No one would be totally suprised then, as a road crew member remarked to me in a deja vu state, "The old Jeff has resurfaced. I'm going to be the last on back on that tour bus tonigt." So far Jeff has gone along with the Sony strategy for him which has been for Jeff to do a zillion interviews and extensive touring to back the CD. Part two of their plan, according to manager Ralph Baker, is to record another CD for early next year and tour again which will make people curious and aware of the first CD, so there will be a snowballing effect of sorts. The problem we see is that Jeff has to have the right material which last time took him ten years to come up with. The other dilemma facing Jeff is that historically he has not wanted fo either keep bands together for a lengthy period of time nor has he wanted to perform the same type of material repetetivly. The current show has new elements to it like bringing back 'Rice Pudding' and revered Muddy Water's 'Rollin' And A'Tumblin'', but is it enough to satisfy Jeff's need for creativity beyond the fun nights a tour can bring?
Jeff must eventually decide whether to just wait for another set of grooves and melodies to carry on with his guitar 'voice' persona or investigate some other avenues such as doing collaborations with other name artists or ecclectic projects such as an all blues CD or an all Chemical Bros. or Prodigy type groove with a heavy guitar CD. Stagewise his playing has never been better. He is truly the god of electric guitardom. However, the throngs that go to see him now more than ever before react to and want basically one thing. They want to see Jeff front and center with volume heads above the rest playing some medium to slow number wringing every last little wail and whammy bend to it's utter emotional breaking point. The late Cozy Powell said it best when he remarked in an interview that you could have just about anyone on stage with Jeff, it didn't matter. It was always Jeff they came to see.
Thank God for Jennifer Batten's infusion of creativity and energy. Ditto for Steve and Randy. It is enough however to keep Jeff going in his current direction or will it just lead him back........to the crossroads?
Compared to the Cincinatti show in March, the sound was much better this time. Jeff's guitar was not overwhelmed or buried in the mix. The band played for one hour fifty minutes. Although the set list is largely the same as the previous tour, there are several significant changes. The band plays a great version of Muddy Waters' Rollin' and Tumblin'. There is also a three-song medley: Rice Pudding (1 minute 20 seconds), Going Down (1minute 30 seconds), and unknown (1 minute). They have also eliminated Steve Alexander's drum solo.There are still several licks from Beck's Bolero in Space For The Papa, but it is very subtle (a true fan will catch it).
Jeff was visibly enjoying himself on stage. With a smile he blew a visible cloud of powder off of his guitar near the end of Where Were You. He also intentionally stepped in the way of Randy Hope-Taylor several times as he tried to cross the stage past J.B. The band was very tight, with Jennifer Batten holding her own on lead guitar. She also did her usual excellent work with the MIDI effects. Randy had a nice 6-7 minute bass solo during Even Odds. It was a night of guitar mastery, ranging from sweet and melodic to frantic and frenetic. The music world is truly blessed to have the talents of Jeff Beck to appreciate.
The Set List: Rice Pudding (45 seconds)/What Mama Said Psycho Sam Brush With The Blues Star Cycle Savoy Blast From The East A Day In The Life Declan THX138 The Pump Rollin' and Tumblin' 'Cause We've Ended As Lovers Space For The Papa Rice Pudding/Going Down/Jack Johnson (M. Davis)ed. Angel Even Odds Blue Wind Where Were You Big Block Slingshot
Once the gang hit the stage at 9:10, they were on fire. Phenomenal! This was my 6th Beck concert--3 in Chicago, and the 3rd in Atlanta over the last 25 years, and this was at least as good as the There & Back tour. His heart is really back into it. I think it's ironic that you featured those Jeff Beck guitar picks on your page for the Who Else tour, since I was finally close enough to realize THAT HE NEVER PLAYS WITH A PICK ANYMORE. Not once. I don't know how long he's been doing this, but he sounded great. The current touring lineup from the Who Else sessions might be making the difference. Backing up Santana years ago here in Atlanta, he seemed to be going through the motions. Though I'm not keen on Who Else, compared to his other releases, that CD really comes across better live. Replacing She's A Woman with A Day In The Life was also fantastic. An hour into the set, Jeff accidentally shredded 5 of the Strat's 6 strings in the middle of a song, but his handlers were great. Show was an 1 hour, 50 mins, with 1 encore. Crowd really liked his rendition of Rollin' & Tumblin'. This is a long & grueling tour for a 55 year old man, but he's got the heart of a 25 year old. MY ADVICE TO YOU THAT MAY HAVE BEEN DISAPPOINTED WITH HIS LAST 2 U.S. VISITS TO YOUR TOWN, GO SEE JEFF BECK ON THIS TOUR. YOU'LL BE GLAD YOU DID. - John G
Set List was as follows: Intro - First few bars of Rice Pudding What Mama Said Psycho Sam Brush With The Blues Star Cycle Savoy Blast From The East A Day In The Life Declan THX 138 The Pump Blues Traditional Jam - This had Jennifer and Jeff trading licks. My favorite song of the night. (Muddy Water's Rollin and A Tumblin')ed. Cause We Ended As Lovers Space For The Papa / Bolero Rice Pudding Going Down / Band Doing Hot Jamming Angels Even Odds / Ya Never Know Blue Wind Sling Shot Where Were You Big Block
I drove about 3 hours to Tampa yesterday with my son, a second generation fan, to see Jeff Beck's performance without a ticket in hand. I knew in advance there were plenty of seats available in the Ice Palace Arena which seats around 15000, and if needed I'd pay a little more for good seat from a scalper. After we parked [$10.00-right across the street] I looked for the scalpers- First one I came upon had great seats- I lucked out. Guess where we sat? FIRST ROW dead center- Right there in front of my God with a totally unobstructed view. Heaven on Earth! Johnny Lang is on the tour with Jeff but cancelled out last night due to "Pink Eye" A local Tampa player named Damom Fowler played a quick 25 minute set. I had seen this guy before opening for Trower at HoB, Orlando. Good blues player.
At 9:07PM the Beck band took the stage to a huge warm reception. [The place was about full but some had come to see teen heartthrob Lang] The band opened with the industrial beat of 'What Mama Said'. Jeff appeared a few moments later- in front of his two Marshall JCM 2000DSL heads and three Marshall bottoms. Steve Alexander was behind a massive Sonor drum kit on two foot risers. Jennifer Batten was house right in front of Peavey keyboard amps and Peavey 4X12 bottoms. Jeff was playing a Vintage White Fender Strat. It had a Strat Plus style whammy bar and roller nut and Jeff is using stock Strat pickups these days. Behind the band was a screen with projected graphics, reminded me of the old days at the Fillmore East with the Joshua Light Show and Joe's lights.
Setlist as I remember it-
WHAT MAMA SAID-Smokin tune - Great cut to open with. You might have seen him do this on "Dave Letterman" PSYCHO SAM-Nice powerful driving tune from start to finish with some Austin Powers - 'Oh Behave' samples -He performed this on "Conan". BRUSH WITH THE BLUES- The beauty of this number is that it isn't a twelve bar, but an artsy-jazzy blues-number with a twist...and a huge bite. A perfect example of why Jeff Beck is the Greatest...the place goes nuts.Jeez, these people appreciate greatness. STAR CYCLE- With Jennifer Battan playing the keyboard part via Midi and ya can't tell the difference from Hymas. SAVOY-Jennifer playing this lightning quick keyboard runs on the guitar. BLAST FROM THE EAST- This is a weird eastern sounding song with a freaky time signature. It blows my mind. A DAY IN THE LIFE- Beatles tune that was truly spectacular. Words can not describe this- Awesome tones from Beck's guitar coming across with much emotion. DE CLAN-Steve Alexander came down from behind the drums to play a keyboard placed in front of the drum riser. A simply beautiful tune. THX 138-More great slide work from Jeff. It's a steal slide that he wears on his middle finger- His intonation is incredible. THE PUMP-My all time favorite Beck Tune! He did not disappoint me... LED BOOTS-Jeff uses a BOSS Flanger on this one. ROLLING & TUMBLING- Old cover tune. I remember Johnny Winter doing this tune years ago Jeff whips out the slide again. CAUSE WE'VE ENDED AS LOVERS- A classic ballad-beautiful rendition of one of Jeff's signature tunes from the multi million seller "Blow by Blow". RICE PUDDING- Here was a treat for me from the Beck-Ola record. Powerful and heavy. GOING DOWN- Another treat from the Orange Album, without the vocal of course. Who needs a damn singer? ANGEL- This tune tugs a your heart-strings. Simply magnificent haunting slide work- My favorite from the NEW record. YOU NEVER KNOW-Jennifer takes her first guitar solo. She can play with ANYONE FOLKS! Anyone! BLUE WIND- An old favorite with balls. Encore= WHERE WERE YOU- This was the first song of the encore. I could have listened to this all night played over and over- I still don't know where all those effortless harmonics are coming from... SLING SHOT- Heavy rocker to close.What more can I say? I saw my hero last night with my son and I nor he, will never forget the experience. Jeff has lost nothing, he can still rock, play, groove, and thoroughly and simply OUTCLASS all of his competition. His fingerpicking technique is incredible, his rhythm playing was more involved than you can imagine, and every darn finger on that right hand has a responsibility of it's own, and he is without a doubt a fascinating slide player. Jennifer Batten is marvelous-she covered the MIDI parts so smoothly you had to look to realize that Tony Hymas wasn't there. The overall chemistry in the band was great, a lot of laughing and getting off on each other, and the audience response from this over 40 crowd was warm, respectful, and just great. Some thoughts need some sleep. I was blown away I want to quit my job and follow the tour around the country [HeHe- I'm still a kid at heart]Phenomenal Beck extends the boundaries of what the guitar can do and say...Intense Techno-metal at times at it's best, densely packed stuff Hottest I'd seen him was on the "There and Back" tour in 1980 with Tony Hymas and Simon Phillips- This was better- I saw him first in 1967 at Fillmore East with Wood, Stewart, and Mickey Waller- One criticism- The overall mix from where I sat had the bass and kick-drum over Jeff's guitar- I was moved and pounded all night by a kick-drum the hair on my arms were standing. It was very dominant. I would have rather my ears been bleeding from Beck's guitar...One last bit of info - Jeff used a pick for many thunderous blurs of note representations you hear on some riffs and the fingernail on his right hand thumb is indeed long and very resourceful.] Jeff blows a puff of smoke [talcum powder?] from the face of his guitar at the end of Where Were You, could mean that he does it like a magician [smoke and mirrors] the Harmonics are truly magical. He also faces his Strat to the heavens while blowing kisses, as if thanking the man above for the gift he has received...Mike Verderosa
A Day In The Life - "Emotional instrumental interpretation" doesn't start to express it. Jeff played it as if his next veggie burger was riding on it. Declan - As above - it simply couldn't get any better than that. Rollin'&Tumblin' and the Rice Pudding/Goin' Down medley - The crowd loved these "tributes" to the past. So did Jeff from the ferocity of his attack on these. Angel(Footsteps) - I've heard Jeff do some less than "perfect" slide over the pickups endings to this difficult piece, but there wasn't a clunker to be heard here - nailed it to the max! You Never Know - The definition of "precision. One hell of an ending! Jennifer Batten was also nothing short of astounding in her technique & MIDI contributions to the success of the show. Her blazing lead trade-offs with Jeff during some tunes were a real crowd pleaser, and she really pushed Jeffs' playing over the "edge" at times. At the end of Big Block - Jeff held his Strat behind his neck as Jennifer playfully (and pretty impressively) fingertapped some final riffs to the end of the song on his guitar - pretty wild.If a collectors video surfaces on this show, grab it-definite "must have" material. Show time was approximately 100 minutes.
Here's the set-list: What Mama Said Psycho Sam Brush With the Blues Star Cycle Savoy Blast From the East A Day in the Life Declan THX138 The Pump (very strange disjointed ending on this one) Rollin'& Tumblin' Cause we've ended as Lovers Rice Pudding/Goin Down Medley/Jack Johnson (M. Davis) Angel(Footsteps) You Never Know Slingshot ENCORE Where Were You Big BlockBest Regards-Thanks for all the great stuff! Greg Zayachuk/GREGACHUK@AOL.COM
After the show, my nephew and I went out to the bus and 45 minutes later, Jeff and the band came out. We (along with 15 others) led a standing ovation, and Jeff obliged us by coming over to say "Thanks for waiting." I asked him to sign my Telecaster, which he did. When my nephew shook Jeff's hand and told Jeff he was "the best". Jeff replied: "but you're wearing an Eric Clapton shirt!" We got a pic (to be developed) with Jeff, me and the Tele. Jeff then whispered to me: "Now you're going to sell it, right?" I replied in the negative, but I don't think I convinced him. My nephew was bending Steve's ear, and got him to promise to tell Jeff that the Telecaster would not be sold....at any price. Thursday night, Jeff comes back to Detroit. One night after Bonnie Raitt and the same night as Bruce Sprinsteen. What a week, eh? - Patrick Minnick
My partner in crime for 30 years Keith and I very excitedly went to see our hero Jeff Beck at the last show on the tour in Denver Colo at the Fillmore Auditorium. Very nice club, nice pictures from the Fillmore West.(Hendrix ,Santana,Joplin etc.) We were suprised that we could actually stand 10 feet from THE MAN. He looked like he was on a mission at first when he played "What Mama Said" and then "Psycho Sam", then he stared to smile as if to say "Can it possibly be true that this is the last show for awhile?" (anyone looking at the tour dates has got to understand what a monumental task he took on, barely a day off for months!!) As he started into "Brush with the Blues" he seemed so relieved that it was finally the last night that he almost couldn't contain his glee! THE MAN IS 55 YEARS OLD. My God, we should all be so fit and youthful. After a killer version of ''Brush" the band sensed his relief, too. They blasted thru ''Blast from the East" and made some 'Space for THE PAPA!' My favorite song from the new CD Angel(footsteps) was next, and if you've ever wondered what Heaven is like, give it a listen! THX 138, Led Boots,The Pump,Star Cycle,Cause We've Ended As Lovers, Savoy, Big Block,Where Were You, A VERY TOUCHING and truly beautiful Beatles A Day in the Life(Jeffs guitar WAS John Lennon singing, I swear!) Rolling And Tumbling and I think Blue Wind finished us off. Jeff's concerts always seem to end too soon, but they probably said that about Beethoven and Mozart, too! 2 hours and I wanted more, more, more!! Jeff looked so happy that all of us still love him, he truly seemed 25 years younger! I felt younger, too, my 42 year old bones suddenly transported back to my room, listening to Sophie and Come Dancing and Rock My Plimsoul and Morning Dew and all the Jeff Beck music that has meant so much to me, to my Life!! Like all the Beck-olas out there reading this, you know what I mean. Jeff Beck meant so much to me growing up, I wanted to look like him and definitely wanted to play guitar like him!! Oh, well, there's only 1 Jeff Beck, maybe that's his greatest accomplishment of all!! He is and continues to be an original. Rock on Mr Beck, thanks for the smile and salute at the Fillmore in Denver! (in an effort to get Jeff's attention at the last bow, I saluted him!I couldn't just clap!I admire him so much) I cant wait until the next tour, let's hope its next year!
Dressed in black jeans, a black waistcoat, and black boots, and still with a thatch of realistically dark hair, he seems astonishingly well preserved for a man of 55. And his aggressive demeanor and high tech approach confirmed the impression of a man whose distaste for the politics of mainstream pop has enabled him to keep his creative faculties finely honed. Particularly impressive was his apparently effortless assimilation of techno rhythm tracks and sampling techniques on numbers such as WHAT MAMA SAID and THX 138, two of several new numbers which made up in dramatic impact what they lacked in melodic finesse. Also new but in a more familiar vein, BRUSH WITH THE BLUES, in which Beck demonstrated a mastery of tone,echo, harmonics, feedback,wang bar bends,finger picking trills and just about any other techniques associated with the art of playing the electric guitar that was little short of supernatural. A carefully wrought version of the Beatles "DAY IN A LIFE" and a sensitive revival of the Stevie Wonder song "CUZ WE ENDED AS LOVERS" provided a brief respite from the storm. But this was a crackling, virtuoso display of one of rock's most durable, if cooly aloof heroes.
In short, I can't remember ever being more captivated at a musical performance. Jeff's guitar work was fantastic as anticipated, and I was equally impressed with the work of his fellow musicians. His bassist's work was fluid to say the least, and his rhythm guitarist provided flawless accompanyment. The drummer drove the beat right through my chest - not a beat missed.
One standout of the night was when Jeff pulled out a Telecaster and did an old number I remembered from the '70's. It sounded thin compared to his newer material - which is a tribute to his evolution as a musician. He also offered some great exchanges and mock conflicts, etc with the band - made for a little extra fun. In short, a two hour performance was over before I knew it, and I left wanting to know about his latest album - so I could buy it!!! Thanks for your contributions to documenting Jeff's performance life. He is truly the best at what he does, and has a style that has never been emulated successfully. I look forward to seeing him perform in another twenty years...and of course a few other times between now and then. Kurt Meyer
The Muse of Mischief and Murder Jeff Beck Interview by Jerry McCulley (Intro) Since the mid-60's, guitarist Jeff Beck has played in a league of one. In the technical realm, arguably no other electric guitarist since pioneer Les Paul (not surprisingly, one of Beck's boyhood heroes) has consistently pushed the instrument's envelope as far as the soft-spoken Englishman. More gratifying, Beck's compelling musicality can evoke both the elegance of Mozart and the fiery invention of Charlie Parker, often in a single, magically lyrical phrase. But just as quickly, Beck's playing can turn maniacally assaultive, reminding the complacent who the real Godfather of Metal is. Beck's inventive 18-month tenure in the groundbreaking Yardbirds remains a central part of their legend (despite the fact the band also counts Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page among its stellar ax-alumni) and the loud, bluesy Rod Stewart-fronted Jeff Beck Group he formed upon leaving the 'birds became the mold for Led Zeppelin and a whole generation of similar "heavy" bands that followed in his wake. In the 70's, Beck tellingly eschewed an offer to join the Rolling Stones to explore his nascent interest in jazz on the pioneering instrumental fusion albums "Blow by Blow" and "Wired". In the ensuing two decades, Beck released just a handful of albums, scoring Best Instrumental Grammies for "Flash" and his standout 1989 collaboration with drummer Terry Bozzio and keyboardist Tony Hymas, "Guitar Shop". And though largely out of the spotlight for much of the 90's, Beck was actually busy expanding a burgeoning career as a session player (see sidebar) and film scorer (including the BAFTA-honored "Frankie's House"). His 1993 album "Crazy Legs," a collaboration with retro-rockers The Big Town Playboys, was a vibrantly authentic tribute to another of his heroes, Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps guitarist Cliff Gallup. An ever-growing collection of lovingly hand-tooled street rods, the other love of his life, have also keep Beck busy for three decades. How deeply influential is Beck's legacy? We asked two wildly disparate musicians to offer their perspectives. Academy Award-winning composer Hans Zimmer, who hired Beck as a session player for the score to "Days of Thunder," recalls, "I saw him on television and my wife asked, 'Who's that?' I said, 'That's (ital)God!(Ital)' Does that explain how I feel about him? I think he is the most amazing musician I've ever worked with. The whole reason I did 'Days of Thunder' was a subterfuge to work with Jeff Beck, it was as simple as that. There's Jeff Beck and then there's everybody else!" Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen had this to say after his first listen to Beck's '99 collection, "Who Else!": "I can't remember the last time I picked up my guitar and tried to play along with somebody on a record. Even though I can't do what Jeff does, he inspires me to try. I've always said, from my very first interview until today, that Jeff Beck is (ital)the(ital) main guitar guy of all time. Jeff on a bad day is still good news!" But what does Jeff think of Beck? His answers may surprise you. (Unedited transcript) Q: You're known for taking an unusually long time between records, why is that? A: Mainly, it's that it's so hard to home-in on material, to find the right sources of material that fits me. I'm not easy to write for because I've got such a weird style, I suppose. Anything less than what I feel right would be uncomfortable, to say the least. I wait around a pick the moment and it's amazing how fast the time goes. In between times I'm doing other, personal things. Q: Is that how it works; other musicians come up with a framework that you play within? A: No, I don't even look. I've got a very select few friends who write and unfortunately they've got houses and families to look after. And we're not 18-years-old anymore so there's all these domestic obligations and stuff waiting for when the respected friends are free to write for me. In the meantime I write myself and do other projects. Q: Do you have a discipline to your writing? A: None whatsoever. I've got a complete garbage can at home full of stuff. I don't really consider myself a writer, so I destroy what I come up with, which is a stupid thing, really, 'cause some of it's good. Q: You sound like a painter who might make a lot of sketches he never uses. A: Yeah, doodle and cross out. It's not 'til somebody hears what I've done by accident and jumps on it and says, "Hey, what's that?" Then I see the merits, or not. I sometimes think that I've done something good and then it's shot down by somebody who can really write. In the meantime, I enjoy the time off away from the business. Stuff that I've been stripped of through my career. In the 60's, when most people were settled into a normal job and come home at 6 or 7 at night, I'd be out on the road missing life. I've been going backwards, looking at what I've been missing. A: What are the biggest public misconceptions about you? Q: I just think they think I'm a bit back-room mysterious, a bit edgy, a bit weird, probably. I don't think it's right, but people love to believe myths. They love to believe weirdness about people so they can make judgements about themselves. I think you can watch TV and see how weird people really are (chuckles)! Q: You seem like more of a private person, and that's easy to misinterpret. A: Probably so. I never have risen to massive popularity. I've always had to be at the back of the pack and that's been the best thing for me; to be slightly under the parapet, so to speak. Q: Are you uncomfortable with the notion of being a "Rock Star" icon? A: I suppose being associated with heavy blues, heavy rock, the Yardbirds - I mean they weren't really a Rock band, they were a Blues-Pop experimental band. I've never really been in a Rock band, as such, except maybe BBA with Carmine (Appice) and Tim (Bogert). I've never been in a "big-hair" Rock band, so to speak (chuckles)! I've been part of the engineering process of building that sort of music. Q: Is too much emphasis put on your past? A: I've done a lot of articles over the years explaining myself away. Once you strike people as a certain color, it sticks. I'm gradually getting rid of that. The Rod Stewart association is what's perpetuated that, but that wasn't Rock and Roll either. But he's a Pop/Rock star, so I take a little of that with me wherever I go. Q: Is it safe to say that your work as an instrumentalist is directly linked to your emotional state? A: Yeah. That's the way I want it, really. If one can pick up a guitar after 35 years and still feel like it's a way out to somewhere, a way through to somebody, the quickest way to it is to transpose the thought into feeling on the guitar. If it's too premeditated, it'll sound it. I need stuff to sound as if I'm just making it up. Q: Is it better for your playing to be angry or happy? A: It's a lot of things. A lot of pain, the same sort of emotions I suppose that Muddy Waters or any of the great Blues guys put in, I put into my style. There's mischief, there's murder! (chuckles) Certainly a lot of physical violence. Q: We won't talk about the murder, Jeff; I guess that's why you live on a big farm... A: They can't find the bodies there! (Laughs) Q: What criteria do you use in choosing session work? Q: It's probably being in the middle of a vacuum, a time of me not being productive in my own right. Sometimes there's a nice knock on the door or a nice phone call that's going to break up the week. If it's someone who I respect or have some interest in, like the Seal project, which was a really nice phone call. Roger Waters ("Amused to Death") was another one I enjoyed doing. I was really pleased with how it turned out, but disappointed it didn't do much. Paul Rodgers' Muddy Waters tribute was as much fun as it could possibly be, given that I knew all of those songs already. It was also frustrating, because I hardly saw Paul at all, I just overdubbed onto some multi-tracks. The Blue Caps tribute ("Crazy Legs") I really enjoyed. It was side-line really. What can I do to fill in the time-gap? A lot of people loved the Big Town Playboys, and I thought maybe I could do this to help them on their way, 'cause they deserve to make a splash somewhere. Lots of other things, George Martin ("In My Life"), Chrissie Hynde, which isn't out yet. It's on her new album. That's her on "Space for the Papa" on ("Who Else!"); a great Rock and Roll girl and a beautiful human being. While people think I've been sitting around with my feet up, I haven't been. I've done several attempts at album-making. One with Stewart Copeland, which I'm going to look at seriously, we did pretty much an album's worth of stuff, minus top-line guitars and melodies. It's wild and completely avant-garde. We actually recorded the sound of one of my cars with stereo exhaust pipes, the engines idling in a rhythmic manner and we just dialed in incredible sounds on top of it. It turned into more of a film score, than a performable live piece of work. Q: Do you ever feel you're constrained by whatever the genre "Rock" happens to mean at the moment? A: I take great comfort in watching the "Where Are They Now Files" on TV (laughs). It's funny and it's sad in equal amounts and a relief that I'm not in it! Some of the giants of Rock who I knew at the time are now happily retired doing things that you wouldn't imagine. I'm relieved that I'm still active even though I haven't achieved any of those great arena heights. I think that's maybe one of the best things about what I've done is to stay out of the big picture, keep in the B-movies (chuckles). Q: But then, you haven't made a lot of compromises either. A: I think that's what's going to keep me afloat, if anything. We shall see. Q: Have you made the "Perfect Jeff Beck Record" yet? A: Oh, no. I think that if ("What Else!") would do enough business for me to stay solvent then I could experiment and get the confidence back, because if you don't play on the road a lot and get some success your inner-drive just withers away a bit. I don't really have any huge hits to fall back on, so everything new I do has got to be that quest to make people a little bit more aware of what I do. As long as at the end of the evening there's some sense of achievement there, people feeling a bit better than when they went it, then the job's done. I don't mind mistakes, not catastrophic mistakes, but I don't mind people seeing me struggle if there's a result at the end of it. I don't really care for overpolished playing which has no real grit or experimentation within it. If everything's perfect, it lacks that danger-zone. In the Yardbirds I was allowed a free reign in that, and I've always tried to incorporate some of into what I do. Q: Sometimes the mistakes can turn out better than the intentions. A: (laughs) They can surprise you! Q: How do the gentler, more melodic songs like "Angel" on "Who Else!" or "Where Were You" from "Guitar Shop" fit into the scheme of things? A: I suppose it's a voice in me that's screaming to be listened to, or to reach somebody in a way that I haven't reached before. Lots of sugary, sentimental lyrics are around which mean something to the listener, but I've always held that the pure sound does more for me in terms of internal emotions. I listen to Bulgarian choirs and I haven't got a clue what they're singing about, but it doesn't matter what they're singing about, it's the blending of the sounds that hits you. So I single out some of the notes I hear in those incredible songs and use that as a sort of synthesization of that emotion and aim it straight onto tape. The simple melodies are what I find really attractive. Q: How much does your interest in cars affect your music? A: I've always thought there was a link between.. a living thing.. Whereas people delve into love stories or broken hearts, I go in for purely mechanical emotions and stay away from sugary love songs. That wouldn't fit me anyway. Even the Yardbirds songs that are related to emotions are very hard-edged, bluesy. I've always looked to inanimate objects to get inspiration from. Although it's inanimate, an engine is still a living, breathing thing. Q: Especially if you've crafted it with your own hands. Don't they become an extension of you? A: I can not be left idle. My brain starts to get negative with feelings of low-esteem. It's a sin to do be doing nothing; we're put here for a reason. Q: Where did that notion come from? A: When I skived off school, I achieved the skiving by lying or making out that I was ill. And then I felt this terrible sense of guilt that I'd convinced my own mother that I was ill. And what was it for? I didn't want to go to school, but I was sitting at home doing nothing. And probably having a worse time doing nothing! (chuckles) Now I've adopted this try to do good about it thing, so I try to occupy every spare moment to make up for all those times I cheated off school and make more of my spare time. I hate to be doing nothing. Obviously when I'm exhausted I sit back and watch TV or gather friends around but every waking moment I've got to be doing something. It's a good spiritual feeling to creating something all the time. I'm not really a grease monkey. I like to cut metal and weld it and create something, not anything to do with pride, it's just the need to do something and enjoy doing it right. Q: Growing up in Southern California, it's gratifying to me to see guys like Ed Roth or Robert Williams finally get treated as what they are - artists. A: Albeit eccentric. I think they're ulterior motives were "let's shock somebody or let's be wacky" but that's not my motive. My motive is I know I can drive this car when it's done 'cause I've done them so often. It's just that slotting together, fitting pieces together and making something whole out of unrecognizable lumps of metal. It is another form of art I took on rather than sit in front of a canvas and paint. You use the muscles in your body; everything's being used. If anybody asks "Where do you get your exercise?"; you try building a street rod and it'll show you what exercise is! Q: And they go a lot faster than paintings too, don't they? A: (Laughs) There is a result, yes! Q: If you had to give up one, cars or guitars, which would it be? A: That's a wicked, wicked one... Q: That's why I saved it for the end. A: The guitar would have to stay. It's still uncharted waters. I know I can build a street rod, it's a finite set of rules and I know exactly what happens. Music, I would have to say the mystery is still there. I know I can dream up a street rod and build it, whether it's as good or bad as I want it. But music and the guitar would still be the most enticing tool out of all that stuff. Although, I'd have to take other forms of physical exercise with it to equal the stress and strain of building a car. I love other things as well, building other things out of timber, clearing woodlands. Get active and feeling exhausted at the end of the day is a good feeling. And not having annoyed anyone is an even better feeling! (laughs)
I arrived at the Florida Theater about 4PM just as moviegoers were exiting a Sunday showing of a matinee. The road crew was anxiously awaiting the movies' demise to be able to continue setting up the equipment they had dumped off in the morning before the movie. I sat down front in the pit for the next 2 hours and was able to watch something I had never seen before, which was the entire Jeff Beck show being set up from start to finish. The thing that struck me was Dan Dearnly (Jeff's guitar tech) and Lawrence (Jennifer's tech) actually plugged in their star's axes, there was very little adjusting, playing of handling of the amps, boxes or guitars. With all the presets on Jeff's amps and simplified effects, Dan plucked Jeff's guitar strings maybe a grand total of ten times. Jennifer and her tech have all the MIDI effects equally as preadjusted and thus Lawrence needed minimal time to get her axe revved up.
Almost immediately I felt a tap on the shoulder. It was Jennifer Batten, we exchanged greetings and she was off to the stage area. Ralph Baker who had sauntered in got told I was in the house and came over to say hi. Ralph invited me upstairs to the catered area for the next hour or so. Over coffee we had the most wonderful of conversations on everything from his love of golf to the tour at hand and the Sony strategy for Jeff to come back next year. Meanwhile, the band had hurriedly taken the stage to do a quick soundcheck, basically consisting of the first three or four numbers of the show.
I went back to hotel where my wife, son and nephews were and gathered them for the evening. After collecting our comp tickets and aftershow passes, we proceeded to our seats. Sitting next to me was John Carter for the Jacksonville newspaper who did a nice review that we've included elsewhere on the page. Since I had been given permission to do photos of the show, I wasted no time introducing myself to the security guards who indicated that they would let me shoot from the edge of the stage. After the opening act finished, a comic, the band took center stage and fired off an opening volley of 'Rice Pudding' intros seguing into 'What Mama Said'. 'Brush With Blues' stood out during the early part of the show. Ralph muttered to me at the end of the night that Jeff played the blues exceptionally well this evening. Jeff unveiled some slamming slide work on Muddy Water's 'Rollin' And Tumblin' which brought the crowd to a standing ovation. 'Declan' was a perfect foil for the acoustics of the old theater and Jeff took off to the Irish heavens with bending sustains. Jennifer's MIDI 'pipes' were crystal clear and complimented Jeff perfectly. 'Rice Pudding' was a longer version which gave way to 'Goin' Down'. Just when the audience thought that there was a medley of old hits happening, a jazzy funk melody suddenly spawned from the band. It was a Miles Davis' tune that had caught Jeff's ear. I think it's called 'Jack Johnson'. Speaking of old hits, Jeff once again reprised lines from 'Bolero' during 'Space For The Papa' and grinned when the audience howled with approval. Towards the end of the show, Randy laid down a funky solo on 'You Never Know' which Jeff and Steve joined in on in the background. The way Jeff was slapping funky ninth chords over it, one flashed back instantly to the late sixties with Larry Graham and Sly and Freddie Stone!
On a personal note, Jeff, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for a wonderful performance and that I was fortunate enough to capture on camera from a very close range. By the way, you still owe me 'Heavy Metal Glam Dectectives'. A fair trade for setting up at Jones Beach for you the recieve 'Sparky's Magic Piano'. Hah. Seriously however this will be the last of my jounalistic efforts on Jeff for quite sometime as I am taking a much needed sabbatical. Hopefully Bill will carry on until my return. To all readers....thank you so much and keep you stuff coming into the website! "It is a far better thing that I do." - Dickens
Seeing Jeff Beck again after almost ten years did it for me. It opened my ears and touched my soul. What I heard that night touched me in a way I didn't believe possible. When I first heard of Jeff's show in April at The House Of Blues in New Orleans, without hesitation, I made the necessary reservations and was counting the days til the show. Being in New Orleans, one of my all time favorite cities, I considered to be a double bonus. We arrived a day early and were more than ready come show time. I had been to The House Of Blues several times before and the energy I felt walking through the doors that night was amazing. The House was SOLD-OUT to say the least, I never thought that place could hold so many bodies. I knew I was in for something special that night, just by the energy in the air. Little did I know, I was about to experience an evening of music that only dreams are made of.
That was the first night I met Chris Hill. Chris is Jeff's Audio Engineer and has been with Jeff for over 27 years. Doing the same thing that I did for over 15 years, we began to talk. Seems as though he knew a lot of the same people in biz that I did. Such as, we both knew Jimmy Hall, front man and founder of the Wet Willie Band. Jimmy did the vocals on Jeff's FLASH CD several years ago. After several minutes of talking about people we knew in the biz and generally talking shop to one another we found some common ground. This began what later would turn into a friendship. Chris is a very talented Engineer and a very integrate part of Jeff's band. Being with Jeff for so many years, Chris was not only the man who made the band sound so amazing, but a true friend of Jeff's. He's also the guy wo puts in 90% of the effects you hear live, because Jeff doesn't use many himself onstage. This also includes most of the different effects Jennifer transforms her guitar into. He is truly a gifted Audio Engineer that makes the band sound every bit as good as they are. He is one with the band. It was a special treat to watch and hear him mix. Being able to see the man who has changed the way a guitar can be played from the vantage point of the sound board was awesome.
When it was finally show time, I was more than ready to see Jeff and what next he had in store for us. Chris was kind enough to let us stand behind him at the sound board. It was the best seat the house to see and hear the greatest guitar player in the world. I have been a big J.B. for over 20 years and had seen him four times prior. In no way was I ready for what I was about to witness that night. Having just picked up "Who Else?" the same week of it's release, I had ample time to listen to it on the eight plus hour ride to New Orleans from Jacksonville. It was Jeff Beck alright, the signature licks and pull offs were there. It was a different, more evolved J.B. It seems as though he had found his niche in this techno world of ours. The relentless, hard-driving rhythm section of Randy Hope-Taylor on bass and the tireless drumming of Steve Alexander provided an excellent framework for Jeff and Jennifer to spin intricatle melodies. The only guitarist to play with Beck since the Yardbird days is the amazing Jennifer Batten. As Jeff put it, "She is the backbone of the band." The chemistry between Jeff and Jennifer is an amazing site to behold. Jeff Beck was back with a vengeance and with a band he enjoyed playing with. It was a great show, by a great band, that was only getting tighter with each passing gig.
I was invited backstage to meet the band by Chris. We talked as he tore down the board, racks of effects, and rolled miles of cable. The more we talked, the more we had in common. By getting to know Chris I never dreamed what would soon transpire. He is from England but now lives in Ireland. We both talked of our homes as he finished and we walked backstage. The room was very narrow and small, but the band was kind enough to come out for a while to talk and sign some autographs. We finally moved our way to the back of the room to a door with another small room inside. There he sat, sipping a Moet Mimosa, chatting with some fans. I was able to sit down and ask him a few questions, at long last. He was in a good mood and it showed. I commented on how he seemed to be having a lot of fun out there tonight. He stated he was playing music he enjoyed again. "It isn't that I don't like the old stuff anymore, it just feels a little stale to me now. I'm really having fun with the new stuff, it makes me feel alive again." Soon after, he was ushered out through a room full of people.
Chris told me they were heading to Japan after the two or three remaining gigs they had left. Then he said there may be a possibility they may come through the south in the late summer. To my amazement he invited us to the shows, if and when they came through the south. Of course, I accepted proudly not knowing that they would come through the south in August. When I found out they were coming for sure I got 5th row center tickets. Even though I knew I could get passes from Chris when they arrived, I wanted to see the new Jeff Beck as close as possible. I had made plans to take Chris and some of the band sailing along the St. Johns river, to check out beautiful Jacksonville from the water. Well, as it usually goes in the biz, time didn't permit and it also rained like hell, (like it always does every evening in Florida during the summer.)
Their time was limited for the load in because the Florida Theater was showing old movies every Sunday. They had to have all the equipment in and be out by 1:00, only to return at 5:00 to fininsh the set-up and hope for enough time for a sound check. He told me they had been in London rehearsing for two weeks after the Japan shows. He told me to be ready for a slightly different show than the one I saw in New Orleans.
When the band finally hit the stage a little after 9:00, everyone, including myself, was more than ready to see what they had been waiting for. The show was excellent! They had added more lights and a killer back drop. It was though you were heading down an endless highway into various different horizons at a high rate of speed. It worked the crownd almost into a state of frenzy at times, only to be brought back down to earth with the bluesy tunes placed perfectly throughout the show. It was an awesome ride through the night with J.B. at the wheel. They had added a few new tunes and, to my amazement, were a tighter unit than before. Jeff gave the people of Jacksonville everything they wanted and more that night. The band met with the guest that night after the show, although Jeff never made an appearance.
The next stop was Pompano Beach, Florida where they had a couple of well-deserved days off. There, Jonny Lang also joined the tour. Chris invited us to the remaining Florida shows, however, we only made the Tampa gig, Chris told me the Pompano show really went well. Everyone had a great time even though a hugh thunder storm blew in about show time. It was at an outdoor amphitheater, but the rain didn't seem to bother the fans. They were there to see Jeff Beck and some rain was not going to dampen their spirits. I only wish I could have made that show as well.
We arrived in Tampa only to find out Jonny Lang had been infected with a bad case of pink-eye. Although he still wanted to play, come sound check time his eyes were almost completely swollen shut. On doctors advice, he cancelled. Although I felt for Jonny, and would have enjoyed seeing him again, I was primarily there to see Jeff and his band. It did, however, bring back old memories of the night so long ago when Jeff was touring with Tommy Bolin. I was to see them in Tampa also, only to find out that Tommy had died the night before in Miami. Jeff later told me, "What happened to Tommy was a shock and a terrible tradgedy." Jeff dedicated the show that night to Tommy's memory. The show stands out in my memory as being inspired. After that night, I was a true Jeff Beck fan for life. Finding out Jonny was unable to play that night in Tampa brought on a sense of deja vu. Only this time there wasn't a feeling of grief in the air, just some upset teenagers wanting to see Jonny Lang. Most were without a clue about what they were about to see. Just as he had done so many years ago, Jeff took the weight of the show on his shoulders.
After a two plus hour blistering set, he left the entire place on it's feet, begging for more. The show was outstanding. The band caught fire on the first song, "What Mama Said" and never looked back. With every passing song the energy rose to a level that only Jeff Beck can create. The band could feel it as well. They were a finely tuned machine that was still growing tighter with every gig. Considering I had just seen them two days ago, I still completely enjoyed every minute of it, as did everyone in attendance, including the band. Jeff was in rare form that night. He spoke to the crowd several times with a huge smile on his face, that remained the entire evening. He was having fun doing what he does best, making a guitar do things that were unimaginable even to the most experienced guitar players. I felt truly blessed to be able to see and hear him perform his magic again, the way only J.B. can. When the show was over the band bowed out to an overwhelming standing ovation from the whole house. He had done it again, just as he had done some many years ago. Turned what could have been a bad situation into an evening that no one will soon forget.
As I sat there after the show watching and listening to the crowd slowly filing out the exits, I thought to myself, how fortunate I was to have seen Jeff Beck three times already in '99 and two times in 1 week. And the evening wasn't over yet! After a few minutes Chris came to get my wife, Jennifer, and me to head backstage. They had a room set up for the lucky few that had passes. We all sat and talked about the show, the band and, of course, Jeff. Shortly after, Jennifer came out, then Steve and Randy, to chat and sign autographs. Meanwhile Chris had disappeared for a bit, only to come get me and bring me to Jeff's dressing room. I showed Jeff the photo of us taken with him in New Orleans. He greeted us with a warm handshake and a big hug for my wife. We talked about music and then my wife, Jennifer asked him what he liked to listen to now. He said, "Not much, everything new is crap. I don't listen to much. I like something that's got some soul to it." We spoke of Woodstock '99 and how things had changed over the years. He was really bummed at what went down there. He then told us about when he had been home recently and went to see Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood at their rehearsal flat. He said, "Just look at those two and all they've been through. They are very close and hang out together all the time....They look after each other." (Keith needing all the help he can get.) He spoke of how musicians need to start looking after each other more. The sincerity in his voice was uplifting and caring. By this time, I was almost completely in shock. I never dreamed I would be backstage with Jeff Beck talking about the two Rolling Stone guitarists and such heavy things. AS we continued to joke around, he was more than happy to let me take some candid photos.
In all the excitement (or should I say my excitement?) I almost forgot to give a gift I had brought for him. I had an Indian (Native American) friend handmake a necklace with a precious stone held by a silken cord. It had been blessed to protect Jeff in his travels and to bring him home safely. I gave it to Jeff and told him of the blessing. He loved it. He immediately put it on and called it "Me Mojo". As we sat in the dimly lit room with several leather couches talking and drinking a little wine, I thought to myself, I cannot believe this is really happening. It seemed like the whole thing was an awesome dream! I was very happy to be able to see the true side of Jeff Beck that night. It wasn't like one of the hundreds of articles I had read about him, it was just me, one on one with The Greatest Guitar Player alive today. It was truly a privilage and an honor to spend over two hours with him that night. Jeff is a deep person and a true gentleman and in this day and time that says a lot. In a world of shallow music and the people who listen to it, it was a breath of fresh air to know that someone with such talent and history was a good and decent human being. It gave me faith in our music again, to know that all musicians are not talentless, greedy people without a clue what music is all about. I left the Ice Palace that night very proud, knowing I had met a living legend and was deeply touched by not only what I heard in his music, but the man himself. Jeff Beck......WHO ELSE? - Kip D. Alkema
Remember Apple Records artist Mary Hopkins from the Beatle's Apple days? Seems her obscure Lp just might have Jeff on one track produced by none other than Mickie Most during the post accident recovery days in 1970. Thanks to our dear friend and mentor Richard Mackay of Yardbirds World for this find. We're checking this out.
The Mick Jagger 'Throwaway' video shoot that featured the video band (with Jeff) doing an extented, multi-number jam for the extras on the set is now available on audio....can a video be far behind?
Opening night of the summer '98 tour in Amsterdam was caught on high quality audience tape.
Our pal Jeff Little gets a big thanks for finds like the one mentioned in JB#6 of the Miami '68 tape as well as the 'Love Is Blue' Sweden '68 tape with Junior Woods on bass.
Be seeing you....
From Kim Brubin........The Boathouse, Norfolk, VA
From Kip Bruins ('A Jeff Beck Webpage's' official photographer)......The Ice Palace, Tampa, FL
From Sam Stricklin..........The Tennesee Theater, Knoxville, TN
From Ron Laviciones.......Puyallup, WA