The latter has never been a problem for Jeff. Always keen to soak up different vibrations and grooves, there is no other artist that even approaches Jeff in his ability to make those current with his “voice”, his way, with the Stratocaster. With Jeff’s ear for melody and penchant for admitted practice time (even while watching TV or just noodling around) there is no limit for years to come of continued joy on his own and others recordings. We look forward to both the Christmas Season current music Box Set offering from Rhino Records, the King of compilations and the EMI Classics hopeful release of Jeff’s interpretation of Mahler’s 5th Symphony.
The former however has been as delicate and seldom approached subject with Jeff. Although memorialized forever with the 1991 Box Set Beckology, Jeff’s authorized foray into the past since then has consisted of a couple of bonus tracks for both remastered/reissues of Truth and Beck Ola arguably made easier in familiar surroundings reminiscing with veteran fellow countrymen journalists like Charles Shaar Murray for project reissue booklet notes. When I told Jeff at the Boston show recently that Beckology producer Gregg Geller would love to do a follow up his reaction, although very pleasant was none the less a pointed coy challenge to both his fans who would love to hear what is in the vaults such as the 1970 Motown Sessions, and himself as he continues to accept historical accolades and tirelessly consents to questions about his catalogued career as well as hidden treasures in his numerous interviews during his pre current CD release continuing through his current world tour. “Can’t leave the pie alone heh?” was as explicit as Jeff would get on a Beckology followup.
So my apologies to Annette Carson for filching her Chapter Title from “Crazy Fingers” as the title of this op ed. However it fits the bill for the future, the time being, and the past as the marketing of Jeff Beck’s career unfolds it’s hugely successful first page and heads into late 2010 with the promise of only two things….the very two things that Rock n Roll is modeled on and has embodied Jeff’s career……change and surprise!
First, here's a press clipping of the actual show from the NY Times blog;
Jeff Beck's Scorching Les Paul Tribute Show Over 100 minutes and 27 songs, in his June 8th show at the New York jazz club Iridium, Jeff Beck did not play a single classic-rock heavy-blues or fusion-workout number from his own long catalog of records: no "Freeway Jam," "Blue Wind" or "Beck's Bolero," not even his signature immolation of the Beatles' "A Day in the Life." In fact, everything the British guitarist played in this rare small-room date - the first of two nights at the club with the singer Imelda May and her roots-and-swing band - was originally a hit for someone else, long before Beck made his official recording debut with the Yardbirds in 1965. There was Elvis Presley's mid-Fifties romps "Baby Let's Play House" and "My Baby Left Me," "Cruisin'" and "Double Talkin' Baby" by Gene Vincent, Howlin' Wolf's "Poor Boy," Johnny Otis' 1959 jungle boogie "Casting My Spell" and the Danish guitarist Jorgen Ingmann's 1961 instrumental smash "Apache." "It changed my life," Beck told the audience before launching into Bill Haley's 1954 single "Rock Around the Clock." Even when Beck bolted into "Train Kept A-Rollin'" by Johnny Burnette and the Rock & Roll Trio - a song torched a decade later by Beck with the Yardbirds - he stuck to the clackety steam-train gait and hillbilly freakout of Burnette's 1956 version, doubling fast clipped-note lines on the top strings of a Telecaster with his thumb on the lowest bass string. In Memory of Les Beck's appearances - his first New York club performance since a pair of 2003 shows at B.B. King's - are billed as a "Tribute to Les Paul." The centerpiece of the show (which was filmed for a PBS broadcast later this year and an eventual DVD) was a run, with May, of Paul's massively popular Fifties singles with his wife and singer Mary Ford. Paul, who died last August at 94, was a close friend of Beck's and one of his core inspirations, as much for Paul's electric-guitar prowess - blinding speed and a precise biting country-jazz attack - as for his historic home-lab innovations in the sound and shape of the instrument. And Iridium was, for a dozen years, right up to his passing, Paul's regular Monday night gig with his trio, where he salted readings of his old hits and Tin Pan Alley standards with ribald jokes. Before he played a note on June 8th, Beck presented Paul's son Rus with a plaque honoring Les, who would have turned 95 the next day. Appropriately, Beck played a Les Paul Sunburst guitar during the mini-set, and May recreated Ford's multiple harmonies on the original records, the product of Paul's pinpoint overdubbing, with a harmonizing effect that made May's voice sound like a choir of Fords. Beck stuck to the canon, including "How High the Moon," "Vaya Con Dios," and a "Tiger Rag": taken at neck-snapping velocity. But it was also clear how much Beck, in the Yardbirds and the late-Sixties Rod-Stewart era of the Jeff Beck Group, transformed Paul's influence with the scorch and growl of black electric blues, modal raga-flavored invention and Beck's own revved-up aggression. His solos were quick and concise but spiked with skittering clusters of growling-treble notes, meaty skids down the neck and, at the very end of one ruthless break, a deep bass-string snort. And whenever Beck and May's band - guitarist Darren Higham, drummer Steve Rushton and Al Gare on the bull fiddle - lit into a jump-rhythm number such as "Bye Bye Blues," it was like getting the stutter, gulp and fire of Beck's Yardbirds instrumental "Jeff's Boogie." but with more Sun Sessions bounce. Party Time "When I found out our next guest was playing around the corner, I couldn't let him get away," Beck said, announcing Gary U.S. Bonds, who was in town for a show at B.B. King's but made time to do his 1960 single "New Orleans" with Beck at Iridium. Beck also brought guitarist Brian Setzer of the Stray Cats out for Eddie Cochran's "20 Flight Rock" - with the two on heated alternating breaks - and Joe Turner's "Shake Rattle and Roll." Beck snarled in sync with a three-piece horn section for "Peter Gunn" and played a striking solo - creating an angry sobbing effect with quick shivers of the whammy bar as he fingerpicked and tapped the strings - in the Shangri-Las' "Remember (Walking in the Sand)," the newest song in the whole show. But for all of Beck's fond retrovision at Iridium, the impatient modernism in his virtuosity whenever he takes any other stage was always evident, sometimes right in your face. Beck started Santo and Johnny's 1959 instrumental "Sleepwalk" by emulating the weeping-steel melody with a white Stratocaster, a bottleneck and discreet rolls of the volume knob. But he finished up with familiar bravado, tapping the strings with the bottleneck before sweeping up the strings with a loud vicious flourish. Beck spent tonight examining his roots in love and detail - particularly his eternal debt to Les Paul - but he celebrated them all as living history.
Now, an inside from our friend and webpage patron Eric Mirell....
So we get there, it was pandemonium. We waited by the door and Jeff came out, stood a few seconds (didnt have my camera out) and went into the Gibson tour bus. Then we were ushered inside. We couldnt see who was coming in but you could tell every few minutes there was a lot of flashs going off.
Before the show Harvey said a few words, then Jeff came out, they unveiled a Les Paul mural, some awards were given, then Jeff went offstage again for a minute, then came out with Imelda's band. Show was great, Times article gave the set list better then I could remember. We would have loved to be downstairs but it was still great, the DVD should be out by christmas and it will be on PBS probably before that. Jeff went through 4 or 5 guitars. he seemed to be enjoying it and at one point pointed out to Paul Shafer and said 'if I make any mistakes tonight blame it on that guy, he's the maestro'. At the end of the show he said he hoped every one enjoyed themselves. He looked down and said 'you haven't all finished eating, the food here must stink', some good laughs. It was such a special gig seeing Jeff do 'Sleepwalk', 'Rock Around The Clock' and 'Train Kept A Rollin,'.
It was then announced that they were kicking us all out. I went over to the managers (politely) and said, 'Excuse me, but the invites say after party, has that changed?' He told me that they had to kick everyone out, but he would let me and my friend back in. So everyone goes out, next thing I know they are kicking everyone out from the tent covering into the rain, basically telling us to get lost. So there was some moaning and groaning and then someone said they were looking for a few wrist bands so we got back on line, they let like two people in, came to us and said, 'Thats it no one else'. I saw the managers, waved, and they did come and get us, we were the only people let back in. One of the guys said he worked for Harvey (who spent a lot of the evening coming upstairs to the restaurant I asssume to see how everything was getting set up.) So when they let us back in they asked us to go upstairs in the restaurant for a bit where we met the board guy from Iridium, chatted for a while. Turns out he was the last person to leave the Fillmore East, the last show. He sat by himself, Bill Graham walked out on stage looked out at the empty theater, and walked out.
Everyone came up from downstairs and as you can see from the pix, it was a wonderful crowd. Everyone we molested was really nice, I even have a staged picture of my friend, Ray menacing Meatloaf with a alcholic chocolate strawberry. Jeff came in after about 10 minutes and they walked him around the club once, he didnt see too happy about it, there were a lot of people and it was hot and loud. I managed to get his attention, get a quick picture and autograph, told him hello from Dick and Bill at the fan site, not sure if he heard me or not, then he went up, around again and then they parked him at the booth. At first they let fans near to get autographs and pictures then basically pushed everyone away so I managed to shoot some of those shots.
At one point Jason Rebello walks by, I say 'Hello' he stops to talk to me, I go, "have to tell you, you're the best thing since Jan Hammer" he laughs and points to the guy in front of him who turns around laughing at my comment - it's Jan Hammer! I said, "you know that was a compliment right?" we all had a good laugh. Saw Jennifer Batten and said hello for you guys she said 'Hi' back, she was flying back home that night.
So we got to talk with Stevie Van Zandt, Steve Miller, Paul Shafer, Anton Fig, Zakk Wylde, the guys in Imeldas band, Meatloaf, some MTV VJ's , Jason, Warren Haynes. Imelda was a sweetheart, you can tell from the pictures. I told her that one of the benefits of being a Jeff Beck fan is that the road to Jeff always leads to artists like herself. She thanked me and told me Jeff is a genius. I agreed.
We got our fill of music chatter and left around 11pm. The Facebook posting for the club says the party went to 1am and then the manager took Imelda and Jeff for some drinks downtown. So it was a pretty wild night, had a lot of fun, great pictures , and my son Daniel now has his first autograph.
Like we said at the time, where else would you see that? The answer, nowhere just Japan. Another thing we love about the Japanese fans...they record EVERYTHING! Audio, video, photos you name it and it's always excellent quality.
Toshiaki Igarashi (Toshi) is our best and oldest Jeff Beck friend/fan here at 'the page'. Toshi, to put it simply, is a rabid Jeff Beck fan. When Jeff tours Japan, Toshi goes to every single show traveling from one end of Japan to the other. And he's done this for every tour for close to 20 years! He collects all things Jeff Beck and over the years has been a great source of information as well as generous in sending us some great stuff. Soon after Jeff toured Japan in late 2000, Toshi sent us 10 cassette tapes, recordings of every show Jeff did on the tour!
Our latest gift from Toshi is really, really special. A limited Japanese edition box set of 'Emotion & Commotion'.
The box set includes the 'Emotion & Commontion' CD with 2 bonus tracks; 'Poor Boy' w/Imelda May and an instrumental version of 'Cry Me A River'. Also included, like the version of 'Emotion & Commotion' you could get at Best Buy is a DVD of Jeff's 2007 performance at the Crossroads Music Festival (unfortunately with the wrong country code to play in the U.S.). But who cares about the DVD, the coolest thing is, as you can see in the above picture, is the 1/8 scale Jeff Beck Signature Fender Stratocaster guitar model!! That is so friggin' cool, why don't they do something like this for a U.S. release!? It's because the Japanese fans are so great they deserve stuff like this. We gotta pick up our game! Hah!
Thanks again Toshi - The Best
Buddy first met Jeff in 1971 in Memphis where the photo below was taken at a Howard Johnson hotel.
A little more background on this meeting from Buddy....(Buddy's friend) Tommy Graves and Jeff were sitting on the bed in his Howard Johnson motel room chilling for about 30 minutes after coming out of a hot shower playing the Gib-Strat before he wanted to go out and about. Some incredible Cliff Gallup, Chet Atkins finger picking was going on (without a pick of course, first time I ever saw him play that way) and you can see Tommy digging on the licks with his eyes kinda shut even though there was no amplifier! I was in awe myself. It sounded incredible! While he was playing, Tommy being a big Jeff Beck fan and Jeff being such a great fella that he let me go by Tommy's place and pick him up in Jeff's rental car I might add WITH Jeff in the car(you should've seen Tommy's face when I told him Jeff Beck was in his driveway) Tommy being a non-musician had all these questions he was asking and Jeff was answering without missing a lick. One of the questions that really changed the whole scenario and even made Jeff stop playing for a few minutes was "what about Jimmy Page?" and Jeff said "what about Jimmy?" and I couldn't believe Tommy said (remember we were 19 and Jeff was 27). "Can he blow you off the stage like some people think?" Jeff looked at me and I was a little embarrased because I had read they were childhood friends and then he chuckled and said, "there's a lot of guitar players that can blow me off the stage but Jimmy ain't one of em (laughs)". Now there's a guy named Caleb Quaye,he blows me away! " We immediatley asked him what's his name again?, because if this was a guy our hero liked he must be pretty awesome! He explained he was a session player and on Elton John's first couple of albums like 'Tumbleweed Connection' etc.and mentioned a few other things but it was Caleb's own band Hookfoot and the playing on those first two albums (A&M,you can still order them from Japan as well as a live broadcast done here in Memphis at Ardent Recording Studio in 1972..the same studio ZZ Top recorded most of their albums at) that Jeff loved.
Now onto Buddy's trip to England to visit Jeff this in the form of letter sent to us....
Hello Dick and Bill, the dynamic duo of the Jeff Beck world, the Jeff Beck authorities of the whole world, from another dynamic duo, Budman and Robert. I just realized we are a guitar player and a bass player from The Memphis Rejects sending a bass player and a guitar player a Jeff Beck story, another one! On a side note if The Memphis Rejects don't work out, I've got an idea for a band with two guitar players and two bass players, being of course Buddy and Bill, Dick and Rob, and you might want to see if Carmine Appice is interested in playing drums with us! We'll need two bass drums for sure! My idea for the band is something like the Procrastinators meet the Bean Town Boys. Now on a serious note, to get on with it: one no more excuses; two, we know you don't want to hear them; so three here we go!
We're going to take you to England, Jeff's turf, so to speak, and later we'll bring you back to the US to little old Memphis, Tennessee. But first things first.
It is after thanksgiving, November 1971. Tommy Graves and I have made friends with Jeff and his roadie, Paul Evans, and all the members of the Jeff Beck Group. After Steve Kramer, me and Tommy's best friend, taking us to the airport, we left on what we thought would be a long journey of Europe. It turned out to be from Memphis to New York and New York to London on a 747. Both of us took a guitar. I took my 1958 Sunburst Les Paul and Tommy bought a 1950'a Les Paul jr, even though he's not a guitar player, for both of us to sell and help pay for our trip.
As we arrived in England in the wee hours of the morning, it was a pleasant surprise to find the taxi driver correcting us when didn't know our English money that well, and giving us some money back saying, "this is adequate tip". I don't think you'd find that happening in New York where we just were! He took us to Earl's Court where we had a wonderful place to stay. There was a wonderful woman who gave us American breakfast every morning. She woke us up every morning saying, "You can sleep at home, Tommy and Buddy! You're here to see England!" We had corn flakes, bacon, eggs, toast, orange juice, just a good American breakfast. We set out and saw many things in England. We even saw a friend from Memphis who was over there with his girlfriend who had a clothing store there. We traveled the underground and saw the Hard Rock Cafe in its first year, it being opened in '71 by Isaac Tigrett from Jackson, TN. With me being ticky about food more than Tommy, I loved the cheeseburger, french fries, coke, milk shakes and hot apple pie! You know I'm not quite the vegetable man that Jeff is.
After taking our guitars to pay duty on them so we could sell them at the store or anywhere, Paul Evans, Jeff's guitar tech, took us around to the music stores. We got to see the Marshall amp store and the Vox amplifier store. He invited us over for dinner, lamb chops and stuff, and everything was great. He was a great host and eventually took us out for a fish and chips dinner right there on the waterfront! I loved the fried fish and chips much more than I cared for the food at the restaurants!
Then we went to the Rolling Stones studio and as the three of us walked in, the first thing I saw was Jethro Tull's equipment. It was a blast for me to get to see this and be in the Rolling Stones studio! The Rolling Stones, however, were not in the country for income tax reasons at the time, as I understood it. But there was Cozy Powell playing the drums! There was Clive Chaman on the bass! There was Max Middleton on the keyboards! There was Bob Tench at the mike! And there was Jeff's 100-watt Marshall set up but Jeff was nowhere to be found because he was running late working on hot rods! They were used to this and after being there a brief time, Bob Tench gave me the nod to plug in my Sunburst to Jeff's amp and start jamming with them, which I did hurriedly and excitedly! I'm not sure how it sounded but I can just tell you they made me sound a whole lot better, whatever went on! And if I'm not mistaken, I believe I gave a feeble attempt at 'Going Down', the Don Nix song that Jeff cut so fiercely at TMI studios. After a couple songs of jamming, Jeff walked in and I immediately clammed up pretty tight and ended off! To my surprise he just went right over to my sunburst and picked it up and they just went on rehearsing! What a treat that was to Tommy and I!
After a while, the band took a break. Jeff had a little rum and coke and a few of the guys took a smoke. We had a real nice chat and discovered what a perfect gentleman and friend Jeff was! I showed him the Sunburst and told him I was interested in selling it. He told me, "Buddy, I'll give you a couple hundred dollars for it but you really need to take it to a place on Shaftesbury Avenue called 'Guitar Village'. They will give you much more than I will for it, I already have one." I'm not used to that kind of honesty! Like the taxi driver, Jeff showed it even when we were 19 and he was 27! What an honest, classy guy he was to tell me that. So that's what I did later on in the story here, but now we're still at the studio when as I remember someone comes running in, I think Paul Evans, Jeff's roadie and guitar tech at that time, and said that Scotland Yard had Cozy. Jeff's going, "What?" He's going, "Scotland Yard has Cozy! He doesn't have his ID, his wallet on him! He doesn't have his ID!" These were older police officers from Scotland Yard that were just on the lookout for the Rolling Stones for income tax reasons who, in my understanding, lived in France at the time. Because Cozy looked like Keith Richards, Paul said they thought he was Keith Richards! They took him down to headquarters with him protesting all the way! Jeff laughed and said, "I got to get out of here. As of right now, rehearsal is over because I don't have a tax disc on my car", which is equivalent I guess to legal tags or an inspection sticker. He was out back to the hot rod that he drove in from his country estate. That was the end of that rehearsal.
We got to go back the next night to another rehearsal that was just incredible and wonderful with the Jeff Beck Group: Cozy, Clive, Max, Bob, and Jeff, this time Jeff playing his own guitar. By the way, we did go to Shaftesbury Avenue the next day to Guitar Village. I got 600 American dollars and the first 50-watt Hiwatt amplifier head brought into Memphis, TN, which was the equivalent of $800 for the guitar. Jeff did indeed steer me correct on that! Tommy sold his guitar which he had a hundred bucks in for $250. He got two and a half times his money, his money back plus 1 1/2, so we were both happy. Anyway, after that second rehearsal was when Jeff said, "Paul Evans and I are going to take you and Tommy around and show you England." One of the first places he took us was the Indian part of London where he actually found Max, Clive, and Bob jamming. We heard some great music there, but it wasn't going on that particular night like Jeff wanted so he took us for a few more beers at another place. It was packed and crowded and a great English band was playing and it was just incredible! They came up and asked Jeff to jam and Jeff politely declined and said he was just showing some Memphis friends around England. (Wow, I had somewhat similar experience in London circa 1976...I took a '73 all white Strat over with me and traded it even for a 100 watt Hiwatt DR103 at a shop a friend worked at on Shafesbury Ave...still got it. BA)
You ask why I didn't take more pictures. I guess the reason we didn't have a camera with us was because in Memphis, Steve Cropper didn't really want any cameras in the studio with Jeff, bugging him, so we didn't take any to the Rolling Stones studio to bug him. We didn't know we were going to be going out on the town with him! That's why there are no pics of Jeff and us. We sure didn't know he was going to be so down to earth, a star of his magnitude taking us around town with his roadie and guitar tech, Paul Evans, but he was and he did! After what seemed like 3 or 4 hours and as many or more beers apiece, great English ale I might add, Tommy and I were actually hoping he would jam with one of the bands! But as I said he politely declined. At some point Jeff turned to Paul Evans, handed him some money and said, "Take the boys out for a little more fun, I'm going to take a cab back to the studio and get my hot rod headed back to the country", which he did. We thanked him and shook his hand and I can assure you it was one of the most incredible highlights of my life! I know that I've said that on many things but this is definitely in the top three! We had a great time with Paul and then returned to our rooms.
We had a little more fun going places Jeff told us to go like Kensington Market to shop and Speaker's Corner to hear people play music and speak and do all kinds of things. We saw the Thames river, Hard Rock Cafe, etc, and just had an incredible trip! It was just unbelievable! I am kicking myself now for not taking more photos where I could have but it was not on my mind at the time!
Tommy and I returned home to Memphis and Tommy was so blown away that he went back with a friend of mine, bought some more guitars and took them back and sold them. He was the money backer and the friend, Robert Johnson, had the knowledge with the guitars. Robert Johnson is mentioned in the Crazy Fingers book and actually auditioned with the Stones like the book says. They went back and had a successful trip, making money and selling guitars and bringing back another Hiwatt, a 100-watt head this time.
That pretty much concludes the England trip, the highlights of it. Next time we will be taking you back to Memphis, Tennessee, where the second portion of the Orange Album was finished and completed, and to Burkle's Bakery for a few more visits and vegetables for Jeff and homemade rolls and pie that he loved so much about Burkle's Bakery. We will give you the stories of Jeff Beck and Steve Cropper back at the studio and the recording there, the guitars that were used and shown and talked about there, a few incidents there at the studio, and a few outside the studio.
Until next time, Rock On!
Buddy Davis and Robert Kent Haines
Joe Bonamassa continues to branch out in the blues and rock realm with his latest blues category Billboard Number #1 studio effort entitled 'Black Rock' named after the state of the art new recording studio on the Greek island of Santorini. Like Jeff, Joe has incorporated some 'world' guitar sounds on this LP that also features Greek instruments such as the 'clarino' and the 'bouzouki'. Joe continues where he left off with “John Henry”, penning a tune with a totally wicked slide guitar drive and has a heartfelt reunion with BB King on a Willie Nelson tune. (Remember the now Guitar Player Magazine Overall Best guitarist and Blues Guitarist of 2010, Joe was a 12 yr old prodigy when he first toured with BB’s summer tours.) He also reminds us of where Arlo Guthrie got “Alices Restaurant” from with a faithful Blind Boy Fuller blues classic and tears it up with a smoking two minutes of Otis Rush, and yes even has the courage to interpret the birth of heavy metal with a rearranged 'Spanish Boots' from Beck Ola in a nod to Jeff much as Joe did years before with Blues Deluxe.
As to guitars used on the lp, Joe among his Les Paul’s lists Jeff’s classic Ox Blood reissue JB signature series. Having just come back from the Crossroads preview it was a gas to see Joe on his first Crossroads appearance team up with the table top slide phenom Robert Randolph on the Jeff Beck style Don Nix show stopper “Goin’ Down”. We will be seeing Joe in December in Florida and will update as I’m sure he’ll have some stories to tell.
Also check out this Mix Magazine article on the recording of 'Black Rock' from January 2010.
We saw Joe Dec 10th at the Hard Rock Live in Hollywood, Fl. Joe’s parents were there that night so they had a Meet and Greet in the afternoon. I ran into Joe’s manager Roy chilling out at a nearby café with Jason Bonham who agreed to guest on drums (he had done Joe’s “You and Me” cd a few years back) that night. So off to the Meet n greet…As is Joe’s nowadays custom he invites a few young guitar pre teens and teens into these things. One of them was sitting in a corner of the room wailing away which caused Joe to crack a big smile when he came in. I was accompanied by my ex wife and my lady neighbor, Joe graciously posed with pics with them and upon being kissed by the neighbor quipped “Oh is this going to start a trend!” lol Joe told me that it was a thrill to be on the same ticket as Jeff Beck the past summer in Germany. He said Jeff was in a great mood, very pleasant, and they chatted and photo op’d the first day but was very hurried and being led around the second day so any possible time to work out a dual onstage presence just didn’t happen……next time maybe.
The show was outrageous. “Young Man Blues” was played with renewed vigor and the ghost of the Who Live At Leeds must have been smiling in it’s wake. The dynamics of intros was never more prevalent than the classic “Sloe Gin” as the audience screamed out the title long before the first verse licks got underway. Jason Bonham came on to spell the drummer Bogey Boles during “Bridge To Better Days” , a Bonamassa original and pounded the drums so hard that his Dad in heaven Bonzo was also awoken with a smile. Always a highlight of a Joe show, the acoustic “Woke Up Dreaming” continues to amaze and woo the most die-hard of Tommy Emmanuel fans. The pinnacle of the show for me was the stone cold “So Many Roads” where he showcased every form of rock and blues guitar method equally blending one into the next, as comfortable with fluid shred as with single note wrung emotion. During the last number, a blend of ZZ Tops “Just Got Paid Today” and Zep’s” Dazed and Confused” bridge solo Joe skillfully and with a twinkle in his eye nodded to Jeff Beck as he suddenly launched into a few bars of Jeff’s rendition of Billy Cobham’s “Stratus” …. Great show Joe. Hope you and Jeff eventually hook up onstage!
My memories of this project are sketchy, as it's been over 30 years. I was the Epic Records A&R man assigned to our British roster of artists, and consequently was chosen to go out on the road and supervise the live recordings. I had already met Jeff in London and spent some nice time with him. He took me out to his house (manor) outside London, where we played some snooker, had a look at his hotrod collection, and shared some of Celia's incredible cooking. On this particular tour, Jeff's manager Ernest Chapman was along. Ernest was a droll, intelligent man. Unlike many managers, he was easy to be with, not grating, not demanding, and very entertaining. Regrettably, Jeff is the kind of artist who is completely dependent on appearing with other artists, as he was without a permanent band. Most everyone was anxious to play with him, naturally. We had a few good dates, and the band was superb. The date in Pennsylvania (The Capitol Theater, perhaps?) in a small town was the best one, with a great performance and an excellent recording. A little later in the tour, Jeff and I went into Allen Toussaint's studio in New Orleans, and did about 50 rough mixes of all the tunes from several different dates. We reviewed these, and determined that most tunes on the LP should be from this particular date. That night Ernest, Jeff, Jan and I had dinner at the hotel, and we discussed mixing. At the time, I had only produced a couple of LP's, and I had had very little experience with Jan. When the subject of mixing came up, Jan simply declared "Either I will mix the album or there will be no album". Ernest, knowing Jeff was totally dependent on Jan's participation, said nothing. So my involvement in the album really ended there, and I returned to New York. I was pretty disappointed, but there was nothing I could do. As it turned out, I think he did a creditable job mixing the record, but of course the keyboards were a touch too loud.Tom, thanks so much, great story, Best, DW
We would like to greatly thank Kevin O'Hare from the 'The Republican' newspaper in Springfield, Massachusetts for giving us permission to present this interview on our humble website. Jeff has done loads of interviews for 'Rock And Roll Party' DVD and tour and this one is one of the best we've read.
For the original piece (which was laid out by a professional, as opposed to me BA) please click on the link below;
After a couple of decades where he seemed to surface only for the occasional brief tour and album, guitarist extraordinaire Jeff Beck has been everywhere of late. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member just won three Grammy Awards, he has a new album and DVD – “Rock ‘n’ Roll Party (Honoring Les Paul)” – and he’s touring first with a Les Paul Tribute show, which stops at Boston’s Wang Theatre on March 26, before returning on April 13 to his “Emotion and Commotion” tour, celebrating his acclaimed 2010 album. In the midst of all this madness, the 66-year-old British guitarist who rose to fame with the Yardbirds, took time out to speak about some of his favorite subjects. Those topics included his deep admiration of Paul (who died in 2009 at the age of 94); Beck’s own work with Eric Clapton; an unforgettable night with Jimi Hendrix; and a potential musical reunion with Rod Stewart, his singing partner from their days together in the Jeff Beck Group, which produced classic late 1960’s albums like “Beck-Ola.” What’s your earliest recollection of hearing Les Paul? I was pretty young, six years old, I’d estimate, 1950-ish. And I just remember hearing this incredible intro to “How High the Moon.” And then the compactness of the way the record sounded compared with the way records were going. Then there was this amazing solo, which I didn’t know what it was. My mom explained the electric guitar. Immediately my ears became attuned to it. You don’t forget that. At six years old everything is new and exciting but that never left me, the sound of that. What do you think Les’ greatest contributions to music are? I should imagine the most impressive sound he made with a slap echo. Y’know, they take the record and playback and they repeat. And the multi-tracking - the facility that allows people to overdub their voice and many other instruments. It was just completely revolutionary at the time. The only other option was mono, which you have to play, press the record button and that’s it. It was so far reaching into the future with the simplest of notions, I mean stacking the record heads and making wider tape was Les’ idea. Not only that, he was a fabulous musician. All the records he made were beautiful examples of musicianship with melody, harmony and bass lines all there. Not many drums, it was all guitar based, it was a perfect match for voice and guitar. How did you meet Les? He came to a gig in Avery Fisher Hall in the 1970s when John McLaughlin and I were doing a concert. To watch him at the side of the stage when John was doing his (guitar) shreds was quite fantastic (laughs). I’ll never forget what Les said when I walked off the stage. He said “I’ve got to go and get a hot dog but carry on with whatever it is you’re doing.” But he winked so it was all safe. Then I just seemed to see him more often. Every time I played New York at the Roseland he was there….Then I went to his birthday at the Hard Rock, he was in his 70s then. Sadly, he’s no longer there and he’s bitterly missed. Four days after you end the tour honoring Les Paul you’re going right back into the Emotion and Commotion Tour on April 13. Is that going to be a weird transition? It might feel that way when I get there but it’s really just unfinished business at that end of the United States, in Florida, it’s one place that we didn’t get to do, and some other places other than Florida that we didn’t get to do. If you could go back in time to just one musical moment in your life for just one night where would you go back to? Wow (laughs). I suppose it would be playing with Jimi Hendrix. That was in, I think it was ’69, Jimi had just bought a new ’69 Corvette and we drove ‘round and ‘round Manhattan until it boiled over. He got out and someone drove it off (laughs). That was amazing. And then we played that night in a club, we just jammed until four o’clock in the morning. Things didn’t get much better after that (laughs). I know you have a huge guitar collection, when did you play your first Les Paul guitar, do you remember the model? It was a 1958 or ’59 Sunburst. I loved it. It felt like a really great piece of furniture. But it still didn’t hit the spot that the Fender Stratocaster did. The contour, body and the way it fit me, it was just like wearing a really comfortable suit. The Les Paul was more challenging because of the weight of it, but the tone was there that the Fender will never have and vice versa. So you have to make a decision as to what you’re going to have as your main instrument. After seeing Hendrix I thought, “I’ll stick with the ‘Strat.” How did you enjoy the concerts you did with Eric Clapton last year and how did those compare with other times you had played together in the past? There have not been that many times when we did play. There was the Ronnie Lane thing (1983 benefit concert), that was probably a better example because I had my own band but we somehow managed to pull one accord for the charity. (This time) It was, let me say, a little bit worrying, to offer myself up to be compared with Eric because Eric is so loved and so hugely adored by the world at large. I was a bit apprehensive about it, but I think it came off quite well, the fact that we got together at the end and played. Are you going to release anything from those shows? I’m not sure, he (Clapton) has control over that, I’m not sure what’s going on with that. Some of the stuff from the (all-star Clapton produced guitar festival) Crossroads shows (have been released) but I haven’t seen anything from The O2 (London venue) or from Madison Square Garden. The version of “Moon River” at Madison Square Garden was great. (laughs) That was his idea, I thought he’d gone crazy but he said “Trust me it’s going to work.” You sent some tracks recently to Rod Stewart, which you’ve described as “sort of Chapter 2 of ‘Beck-Ola.’” There’ve been some varying reports as to whether an album with you two is definitely going to happen, what is the status? It’s a red hot question at the moment because I’m still auditioning him to see if he’s good enough (laughs). No, I’m kidding. He’s in fine voice. I think to go a bit further now we have to find if we can actually make this happen. After describing it (in comparison to) “Beck-Ola,” we’ve got to deliver. So therefore the material is of the highest importance, to suit the voice that is his now, not to try and re-create what was there. So I need to know the range. Until we’ve selected the material we’ve reached a stop, but it’s in motion, it’s ongoing. Who else would you like to have playing on the album, as far as other musicians? Again there are several options open at the moment, it might be my band, it might be a neutral band, it might be just selected players, but until we get the material we can’t make a finite decision on the players. It seems like you’ve been much more active in recent years? How come? Well the new management seems to have taken flight with my career - pushed me all over the world. Intensive interview sessions such as the one we’re having now are helping. The whole Harvey Goldsmith system behind it is making it enjoyable but also very exhausting. I was in Russia one minute and then Finland and Perth, Australia. But that’s what I do, I chose that career, I’ve got to put up with it. But it’s producing results. I’d rather do that at this stage of my life and career, then say, had it happened 10 years ago and I’d be, I don’t know, planting potatoes or something (laughs). You've done your own great renditions of classic songs like “Over the Rainbow,” “A Day in the Life,” and even a Barbra Streisand tribute recently. Any more futuristic versions of classic or two that you’d like to perform? Yes. I’ve got a few I’ve already recorded that didn’t make the “Emotion & Commotion” album. I played them the other night and I thought – this should have gone on the album. But as it was, the powers that be decided that running order would be best not be messed around with because there would have been an imbalance of material, too much orchestral. What were the tracks? There was a version of Mahler’s “The Adagietto,” which is one of the best things I’ve ever played I’m much more focused on that...I might keep that. There’s (something by) Holst, one of the tracks, which is just beautiful for guitar. But there again it’s a lit bit more of a “Nessun Dorma” type thing so we’ll put it out to the vote to see whether people like it or not. I don’t want to throw it away, do you know what I mean? I’m very proud of those pieces. I want to make sure they go on the right album. You recently won three Grammys, not bad at all for a guy who’s been doing this for more than four decades. I do not have any relationship at all with anybody from the Grammys let me tell you that (laughs). What exactly does the recognition at this point in your life mean to you? More than it should perhaps. I’m secretly thrilled. It’s easy to hurl abuse at those awards ceremonies like the Oscars and all that, which we tend to do. We tend to vent our anger at things which we feel are unjust or undeserving. But when you’re the recipient it makes it a lot different. Because it means so much to America, hopefully it radiates throughout the world. I take it with the best spirit with which it is intended. If it enlarges the career, or does anything to spread the word, then it’s good. When you played with Les Paul on occasion, can you give me an example of something that he could do with a guitar that completely amazed you? Yeah, the speed. Not so much in the later years because he suffered from osteoarthritis which means your joints are all swollen. But he would pick out melody from nowhere right at the most unexpected point in the solo and that’s what endeared me to him. We all know the speed he could play at. But it was the slow blues that was so rich. He’d play a melody that you thought you’d heard before, then you’d find out that it was genius coming out from a uniquely arranged set of notes. It’s stuff like that which was obviously influenced by Django Reinhardt. He was that kind of a messenger for Django but in a very much more impish way. He played much more sprightly, and with the slap echo he gave birth to rock ‘n’ roll rockabilly guitar. What are you looking forward to in the next year and beyond that? …I’m looking at more orchestral stuff provided we get the research into it to make sure that’s what people would like. More wild rock ‘n’ roll definitely, so there’ll be two things going on at once. I can’t do without that.Thanks again so much Kevin.
Fresh from the New Orleans Jazz Festival, Jeff Beck and his band headed to sunny South Florida for the first of four Florida shows that started on Sunday May 1st at the wildly popular Sunfest five day music and arts festival held annually on the banks of the Intercoastal Waterway in West Palm Beach, FL. Jeff, of course, closed the festival with a slightly longer than one hour slightly abbreviated set as the headline attraction. The weather was absolutely perfect with balmy sea breezes.
Sharon Hoffman, Director of Marketing at Sunfest, was kind enough to grant our website the exclusive two day pre-sale to the public of the prestigious 'The Stand' tickets which was a standing area right up against the stage. Needless to say those tickets to 'The Stand' at the Tire Kingdom Stage went like hotcakes. (And they were 'the bomb' as they say. You can see how close we were by the upcoming pictures. BA)
Showtime saw a different Jeff Beck amp set up than the previous tour. Gone was the mic’d powder blue Fender Pro Junior amp and in it’s place was a mic’d Marshall. Two disc jocks from Gator 98.7 FM in West Palm egged the crowd on by pointing out that the crowd (estimated at over 5,000) was about ready to witness a Hall of fame guitarist. (Steve Prior was still on as Jeff's guitar tech. Jeff is featured in the July issue of 'Vintage Guitar' magazine and in a side-bar Steve Prior reveals that what we saw were two Marshall JTM-45's (one a spare I guess) feeding two 1960BX Marshall cabinets with Celestion greenbacks in them (again one a spare). Underneath those heads were two JTM-100 reissues that were feeding those two Marshall 'slant' cabinets that Jeff has. The ones that look like monitor cabinets. I never saw those on the side of the stage however. They could have been there but I didn't see them. I did see Steve carrying Jeff's favorite Fender Pro Jr., the tweed one mentioned in the Tone Quest article, placing it at the rear of the stage. Whether it was miked or not I have no idea. BA)
Sporting a typical Jeff fashionable vest/shirt combination, Jeff Beck, Narada Michael Walden, Rhonda Smith, and Jason Robello sauntered out onstage and immediately tore into the Grammy winning Plan B.
The Setlist was as follows:
Plan B Stratus Led Boots Corpus Christy Carol Hammerhead Mna Na h’Eireann (Women of Irleand) Bass Solo People Get Ready You Never Know Big Block Little Wing Rollin and Tumblin Blue Wind Brush With Blues A Day In The Life Encore I Want To Take You Higher
Note: “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “Dirty Minds”(Grammy Winner) were omitted to shorten the set to fit the festival. There was only one encore due to the drifting noise from the other stage where Earth Wind And Fire, the other headliner, was playing.
No matter, the one Encore “I Want To Take You Higher” was played with unusual vicious abandon by everyone. The entire show you could see the guitar tech, Steve Prior, smiling at whatever licks Jeff chose to play. Many times Narada would challenge Jeff out of the pocket and storm right back in which brought plenty of laughter to Jeff’s and everyone else’s face in the band as they would all rise to the challenge of firing back with amazing licks segued back into the groove.
My favorite moments of the show were too many to count but here are a few. “Brush With Blues" had as unbelievable as it may seem yet another riff towards the end of the song as had been done at the Grammy Museum show where Jeff literally just let loose with a barrage of seemingly cacophonous notes that magically blended together and made all the sense in the world. A crowd favorite, Hendrix’s "Little Wing" had both contrasting sharp solos and beautiful gentle times where you could hear the wood vibrations from Jeff’s Strat. As Jeff introduced it “An Irish tune…still the blues”, “Mna Na Eihrann” was so breathtaking you could look at the faces in the crowd and see the appreciation and joy on their faces. The crowd responded in the A P part of the show with "Led Boots" when Jeff would point his finger at the audience to join in and then made the finger slash across the throat to cut the audience off when he tore back into the guitar/keyboard melody. That Wired classic was followed by “…A different vibe”, Jeff said as the quiet angelic notes of "Corpus Christy Carol” led way to a crystal clear slamming separation where you could hear every note, kick, and stomp of the melody and the solo to “Hammerhead”(Grammy Winner).
Narada slammed his sticks and bounced them high off the drums after triumphantly finishing Billy Cobham’s "Stratus". His double bass drums were himself, Cobham, Appice, and Bonham all rolled into one thunderous double bass blast of incredible energy throughout the show which absolutely tickled Jeff to no end. To boot he came out for the encore with a hilarious black feathered stovepipe 'pimp'hat.
Who is the baddest bass player on the planet? Rhonda Smith. She funked the pocket all show long and her bass solo complete with quick stops to put her hand to her ear as if to tell the audience “I am the baddest right?!!” was tremendously well received by the hollering crowd. The lovely upright electric stick bass was like a symphonic interlude accompaniment on the aforementioned Irish classic "Mna Na".
Oh what fun Jason Robello was having with his jazzy rock solo note runs both as a contrast to the funky rhythm section and as a further inducer of Jeff to fire off, repeat, and embellish tradeoffs like in "Blue Wind" and a reworked "You Never Know" both of which are captured from Sunfest in watchable MP4 form on You Tube under Jeff Beck/Sunfest by Redpill.
I was struck by how much sustain Jeff had on both harmonics and screeches type lines which definitely added punctuation to the fluid melodic line of many of the tunes that evening. The Beatles anthem “A Day In The Life”, yet another Grammy winner for Jeff, signaled the end of the regular show as the entire sea of audience was by now standing chanting for more.
After the encore I led my group of ex-wife, my web partner in crime Bill Armstong, and my good friend Alexis Terrosa (Marketing Exec for Joe Bonamassa) around to the side of the stage. We only had blue wrist bands on. There were after show people who had regular passes. I introduced myself to tour manager Peter Mackay who said “Don’t worry Dick. You’re good. Just stand over there and wait a few minutes." Backstage there was a very festival festive environment and was mobbed with over forty after show guests. While waiting to see what would transpire and how the order of things would go I spotted Harvey Goldsmith looking happy and relaxed strolling through the area. No one else seemed to know who he was. I greeted him and exchanged a great laugh about how Jeff’s name connected with Sunfest had been promoted on the radio about sixteen times in a four day period prior to the show. The big South Florida morning radio show on 105.9FM "Paul and Young Ron" had done one of the "Rock n Roll Party" pre tour interviews with Jeff so I favored them with three pairs of 'The Stand' tickets as on air giveaways for their comedic contests. They had one called Winner Takes All where a trivia question was asked relating to Arts and Media. The questions were so ridiculously hard unless you were a savant movie/music buff that no one was winning. So they had to do it over and over again each time announcing the prize of the Jeff Beck VIP upgraded Sunfest tickets!!!
I had Harvey sign my pic of me and him from Boston last year which he did saying “It’s a pleasure, Dick, a pleasure.” No one yet had seen Jeff. Big Peter Mackay came out and beckoned a group of three who were obviously Tire King (stage sponsors) and after a minute down the hall outside the dressing rooms, they were led back. Much to my surprise Peter said, “C’mon Dick let’s go.” Another funny moment happened as my ex-wife was charging her camera. I didn’t turn around and assumed she was there, Harvey calmly deadpanned “You leaving your wife behind, Dick?” LOL Just outside his dressing room door stood Jeff tired but happy. (Drinking a 'Becks' beer,hah BA) He greeted me with a shit eatin' grin, handshake, and small hug and then after congratulating him on a playful tight unbelievable show, immediately I re-introduced him to my ex-wife, a frequent past guest. Jeff had played in her home country, Colombia, last year and he mentioned that it was great to play there despite the rains they had. Bill got his pic with Jeff from the Hard Rock in ‘06 signed and Alex was introduced.
The first thing I did was show Jeff the five finger razz pic we did together in Boston to salute Jennifer. He said, “Oh I love that one” eyeing it and then exclaimed “You know, Dick, Jennifer was on “The Throne” when the quake hit” breaking up in laughter. Jennifer was indeed taking care of” her business” on such in Japan at that exact time. That made a great segues for me to give Jeff the first of two gifts, a .MOV file short tribute and message of hope to Jeff from the shakers of the Japanese Fan Club led by our dear friend Toshi Igarishi. Jeff was stunned speechless. Then I lightened it up a bit and gave him the accompanying video to my shark feeding pictures I had given him last year in Boston. “I only made a copy to send to Melissa (Jeff’s publicist) and her five year old son plays it every day as I took the liberty of putting your Grammy Museum “Somewhere over the Rainbow” and “Hammerhead” renditions as the music to first the beauty of the panoramic underwater creatures much like you and Sandra champion the Wildlife Rescue efforts, and then the fury of the shark feed with the appropriate Hammerhead (journalistic liberty taken as we all know the Hammer in Hammerhead was a nod to Jan) Jeff said “ Oh Melissa is absolutely wonderful” and thanked me for the video. Then it was time to get one last pic at which time I got in the session question regarding his putting guitar lines down to as a yet unreleased Sly Stone comeback tune. Jeff initially thought I was asking about why they were doing "Higher" but then realized I knew about the session and said “Yeah I was asked to do a solo and then the engineer (Alan Branch) kept coming back and saying to me could you do this and add that and change that and I just did it and gave him the master tape……..then with typical Jeff humour turned his head away only to rear his face back towards me and say “It will probably come out in about fifty years” hah! LOL My wife Triny asked Jeff to sign the R&R Party DVD CD, I blurted out “The Girl Can’t Help It” and Jeff shot back with a boisterous “Yeah The Girl Can’t Help it…. That’s a great one”. Then he signed a pic of the New Orleans HOB aftershow but had a problem locating a place on the pic to sign with the Sharpee. He signed it in the corner and then said with a deadpan “Yeah but that’s not me. I’m over here” and proceeded to draw an arrow to point out himself, Jeff Beck, like everyone who saw it would think that my son was Jeff Beck and not him. Hah LOL! Peter signaled it was time for Jeff to go back in his room and led him away. Just as the door was closing Jeff turned around one last time and proudly exclaimed “See, I’ve lost some weight” as he pulled up his shirt over his hips. LOL
We walked back into the party room. The rest of the band had gone to the bus. Suddenly out came Jeff with Peter and Harvey and they walked past everyone else and headed straight for a waiting car. Then it hit me how blessed we were. Outside of the stage sponsors we were the only ones that were honored to be able speak to Jeff! Out in the night air the festival ending fireworks put the ultimate exclamation point on the festive and explosive performance and evening.
Back in the March 22, 2010 of 'What's New' the last item was a picture sent to us. It was from Nancy Wilkins
and here is her original email;
Hello Dick, I had the incredible good fortune to win a trip to London in April-May 1966 that included attending the NME Poll Winners Concert (front row seats) and a recording session of the Yardbirds when working on Over, Under, Sideways Down. I've attached a photo of Jeff that I took during that visit at the studio. My question is what was the location of the recording studio they used for that session. I believe it to be the Advision Studios, but there apparently were 2 locations: 23 Gosfield and 83 New Bond Street. Do you know which it was? I'm going to London in August and would like to try and track it down again. Thanks for your input! Nancy WilkinsNancy was correct, it was Advision Studios, 83 New Bond Street, London. No longer exists though.
We showed this picture to Jeff when we saw him in June of 2010 and our exchange went like this;
"We then showed Jeff that photo from Nancy Wilkins that appears in 'What's New 2010' and asked who the chap at the piano was. Jeff insisted it wasn't from that session but taken 'much later', he didn't know who the guy at the piano was and commented, "How many chairs is that guy sitting on?" We asked, "Could that be Chris Dreja?" Jeff answered, "No, Chris has a different shaped head."
Fast forward to May 2011....Jeff, that's Simon Napier-Bell in the photo!
We replied to the orignal email from Nancy and told her of Jeff's comment on her photo. She then sent us two more photos she took that day. Here's Nancy's reply;
Thanks so much for responding! I've attached two more pix from that day. One is of the other guys at the other end of the same studio from Jeff. The second photo includes Keith, Jim and Paul in a pub "around the corner" from the studio that we went to. Believe it had "grapes" in the name. I believe the date must have been April 30, 1966 because the NME concert was on May 1. Thanks for showing the pic to Jeff. Way kewl! If he happens to see these and has any revelations as to the studio, I would greatly appreciate hearing. Thanks again! Nancy
Nancy persevered in trying to find out who the mystery man was. She guessed, not sure how, that it
might be producer/composer Simon Napier-Bell. She tracked down an email address for him and sent him
Hello Mr. Napier-Bell, I was at a recording session of the Yardbirds in London in April, 1966 for Over, Under, Sideways Down and am trying to locate the recording studio. I had won a trip to London and this was a part of the tour. Could this possibly be you at the piano with Jeff Beck in the attached photo I took that day? I've also included another photo of the rest of the group in the studio. Would this have been the Advision Studio at 83 New Bond Street? I'm planning an August visit to London and would like to try and relocate the studio for old times sake. Thank you for your time! Nancy Wilkins Dallas, Texas USASimon Napier-Bell responded;
Hi Nancy How lovely to see those two old pictures. Strange seeing the Yardbirds in their nice jackets, and Paul Samwell-Smith even wearing a tie - how the image of rock has changed! Yes, that's definitely me at the piano with Jeff Beck. The arrogance of youth - I was probably telling him what notes to play in his solo. I wouldn't dare do so today. The studio was as you thought - Advision, 83 New Bond Street - but long gone. Advision moved to somewhere else and I think it's now just a basement stockroom for a Bond Street store. Thanks for the pictures. Two prize ones for my collection. All the best SIMON
So now we can't resist contacting Simon ourselves....so many questions!
Simon, Recently you responded to a Nancy Wilkins regarding old Advision Studios photos af youself, Jeff Beck,and the rest of the Yardbirds. I am the editor and head of a Jeff Beck unofficial fan club linked to his official .com site - www.ainian.com. We published the initial at the piano photo in Issue 16 of our Jeff Beck Bulletin I asked Jeff it was you. He dismissed it it as not being Chris due to the profile but couldn t remember. Thank you for validating my hunch. We would be so honored if you could comment on the John's Children session "But She's Mine" available on a compilation. I believe it was also a B side single at the time, any other session that you may have produced with him that has slipped through the cracks, and your impression of his guitar playing as it pertained to the Advision sessions which of course took a lot of material and morphed it into the genius of your and Paul's efforts as the finished product for Roger The Engineer UK release and susequently altered by their record company subsidiary of Columbia that at the time had no clue for proper marketing of big rock acts, Epic Records. Thank you in advance for your consideration of our request to jot down a few responses at your liesure. We truly would be honored. Kind Regards, Dick WyzanskiThe response;
Hi Dick You'll find all I can remember of the Roger the Engineer sessions in my book You Don't Have To Say You Love Me - I can't think there's any more I can add to that. The other three studio sessions I did with Jeff were - Happenings Ten Years Time Ago - But She's Mine, for John's Children - and Beck's Bolero, which I produced, although Mickie Most later put his name to it. In all cases, as his wont, Jeff, quickly and brilliantly, played the solos required of him with the minimum of fuss, and usually with a cup of tea at hand. Any problems with the sessions came from the others - particularly Jimmy Page, with Beck's Bolero. I'm not sure where the solo for But She's Mine was done, but I think it was done at the same time as Jeff was putting his solo on Happening Ten Years Time Ago, which means it was at De Lane Lea Kingsway. The Yardbirds were on tour with the Rolling Stones and the record was made by flying one member down each day from wherever they were, then making the record much like modern records are made, with a click track and each artist overdubbing his part. I remember that Jeff flew down from Newcastle, and he arrived having forgotten his guitar - quite difficult to do, I would have thought, when you were flying to London specifically to play guitar on a record. But we obviously resolved the situation because at the end of the day we had the solo we needed (and apparently the John's Children one too). The making of Beck's Bolero was another matter altogether. It was done at IBC Studios in Portland Place. I produced it - Jeff and Jimmy Page were on guitars, and Keith Moon on drums (I can't remember who was on bass, but I would guess John Paul Jones, since I used him always on session work and he was close with Jimmy.) Jeff as always played what he was meant to play well, and without any fuss. Jimmy, as I recall, fussed a lot, though I can't remember what about, and anyway the record ended up pretty good, so who cares. Cheers SIMON
There you have it. Personally I think it's possible Jeff didn't recognize Simon because if he's anything
like me, he would need glasses to see a picture that close up. Hah. BA) It seems that not only is Simon
a talented producer/composer, he can also throw a mean party. Here's a pic of a celebrity filled one he threw
that featured 'circus' performers circa the 70's we're guessing by the clothes or would that be no clothes.
This type of performance (or so I'm told by DW, BA) was common in the Studio 54 days where celebrities
were 'lined up' to check out the 'entertainment'. Not sure, could that be David Bowie to the right? It was found
on the internet thanks to Ed C. on the site 'nme.com', photo courtesy Rex Features.
In 2006 Jeff Beck started his U.S. retrospective career tour at Ruth Eckard Hall in Clearwater, Fl. So it was only fitting that I made the trek to the tour finale, my first, with much anticipation especially after a brilliant show in West Palm Beach the week before. The three and a half hour drive over to the Florida west coast went by like a five minute snooze.
First stop was the Clearwater Hyatt Hotel on the beach to meet young Tyler Bryant for an afternoon sit down interview.
I met Tyler and his manager Genevieve Jewell in the coffee shop and after snapping a photo,
Tyler has an EP out starting off with the unbelievable “My Radio” featured as the alternate ending live video on the 'Rock Prophecies' movie. I told him it reminded me of Who type energy complete with the vocal stuttering inflections like “My Generation.” Tyler picked right up on that and said Yeah the Who and the Stones”……as influences on his writing. I have heard from other sources that Tyler’s appetite for old classic rock and blues of every genre and type is voracious. The recording session for Tyler’s song “Who I Am”, backed by Paul McCartney drummer Abe Laboriel Jr. and Joe Bonamassa bassist Carmine Rojas, is the regular ending of 'Rock Prophecies', It also made the “cut” for Guitar Hero V video and is another great Tyler Bryant performance. I asked if that was cut at the same studio (Sunset Marquis) in LA. Tyler indicated it was not and that the EP was cut at Echo Mountain studios in Ashville, NC and that more sessions were pending with talented award winning producer Dave Nichols.
Before leaving for another interview Tyler signed my Beckology box and said it was an honor. I told him the honor was all mine to which Peter Mackay said the dearest, nicest thing to me. “It’s people like you, Dick, that help pay my salary” …… talk about being stoked for the evening show!
Coming soon………………………Show review and backstage report.
Be seeing you
After the Tyler interview at the Hyatt I drove over to Ruth Eckard Hall, a premier acoustic designed performing arts theatre, to start the slow burn countdown to the show. Eventually at the Will Call window I was met by Doc Feelgood Beckologist, Sid. It’s always a treat when two Jeff Beck multi-decade die hard fans meet for the first time. Just like the movie Close Encounters Of The Third Kind there is that knowing without many words exchanged of the same sound, the same vision that only Jeff Beck imparts in those souls, bringing them to the same spiritual plane of the melodic symphony of his Stratocaster.
We had pre-purchased tickets as comps become scarcer as destiny re-rises Jeff to the public mass audiences and industry accolades. However we had nosebleed 26th row because of all the good seats having been reserved for that theatres regular patrons, a common arts organization ploy no matter who the artist is or whether those patrons follow the artist or indeed even show up (as some did to shamelessly attempt to pawn their tickets……most thank god unsuccessfully…….to non-existent additional throngs past sold out status as the show had been “Sold Out” for some time. I managed to get a hold of both Peter and Tyler’s manager Genevieve with the wonderful golden age of Blackberry messaging and held my breath. Lo and behold when we picked up the After Show Passes the ticket machine started to print out the “just in case artist reserved tickets” and we landed perfect 11th row center seats. My son Rich and his girlfriend Keri pulled in at the last second from their three and a half hour jaunt from the east Fl coast and we went inside just as the stage crew was making last minute preparations with Jeff’s gear, the band’s stage gear, and the little light on the side of one smaller amp which was reserved for the command appearance of young Tyler at the appropriate place for the encore.
Seated finally we saw Peter waving from the stage. At first it didn’t click but then I realized he was making a gesture to ask if we had found the seats and everything OK. We smiled and waved OK back and then bang….a minute later or so the stage went black, the stage lights shone, and Tyler Bryant took the stage solo with his Guild D-50 Bluegrass custom acoustic guitar (plugged in) a small Wah Wah pedal available, and the lone vocal Mic to start his set.
Both visually contorting with sweat and playing like there was no tomorrow Tyler transformed some of his songs both
currently on his My Radio EP and some others from his repertoire and absolutely rocked and delighted the house. I
haven’t seen an audience react like that to an opener for a major act since Johnny Winter opened for Led Zeppelin in
Boston in the late sixties!!! Tyler’s set list for the show was:
Like It's The Last Time Lipstick Wonder Woman Paper Planes Rock & Roll Girl Where I Want You (From The Now Available Tyler Bryant Ep “My Radio” at www.tylerbryantmusic.com )The show closer featured some mean Wah Wah shred and Tyler added a few closing Blues shred based runs that slowed down to the classic four bar climb down to then thrash the ending. Reminding the crowd that he would have shown up wearing Tutu dress just to be able to open for Jeff Beck, he also reminded everyone that they were about to witness a legend.
Our friend Doc has consented to share his very timely well written review of the show so we’ll insert that here, say ditto for me, and just say that in general I was once again amazed at the precision execution, the dynamic melodic balance between the whole band, and the energy that everyone shared as they realized this was the last gig and simply “let it all hang out.” Kudos to Jeff on the encore’s especially trading fabulous licks with Tyler and a perfect pitch Nessun Dorma….sending tears down the cheek and rising with the swell of hearts!!
I first met him personally in 1973, thanks to Carmine Appice, and now have had the pleasure of speaking with him six times. I have been to his concerts 17 times, and on Saturday, May 7, 2011, I attended the best of the best. From the opening number the Grammy winning “Plan B”, to the third encore “Nessun Dorma”, Jeff Beck was in a zone of unequalled virtuosity. There were only two flubs, he came in too soon with the theme line (“Plan B”); and the other was more technical with his pedal board (for “Blue Wind“ the effect didn‘t engage as he stepped his foot on it for the opening lick).
On each selection where he relied on the harmonics to deliver spot on melody -it worked. He played his main fave Strat for the first five songs, but during the fierce solo on “Hammerhead” a string must’ve broken, as on the next tune “The Women Of Ireland “ ("Mná na hÉireann")he was given his back-up by guitar tech Steve Prior, as well as shedding his jacket.
The set so far: “Plan B”, “Stratus”, with a drum solo that was totally from another world, and the crowd went ape-shit. Rhonda, Jason and Jeff in show band fashion all turned sideways and saluted Narada Michael Walden in a gesture that was akin to a showband saying “Go, go, go!” as they played that repetitive riff whilst the drummer soloed. Jeff was over close to Rhonda and Jason was on a riser right behind Jeff; “Led Boots”, since forming this band, they have absolutely owned this tune, as it contains the original drummer from the WIRED album on it, and no other skinsman has nailed it like Narada does. “Corpus Christi Carol”:, simply beautiful and sweet; the afore-mentioned “Hammerhead” (also a Grammy winner) - strong and forceful; “The Women of Ireland”, haunting, mystical and engaging. The audience loved Rhonda’s stand up bass solo.
Next Jeff came to the mic and said, “This delightful creature - Rhonda Smith” and Rhonda ripped the place apart with her bass solo segment. Near the end, Jeff and she did a little at move at each other bit that was sexually suggestive, but not over the top as their respective axes came close to mating as they pseudo-gyrated at each other. The funky ninth chords and chicken picking licks that Jeff did were a bit different this night. It was funk n roll indeed. A huge ovation followed this. “People Get Ready” was next and it got plenty of yelps and screams as the familiar chords in the opening rang out. Jeff played the melody a little different in spots to good effect and Jason did a nice and well received piano solo. “You Never Know” featured an intense guitar-synth battle with Jeff pulling out his entire bag of tricks as Jason threw it right back at him. The audience rewarded the effort with thunderous applause.
One of the absolute highlights was up next in “Big Block”. The powerful beats by Narada, the throbbing bass guitar by Rhonda and Jeff had a complete rave-up on this number. His reward - the biggest standing ovation of the night so far at the song’s coda. The mood calmed down as he then went into “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”. This classic ditty was totally on point. The harmonics and dramatic high notes delivered with the whammy bar - all worked perfectly. Jeff Beck was in that zone - it was all cylinders firing up. Another huge ovation.
He then was given his main Strat by Prior as he stepped to the mic and said, “I steered clear of Jimi (Hendrix) long enough, now I can do this” as the band launched into “Little Wing”. The sold out Ruth Eckerd Hall loudly gave their approval of the familiar Hendrix classic. The singing of Narada was good and to the point and Jeff was, can I simply say - Jeff. The guitarist made this his own. The ovation and cheers at the end were long and loud. A guitar change was in order again as they delivered a killer rendition of “Rollin’ And Tumblin’”.
Rhonda’s vocal was bluesy/soulful all at once with the perfect amount of grit. The guitar riffing and solo were intense and on a mission. Hard to imagine Rod Stewart on the version he cut with Jeff Beck topping this one.
Can we say another ovation? Yes we can.
The awkward start as Jeff plonked his own forehead when the pedal didn’t engage correctly for the opening riff of “Blue Wind” soon gave way to a well executed reading of this Beck staple. Guitar change time again - this time for the Grammy winning “Dirty Mind”. Jeff did different rhythm riffs and Rhonda seemed like she was gonna hyperventilate on the moaning and groaning parts and NMW, well the drum solo was once again from another galaxy as he goaded the audience to say “Go” and he would pound in different responses with super fast around the horn fills and double bass polyrhythms.
Jeff played quite a bit of War’s “Low Rider” in the breakdown. The crowd response: Ovation! Guitar change once again and time for absolute devastation - “Brush With The Blues”. The whammy dives, crescendos, finger taps, high screams, super fast licks and sudden stop-on-a-dime soft moments were otherworldly. Guess what, another huge audience standing ovation.
One thing of note, as the show went on, and everyone was seated, the ushers and usherettes, whom were mostly senior citizens, all were lined along the walls manning their positions. Each and every one of them was facing the stage and never stopped looking at the show - they seemed to be in shock. It was quite a nice site to see.
Back to the set: The regular show closing “A Day In The Life” was next. (The fourth Grammy winning tune performed this night). Most of the time when this is played, the audience goes wild from the opening licks, this time is was a slower build. By the time the wild section was over and it went back to the familiar theme - Jeff and band had them going bananas. Another ovation followed as Jeff introduced the band.
Regular set ended at 10:12PM eastern time. It had started at 8:59PM.
Long ovation, cheers, clapping and stomping brought Jeff, Rhonda, Jason and Narada back out for “How High The Moon”. The crowd stayed standing and most were dancing and bopping along to this classic Les Paul/Mary Ford hit. As I am sure everyone knows, he played a Gibson Les Paul on this song. He then switched to his main Strat and the band launched into a funk me, rock me version of Sly and The Family Stone’s “I Want To Take You Higher”. In the breakdown section, Jeff brought 20 year old opening act Tyler Bryant for a shred fest jam.
Tyler came out blasting and challenging Jeff to answer him. Whereas Jeff Beck seems to not like guitar show-off battles, he couldn’t let the youngster have his cake and eat it too, so the Guv’nor fired back, and Tyler served him a fuselage of licks and Jeff had to have the last word as he literally shredded the city of Clearwater off the map. The crowd was up dancing and yelling the whole time.
Things returned to very serene as the show closing “Nessun Dorma” was delivered in a picture perfect frame. Not a bad note nor any missed touches.
The band took bows and Jeff thanked everyone for a great tour and thanked his crew and as they were leaving the stage, Jason Rebello leaned into the microphone and said, “Jeff Beck ladies and gentlemen, Jeff Beck!”.
No more need be said.
Opening act Tyler Bryant was very well received. He entered the stage at 8:03PM and exited at 8:29PM. He also got a standing ovation at the end of his 26 minute set.
Then there was the intermission until 8:59PM.
Jason Robello was first to saunter in. Doc traded some music based info back and forth and we both commented how this was the funkiest most bad ass lineup and that gave Jason more freedom to explore his jazz roots without having to worry about being too Jazzy. He noticed my Beckology Box (he had signed it a few years ago) and I told him I was hoping to see Rhonda as she had not come out in Boston (See Issue #16) last June. Jason quipped “Oh kind of like (she was) the missing linx.” Hah!
Narada Michael Walden then buzzed in full of energy and looked like he could go another full set on the skins. Again he and Doc got into some musical discussions (later on Doc would get Narada and Jason to discuss how the band meetings go and suggestions for set list variations……even some Yardbirds trivia playfully thrown at Doc by Narada just to see how sharp he (Doc) was. Narada also signed Kerri’s jean jacket on the back and added the same big smiley face he does when he signs autographs……just a joy to be around. Like a hot potato he was in and gone down the hall.
Tyler strolled in and again we congratulated him and took some more photos. His manager came by with some My Radio EP’s and then Tyler took off down the hall.
We waited quite some time for Jeff. Finally after about an hour Peter led him in complete with a patriotic scarf around his neck. I re-introduced Jeff to my son who he had not seen in years and told Jeff that Rich and Keri were both LMT’s just like one of Jeff’s frequent tour guests Dr. Dot. “ Dr. Dot, Dr. Dot Jeff exclaimed. Yeh she’s really strong” …….If you like a good strong massage then she’s your girl”. Then picking up where he left off being proud of his recent weight loss proclamation at Sunfest a week before added “Look at me now. I’m all skin and bones.” Jeff also signed the Japanese Emotion And Commotion Box with the scaled mini Strat for Rich and Keri’s jean jacket alongside of Narada’s signature. As I was taking a photo of Jeff with Rich and Keri Jeff spontaneously just started laughing uncontrollably and muttering (again continuing on where he left off at Sunfest) about Jennifer’s photos especially the one with her fake ripped open stomach.
I had sent Harvey (not apparent at the show) an email stating that Doc would be bringing with him for Jeff a copy of the original letter Doc had sent as the first person to the President of the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame urging the Rock Hall to induct Jeff Beck as a solo artist. I motioned Jeff to Doc who struck up the old acquaintances once again and presented Jeff with the letter. Jeff was absolutely stunned and half in awe and half in jest he stood up rigid with a long lingering salute and kept shaking his head in disbelief. Doc took this opportunity to get some upcoming fresh news out of Jeff who obliged with the mention of a private gig (the one they did before Bournemouth on the 8th of June with Lulu, Roger Taylor and a cast of thousands as a warm up gig for their European tour, a “Tech Gig” they called it. Then Doc motioned me over for a photo with him and Jeff and Peter Mackay quipped “Don’t you have enough pictures Dick?” Jeff chimed in laughing with “Yeh what’s up with that Dick?” after the photo Peter motioned Jeff that it was time to head out and we all wished both Peter and Jeff well.
Not to be forgotten, Rhonda was still in her dressing area right across the hall. Peter, sensing that we wanted to speak to her just shrugged his shoulders and motioned us over there saying “She’s in there.” (Go ahead). We politely poked our head through the foyer to her area and Rhonda came right out bursting with smiles as she did. After a couple of photo ops I asked her to sign my Beckology box which she did with “All the Bass”…..Rhonda Smith. She told me it was an honor but I cut her short telling her no the honor was all mine. She seemed in a great mood so I hit her with “You know Jeff once had an interview in the late 60’s in a famous Rock n Roll Magazine talking about Bass Players.” “What did he say? They Suck?” she laughed coyly as I was taken by laughter and surprise. “No he said that most of them were originally frustrated six string players “……that found it more manageable to handle four strings. However I quickly pointed out “….”but then came Jack Bruce and Stanley Clarke, Bootsy Collins, Larry Graham, and then of course people like Marcus Miller and yourself included.” She thanked me and then excused herself to get ready to go to the tour bus which was imminently leaving.
Meanwhile unbeknownst to me at the time Doc slid away and found Jason and Narada down the Hall to continue their wonderful musical discussions. Stay tuned for more Doc for more from Narada Michael Walden. Rich and Keri slid out to their car to do the long trip back as they had to work the next day and me? I just sauntered out into the night to run through the music of the night and the wonderful memories of Peter’s hospitality and Jeff’s phrasings still fresh in my ears.
Be seeing you.
Ed Chapero, Keep Diggin! Doc, Let's tag team again Alex, From one JB to another Sharon Hoffman, Sunfest rules! Paul and Young Ron, Stupid questions allowed Jeff's promo to come up 16 times in five days. You guys are geniuses. Tyler Bryant, See you in Miami Genevieve Jewell, Go Bruins! Tim Kaiser, No soup for you! Joe Bonamassa, Love live Stop Jennifer Batten, I said get off the throne! Nancy Wilkins, Yardis forever Simon Napier Bell, Thanks Sir Peter Mackay, Keep up the reputation Harvey Goldsmith, I'm glad FL brought you weather relief! Serena, Wonderful kind arrangements Meliissa, Ditto and great Leno coup! Bill, Read this twenty times it 'll give you an 'orrible drag Family, Been a great ride Toyota Verizon Canon The teary eyed lady who cried during a Jeff solo in Clearwater Toshi and all Japenese fans we love you!!! Eric Mirrell, Great Iridium reporting Tom Werman, "What Is and what will Never Be" Buddy Davis, Jeff sends his best always. Me, never thanked myself before ....and Jeff....lookin' trim with that weight off. Keep up the good work!