with such passion that the public reacts spontaneously. I deeply love playing with her and watch her go on stage. And when she is in the studio, she adds her own touch to recordings and is recognized immediately.
Q: You recently collaborated with Trombone Shorty. How was it?
A: What a musician! He has to be followed because it is someone who will go far in the world of music. He brings a whole new dimension to the trombone he has a cool instrument.
Q: What are the guitarists who have marked you?
A: There are so many but those who have influenced me in my early days are Les Paul, Cliff Gallup, Jimi Hendrix and Django Reinhardt.
Q: Are there young musicians who have impressed you recently?
A: Tyler Bryant, who plays the first part of my show is an excellent musician. It impressed me so much during our last tour I have invited back.
Q: Was it important to you that your album Emotion & Commotion won two Grammy Awards earlier this year?
A: It's always important to be recognized for what we do. Especially as Emotion & Commotion was my first new album in seven years and was different from my previous albums. I said it was my classical album with a different key. But in all honesty, the nominations were as important as the prize.
Q: You played God Save the Queen your way before a football game at Wembley last year. Did you have a thought for Jimi Hendrix? How the sporting public's reaction?
A: Of course, I had my "moment Hendrix." Standing in the middle of the field with so many people around, it's impossible to play God Save the Queen at the regular: you have to do something special for the attention of all those people. In addition, if you ask me to play something by the rules, be assured that I will break them. I think many were surprised spectators, but it went well.
Q: What can Montrealers expect of you and your group this time?
A: We like to do things differently and surprise the audience.
Fans at the sold-out NAC’s Southam Hall were promised a performance that would “melt your faces off,” and Jeff Beck delivered in true guitar god fashion.
Often lumped in with fellow British six-string deities Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page — the three starred in succession with The Yardbirds before graduating to iconic status — Beck was always more adventurous in the blues than Clapton, more technically adept than Page.
But the thing that defined Beck to his legion of guitar geek fans was his fat Fender Strat tone — thick as a brick with teeth that could bite through steel.
That was evident from the opening strains Sunday night, with Beck’s gleaming white Stratocaster striking a sharp contrast to his wiry, black-clad frame, his skintight jeans tucked into leather boots, shirtless beneath black pinstripe vest and necktie, craggy face mostly obscured by opaque shades under one of rock’s truly great shag haircuts.
Beck bobbed and weaved around the melodious opener, Plan B, shedding the electronic blips of the studio version — from 2003’s Jeff — in favour of a more organic backdrop provided by keyboardist Jason Rebello, Halifax-born bassist Rhonda Smith and drummer Narada Michael Walden.
He let loose on Billy Cobham’s funky Stratus, tapping the strings in time with Walden’s best impression of the bombastic fusion drummer.
On the concert’s most tender notes — an interpretation of The Chieftain’s Mna na h-Eireann (Women of Ireland) and Jeff Buckley’s Corpus Christi Carol — Beck coaxed the melodies from his guitar, bending and shaping harmonics with the grace and precision of an old master.
Best known for impressionistic renderings of his contemporaries, Beck travelled some diverse terrain with The Impressions’ People Get Ready, Muddy Waters’ Rollin’ and Tumblin’ — featuring Smith’s inspired growl — and a hauntingly pretty Somewhere Over the Rainbow, before paying tribute to the ultimate guitar god in a faithful reading of Jimi Hendrix’s Little Wing, with Walden capably handling vocal duties.
That set the stage for the show-stopping highlight, Beck’s Grammy-winning take on The Beatles’ A Day in the Life.
• • •
Early in his 30-minute opening set, Tyler Bryant, the Texas-born, Nashville-based young guitar whiz, predicted the performance from his guitar hero that would “melt your faces off,” and he was right.
Bryant was no slouch himself pounding out dirty, guttural sounds from his sunburst acoustic that Guild never intended.
Opening with the dirty blues of Love You Like It’s the Last Time and The Good Life, Bryant apologized in a way for his weapon of choice for the tour.
“I don’t normally play these acoustic guitars because I always thought they were for cowboys,” he said. But when he learned he won an opening slot for Beck, he “ran up and down the halls screaming like a 12-year-old girl,” and when he learned the set would have to be acoustic, he promptly “went out and got myself an acoustic guitar.”
He was at his best on the Muddy Waters-inspired Shackles. “I feel like I’m playing in a living room up here, a really freaking big living room,” he joked. “And then Jeff Beck walks into your living room and melts your faces off.”
Last year acclaimed British guitarist Jeff Beck opened – and basically ran circles around – fellow axe man Eric Clapton at Toronto's Air Canada Centre, one of a handful of dates pairing the two former Yardbirds.
Tuesday night at a sold-out Massey Hall, Beck had nobody to one-up yet still showed there's a lot of creative fire burning in that 67-year-old, rail-thin belly of his.
For nearly two hours, the almost shy Beck – touring across Canada (and that includes Maritime stops) behind 2010's Emotion & Commotion – performed a near flawless set of genre-spanning signatures. Whether it was the blues that he would showcase on a foot stomping cover of Rollin' And Tumblin' or the mellow, romantic jazz-tinged Cause We've Ended As Lovers he dusted off three-quarters into the night, he's still pushing the envelope.
Part of his prowess is in part due to his seasoned supporting cast, one which seems to change quite often and forces him to be on his toes. The trio of keyboardist Jason Rebello, bassist (and Halifax native) Rhonda Smith and drummer Narada Michael Walden shone on the beefy Big Block off his critically acclaimed album Jeff Beck's Guitar Shop and especially on Stratus thanks to Smith and Walden's air tight rhythmic synergy.
Encouraging the crowd to show their enthusiasm on Led Boots, Beck played a tight, intricate array of notes before the edgier Rice Pudding had him breaking the song down before quickly bringing it back up. Yet rarely did the guitarist go over the top, allowing his trademark spacing between the notes resonate loudly on the delicate People Get Ready with its sweet high points.
“Thank you ladies and gentlemen,” Beck said prior to Smith having a bass solo in one of his longest audience addresses of the night. But when his nimble finger picking on songs like Hammerhead and a cover of Jimi Hendrix's Little Wing comes to the fore does he really need to say anything?
The lone miscue of the evening lasted only a few seconds with Rebello jumping a place in the song order before Beck shuffled over to tell him the error. A solid Brush With The Blues preceded a cinematic and majestic rendition of Over The Rainbow. However even these paled to the set-closing A Day In The Life, complete with the intense wall of sound build-up near its coda.
Returning for an encore, Beck had all standing for the funky anthem I Want To Take You Higher. Yet his one-two combination to wrap things up said far more about where he is heading than where he's been: a tasteful cover of the operatic Nessun Dorma and a stellar effort on Bad Romance.
Yes, Lady Gaga's Bad Romance.
Inspiring to see a man responsible for countless people picking up a guitar or air guitar refusing to rest on his laurels.
TORONTO SUN newspaper by Jason McNeil
1. Plan B 2. Stratus 3. Led Boots 4. Rice Pudding 5. Women of Ireland 6. Hammerhead 7. Corpus Christi Carol 8. Bass Solo 9. People Get Ready 10. You Never Know 11. Rollin' and Tumblin' 12. Big Block 13. Over the Rainbow 14. Little Wing 15. Cause We've Ended As Lovers 16. Brush with the Blues 17. A Day in the Life 18. How High the Moon 19. I Want to Take You Higher 20. Nessun Dorma 21. Bad Romance
It was a night to remember…
Jeff Beck in concert, Portland, Oregon.
When I first became aware that my favorite musical artist was touring North America this fall, I immediately searched out to find out his itinerary. Much to my displeasure, there were no dates scheduled within striking distance of me. As a matter of fact the vast majority of them were in Canada and the remaining five dates were in the Pacific Northwest of the US, an area Jeff had not visited since the YOU HAD IT COMING Tour of 2001.
I then when into plotting mode. I have a very good friend that lives in Portland, Oregon, a gentleman that used to work for producer/writer/artist Babyface, and I knew that he was a huge Narada Michael Walden fan - so with assistance of Funkandjustice of the www.ainian.com Unofficial Jeff Beck website, Jeff Beck’s management was contacted and made aware the Docteur would like to see the Guv’nor on this tour.
They said “Yes’ and travel plans were made, flight booked, hotel reserved, comp tickets for 2 and backstage passes.
Portland, Oregon, October 29, 2011, Jeff Beck EMOTION & COMMOTION WORLD TOUR, it is on!
On Saturday I flew to Portland, and as they say, ‘The rest is history’, and history it was.
After a brief tour of Portland from my friend, we ventured down to the Arlene Schnitzer Theatre for The Performing Arts to find a parking spot. It seemed like we tried forever to find something near the venue that didn’t charge and arm and a leg. We saw the semi-trailer truck that carries the equipment and the two entertainment coaches (a/k/a tour buses), and after a final circle around the block a space became available right across from the semi-truck.
After parking we went to the truck and the buses and took a few pictures. This was a night I wanted captured from A to Z.
We then ventured to the box office’s will call window and indeed there were two tickets and two backstage passes there waiting for me.
We ventured into the theatre and perused the scene. The vendors were there selling the pricey Jeff Beck merchandise and people eating it up. Sales were brisk.
I knew in advance that the date was a virtual sellout, and the only tickets that became available at the last minute were the ones that Jeff’s management turned back in from the contractual comp ticket allocation (and that was only four I was told and they sold immediately).
I looked over the merchandise table, but there was really nothing new, so I didn’t acquire anything.
I was in the latrine and overheard some gents speculating as to who was Jeff’s bass player. They seemed to know that Vinnie Colaiuta was Sting’s tour drummer but were clueless in the bass department. The same gents were seated a few rows behind us as the theater doors opened and most people went to their seats at approximately 7:40PM PCT. (More on them later).
I first ventured to Ben Findlay, Jeff Beck’s sound man, who seemed startled to see me, and was kind of like, “What are you doing here in Portland?”. We chatted a bit and I asked him to save me my usual souvenir, the set list.
He told me they had been stingy with the set lists of late because there is always the threat that is gonna change. He did me one better - he showed me the computer programmed list of songs and their pre-sets and stated that I think they are gonna do “Freeway Jam” tonight because they had been rehearsing it lately and Jeff had teased with it the previous night in Seattle, Washington.
We the went to our seats to get ready for the opening act Tyler Bryant. Most Jeff Beck shows are very punctual, and this would follow suit as Bryant walked out at 8:01PM PCT and launched into his set. The 20 year old wunderkind was in for a few surprises on this night.
Mid-way into his opening number on his acoustic guitar, a string broke, and he seemed totally chagrinned by it. Jeff Beck guitar tech Steve Pryor came out and unwound the broken wire and pulled it off the axe. Bryant kept going.
He then switched to his second acoustic guitar for the second song. When it was time for the third number, Pryor came back out with the original acoustic guitar with its fresh string and righteously tuned perfectly. As soon as Bryant launched into the third song, a string broke - and he angrily sauntered away from the mic and left the stage and threw the guitar down after snatching the broken string off and was given his pink Strat by Pryor.
Tyler Bryant did his third selection on the electric axe and he ripped it up and the audience loved it and he got a mild standing ovation. Then Pryor re-appeared in the wings with the repaired box guitar and attempted to offer it to Bryant, but the young Nashville axe slinger asked the audience would they rather he play electric or acoustic, and the resounding majority screamed electric and the young guitar ace went postal on his axe with a fuselage of notes and licks much to the crowds delight.
Bryant did some very impressive blues riff and solos and really got the audience into him. He stated this was the first time he had ever played an electric guitar set without his band. He called it some You Tube type stuff. He was rewarded with a standing ovation by several in the crowd.
As promised, the gents that were in the bathroom were watching as the tech were setting up the stage for Jeff Beck and his band. They said, “Whoever the bass player is the strap is awful short”, LOL. Little did they know what was gonna happen to them a little bit later.
At 8:55PM PCT with no fan fare whatsoever, Jeff Beck, Narada Michael Walden, Rhonda Smith and Jason Rebello walked out and took their places as the strains of the pre-recorded sound nuances of “Plan B” filled the air.
The lighting was very low and misty and it took a few second for the crowd to realize what was going on, but as soon as the fella from Surrey, England started those familiar lines from his Grammy winning track “Plan B”,
Spontaneous yelps, whistles and claps were all around.
Dressed in light blues slacks with a sleeveless black shirt that was tucked in his trousers complete with the usual white ascot/scarf and bicep bracelet, casual black shoes, dark shades ala a rock star and immaculately feathered hair, this show was off and running. The audience response at the end of “Plan B” was a bit light, and I think this is because some people hadn’t quite registered with the fact that on stage here and now is Jeff Beck!
The next number got all the juices flowing indeed as the foursome roared through a tight and totally splendid version of the Billy Cobham gem “Stratus”. Jeff’s guitar solo was in its own galaxy and Narada simply put all other drummers in the universe to shame with his rolls, chops and rudiments. Beck constantly kept looking back in awe.
With little break in between they ripped into “Led Boots” from the WIRED album. This tune had plenty of fire from all four musicians and the audience yelled its approval in the sections where Jeff beckons people to cheer. The great thing about hearing Jeff d this live is to get to hear the drummer from the original recording play this. No one comes near the majesty that Walden puts into this song. As stated many times during this band’s touring, ‘they simply own this one’ live.
Next up was “Rice Pudding” from 1969’s BECK-OLA album with thunderous rhythm section of Walden/Smith lay down that groove so tight as Beck just went apeshi+ over it and soon it would morph into the totally beautiful “Mna… (Women of Ireland)” song that Jeff first played on the DREAM OF YOU album by Sharon Corr. This piece had the audience mesmerized as Jeff’s guitar tone and delivery was as the Brits say, ‘Spot on’. The sound balance and clarity of the p.a. system was incredible. The packed house in Portland gave forth the first full standing ovation after this selection, and was it deserved. Beck then did his wah-wah intro complete with a moment of Jimi Hendrix’
“Who Knows” thrown in and then a bombastic playing of the Grammy winning “Hammerhead”. Beck’s solo was the best I’ve heard him play on this song live of the six times I have been to EMOTION & COMMOTION tour dates.
Jeff walked to the mic and said, “Jeff Buckley sang a great song and since I can’t sing I am gonna try and play it for you”, and the haunting and peaceful “Corpus Christi Carol” followed. The audience response showed their approval. With no advance notice, immediately Rhonda Smith started running off notes on her bass guitar, and we knew hat was next - “Ronda’s Jam” a/k/a the bass solo. Let’s just say those earlier fellas were some of the loudest screamers of approval. Ms. Smith ripped the scalp off of the Schnitzer Hall. This was the best I had heard the bass solo segment of all the many shows on You Tube and the ones I had attended. At the end, this got the absolute biggest ovation and crowd roar of the night. The instrumental reading of the Curtis Mayfield classic “People Get Ready” followed, Highlight was a spirited piano break by Jason Rebello, whom this year makes his sixth year of being Jeff’s keyboard player. I might also note this song received a standing ovation from the audience also.
The fiery “You Never Know” from the THERE AND BACK album was next as Beck and Rebello held center court with a guitar versus synthesizer duel to be damned.
Walden supplied the ample portion of fusion chop drumming as the audience roared it approval to the battlers. Jeff then started his rockabilly riffing that eventually segued into “Rollin’ And Tumblin’”, Rhonda’s growls and vocal delivery were perfect on this. This song’s end was followed with another standing O, as would be the case for the rest of the night after each song. A totally tear the roof off the mother… reading of “Big Block” was next. There are no words to describe the chemistry between Beck and Walden on this one - they were locked like hand in glove and Smith’s bass was throbbing as this tune brought out the most screams and applause next to her bass feature. The full theatre was on its feet screaming and applauding before the cadenza at the tunes conclusion. The much needed calming element of “Over The Rainbow” followed. Jeff’s harmonics were working and the delicate touch he have for the on the melody notes were unmatched. Guitar tech Steve Pryor brought Jeff a different Strat for the powerful rendering of the Jimi Hendrix staple “Little Wing”. With the late guitar heroes sister, Janie Hendrix in attendance, it seemed fitting as Narada not only did a great job on the drumming chores, but delivered a good vocal on this song. Jeff’s guitar work made this his own. Makes one wish for a recorded version of the next Jeff Beck studio album. BLOW BY BLOW’s most famous track, the Stevie Wonder written “’Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers” was next. Rhonda played her stand up bass on this one and Jeff kept the same Star as played on “Little Wing”. Both Rebello and Beck gave very nice solos here.
Guitar switch to regular Strat and Jeff immediately started playing “Brush With The Blues”. Unlike some previous nights on the Canadian dates where she played stand up bass on this song, she switched back to her Fender bass guitar. Jeff took us through a lexicon riffs, runs, screams and blue notes as this tune showcased just why he is so regarded as a leading exponent of the electric guitar.
He then started to clumsily play the opening riffs of his Grammy winning rendition of The Beatles “A Day In The Life”, when he abruptly stopped, walked over to the mic and said, “This will be the last time you hear this. I will not play it on my next tour”, and then he replayed the intro, this time better and the band did a great rendering of this classic, Smith pulled off the Paul McCartney bass inflection in that transition section quite well. This concluded the regular set as the band intros were done, and the bows.
Screams, applause, stomping, hoots and hollers from the Portland throng brought quartet back out for 4 back to back encore selections: “How High The Moon” (with Jeff playing a Gibson Les Paul) and Rebello playing rhythm on a Fender Telecaster; the absolute funk driving crowd participation take on Sly and The Family Stone’s “I Want To Take You Higher” with vocals by Smith, Walden and the vocoder inflected Rebello (after the audience sing-along section led by Walden, of which Beck said, “Listen to him”) show opener Tyler Bryant came back out to do battle with Jeff in a back and forth head-cutting guitar duel, They both shredded, did speedy licks, and had the theatre going crazy; Beck then said, “This is where it gets risky” and the four great musicians did a powerful cover of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance”. The audience loved it and I might add stood for the entire 4 song encore onslaught.
The evening was finally brought to a close some 3 hours later with Puccini’s aria, Jeff’s Grammy winning cover of “Nessun Dorma”. It was poignant, emotional and a fitting close to a near flawless night of great music.
Beck introduced his band members and went and hugged Rhonda and held on to her as brought her over to the mic and displayed affection, admiration and compliments and she took the mic to do the same about him and extolled the audience to give it up for, “The one and only, the greatest Jeff Beck!”. I happen to agree with her.
Note: The security was very tight for recordings. Steve Pryor and several of Jeff’s staff members were looking for audience members that were recoding and would shine a light into their recording device and hop off the stage with security to make the person stop. There were ,any instances of this. I had never seen such an effort to stop bootlegs before.
Backstage with Jeff Beck and his band
Where: Portland, Oregon Oct. 29, 2011
Will call window at the Arlene Schnitzer Performing Arts was a treasure trove for me and my guest. In the envelope were two comp tickets, fifth row orchestra and literally dead center which provided extraordinarily close up and unobstructed views of the four immensely talented musicians: Jeff Beck, Narada Michael Walden, Rhonda Smith and Jason Rebello, as well as opening act Tyler Bryant.
After the last bows of Jeff Beck and his band after they had finished a sterling performance for some two hours complete with four encores, we sauntered up to the stage and looked at the equipment as the road crew began the task of disassembling it and packing up and getting ready to go to Santa Rosa, California. Steve Pryor, Jeff Beck’s long-time guitar tech, personally packed up all things Jeff Beck equipment-wise. We watched as he meticulously did it all from the effects pedals and gadgets to the cords to the two stacks of Marshalls. The guitars were first to go in their large anvil road case (except the special Strat that Jeff keeps with him at all times).
The door leading to backstage was audience left/stage right and we were just hanging around until we were escorted back. In all there were ten persons with backstage passes, one of which was Janie Hendrix, the late Jimi Hendrix’ sister, another was a friend of Jennifer Batten (who would have been there, but she was in Paris, France).
After what seemed to be about a thirty minute wait, we were escorted back by two security staff members of the Arlene Schnitzer Theatre, whom had been given the cue by Jeff Beck’s road manager. We were taken on what seemed like a long and winding road of steps, some up and down and all around down a hall way and eventually into a room where there were some remaining food and beverages. The fella that was Jennifer’s pal, helped himself to some of the pastries. Janie Hendrix and myself were escorted to the little boys and little girls rooms respectively (I had been needing to go forever, especially after drinking one of the nastiest fountain Pepsis I’ve tasted in my life (you all know the kind, where they need to change the tank really bad). Anyway I was hoping the Guv’nor didn’t come into the reception room until after I had come back from the latrine.
I made it back in time. The two little boys in the audience of ten had received Walden’s drum sticks, so they were really hyped as was their Mom. As with the concert, there was no fanfare as in strolled the maestro followed by his road manager, Narada Michael Walden, and Jason Rebello. A few minutes later, Rhonda Smith, Ben Findlay and Narada’s drum tech also entered. Jeff walked straight over to where I was standing. He said, “Alright boys” and looked around the room and continued, “And a few girls” with his typical laughter. We shook hands and hugged and I immediately told him I had some presents for him, and he said, “He has more gifts for me”. (Recalling Clearwater, Florida in May where I gave him the letter to the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame for his induction as a solo artist). He became very excited as I gave him the list I had compiled of all the guitar players that had played on stage with him from his first known gigs in the early-Sixties to the iHeart Music Festival where he was a featured member of Steven Tyler’s ad-hoc band). Jason Rebello was geeked by the list as well, exclaiming in excited voice, “He has me on there, I am on there for rhythm guitar”. As I was turning pages, Jeff was overriding me, turning back, and making sounds of joy, with, “Ooooooooo and awhhh, oh my God, how did you research this..this is great and it’s mine? I was like yeah Jeff it is your present. I told him that Dick Wyzanski helped me fill in a few gaps and that it had been fun compiling this. I reminded him of the first-time I met him in 1973 thanks to Carmine Appice and the list I had of all the Jeff Beck Groups.
Then some pics were taken and there small talk all over the place: I will recount in short bursts here…
Doc: Jeff going back to 1973, do you remember telling me about the guy that was there every night at Steve Paul’s Scene Club in NY that was recording you and your jams with Jimi Hendrix?
Jeff: “Oh yes, yes” (with a look of anguish), “I have never found him (and with an excited look) Do you know where he is?” (I shook my head no), Jeff Beck very animatedly said, “The only evidence of those jams was some guy took a picture of fucking Ronnie Wood, you know Ronnie, with Jimi, and he (Hendrix) was playing my Les Paul upside down”.
Note: A few things were left out as i do not feel them appropriate to reveal at this time.
Doc: I have to do my buddy a favor and ask this question for him - Dick (Wyzanski) wants to know on the climb in “’Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers” why…(Beck interrupts me and says)
Jeff: “I fucking hate Gmaj7, that’s why, and tell Dick fuck him” (With lots of laughter) and he continues, “Is he still in Florida?”
At this point other guests were clamoring for some time with Jeff, so I talked to Narada, Rhonda and Jason for awhile.
Back to Jeff..
Doc: Are you going to tour in 2012?
Doc: You must do all in your power to keep this band together. I have seen you live many times and this is the best live band you have ever had.
Jeff; “Wow, coming from you”
Doc: Ronda, oh my God she is incredible beyond belief.
Jeff: “She is lovely isn’t she. Great player and person.You have to give me credit I know how to pick great bass players”.
Jason: “What was that?
Jeff: (in louder voice) “I know how to pick bass players. I am the bass player picker!” (with laughter_
Doc: Promise me you will record some things with this band.
Jeff: “I will be in the studio soon.”
Someone in the room asked about the Rod Stewart project, Jeff says off in the distance, “What project?”
Doc: Jeff have you considered recording “Team Amerika”?
Jeff: “The cartoon movie?”, he asks with a look of bewilderment at my question
Doc: No Jeff, the song you all did a few times in Europe, even with the orchestra in London.
Jeff: Looking confused, “I don’t remember that one”, he pauses, “Oh, I should’ve recorded that you think?”
Doc: Yes Jeff, that was a nice number, like “Hurricane” and “Scottish One”, speaking of “Scottish One”, the Lady Gaga tune, “Bad Romance” you all do reminds me a but of that in some sections
Jeff: “Oh yeah” and he starts humming a bit of “Scottish One” as he strums the air guitar, and he says, “Gaga had me in mind when she wrote that, it’s straight rock and roll”.
Narada then started calling Jeff to come over where he was, and Jeff said, “I am in the band” (with laughter)
Jennifer’s pal was then talking to Jeff about Ms. Batten and asked where was Sandra, and Jeff told him she stayed home on this tour.
Jeff was then ready to leave the room igging Narada with that impish grin he gives forth and then turned back to me and asks “Where is the book?” in a very serious look. His road manager reappears and assures Jeff he has taken it and put it up, and then Jeff gives me a final hug and goodbye and thanks me for the book and the Guv’nor promenades down the hallway to an awaiting van to enjoy the day off before heading to Santa Rosa, California.
I then go over in the huddle where Narada introduces me to Janie Hendrix and there is lots of conversation going on with Rhonda and Ms. Hendrix. Narada and I talk about mutual acquaintances, his solo album, how great they sounded tonight, an interview I set up for him with a British publication, Grammys and more.
Narada introduces me to his drum tech and then I chop it up with Jason.
I told Rhonda, Narada and Jason that they need to get in the studio with Jeff.
Then it was time to leave and on my way out of the theatre’s side exit I encountered Tyler Bryant, we recalled our first meeting in Clearwater, Florida in May, and then I passed along a personal message from Dick W. to Tyler. I also stuck my head in a tech room and bid my farewells to Ben, whom earlier had told me that he wished the tour could go on for another 30 days.
As we left the building there were several groupies and regular fans hanging outside wanting to know what it was like being back there with Jeff Beck.
My friend walked Janie Hendrix down the street to her car.
As he drove me back to my hotel we both exchanged stories of this encounter. He being a huge Narada fan and had never seen Jeff Beck live or any of them for that matter - was totally blown away, All he could say was, “Wow!”. He also became smitten with Rhonda Smith, LOL.
Only for Jeff Beck would I catch two planes coming and going to fly that far for a concert.
For me it was “wow” and then some.
I already can’t wait for the tour of 2012 with the late Spring and Summer festivals,
Much thanks to Jeff Beck, Narada Michael Walden, Jason Rebello, Rhonda Smith, Tyler Bryant, Ben Findlay and the astute management of Harvey Goldsmith, Serena, Peter et al.
*Note, I left out some details that I felt inappropriate to reveal
A classic rock n roll rebel line from the first slide blues then all hell break loose opening song , “Kick The Habit”, aptly describes the feeling you get when you finish listening to the all too brief but powerful raw honest in your face live style new Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown CD “From The Sandcastle.” …..”TOO MUCH AIN”T ENOUGH…..” Tyler screams referring to the holy trilogy of girls, cigarettes, and Rock n Roll! Then taking it out on his axe Tyler proudly forges his own unique fierce lead guitar on a combination of slide and wah wah that can only be described as Psychedelic Rock’n Blues……Shakedown style!
On the other James Dean style Rebel anthem on the CD, “Kickin”, Tyler proudly proclaims “Don’t tell me what to do ‘cause I won’t listen. Keep Kickin….”. Here Tyler builds his bridge solo bar after bar as the song levitates on to a higher plane and just when you think it’s cruising along with the Skynard airplane Freebird, Tyler turns on the jet fuel into warp drive again with creative use of the wah wah and waves his fingers up the frets to a finale crescendo of raw channeled frustration.
Like Jeff Beck, a main mentor, Tyler has absorbed many different sounds/styles into his performances. The blues influence is obvious. So is too the Rock/Heartland of America country crossover blend of a Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Tyler gives Tom a nod on Good Life, an infectious well crafted sing along. Oddly but explainable it is here that Tyler gives Jeff Beck the biggest send off on the CD. Slightly phased, well crafted, the solo climbs slowly with a pause to give the two finger back and forth wave on the frets as if it were 1968 and Jeff Beck was doing that very technique in front of a crowd, one of many little “tricks” as Jeff would call them that were very easy to play but have maximum effect on the audience. From there the solo reaches the peak with just the right touch of high vibrato as the chorus takes over again to wind down the song. If I had no idea who did that solo and someone played it to me……..it’s not out of the realm of possibility that I might think of Jeff.
While the Shakedown are built around rhythms to support Tyler Bryant, make no mistake that there are innumerable subtleties that make this a unique overall sound that Tyler might have a hard time duplicating with other players. Graham Whitford learned driving chopping rhythms and complimentary fills from his dad Brad no doubt. He is capable of driving Tyler to a higher level at any given moment. Several times on the record drummer Caleb Crosby uses the toms and bass drum much in the same ground breaking spirit to create the driving beat and wall of sound that Keith Moon did for the Who. Finally bassist Calvin Webster has that knack for synchronizing the bottom with the drums but at the same time having that one or two memorable bass lines from every song and for God sakes give it up for the sendoff to Ronnie Wood during his bass stint with the Jeff Beck Group when Calvin funkily tears into a really distorted slightly trebly interlude on “House That Jack Built”.
Two of the other seven strong tracks are “Say A Prayer” mix of different tempo vignettes within a song , and “Being Here”, a naked street country folk out front Tyler Bryant vocal. On the former yet another example of young plea rings out from a son looking to his mother for guidance in the wild wicked world “Your only child out in the wild. She’s got him down on his knees”. “Being Here” tips it’s hat to the classic Nashville scene complete with the image of a Speedy West or a Jimmy Bryant accentuating a good ole country boy plea.
The CD closes as it began with some impassioned back to the roots slide blues, “Shackles”, with the “outlaw” Tyler coming to terms with his imminent capture but vowing to fight till the end and “cut those Shackles”. The only thing I have to say at this point is redundant. “Too Much, Most Certainly, Ain’t Enough”!.
Be seeing you.
February 12, 2007
One of the Best Rock Photos You’ve Never Seen, Taken By a Local 39 Years Ago
Seriously, how I do love the Friends of Unfair Park. On January 29, I mentioned how Rolling Stone’s David Fricke had teased the magazine’s readers with the mention of a Jeff Beck Band bootleg made from a show at LuAnn’s on Greenville Ave. in 1968. Fricke had said it was out there, but not precisely where, sending me on a two-day-long wild goose chase that ended only when my pal and pediatrician, Chris Dreiling, found it here.
Anyway, long story short, yesterday I got an e-mail from one R.E. Barnes, who wanted to know how to get hold of the boot. More to the point, R.E. also said he was at the show and had photos to prove it. Well, those we had to see — at least one. So R.E. was kind enough to send an astounding picture — really, one of the best rock photos I have ever seen, never mind the photog’s pro or amateur status — along with a few anecdotes about shooting Beck, Rod Stewart and the rest of the fledgling legends. The photo, suitable for framing (in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame) and the stories are after the jump. Oh, and a note to R.E.: A copy of the show’s on its way to you. Just shoot me your address. It’s the least we could do. –Robert Wilonsky
I saw the Jeff Beck Group in Dallas at a club called LuAnn’s in July ’68. Only 100 or so people were there, and I sat right behind a speaker at the side of the stage taking photos. Jeff stuck his tongue out at me at one point. I imagine he was getting tired of me taking so many photos. Rod Stewart had been greeted with a comment that he looked like Roger Daltrey. I doubt anyone would say the same now. Rod bent down between songs and was asking me about my 35mm camera. They weren’t that common in those days.
What a show that was. Ron Wood was on bass and Mickey Waller on drums. Jeff’s Les Paul, through his dual stack of Marshalls, was the most wonderful sound I had ever heard. I went out and bought a new gold top Les Paul when Gibson re-released them around that time. But for some reason I have never been able to sound as good as Jeff.
There has been a listing that the tape of this show is available for some time now, but I have unfortunately never come across it. It certainly was the most incredible show I ever saw.
This photo is from that show, I have given many of the photos away, though I still have the negs. Some were published in Jeff’s Book by Chris Hjort and also in Annette Carson’s bio of Jeff, Crazy Fingers.
Fresh from the release of a once in a lifetime classic female vocal cover rhythm n blues collaboration with former Jeff Beck 2006 tour singer interlude, Beth Hart, Joe Bonamassa continued his round the world hectic touring schedule with dates on the East Coast including a packed house at the Kravis Center in downtown West Palm Beach on Utes evening Nov 23rd.
I ran into Joe in back of the gig that afternoon as he was about ready to take off for an unescorted walk around complete with his trucker hat and flannel shirt. He looked so relaxed it was amazing. Just pior to our encounter he had shot a video inside of some of his classic guitar collection….He has over 350 vintage guitars!!!!!!!!!!
After the afternoon Meet and Greet which was unusually large due to the number of PBS packages pledged during the recent local PBS showing of Live at The Royal Albert Hall DVD with guest Eric Clapton, I took a look at the stage setup. A jokester, like Jeff, Joe or one of his crew had placed Joe Bonamassa bobble head dolls on top of all three of his Marshall stacks.
Sporting a new drummer this time around, Tal Bergman, Joe came on punctually at 8PM and weaved a dynamic mix of numbers from his current Number 1 blues LP and Classic Rock nominated LP of the year, Dust Bowl, and other classics from his past dozen years of solo lps. Always using many different guitars during performances all with equal virtuosity, my favorite twist of the night was the appearance of a double neck white Gibson SG, reminiscent of the red one Jimmy Page used at the ARMS shows in 83 to do a solo guitar version of Stairway To Heaven. That wasn’t lost on Joe who grinned as he walked up to the front of the stage with it and “tuned up” by doing the intro to Stairway. Then he tore into the meanest wildest version of Young Man Blues that would have had Pete Townshend shaking in his boots.
Unlike Joe’s previous drummer Bogey Boles, Tal Bergman not only was not shy, he was thunderous and played the audience with winks, hands clapping, sticks smashing together, and was ever so responsive to the soft to loud changes in the dynamics of the show. Bassist Carmine Rojas and Keyboardist Rick Mellick have the Rythym and timing down to perfection now having supported Joe for over five years.
Whether it was the total package presentation of John Henry (This was my one almost hit Joe quipped) the realization of the rendition of the century that has to be played every show, “Sloe Gin”, the stone cold tribute to RIP Gary Moore “Midnight Blues”, or the in your face dazzling acoustic virtuosity of Woke Up Dreaming, Joe Bonamassa proved he is still the hardest working best showman in the genre of blues rock and shows no signs of slowing down. Roy, his manager, when asked by me what was up with Joe just stared at me, shook his head, and said with a slight knowing grin “It’s going to be a BUSY year next year in 2012.”
Once again Joe closed the show to standing ovations from the packed house with ZZ Top’s “Just Got Paid” after teasing the crown with the Jeff Beck/Rod Stewart Truth intro to Howlin Wolf’s “Ain’t Superstitious”. During the solos he ran the gamut of Joe Bonamassa style slow blended into shred wails, Jimmy Page Dazed and Confused bends, and a time change blended into beat verse of Billy Cobham’s “Stratus” done Jeff Beck style.
My only hope now its that Joe takes some of his back catalogue of recorded tunes, never or rarely done live, and features them maybe in altered form to fit his show like “Prisoner” or The Last Matador of Bayonne” off “Dust Bowl” or the R&B classic “Stop” off John Henry (which he id on the Albert Hall DVD)
Joe Bonamassa is truly a guitarist and showman of our times. You’ll leave with a smile on your face and realized you were truly blessed to see one of the greats of our time. Go see him soon!
Many thanks to Martin Power for providing us with this really cool piece. This interview occured after the publication of 'Hot Wired' so it contains some tidbits not here-to-fore seen. Again, really cool.
Neil Murray: This Snake-charming Man
Former Whitesnake and Black Sabbath bass supremo Neil Murray recently met up with ‘Hot Wired Guitar - The Life Of Jeff Beck’ author Martin Power for a drink and a chat in Chiswick, West London. Here, Neil talks about his life in music: from the rallying call of sixties blues rock and the perils of seventies jazz fusion to 1981’s ‘Secret Policeman’s Other Ball’ and several close encounters with a certain Jeff Beck.
In Neil Murray’s case, it might be easier to list the musicians he hasn’t worked with rather than the ones he actually has. A seventies jazz-rock pioneer with Colosseum II and core member of Whitesnake in the glory years before panstick and powder fought it out with power and punch, Murray’s career has found him both touring and recording with the likes of Black Sabbath, Queen’s Brian May and Fleetwood Mac’s Peter Green. Whether trading licks alongside UFO’s Michael Schenker, Joe Satriani and the much-missed Gary Moore, or ducking the shattered drumsticks of Ian Paice, Cozy Powell and Bill Bruford, Neil’s expressive bass lines have been escaping from stereo speakers the world over for nearly four decades. In short, if you’re a fan of soaring hard rock, mightily complex time signatures or smoky midnight blues, Neil Murray will be lurking somewhere in your record collection: “Ha! I never really thought about it that way, but you may well have a point.”
A modest, self-deprecating type, but one armed with a distinctly wry sense of humour, Murray has tested his mettle with so many wonderful players over the years, it might be difficult to pinpoint ‘the one that got away’. But for the Scottish-born bassist, there remains little doubt: “Well, I guess it’s got to be Jeff Beck. Having shared a stage at the ‘Secret Policeman’s Other Ball’ and jammed with him several times, it would have been wonderful to put that experience on record.”
In fact, Jeff Beck, The Yardbirds and their fellow British blues boomers were front and centre of Murray’s attentions when his fledgling interest in music started to coalesce into something far more serious during the mid-sixties: “As a child I took lessons on piano and trombone before gravitating to drums,” he said. “Like most musicians of that era, my interest was originally piqued by The Shadows and all the beat groups that followed. But in 1966, possibly 1967, somebody at school converted a guitar into a bass and that was a revelation to me. I just felt comfortable with the instrument and immediately took to it. By then, I was immersed in the British blues boom – Eric Clapton, Peter Green and, of course, Jeff Beck. In fact, my favourite Yardbirds tracks all heavily featured Jeff. ‘The Nazz Are Blue’, ‘Jeff’s Boogie’, ‘Shapes...’. For me, that really was something worth pursuing.”
Murray’s progress, however, was slow and sure rather than bullet train-quick: “Yes, it took about six years! It just wasn’t a case of coming out of the starting blocks at age 16 and straight onto the stage. All through college, when I was studying to be a typographic designer, I was also studying bass – just immersing myself in rock, jazz and blues and trying to get better and better.” In addition to the hours hunched over four strings, Neil was also an admiring witness to some of the finest acts of the time: “I went to The Marquee, two, three times a week, catching band after band. I saw Led Zeppelin on their first UK tour and Cactus with Carmine Appice and Tim Bogert, who alongside Cream’s Jack Bruce, became an enormous early influence on my style. Of course, I also saw The Jeff Beck Group at the Lyceum with Tony Newman on drums. It was an amazing gig, though I seem to remember they didn’t come on until half way through the night! Different times, of course.”
By the early seventies, Neil had become Social Secretary at the London College of Printing, where he was able to wield some real power for the first time, booking the groups he liked while also having to make the occasional (and uncomfortable) judgement call: “Well, I actually cancelled Anysley Dunbar’s Retaliation in favour of the last British gig by King Crimson. I felt a little bad about that – Anysley was a great drummer and there was that Beck connection – but there were lines around the block for Crimson, and I was Mr. Popular for having made the Student Union loads of money.” Murray’s attitude to such groups (“I’d just try to get to know them as equals, no barriers, no airs and graces, you know”) finally paid off when during a visit to legendary Soho jazz club Ronnie Scott’s, he met Gass (and former JBG II) singer Bobby Tench and bassist Clive Chaman: “We just hit it off immediately. The guys were really friendly, and by then, I was a pretty good amateur bassist, so Clive became something of a mentor. He introduced me to the work of James Jamerson and Tower of Power...a much more funky palette, if you like. Jamerson was taking such risks...the groove, the swing, that his style had a profound effect on how I approached playing bass thereafter.”
After leaving college in 1972, Murray worked in a factory making “little executive toys...click, clack, click things.” But the tedium wasn’t to last long: “I’d already joined Gilgamesh who were on the pub circuit doing quite complicated ‘fusiony’ stuff when Clive recommended me for a spot with Junior Hanson in 1973. Hanson was a good rock and blues guitar player and Chaman had worked with him on his first LP. Given the fact that Clive had grown really busy after his time with Jeff, it left the door open for me.” One American tour and several recording dates with Hanson at New York’s Record Plant studios later, Murray was finally a professional musician: “Well, it was more like a few very odd months in New York, ending with a police arrest – long story and nothing to do with me, I hasten to add - but yes, I was on my way.”
Clive Chaman was also key in securing Neil’s next professional assignment with another former musician from the Jeff Beck stable, Cozy Powell, who had recently found his own way to stardom following the demise of JBG II: “Clive was working with Cozy’s new band Hammer, who had a couple of hits in 1974 with ‘Dance With The Devil’ and ‘The Man In Black’,” Murray recalled. “Cozy was going to tour in the UK with Don Airey on keyboards, Bernie Marsden on guitar and Frank Aiello on vocals, but Clive wanted to play with Linda Lewis at Ronnie Scott’s for a week or two, so he put me up to deputise for him on some of the dates. When Mickie Most - whose RAK label had released Cozy’s singles - followed up those shows with a ‘RAK Rocks Great Britain’ tour in the winter of 1974 involving Cozy, Suzi Quatro and some other acts from the RAK stable, Chaman was again working with Linda, so I got those gigs too.”
But it was on 21 February, 1975 when Neil was scheduled to play a show with Powell at the Maidstone College of Art that things took a turn for the surreal as previous heroes became prospective employers: “By that time, I’d got to know the guitarist Robert Ahwai through Clive, and like Max Middleton, he was part of Hummingbird, who were signed to Jeff’s manager, Ernest Chapman. I think it was then that I heard a pre-release tape of Blow By Blow from Robert. It transpired that Jeff might not be using the rhythm section on that record for his forthcoming US tour. So I put out word that I’d love to be considered. Time passed, but nothing came back. Then just before the soundcheck at the Maidstone gig, a hot rod pulls up. I thought ‘Oh shit...’.”
Suffice to say, a certain rooster-haired guitarist soon popped his head around the backstage door: “I was still using a small Fender Mustang bass at the time, in which I’d installed all sorts of various pick-ups. It had a light action and was really easy to play. So Jeff picks it up, and says ‘I really love to play bass now, much more than guitar’. Looking back, he might have said that to put me at my ease, but I was nervous and didn’t really excel during the show. I suppose my excuse would be that by then, I’d only done 15, maybe 20 gigs in my life, whereas the likes of Cozy had done hundreds if not thousands. So while I had the technique and could play the material well enough, I still wasn’t fully comfortable on stage and I guess Jeff spotted that.”
Though Neil was disappointed (“gutted, actually”) not to have secured a spot with Beck’s latest enterprise, he was still keen to witness those who had: “I later heard that Wilbur Bascomb and Bernard Purdie had got the gig, and the new band was doing a warm-up show at an East London pub in advance of the US tour. Of course, I found out too late and spent the next day kicking myself that I’d missed the opportunity to see Jeff’s new band. Really, with benefit of hindsight, I was over-reaching at that point in trying out for that group, but you’re like that when you’re young. You’ve got the confidence, but perhaps not the experience. Anyway, it righted itself soon enough.”
Indeed it did. Following the dissolution of Cozy Powell’s Hammer, Murray and keyboardist Don Airey transferred their talents to British jazz rockers Colosseum II, led by former Graham Bond Organisation and Bluesbreaker drummer Jon Hiseman. A confection of odd beats, rhythmic leaps and high-octane guitar work courtesy of then rising star Gary Moore, Neil was with Colosseum II for only one album (1976’s ‘Strange New Flesh’) but the experience did little harm to his growing reputation as a bassist: “Playing in such a challenging environment opened the ears of other like-minded musicians, and I ended up working with National Health and ex-Yes and King Crimson drummer Bill Bruford.” However, it was when Neil stepped away from the complexities of fusion to add a few licks to ex-Hammer guitarist Bernie Marsden’s new project Babe Ruth that the wheels were set in motion for a much more high-profile gig: “I played on a couple of tracks for Babe Ruth’s second album, after which Bernie split that band to join Paice, Ashton & Lord, featuring Ian and John from Deep Purple. Though that project didn’t last too long, it did sow the seeds for all to follow. Bernie joined forces with (guitarist) Mick Moody, and they in turn linked up with David Coverdale to help form his new band. Bernie asked me to help out in auditioning drummers, and the next thing I knew, I was a member of Whitesnake.”
The brainchild of former Deep Purple MK III vocalist Coverdale, Whitesnake became a regular chart fixture throughout the late seventies and early eighties, their decidedly macho brand of blues, rock and soul appealing to the denim armies of the UK and Europe. Though the hit singles and albums piled up (‘Trouble’, ‘Ain’t No Love...’, ‘Ready And Willing’ and ‘Fool For Your Loving’ among them) and Ian Paice and Jon Lord soon brought a new sophistication and sheen to the band’s ranks, there was still plenty of time for extracurricular activities: “The guys were always recording solo albums,” said Neil, “Bernie did some solo stuff on which Cozy played, and then Simon Phillips ended up working on various tracks by various other Snakes. Everyone knew Simon was the hottest new drummer on the circuit, so it wasn’t that surprising when he teamed up with Beck, Tony Hymas and Mo Foster. But then I somehow found myself back in Jeff’s orbit.”
The circumstances of that reunion came during the Autumn of 1981, following a phone call from Phillips, who was guesting alongside Beck and Eric Clapton at the Secret Policeman’s Other Ball – an all-star charity event held over four nights in support of Amnesty International: “Simon called me up and said ‘Mo can’t do the first two shows, so do you fancy it?’ Great cause, great line-up, well, of course I did.” After a six year delay, Neil Murray finally got his chance to work with both Jeff (and Eric) on 9 September, 1981: “Yes, we played ‘Crossroads’ and ‘’Cause We Ended As Lovers’, and it was that version of ‘Crossroads’ which ended up on the album of the show. The next night, we again played ‘’Cause We Ended...’ and this time around, ‘Further On Up The Road’, which I seem to remember also featured the jazz guitarist John Etheridge.” On night three, both Clapton and Beck were curiously absent, leaving Murray to watch a returning Mo Foster from the wings on the last night of the Ball: “Mo played with Jeff, Eric and Simon which of course was the one they filmed. But by then, I was part of the whole shebang, so there was no point in dragging me away. It was a fantastic thing to be involved in and I was there to stay.”
Having already accompanied Sting on the classic ‘Roxanne’ during the opening night’s festivities and fulfilled a teenage ambition by playing alongside Beck and Clapton on nights two and three, Neil had only one obligation left to fulfill on the occasion of the last show: “Well, I made a bit of a fool of myself! During ‘I Shall Be Released’ at the show’s finale, I walked onstage with this little Casio mini-synth I was using to write at the time, banging the thing against my hand to keep time with the song. I suppose it might have looked quite post-modern in a funny sort of way, you know, using a synth as a tambourine. And I suppose it did, until the batteries fell out of the back and fell on the bloody stage...”
Though the Ball took place over 30 years ago, Murray’s memories of working with two former Yardbirds haven’t dimmed in the slightest: “You’ve got to remember that Clapton was the first real British blues guitar hero and he really had something. He came along and led the way, so to speak. Jeff was wilder, more off the wall, and took the blues somewhere wholly unexpected. They were different players approaching guitar in very different ways. One always got the feeling that Eric was perhaps more controlled, almost more self-effacing, whereas with Jeff, it sounded like it was coming from his very core. The excitement, sensitivity and sheer beauty of his playing was first rate, and throw in an almost voice-like approach to phrasing and he takes some beating. You don’t forget being on stage with Jeff.”
As is often the case with such things, Murray’s involvement with the Secret Policeman’s Other Ball led to several other distinct opportunities: “Jeff and Simon were trying to put together a three-piece band at the time,” he said, “and were working with various bass players, perhaps even looking for a power trio-type thing with a singing bass player, which of course, I’m wasn’t. I seem to recall Level 42’s Mark King and even Sting from The Police were mentioned, but nothing seemed to come of that.” With King and Sting unavailable, Neil once again found himself on the other end of a phone call from Simon Phillips: “I got the call and went to Jeff’s house on 2 October, 1981, where we rehearsed four or five tracks of all new material. There were some basic structures to jam around, but there wasn’t a ‘song’ per se. I think with Jeff, Simon and I, we were trying various things, twisting melodies and adding complex aspects, which in a way led to thinking about the original idea a bit too much – just getting away from the simplicity. To me, it wasn’t quite flowing. But then again, seeing Jeff approach a riff or structure in a completely different fashion each time was astounding to watch. You could see him take fire from the original idea and just work with it.”
By 22 October, the trio were ensconced at London’s Nomis rehearsal studios, again trying to capture a usable sound, though this time a singer was involved: “The power trio thing has got its limitations, you know,” said Murray. “While it lends itself to creating a dense, propulsive style, the opportunity to work with the lush or harmonically complex aspects a keyboard provides becomes lost. I think that was Jeff’s challenge with BBA, and again in 1981, so he tried out Danny Bowes on vocals to sweeten the pill, so to speak.” A promising young blues rock talent, Bowes would later eventually find fame with Terraplane and later Thunder, but on this occasion the experiment proved unsuccessful: “We tried out Danny, and he was really very good, but he wasn’t quite what Jeff was looking for. Maybe he was too young at the time, or not quite in the blues or soul mould that Rod Stewart or Bobby Tench had occupied. Whatever the case, the project fizzled out and Jeff moved on.”
For Beck, his failure to pull together a new, hard-edged band marked the shape of things to come for much of the Eighties. Though it opened up plenty of opportunity for the guitarist to contribute to various side projects – including alliances with Mick Jagger, Tina Turner and Rod Stewart – the majority of the decade proved a frustrating time with only one solo album, 1985’s disappointing ‘Flash’, stemming the tide before 1989’s ‘Guitar Shop’ re-established his standing in critical and commercial circles. For his own sins, Neil Murray was also fighting battles on several fronts, first with a newly revamped Whitesnake led by a singer now intent on breaking the American market: “Well, David really wanted to crack the US, and that inadvertently led to several shake-ups with the majority of the band either leaving or simultaneously joining other outfits. Cozy Powell came in on drums, then Ian Paice and I headed off to play with Gary Moore for two years, before Paicey again hooked up with Jon Lord in a reformed Deep Purple. Strange time.”
While Murray stayed on long enough to contribute to Whitesnake’s multi-million selling ‘1987’, a disc that more than fulfilled David Coverdale’s wish to crack America, he was long gone by the time the videos started appearing on MTV: “Cozy was unhappy about the deal David was offering, so he went. Then John Sykes came in on guitar and wanted Tommy Aldridge on drums. After that, Adrian Vandenburg arrived, and all the while I was twiddling my thumbs waiting for something to happen. In the end, I cut some tracks for the album and we left it there, though the money for my work only came later, following some legal negotiations.”
After much session work, a spell with Japanese hard rockers Vow Wow and a reunion with fellow ‘Snakers Bernie Marsden and Mel Galley in the short lived MGM, Murray finally accepted an offer from guitarist Tony Iommi to join Black Sabbath in 1989: “Again, there was the Ernest Chapman connection there,” said Neil. “Ernest was managing Sabbath at that point, Cozy had taken over as drummer with Tony Martin on vocals and Geezer Butler – the original bassist - was unsure whether he wanted to be a part of this new band. So again, the opportunity for me was there.” While on tour promoting Sabbath’s 1989 album ‘Headless Cross’, Neil once again ran into Jeff Beck at London’s Hammersmith Odeon: “Yes, Jeff popped along to see the band. Queens’ Brian May often used to join us onstage for the song ‘Heaven And Hell’, but Jeff was more an onlooker. He liked a bit of hard rock, but we might have been a little bit heavy for him, so he remained in the wings watching. And believe me, that was intimidating. Jeff Beck in the bloody wings! From my point of view, it was also a little frustrating because he hadn’t seen me play in nearly a decade and then there he was, watching me with Sabbath. It was somewhat unrepresentative of all that I’d been involved in up to that point.”
Perhaps Beck might have been better served catching up with Neil on several later adventures, as a slew of rock, jazz and blues assignments continued to keep the bassist exceedingly busy throughout the nineties and noughties. In addition to a notable appearance alongside Steve Vai and Joe Satriani at Seville’s ‘Guitar Expo 1992’, and time well spent with Fleetwood Mac legend Peter Green’s Splinter Group, Murray became a core member of The Brian May Band, while also providing additional four string cover on Queen & Paul Rodgers’ ‘The Cosmos Rocks’ tour of 2008. Further, Murray has been plying his wares as part of the “rock orchestra” in Queen’s long-running musical ‘We Will Rock You’ at London’s Dominion Theatre since 2002: “Nine musicians plus up to 30 singers on stage. I think I’ve played to over three million people since the doors opened in 2002. Though not all at the same time, you understand.” On top of this regular gig, Neil has also reactivated his connection with ex-Whitesnake colleague Mick Moody, forming the aptly named Snakecharmer, who be playing classic songs from the band’s seventies/eighties heyday during 2012: “We’ve got Laurie Wisefield from Wishbone Ash, Harry James from Thunder and Adam Wakeman from Ozzy Osbourne’s band, so it’s a good line-up. There’s still an audience out there who remember the original Whitesnake songs very fondly, so yes, we’re taking the show on the road for them.”
Of course, things might have taken a decidedly different course had Murray scored his original audition with Jeff Beck in 1975, or indeed, taken up arms with the guitarist again in 1981. One wonders if such thoughts ever cross his mind: “You mean would I have left Whitesnake for a new Jeff Beck Group? What a question. You know, I think I would probably have chosen Jeff. For me, it would have been the fulfilment of that original ambition, if you like, linking up with the guy who inspired me as a teenager and playing in his new band. Also, around that time, Whitesnake had just recorded ‘Saints And Sinners’, and being honest, it wasn’t quite as good a record as the previous ones. The whole band was starting to fizzle out a bit, so the opportunity to explore other paths was there. Also, Jeff’s willingness to experiment with new styles and sounds was phenomenal, so musically, you never know where you might end up next. Mind you,” he concludes, “There might be a couple of drawbacks. Imagine having to make yourself heard every bloody night over Simon Phillip’s huge drum kit!”
Neil Murray’s new band Snakecharmer will be on the road throughout the UK in 2012.
Martin Power’s biography ‘Hot Wired Guitar: The Life Of Jeff Beck’ goes on sale in the US and Japan on 1 May, 2012.
March 22nd, 2012 should have marked the 69th birthday of Keith Relf. Unfortunately, Jeff’s old Yardbirds bandmate passed away in 1976, aged just 33. In losing him, the world of rock music lost one of its finest blues vocalists.
It is also 20 years since Jeff Beck’s former Yardbirds bandmate was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. As if 2012, did not hold enough Yardbirds-related anniversaries, Relf helped form the band 20-years ago - although they were originally called the Metropolitan Blues Quartet.
For Jeff, the collision of so many anniversaries will be a poignant time. Working with Keith Relf not only propelled Jeff up the ladder of stardom, but furnished him with a wide range of stories. One of those, which he recalls in an interview to discuss Keith, involves the singer launching into a song, head flung back, only for him to keel over into the drums. Apparently, this was enough to convince Jimmy Page to give up session work and join the band.
Keith Relf was born on the 22nd of March, 1943. Born in Richmond, he first formed the Metropolitan Blues Quartet, but little more is known than that. His earliest influences were the blues of legends such as Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters. He formed The Yardbirds with four others in the West London area around Richmond and Kingston. Jim McCarty played drums, Chris Dreja was and still is on rhythm guitar and vocals, Paul Samwell-Smith was on bass and the first guitarist was Tony 'Top' Topham. A few months later Topham left and Eric Clapton came in. This era led to the band’s first hit, “For Your Love.”
Surely, all Jeff Beck fans know the story. For those who do not, in brief, Eric Clapton quit the Yardbirds in 1965. He felt their music was becoming too commercial for his blues purist bones. The Yardbirds turned to Jimmy Page, who in turn recommended Jeff.
Enter and Exit Jeff
For Jeff, who was then playing with The Tridents, working with Relf and the other Yardbirds helped to launch is career. Drummer Jim McCarty described Jeff as seeming “to be able to play without really practicing” and as being “wonderful, inspirational." Ironically, Jeff’s contribution to the Yardbirds was to make them more experimental. While Clapton was concocting some strange brews with Cream, the Yardbirds embraced Beck’s distortion and fuzz. They became less commercial, but produced some of their finest songs including “Heart Full of Soul,” “Shape of Things” and “I’m a Man.” Things would not end well for Jeff. As he admits in a video, Jeff admits that he lost focus with the arrival of Jimmy Page. Page originally joined as a stand-in bassists, but became a second guitarist. He also admits that their intense touring freaked him out and he quit after about three double gigs into one tour in 1966.
After the demise of the Yardbirds Jeff went on to form the Jeff Beck Group and Jimmy Page, Led Zeppelin. Keith did not stop making music. Jim McCarty and he founded a folk duo called Together, perhaps the antithesis of what the Yardbirds had become by the time of their demise. Once Keith’s sister Jane, John Hawkin and Louis Cennamo had joined, they became Renaissance. He later formed bands like Medicine Head and Armageddon, but never found the right muse to return him to the heights he reached in the 60s.
In 1976, Keith’s son found him lying on the living room floor with his headphone still on. Later, it turned out that he had electrocuted himself after playing a poorly earthed guitar. He is one of the few musicians who can say they died literally making music. Jeff Beck, in the interview, said that Keith could not reach the right tones for pop music, but had the perfect voice for blues. He also credited the Yardbirds on spawning interest in blues in Britain on the Andrew Marr show. Surely, a lot of that credit goes to Keith’s outstanding vocals. Like with many rock and roll deaths from Hendrix to Kurt Cobain, his death gave the world a sense of a loss of talent.
50 Years On
In 2009, ex-Yardbirds drummer, Jim McCarty hoped that as many members of the Yardbirds, past and present, could get together for the bands 50th anniversary. 2012 is that year. With many members still around, including the 6-string triumvirate of Clapton, Beck and Page, it would make one heck of a memorial gig for Keith.
My very first concert was October 29th, 1966 at Dallas's Memorial Auditorium, seeing Jeff in one of his very last performances with the Yardbirds on the Dick Clark Caravan of Stars. There is an ongoing dispute over whether that was the last show he did with them, or the next day in Harlingen, Texas. Either way, all I remember was that the Yardbirds were the hit of the show that night. They blew everyone else away, including the headliners... Gary Lewis and the Playboys. Sam the Sham and Brian Hyland were also on the bill. I was 17 at the time and Jeff was already my favorite guitar player. A position he has held my entire life. A couple of years ago UNCUT magazine ran a cover story on the Yardbirds and when I wrote to them to correct a couple of minor errors in their story, I told of this experience of it being my first rock and roll show. The magazine made it letter of the month and the editor was blown away that I was lucky enough to have had that as my virgin experience in seeing live R&R.
I know the date of that show because of Christopher Hjort's excellent book, Jeff's Book, which I contributed some photos to from various concerts of Jeff's that I have seen over the years. I remember they played all of their Yardbird’s hits and that Jeff and Jimmy Page had a wonderful exchange on "I'm a Man" and “Happenings Ten Years Time Ago”. I do recall Jimmy's purple velvet pants and that Jeff was more understated in jeans. I think they were only on for about 25 minutes. Short shows were the standard in those days. They ended with the extended version of I’m a Man as a jam. It caused a number of fans to rush the stage. The only act that night to get any kind of response like that. English acts seemed to just have an extra degree of cool about them.
Year’s later I became friends with Terry Manning who ran Compass Point studio here in Nassau for almost two decades and worked in Memphis for years with many of the biggest acts around. He had been in a band on that Dick Clark tour for several shows with the Yardbirds. He particularly remembered Jeff and him playing guitar all the time, while the others rested or goofed off. Clearly his dedication to the guitar and practice regimen has been a lifelong habit for Jeff.
I next saw Jeff with his first solo group in Dallas at a club called LuAnne's in July of 68. Around 100 people were there and I sat right behind a Marshall PA speaker at the side of the stage taking photos. The band was new to everyone in those days and when they hit the stage some wag in the crowd yelled out that Rod looked like Roger Daltry, because of the similar hairstyle. Jeff stuck his tongue out at me at one point, as he seemed to wonder why I was taking so many photos. Rod Stewart bent down and was asking me about my 35mm camera. They weren't that common in those days and my aunt had given me my late uncle’s camera.
What a show that was. Jeff's Les Paul, through his dual stack of Marshall's, was the most wonderful sound I had ever heard. I went out and bought a new gold top Les Paul when Gibson re-released them around that time. But for some reason I have never been able to sound as good as Jeff. A sad fate that I am certain I share with any number of other guitar players who aspire to try and measure up to Jeff's exceptional standards. Ronny Wood was on bass and who knew he would end up a Rolling Stone? Mick Waller was on drums and I thought this was what all rock and roll should be, this band sounded just like I wanted Rock to sound. As Cartman used to say, “it warped my fragile little mind!” Rod picked up an acoustic 12 string to play on Beck’s Bolero, but otherwise he stuck to the vocals. This show eventually made it to bootleg CD. I wonder who was recording it, as it has been a treasure for me to have this bootleg ever since I got a copy a few years ago. I swear I even hear my laugh at one point. You published the little story from the Dallas Observer about me being at this show and one of the photos I took that night.
I got to see the original JB Group one more time in November of 68 at SMU. I was amused to see that one of my photos from that show was appropriated from Hjort's book and used for the cover of another bootleg CD, though not of that Dallas show. Nicky Hopkins was on tour with the group by then and the piano really added to the overall sound on the blues numbers. Once again Jeff seemed to be taking Rock to another level. Who knew he was laying the groundwork for Led Zep at the time?
I moved to Colorado after that and got to see Jeff with various versions of his group. One memorable group line-up was in Colorado Springs in August of 1972 where he played two shows with Bob Tench, Max Middleton, Carmine Appice and Tim Bogert. The show was a blend of BB&A and the Jeff Beck Group II. The opening act was Argent. As was so often the case in those days, the venue was a gymnasium that was used by the City of Colorado Springs.
I should have seen Jeff the next year in Beck, Bogart and Appice. I still have a poster from the show, he was meant to play in Denver on the 23rd July, 1973. It is noted in Jeff’s Book, that Jeff decided to leave the tour on the 17th and he returned home. So I missed my only chance to see the power threesome!
The next time I saw him he had moved on to instrumentals and fusion, sharing the bill with Mahavishnu John McLaughlin. They played at Regis College in Denver, once again in a gym. As with most of these cases the acoustics in a gym are not the best 'Blow by Blow' was out and he moved between a Strat and his oxblood Les Paul. The sound of the Les Paul was full and deep. Whereas the Strat was very high and he had not mastered the sound system as it is today. There was a lot of feedback from the highs. I still felt he blew McLaughlin off the stage, but I readily admit I am prejudiced in favor of Jeff. I still have my t-shirt from the tour as well… though it is a bit of a squeeze these days.
Next I saw him on the 'There and Back' tour and he was at the peak of his popularity, playing to close to 10,000. The show was supposed to have been at the famous Red Rocks amphitheatre. But it rained all afternoon and they moved it to the old McNichols arena where the Denver Nuggets played. It was still a great show featuring “The Pump” and other songs from that era. By now record companies were putting out t-shirts regularly to promote artists and I still have my There and Back shirt also.
When I moved to the Bahamas in 1981 I became friends with the late Robert Palmer who was living here at the time. Robert and I would sit around listening to music till all hours of the morning. Robert knew of my love for Jeff's guitar and one night he put on a cassette he had. He always played things VERY loud and when I heard 'Escape' I was blown away. Jeff could just have easily been in the room playing for us! This was months before 'Flash' was released. Jeff had been in Nassau recording at Compass Point Recording Studio with Mick Jagger. Jeff had left a copy with Robert and had invited him to sing on 'Flash'. Robert had declined his offer though because he didn't like the idea of being compared to Rod Stewart. This was shortly before Robert hit it big with the Powerstation and then 'Addicted to Love', so it probably took some nerve to turn Jeff down. Actually this is one point that I can make about both Robert and Jeff. Part of the reason I admire both of them, is that neither of them played it safe. They have always pushed themselves to try new styles of music and are perfectionists in their craft. I regret that Robert turned Jeff down and sadly now we will never get the chance to hear them together with Robert’s death a few years ago. I feel it would have been a good fit. I cannot think of any other guitarist who has pushed the instrument to the limits and varieties that Jeff has. Both men seem to have always been looking for new sounds to inspire them, not just repeating old successes. I have treasured the music that Robert exposed me to as it increased my knowledge of music. Jeff has done the same, as he also seeks out new sounds to inspire his playing.
Compass Point always attracted the tops recording acts over the years. Once I was in Traveler’s Rest, a restaurant a short distance from the studio. It was late and I was having one of their famous banana Daiquiris. When all of a sudden I hear this voice behind me that sounded like Joe Cocker. Well turns out he was down to Nassau recording. By coincidence Sean Connery was in town filming Never Say Never again, his last James Bond film. The story went around shortly thereafter that Joe was trying to get Sean to come down from his apartment by screaming for “007, come on down”. Over the years I met many artists who recorded at Compass Point, from Sade to members of Duran Duran and REM to the Eurythmics. I am sorry I missed meeting Jeff when he was there, if only to say thank you. It’s a real shame this studio closed a couple of years ago, as it truly was one of the world’s great recording studios with a remarkable history.
I used to regret that the artist whose playing I most admired released albums so irregularly. It seemed that at times it was five years between one of Jeff’s LP’s. Whereas, Eric Clapton seemed to put out two or three a year. The thing is now that I can still put on one of Jeff’s CD’s and enjoy them as much as ever. There are only a few Clapton LP’s that still move me with the same interest they did when new.
Seeing Jeff on the Stevie Ray Vaughan tour in Miami and again on his 'Who Else' tour, it seems that he had reached a point where he has been having more fun on stage than I can ever remember. Though he has been vocally quiet on stage for years, he seems a little more open to introducing the songs than I can ever recall. He certainly was doing so last year in St Petersberg.
My sisters got me tickets for my fiftieth birthday to see Jeff in Dallas with the Jennifer Batten, Randy Hope Taylor and Steve Alexander band. I got to share one of these Texas shows with my nephew Dan Marocco who is in the music business in L.A now. What a joy it is to see young musicians appreciate Jeff. Dan scores movies and TV shows and he seems to know and appreciate what artists like Jeff have contributed to popular music. Modern technology allows him to mimic many of the styles and sounds that classic rock acts have used for years. But I firmly believe that Jeff enjoys the “hunt”. That search for a sound not heard before. One that will make people go, “how did he do that?”
I did get to see Jeff with Johnny Lang in Pompano Beach amphitheatre. This was the strangest of Jeff’s shows that I have ever been to. Being August, South Florida is subject to rain, but this was ridiculous! Thunder, lightning streaking across the sky, pouring rain! The kind of weather my parents always thought I had the good sense to come out of… but never to miss Jeff Beck. So I bought a plastic raincoat and got soaked listening to Jeff in the rain. The next night I was in Tampa at the hockey arena and no Johnny Lang, who apparently got pink eye. Jeff was his usual brilliant self though and it was such a treat to get to see him back to back nights. Plus being thrilled that I had not been killed by lightning the previous night.
In the coming years I saw him again in Florida on the ‘You Had It Coming’ and B.B. King tours, all I can say is that he has gotten better through the years. All that practicing sure has paid off! He is a master of his instrument and his music speaks to places in my soul that no one else has ever reached.
Though we have communicated for years now, you and I only met about five years ago. It was when Jeff did the show at the Hard Rock Casino in Ft Lauderdale in 2006 with Beth Hart and we had a brief chat after the show. Seeing him in Tampa the night before, what came across to me is that he is really enjoying what he is doing. Beth Hart was great to see and the chance to hear new interpretations of songs that have meant so much to me over 40 years, is a moving experience. ‘Truth’ would still be in my top 10 for desert island discs. I just need to make sure that the island has a stereo that I can “play it loud”!
Jeff has been attracting the most amazing musicians to his bands for some time now. The official Bootleg CD from the Spring 06’ tour that's was on sale at those shows is excellent, on a par or better than the old Jan Hammer live CD with Jeff that was on Epic. I was a bit disappointed by the sound quality of the Live at BB Kings official bootleg. But all these CD’s have been treasured and I still feel excitement as I go to put it on a new one on my stereo for the first time and see what new gift Jeff has for me.
While in Europe in the summer of 2009, I was able to catch a couple of Jeff’s shows in Belfast and Dublin. Both were in small venues. In Belfast it was the recently renovated Ulster Hall. Jeff was on a stage with a huge red drape behind it. I had the feeling it helped with the acoustics, as the hall had a lot of stone in it. The next night he played a club called Vicar Street in Dublin. Tables and bar service, which doesn’t always help when you are wanting to view and listen to your favorite guitarist. I have always wanted to see Jeff outside of the US. I had the feeling that he might do different types of gigs elsewhere. But it was basically the same type of show as he does in the States. The only song I had not heard before was ‘Peter Gunn’ for the encore.
2011 saw me in Tampa-St Pete again to see Jeff. By the way, go see the Salvador Dali museum in St Pete next time you are there, it is amazing! Dali in the afternoon and Jeff that evening, what a day. It was the last show on his spring tour with Tyler Bryant opening. Tyler was good, but a little hard to get his full measure as he was just playing an acoustic and not with his band. It was such a treat to hear Jeff playing so many new songs. The woman behind me was crying when he did “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”. It was a powerhouse show. “Nessun Dorma” shows off Jeff’s abilities to mimic voice qualities in his playing. As always I look forward to the next album from Jeff and the gifts he has given me with his music.
In the old days I used to haul in my 35mm camera and lenses to the shows. Then promoters started stopping me from carrying in a camera, as acts became more sensitive to this. So I had to sneak them in for shots. Now every one has a camera in their phone and is transmitting Jeff live to their friends to rub it in that they are not at the concert. How times have changed. So just about all of these photos were shot on film. This usually involved ‘pushing’ the film. Which means developing it for low light exposure. But that wasn’t usually enough. I often was shooting at 1/15th of a second or if I was lucky at 1/30th. This occasionally created some odd effects. Anyway, I hope friends of your website enjoy this little trip down memory lane.
I checked my diary – saw that band on both 9th & 10th March 1981 at Hammersmith Odeon – Jimmy came on for Going Down on the encore on 10th March, on which Jeff played a half-size Telecaster! I'd previously seen that lineup at the Palladium in NYC on 12th October 1980, only because Whitesnake (who I was with then) had a show cancelled at Nassau Coliseum (opening for Jethro Tull) that night. So the Newcastle show must also have been in March 1981. Photos are by Carolyn Longstaff, in case you put them on the site – she would only have been about 14 then, and was a big Whitesnake fan at that time and later became good friends with Plant & Page.
Next up two very rare photos of a charity gig for Celia Hammond's animal rescue at the Hard Rock London in 1988. The band...Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck - guitars, Mitch Mitchell - drums, Noel Redding - bass!Again followed my Neil's two notes to us.
I was living and working in Japan in late 1988, so I wasn't at this gig, but there was a benefit at the Hard Rock Café in London with Jeff, Eric, Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell playing (Hendrix songs I imagine, as his birthday is 27 November), and I think a friend of mine was there and took these pictures. In the non-playing shot, the photographer on the left is Richard Young, who is quite famous as a celebrity photographer. You may know more about this show than I do!
I went to Jeff & Celia's house a couple of times in 1981 to jam with Jeff and Simon Phillips, though nothing came of that. I got on well with Celia, though I don't think I could put up with having dozens of cats around! The photos, I've discovered, were taken by an ex-Hard Rock waitress called Lynda Vollmer, who is married to the lead singer of Canadian band Helix and lives in London, Ontario. She gave them to a friend who passed them on to me, but I had totally forgot that I had them.
Lastly a couple of ticket stubs and a poster. Neil grew up outside of Edinburgh, Scotland hence the locations. The dates are March 5, 1981 and May 4, 1990. On the first one, March 1981, check out who the the promoter was. Seems he and Jeff really go back a long way.
Finally as a postscript, we'd like to pass on a little known tie-in that was not discussed in the Martin Power interview with Neil. That is that Neil and Jeff appear on the same Lp, though not on the same sessions, for their mutual drummer/mate Cozy Powell on his solo Lp “Tilt”.
Be seeing you.
This bring us to two classic pictures we've run across that feature Jeff with two classic sunburst Les Paul guitars. In this first picture we see Jeff on a scooter (didn't know he was a Mod) holding what is now known as the 'Yardbird burst', a 1959 Les Paul Standard that Jeff bought at Selmer's music, Charing Cross Road for 175 pounds UK. There are scores of pictures of this guitar at this site showing Jeff playing it from around the time of the 'Roger The Engineer' Yardbird's sessions up through the early Jeff Beck Group days.
If we remember right, (we'll update when we do some more research) it went missing during the first Jeff Beck Group tour of the states. It was a situation where the guitar was delivered to Jeff and when he opened the case, the case was empty. Of course, this would break anyone's heart which leads us to Jeff's quest to replace that long lost love which so many of us guitarists have ventured.
This in turn brings us to the Binky Philips story that appeared in the Huffington Post some years ago (and we mentioned here on this page at the time). About how Jeff tried to buy Binky's '59 Les Paul back in the 70's, and for the first time we have a photo of Jeff with that absolutely gorgeous Les Paul. Here's the link to the original story;
And the photo, courtesy Binky Philips;
Binky Phillips was a guitarist with The Planets who were signed to Warner Bros. records until thier chief came along and said he had a more marketable guitar shred based band......Van Halen. Binky purchased the guitar in the photo with Jeff originally from Rick Derringer. In the original story Binky said the guitar was a '58 but it is actually a '59.
Be seeing you.
The picture below is from a recent posting on Ebay.
The 'Buy It Now' price appears to 21,500 pounds! Here is the complete description we are posting since as you know these things expire and disappear once the auction is complete. Until it expires, here is the original Ebay link;
Ford 34 Coupé Electric Guitar
Signed "Jeff Beck "
Size 46" W x 11" H x 3" D (Inches)
Made in 1992 by Steven R.M Acworth
This is a "one off" Custom built guitar ....there is no other like it and therefore it is an extremely rare piece.
Whether you want to play it or simply look at it, it's a very interesting, rare guitar!!
This is a subject about which I know very little, so I will do my best to give you as much honest information as possible, including reference material that you can use to follow up yourself. The condition of this guitar is very good. There are some scuffs here and there, but I believe this to be of no real consequence and it is genuinely 100% original.
As you can see, the Vibrato Arm is missing, which I'm told is not an issue as it can be easily replaced. Clearly it also needs new strings! It is otherwise complete.
Everyone who has seen this guitar reacts in the same way with a "WOW". This really is a stunning piece of guitar memorabilia.
There have been three valuations, all conflicting, so I have decided to go down the Ebay route.
I have done a little reseach on Steven RM Acworth and there is no doubt that he made this guitar and that this is a genuine Jeff Beck signature. He's a well know guitar maker, is extremly talented and has written a book on guitars called "Strings". He has a website www.sparkspin.co.uk where you can find a lot more inormation.
Jeff Beck is reputedly the greatest guitar player of all time, up there with Eric Clapton and Jimmy Hendrix. He was ranked 5th in the Rolling Stone's list of the "100 greatest guitarists of all time". Beck began his career in the 1960's and was recruited by the The Yardbirds in 1965 to replace Eric Clapton. Since then, he has worked with some of the greatest musicians and performers throughout the world.
This Guitar, so I'm told, is made from Maple and Rosewood to a very high spec. Steve Acworth was aware that Jeff Beck was a maker of and also a prolific collector of Hot rod Cars and as Jeff's favorite car was a 1934 Ford coupe.......... he decided to make this guitar for him!
"Constructing the guitar was a pretty complicated affair; I wanted the tail lights to come on when it was plugged in to an amp and the rear wheel to be wire-spoked, with the hub cap serving as a volume control knob. The overall layout of pickups and tremolo system was that of the Stratocaster (™ ® Fender) and it all worked fine.
Any further information can be found on the Web at www.sparkspin.co.uk. There you will find all the history of this guitar !
If you would like to call me, please let me know and I will send you my phone number. Any further questions, please email me and I will do my best to answer them.
Now, after doing a little research, one finds that Steven R.M. Acworth is luthier from the UK who has been making guitars for a long time. He has his own website; http://www.sparkspin.co.uk , has written a book titled 'String' which we can't figure out has actually been published and has a YouTube channel; http://www.youtube.com/user/sparkspin.
On his website is an excerpt from 'String' where he expresses his lack of affection for Jeff; http://www.sparkspin.co.uk/jeff.beck.htm and we learn that the person mentioned in the Ebay photo as Jeff's car parts dealing mate is one Lee Wenham.
Here are more pictures of the '34 Ford Coupe guitar from the Ebay posting.
The first Ebay photo was taken from Steven's 'Sparkspin' site. We're guessing it was taken right after he finished it since it doesn't have Jeff's autograph yet. Looking the the above pictures the guitar looks a little worse for wear, no strings on it and as mentioned in the description, no whammy bar. Also the original stand the had a carved '34' on it seems to have been replaced by a handle or another stand. Hard to tell.
So that is the tale of the first guitar, the second is the Tele copy Steven made nicknamed 'Teamwood' because of the lumber importers' company name in big letter across the front. Here it is with several of other pieces of Steven's work.
In the above mentioned excerpt from 'String', Steven says he lent 'Teamwood' to one Dick Studholme who was playing gig in Wadhurst, UK near Jeff's home. Dick in turn lent it to Jeff who is said to have used it on his 'Guitar Shop' album. Only problem from there it went missing...for 22 years! On Steven's site under the link 'guitar section' the first picture is of Ash Ganniicott playing 'Teamwood' and from the caption we get the impression Steven has no idea how he ended up with it.
The third and last guitar goes all the way back to 1974 and the recording of 'Blow By Blow'. We all know Jeff used the famous Oxblood Les Paul and the Seymour Duncan 'Tele-Gib' on the that record. Steven in 'String' says he was approached my Jeff's management at the time (Equator) to build for him a Stratocaster of 'race specification' to also be used on the album. This guitar we have no picture of and really can't place. The only Strat from that era we're familiar with was the on natural one he used in JBG MKII that had the piece of pickguard missing for the lower horn.
So, there you have it, interesting little bit we thought we'd pass on.
Be seeing you.
Ralph was in for a brief East Coast S. Florida up to New York stint to accompany his managed guitar star Tony Iommi and the Black Sabbath crew who were scheduled to do a show in WPB the next night. I opted to have the Bistro messenger tell Ralph I was out in the lobby (more like a furnished City) rather than disturb the table where Tony, three or four ladies, and Ralph were presently sitting.
After a few minutes Ralph came out grinning from ear to ear and gave me a warm welcome. We sat and caught up with friends, family and then talked about fans, promotions, artist Management, and Jeff…….all in the past, present, and projected future. I gave Ralph a special shout out from both our fiends Jimmy Copley and Neil Murray and the good vibe feeling was mutual on both accounts> Ralph was very adamant that he was glad there were still websites like this for the reticent artists that weren’t out there all the time to allow the fans a sense of participation while still being a little loose and free to express themselves. In the end it sells more records, and paraphernalia. He mentioned that when the Oz Fests came together along with the Black Sabbath reunion tours Sharon Osbourne wanted tight artist control over all promotion while Ralph was pointing to the guy that runs the unofficial but very complete Sabbath fan site noting that because of the very nature of it more fans were keeping up with things. So our site ainian.com for Jeff was a good thing serving that purpose even though we couldn’t say anything official.
The actual split from Jeff was very amicable. It was sudden, Ralph said, but amicable. However Jeff has spoken to both Ralph and Ernest Chapman over the past year or so from both a real estate aspect as Jeff still owns a n apt. near the old Hereford Mansions Equator office in London that he is trying to sell and has broached advice from Ernest as Jeff transitions from his current status with the remaining contractual obligations with Harvey. Ralph also noted that Harvey and Ernest go way back as do Paul Loasby, the recent Jeff accomplice to the Washington DC gig, and they all share the same lawyer in New York Jeff Greenberg. Ralph surmises Greenberg is keeping Jeff from making any moves that would be potentially devastating financially.
As to the Fantasy Camp and upcoming ventures with Brian Wilson Ralph was surprised that Jeff agreed to actually jam onstage with all the different camper groups but then noted as many of us have that things change with age. He noted Jeff thinks highly of both Brian and Brian’s guitarist Jeff Foskett.
I would still like to know how much Vinnie got paid for his drumming with Jeff. I mentioned that Narada was probably expensive too but Ralph just kept looking at me muttering about Vinnie (whom he likes of course) and his pay scale.
Jeff’s legacy on tape will partially depend on what’s left in the warehouses. Ralph said Jeff used to be very guarded about keeping all product at his mansion. And wanted to be solely and in total control of them personally. When Jeff had the flood at his castle years ago there were boxes and boxes of tapes so totally destroyed that the packaging was all crumbling. Others were baked and saved and the rest was securely stored.
Kudos were given by Ralph to Joe Bonamassa’s manager Roy Weisman for the marketing of Joe especially in the UK where Ralph marveled at Joe’s popularity. Jeff in the old days didn’t want to have anything to do with being around any guitarist who had potential to be on the same playing field as he was but obviously that too has changed over the years. Jeff and Joe have crossed paths a few times. We also spoke of young Tyler Bryant and Ralph was very impressed that Tyler had made it on the Jimmy Kimmel show. “That’s not an easy show to get on”, Ralph said.
We spoke about Jimmy Copley and his dad’s studio Escape Studios as that is where the seed of Jeff’s solo career really began. Jimmy is one of Ralph’s favorite musicians and he has been able to get him work both with Jeff and Tony Iommi over the years. He knew about the Blow By Blow last minute redo with the bass parts done over by Stephen Amazing that were too late to get to George Martin for US release.
Al Dutton was mentioned and also former Fender guitar designer John Hill to which Ralph had all smiles. Turns out Al had road managed Sabbath years ago and Tony. I advised ralph that Al was still in the UK as ralph thought he might have taken off to New Zealand as he had once planned. The last time Ralph saw him was at Jeff’s wedding after not seeing him for a few years after he left Jeff’s employ. Anyways I told Ralph that Al and I correspond and that he was providing us some valuable retrospective stuff about the years with Jeff…HOPEFULLY A LOT MORE AL. KEEP IT COMIN Hah!
Finally Ralph finished our chat with a great and funny bit from the Blow by Blow sessions. The sessions were booked every night starting at six PM. Seven o’clock….No Jeff. 8 o’clock….Jeff would come wandering in. George Martin would be anxious as studio time was money. He would gently remind Jeff that he(Jeff) was very late. Jeff did not want to pay for parking so that is the reason he gave for showing up at that time. George would then play the backing tracks and Jeff would do one or two takes in the allotted studio time left. George would always like the first take most of the time but one of the early ones at any rate. However Jeff would never be satisfied. Geoff Emerick would stay with Jeff sometimes to one/two o’clock in the morning doing take after take. Invariably the final selection would usually be the first take. So Jeff saving money at the parking meter cost a heck of a lot more Hah!
For Ralph Baker this may be the last tour he does with Tony and Sabbath. However he turned to me as I left the Four Seasons and lowered his voice and said “you never know”. I said wasn’t that a song Ralph”? laughed, and got into my ride….keys in ignition.
Be seeing you.
Be seeing you.
I had known for some time that the tour was starting in Florida and by the second week in August, Hard Rock Live in Hollywood FL had been cleared, leaving me with opening night being at my “backyard”! Our pal Robert Knight had told us that Brian Wilson’s tour management would be handling the tour and that Leo Rossi would be in charge. Little did I know that in a few short days I would be neck deep in speaking with not only him but all the Brian Wilson powers to be!!
I’m sitting in my office on Monday, August 26th. Telephone rings. “Hello Dick, this is Joe Thomas”...(silent gasps...) The voice didn’t sound that it was confident that I knew who it was. I sure the hell knew who this was. Joe Thomas. Executive Grammy winning producer of the 50th Beach Boys set. Executive producer of the new Brian Wilson TB released CD with our Jeff Beck on a few tracks...”Yes sir. I know who you are. I’m knocked out, honored. What on earth can I do for you”????? “Dick, we just found out a few days ago that Jeff doesn’t currently have a manager and that his website is inactive. The tour is starting soon and we are looking for some Jeff Beck promotion to get more of his fans to buy tickets. Dick, you are the only game in town!!.” After literally falling out of my chair I mused that all things considered ainian.com and the related boards, especially Doc’s Guitarist’s Guitarist, were the only active updated pipelines. FaceBook and Twitter were dead (which Jeff himself doesn’t give two hoots about anyways) and jeffbeck.com had been hacked with a previous cache of fresh news from 2010 hah!:) I told Joe that we had done some Sunfest Festival Jeff Beck ticket promotions in 2011 with the two funny syndicated iHeart radio shock jocks, Paul and Young Ron on Big 105.9 South Florida and that they expressed interest of landing Jeff for a follow up interview if he ever came back this way. I also figured that I could hit up my illustrious partner Bill Armstrong. Being a chief muck a muck at the audio portion of Fox 7 in Miami he was around the creative people that produce the E Entertainment/Insider Edition type entertainment daily and weekly news magazines for the mass network TV market in the form of the celebrated show Deco Drive.
First order of business was Paul and Young Ron. I got a hold of Steve Harmon the producer and the wires started burning back and forth from Joe’s Chicago out to LA with CO5Media Pres/VIP Jean Sievers and Paki Newell. Even the great musical director/Brian Wilson vocalist/guitarist Jeff Foskett chimed in. Even Jeff’s former Mad Ink PR wizard Melissa Dragich Cordero offered to help. The interview aired Sept 6th. The night before Harmon and I spoke late into the night as this time they wanted something funny to go along with plugging the upcoming tour…..I gave them two choices. First the time Christopher Guest showed up in character as Nigel Tufnel when Jeff was recording Jon Bon Jovi’s Young Guns out on the west Coast in the early nineties. The other was the “arm fart” contests the band ala Jennifer Batten era engaged in when killing time on those wonderful long tour bus rides. It all depended on Jeff’s perceived mood. Needless to say that when Jeff started the interview with self deprecation questioning the ‘orrible noise of his own opening segment segued bits, the arm farts were definitely going to win out!! To stimulate interest with fresh new material the decision was made to allow Paul and Young Ron Show to broadcast one time the ethereal new composition “Metropolis” featuring the angelic harmonies of Brian Wilson and Al Jardine against the melodic guitar with incredible one take style fresh off the cuff licks of Jeff Beck! All that with a real catchy funky slightly warped Eastern European style reoccurring funky little lick!
Bill meanwhile quarterbacked communications with Deco Drive producer Matt Auerbach who just happened to be one of Brian Wilson’s all time biggest fans. The die was cast. Onwards to opening night!
Funny thing happened on the way to the Forum...We figured since both groups were opening together the same night in Florida, that they would rehearse down here. We had heard that Jeff mentioned Miami and were initially thrown by that until we realized that to Jeff anything down in South Florida is “Miami.” When the bands arrived and the very first pictures started surfacing of pre-rehearsals started surfacing, after some educated but in retrospective stupid guesses we figured what if they wanted to save a bunch of money and rehearse where they start!!. We checked the Hard Rock calendar and there was only comedian Lisa Lampelli within that week slot for one early Sunday night. By the time we had that figured out it was confirmed that indeed the bands were all there!
I had emailed Leo Rossi and he replied that, sure, he would like me to stop by sometime during that week to say hello. Had that been the case I would have been just as ecstatic. I showed up at the front where you buy tickets at the prescribed time of 4PM. No one there. No Leo. OK, quick cell call. “Come on over to the side black gate Dick. Just come on in. You’ll see where” I went back around to the side gate (Security) just opened it up la ti da and I strolled on through. Passing me by incidentally was a tall chap carrying a guitar. It turned out to be David Marks. I got inside the Hard Rock back area and instantly realized when I entered the kitchen, the very same place from where all those pre-rehearsal lap top computer/band/Jeff Beck strumming shots emanated, “Self, you ain’t coming just to say hello. These musicians are here to REHEARSE!!!” I immediately spotted Leo who warmly greeted me and offered me food and drink. I’m a coffee fiend so a cup o’ Joe black was just fine with me. Right then and there Lizzie Ball and Nicolas Meier strolled into the room. Lizzie had the biggest smile on her face and was totally gracious and cool. It was the same with Nicolas. I both had them sign my Beckology Box. Nicolas had some fun with that and kept asking me who different names were on the box thinking some old scrawled signatures would stump me. Sorry Nicolas. I’m up on my game hah! Leo had them filling out the required IRS tax forms so I just hung out and awaited whatever was next.
After some more pleasantries and two big “Thumbs Up” from Lizzie (she would do that every time she passed me that afternoon. She knew it was the chance of a lifetime for me!) she and Nicolas left the kitchen. I’m hanging there and not five minutes later I hear an English voice from around the corner just inside the entrance to the main hall. OMG. Mr Geoffrey Arnold Beck!! I got up and went in as I could hear some level checks from some of Brian Wilson’s band going on. Jeff was talking back and forth with Lizzie and pacing a little bit. He paced about two or three times right past me then finally looked up and exclaimed, “MMRR WWYYZZAANNSSKKI” with a laugh. After I greeted him and shook his hand I mentioned how thin we both looked. “That’s the only way to be” said Jeff. Immediately he grabbed a hold of Lizzie and pointed to her “I want you to know, Dick...this is MY violin player.” Always remembering that Jennifer Batten and I communicate Jeff bemoaned, “I wish Jennifer wasn’t coming to see me so early in the tour” (at the time I didn’t know that she was slated to be in St. Augustine during the first week of the tour. Jeff meant that he wanted the set and show to be in top form by the time she saw them) “ I said to Jeff “Well Jeff you can kill me now or kill me later. The arm fart gag during the radio interview was instigated by me.” Jeff just turned, stared me in the eyes, almost doubled over and said “Oh, that was SO funny.”…..With that he left to walk over to stage left to speak with Leo, Joe Thomas, and some crew. I sat downstage middle back about 50 ft or so where they had some black platforming as the Brian Wilson band was starting to run through some numbers. Jeff and Lizzie sat down in the same general area. During one segment of vocal harmonies at the end of the song Jeff raised his hands over his head shaking them in appreciation and got up and clapped. Jeff Foskett mused from the stage in stark realization, “Hey, we just got a standing ovation from Jeff Beck.!”
Humor interlude……I had brought sunglasses and had put them in my pocket as obviously they weren’t needed inside. Like a nervous kid I kept checking to see that they were still in my pocket. I had also brought pics and my Beckology box which during the sound/level checks/rehearsals I had placed over on a chair. This nice big dude comes up to me and politely asks if I might have his sunglasses. I think to myself no way I’ve got mine in my pocket. I reach down and pull out my sunglasses saying as I did it. “I don’t think so sir these are my...” I looked down and realized the ones I had pulled out weren’t my sunglasses. I instinctively gave them to him and reached down just to check my sanity. “OMG I am so sorry. Here are my sunglasses. I must have put mine in my pocket in the kitchen and then thought I hadn’t seen yours, and put them in”. The guy was nice. He laughed , we slapped shoulders, and he said he was Brian Wilson’s bus driver! Hah!
A small interlude followed so I went back to get some more coffee. Jeff Foskett walks in and goes’ “Where’s Dick Wyzanski?” I feebly motioned my hand towards myself. He quickly introduces himself. “Hi I’m Jeff Foskett. Thank you very much” whirls around, and heads off only to return with food for him and Brian Wilson. Towards the end of the break in walks Jonathan Joseph. I introduced myself and what a pleasure it is to speak to Jonathan. He had brought his son Josh with him. We chatted for a bit and got a picture in front of the Hard Rock backdrop outside the kitchen. Then it was time for him to get backstage to get ready for rehearsals..
I’ve been to Jeff Beck sound checks before. Always a delight. Lots of tasty guitar lead riffs, playful band interplay etc...Yet early on I realized I was watching something special. You see full rehearsals had been postponed for one reason or another for a full day so this day was going to be the day that both bands would first get all 17 musicians, (save Al Jardine who wasn’t there that day) onstage at the same time. There was only two full days to go before the private Seminole Casino party gig tour dress rehearsal/show!
Jeff Beck took the stage ready for business with Strat in hand. There was Lizzie. Nicolas. Jonathan…..and yes in came Rhonda to take her place on the riser stage left of Jonathan. Nicolas started things off with textured layered wonderful chords that were fresh but instantly recognizable. OMG, they are going to do 'Little Wing'. Full bore verse after verse. Riff after riff. All instrumental. No vocals. Pure heaven. Next up was 'Even Odds.' Jeff stomped his foot as if to emphasize firing up the band. Lizzie was playing this wonderful same lines but harmonizing with Jeff. It was like having a soprano voice with an alto accompaniment! Rhonda had her hot new PRS bass cracking the whomps and Jonathan’s pockets, a perfect union of the power of Narada Michael Walden with the daringness of a Cobham were all encompassing. I instantly realized, Jeff Beck was giving no quarter. This wasn’t going to be a totally ballad blend with what Brian Wilson was doing. This was classic in your face Jeff Beck, with refreshing melodic twists! 'Hammerhead' was next to blare. I was noticing how fixated Brian Wilson’s guitarists were in staring at every little nuance Jeff would do. That and the annoying but necessary and approved PR of the video guy hired by Brian Wilson’s people to chronicle the rehearsals to accompany a documentary for future release, probably around the time of the new Brian Wilson cd rollout next year. That guy was all over Jeff. Ever the seasoned stage artist, Jeff blew it off and delivered big time! 'You Never Know' was back in the set and never sounded better. Then Jeff and the band did a new song, a beautiful melody, turned out to be Brian Wilson’s “Don’t Talk” from Pet Sounds.
At this point the Brian Wilson band started joining Jeff on the stage. One of the guitarists was taking some instruction from Jeff on Cliff Gallop licks. Jeff pulled off in rapid fire on his Strat no less, multiple Cliff Gallup lines from those Gene Vincent songs that Jeff so painstakingly recreated on “Crazy Legs” back in the early nineties. The beautiful “Surf’s Up” was presented. Meanwhile everyone was pointing towards Brian Wilson who was relaxing in a chair against a wall on the side of the stage. He would later return the jest during opening night by saying to the crowd that “Jeff was sleeping and that he would be out soon.” Next up was “How High The Moon” with Lizzie taking up vocals and once again Jeff pulling off all the licks normally associated with Gibson classic Les Paul’s except this was his Strat like the songs were made for it! By now Brian Wilson was back out at the big white piano center stage left. The segment ended with the Irish classic (Oh) “Danny Boy”. What a treat as Jeff, unlike the actual shows, played an extra verse high up on the Strat neck as the heavens wept!!!!
Everyone started leaving the stage but oh no. Jeff motioned for his band to stay. OMG. I was getting the full Monty, the rest of a full Jeff beck complete set!!!! Not only that. Every single person, crew, and Mgt. left the hall and stage front area except Brian Wilson guitarist Probyn Gregory and the videographer who was seated by now, both stage left platform. Josh, JJ’s son was comfortable in a side stage balcony chair. I, Dick Wyzanski, was getting center stage the rest of a solo concert of a lifetime all by myself!!!!!!!!!!!!! 'Eternity’s Breath' rapid fire licks roared from the speakers and drums!! They did the opening lick over and over and over and over until I realized this was a limbering game of chicken between the band. Jonathan ever so slightly turned up the speed on each pass. Jeff would look at the rest of the band , they would look at him and each other and it was like Blondie (Clint Eastwood not Chaplin) Tuco, and Angel Eyes from The Good, Bad, and Ugly dueling with each other to see who would flinch first. I forgot who actually did but each one laughed and feigned tired hands shaking them off….except Jonathan. I think he was having too much fun with this lol :) Eventually it segued into the riff part of the song with some raw nasty torts from Jeff to embellish and then it was on to 'Stratus' and 'You Know, You Know'. Cobham and John M. would have been proud. What timing, interplay and soloing from each and every band member. Jonathan’s crescendo’s and pockets highlighted the former Rhonda’s bass solo was on absolute funky fire on the latter! 'Big Block' gave Jeff an excuse to experiment to see what unearthly wails he could keep coming up with and like 'Even Odds', this tune featured Lizzie doing the alto harmony lines to Jeff’s upper soprano. Simply breathtaking! Finally the last song of the evening rehearsal was 'Rollin and Tumblin'. Rhionda was supposed to have originally sang but they ran out of FOH Mic inputs due to all the other combined vocalists and of course Jeff’s speaking mic hah lol J no matter. Jeff wailed into it and they did a full four or five minute version with Lizzie Ball saying the words for timing where all the pauses were. At the end of the rehearsal when Jeff and the band were getting offstage, I was still in shock for what greatness I had just witnessed without so much as one set of drunken legs either shuffling aside bumping into me on the way out the seated row while saying “I’m sorry” to either piss because they can’t hold it anymore (balance your hormones people) or to get another beer only to piss again and inevitable miss great parts of the show.
I quickly high tailed it back towards the kitchen and sure enough in walks one tired Jeff Beck to get some water. I asked Jeff if he would sit and sign a few things which of course he so graciously said sure and took the time to do. First pic I had him sign was the one from the Yardbirds Advision Roger the Engineer session which Nancy Wilkins had given me a few years ago. At the time Jeff had argued that it was after the Yardbirds and the guy wasn’t Simon Napier Bell at the piano. Of course it turned out I was right. I pointed out to Jeff that I won that argument with glee and he signed it just shaking his head in amazement. Also signed was pics of him with my son who now plays the Digeradoo as a therapist and son’s mother Trini. I asked, “Jeff the funky lick at the beginning of 'Metropolis'...That is a twelve string right? (I have heard the whole track. It’s ethereal. Nothing like you’ve ever heard Jeff do before!) Jeff said “Yeah it was actually another song but they cut and pasted it for 'Metropolis' because they wanted it before the melody line that goes”...and then I realize I’m sitting there and Jeff is actually singing the five note repetitive two bars a bunch of times. Singing it no less in front of ME. OMG!! Then he sighed and in a resigned howl goes “I can’t believe they let it out. It’s not finished!” I told Jeff that with the twelve string he has now played every form of guitar on some type of recording including a Dobro for an unreleased Pat Leonard produced film project which I also mentioned to Jeff and he confirmed with a nod. Also Jeff, we've discovered from a collector the original Chess Studio BBA masters with a version of 'I'm So Proud' with you on Sho Bid Pedal Steel and the original beginnings of "Theolonius" called. "The Chant Song" "Yeah", said Jeff (picking upon the latter) "Stevie Wonder had just given me that" (summer of 1972) “How are the Motown tape restorations going, Jeff. You know after the first night it was all Bob Babbitt on bass. “Yeh but Jamerson is on most of that stuff” (which means what left Motown was basically first night first and second take tracks, typical as most producers agree Jeff’s best stuff is done early on) I want to go back to Motown (Detroit) and finish mixing them there.” I told Jeff about bringing Tyler down to Florida for some gigs. Jeff got animated and agitated in a surprised good way. “Tyler? Tyler/ Tyler Bryant? “Yes. He’s even been on Jimmy Kimmel.” That got a big nod of approval from Jeff. “I’ve also heard from an old friend of yours, (guitar tech in the seventies/later PA and confidant) Alan” “Alan? You mean Alan …..mentioned some name I had not heard) “No Alan Dutton” “Al Dutton? He’s alive? Where is he?” “He’s still around the London area. Reaching out to people and in good spirits. I’ll tell him you asked about him.” Another nod from Jeff. As Jeff was signing the last pictures which I shot fo the Jennifer Batted era Jeff Beck and band, he exclaimed…”Oh these are with Jennifer, sure.” The last pic I had him sign was in the very same room as we were sitting six years ago in 06 after his Holywood show when I gave him the letter to his father. I mentioned that again and showed him the pic where he was welling up. I wighed 267 at the time so I said, “and Jeff you can sign your name right over my fat stomach.” To which he laughed and did so. On the subject when I asked him about if he owed WB a record Jeff Beck said “yes I owe them one” and how did that interplay with the trying to end the Mgt. relationship financially with Harvey Jeff gave an empathic Karate chop sideways with his hand and said “THAT(Harvey’s Mgt. of him) IS COMPLETELY...DONE!!!”Finally I said to him “Jeff I know you don’t like the internet in general and all the FaceBook and Twitter stuff but I’m just glad this time around I was able to help out and contribute something with the interviews. He nodded and at that exact moment Lizzie came in to the kitchen to fetch Jeff and asked while we were still seated, “Wll how was everything, Dick” with the most knowing smile on her face and another two thumbs up! Right in front of her and Jeff I just blurted out “I just died and went to F*&^%N Heaven!!!!!” We all got up together and started to go out. I asked Jeff for a couple of quick picks. Tired but always gracious he consented with his usual “Sure” and got them in front of that Hard Rock curtain backdrop outside the kitchen.
I promised Lizzie that my family would be coming to the show and when suddenly reached over and gave me a giant hug. That made my day for sure. Jeff thought that was totally amusing and outright laughed. Leo Rossi gathered them and whisked them off mentioning to me that he would see me at opening night as the prinicpals realized that rehearsals, although coming along, were running behind schedule so they didn’t want ANYONE else from the public around...that was quite alright with me. I wasn’t f*&^n expecting what I got. Thank you Messers. Rossi, Thomas , Lamb, Augustine, Foskett, Meier, Joseph, Miss’s Smith and Ball!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Be seeing you.
Martin Power...Beckology rides again. Many Thanks. Get Buddy Davis in paperback edition!
Sid “Beckologist” Johnson.Great Portaland party!
R.E.Barnes...Denver sure did produce some great moments...Great original Jeff Beck Group remembrances and shots!
Joe Bonamassa...Wish I could have been at the Germany show where you and Jeff had gigs! Thanks for “The Pickup” radio show on Jeff my friend. An honor as always!!!
Neil Murray...Most honored sir. Your contribution fills in that early eighties gap historically. Also thanks to your brother for the brief but informative daily’s.
Imogen Reed...Forgot your real name. Thanks for the Yardbirds pulling it back all together bit.
Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown...Many memories my friends. Great intimate Miami gigs, breakfast at the diner in Lauderdale By The Sea and grooving to a new Jeff collaborative “City” tune!
Ralph Baker...Yes, the valet man gave me back my keys. Managed to park my car back home by myself Hah!
Steven Acworth...I wonder where the Green Ford guitar is now?????
Robert Knight...As always THE man with great Jeff photos and hookup with Leo for the best tour of 2013!
Leo Rossi...Still don’t know how you do it all. Amazing. Thank you for the lifetime opportunity at rehearsals!!
Joe Thomas...”Metropolis” forever!!!!! BIG 105.9 was a hilarious smashing success. We sold you guys some tickets on that tour!
Jean Sievers and Paki Newell…..Ditto
Jeff Foskett...Thanks for asking where I was. #Honored
Andre Augustine...a big thank you!
Paul , Young Ron, and producer Steve Harmon...Funniest bit ever came off like a charm. Jeff to me...”That was SOOOO funny”
Matty Auerbach...Glad you got to meet Brian. Thanks for all the Deco Drive initiative. Lynn Martinez outdid herself with the Jeff Beck intro thanks to Bill Armstrong
Lizzie Ball, Nicolas Meier, Jonathan Joseph, and Rhonda Smith...Thank you along with Jeff for allowing me the grace of listening to powerful rehearsals mostly all by myself where I could concentrate on your wonderful collaborative set sounds without having to bump knees with some drunk patron going out to the bathroom and/or to buy another round during the show!!!! As Lizzie would say (gesture) A BIG THUMBS UP!!!
And Jeff....You are correct, sir. Striving to be thin...”is the only way to be.”