Jeff Beck

ARTICLE ABOUT Jeff Beck FROM New Musical Express, May 27, 1967

Seen by many as one of the most talented guitarist in the world, he is up there among Blackmore, Zappa, Clapton, Page, Van Halen and other names you likely have on the tip of your tongue when you think of those extraordinary guitar-players. So it is only natural to publish this article from the early stage of his career with a man who is as active as ever these days!
Read on!


Jeff Beck not nearly so wicked as he thinks he is!

By Keith Altham

JEFF BECK gets a somewhat perverse satisfaction from having a “wicked” reputation in the pop business. At his best, he is a talented, guitar-perfectionist with a pleasant, conversational manner. At his worst, he’s an obstinate, uncompromising character who avoids doing things he dislikes by the simple expedient of walking out on them.
At “Top Of The Pops” last Thursday this contradictory character was walking about in a £400 wolverene fur coat from “that great land” (America), a pair of faded blue denims of no commercial value and a pair of basketball boots from Marks and Spencers, costing approximately 22/6. We talked about the allegation of his being unco-operative and his new role as arch-villain of pop.

Carrying a whip

“It sounds as though I should be carrying a big whip about with me,” smiled Jeff. “The truth is that I am now in a position for the first time in my career to make my own decisions. I’m free to play and do what I like, and I won’t be pushed into doing things I feel are wrong for me or the group.”
Is he not concerned that some of his attacks on the pop scene or even that his own hit, “Hi Ho Silver Lining,” might harm his progress?
“Let’s face it, there’s no glory to be made out of pop now in Britain,” said Jeff. “You have to go to America to find kids who are going to see you as entertainment and not as necessity. I get the impression in Britain that young people feel they must go to a club every night — they’re saturated with groups and pop music.
“I look back on some of the things I’ve said and been quoted in the papers, and laugh. You cant always be in a good mood. It’s the way I felt at the time. As for the disc, ‘Hi Ho Silver Lining’ may be a bum record for Jeff Beck, but it’s been good in other ways.
“It’s in direct opposition to all that publicity I got about being a fantastic guitarist only concerned with my music. I don’t want to be put in one bag or labelled.
“Look at Hendrix! Isn’t he a card? He’s the governor.” Jeff indicated a BBC-TV studio monitor on which the Experience were being screened. “Jimi’s only trouble will come about when he wants to get off the nail he has hung himself on. The public will want something different, and Jimi has so established himself in one bag that he’ll find it difficult to get anyone to accept him in another.”

Enjoys it

Beck enjoys his notoriety and the fact that no one really knows what he’s really like. He is, in fact, a capricious person who jumps from one idea to another on the happy assumption that if you shower someone with enough opinions they will be unable to separate the significant from the insignificant. It gives him a shell, a protective covering, into which he can withdraw in the event of attack.
He lives out in Sutton, Surrey, because it removes him from the immediate London pop scene and allows him to breathe in a more relaxed environment.

Dirty town

“When I climb in the bath after being up in town there’s a scum line round the side,” he confided. “I’m not a person who clubs about town. I don’t like it. I might go to the Speakeasy if I had to meet someone. To be honest I went there last week and actually enjoyed myself, but you still get the dreadful impression some of the people are permanently glued to their stools down there.”
When at home Jeff sits about and “thinks” or reads children’s books. He boasts the complete set of “Rupert Annuals,” “Brer Rabbit,” “Jerimiah Puddle-duck” and his particular favourite — “Tank Engine Thomas”!
“That’s my vocalist Rod Stewart’s favourite,” grinned Jeff. “He’s a a model railway fanatic. I phoned him up the other week and he said he was too busy to come to rehearsals because he was putting a coat of paint on his Great Western trucks!
“Reading these kids’ books, or the pre-1950 American comics like Dagwood Bumstead, is not as juvenile as it sounds. The books jolt your memory and take you back to feelings and experiences you have forgotten about. It can give you ideas for songs and compositions, for example.”
Apart from the children’s annuals, Jeff occasionally flicks over a sexy novel – at the dirty or dog-eared pages only` — or takes his Corvette Stingray out on to the M4 to see if anyone will take him on. He claims to be unbeaten so far.
“I drink on the basis of Dean Martin’s observation ‘that people who don’t drink wake up the next morning and feel exactly the same for the whole day.’ Sometimes I go to the cinema. I saw the ‘Professionals,’ starring Burt Lancaster and Jack Palance — a sensational film. You must see that.”
Future plans include a possible `live` LP and a visit to the Monterey Pop Festival in America. His ambition is to make some appearances in smutty ‘B’ films!
Jeff Beck is really nowhere as nasty as he would have some believe although he enjoys playing the notorious-guitarist role. Like any other independent and talented musician, he desires (and commands) respect, but he should be made aware that playing his kind of rules could lead to disqualification in a business where the key word for aspiring artists is discretion and co-operation.
I hope more people find him as I did — courteous, helpful and considerate.


If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!
The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!
1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to:
2. The offer should be 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.


Yes…I know. Even more Jeff Beck. But it`s just an extra – so don`t complain. There will be lots of other artists to read about later. And this article may be fun to read for all you guitarists out there.
By the way, I saw someone posting this on a message forum recently: “Listening to Jeff Beck makes you wanna look at your fingers and say, “fuck you”. LOL! I found it quite funny, as I know that feeling first-hand…!
OK – enough of me babbling away. Have fun!



…and you`ve got it! The secret of JEFF BECK`S technique, that is. When Mr. B. spoke to CHARLES SHAAR MURRAY he modestly declined to offer any further information on his guitar style…but when it came to guitars themselves the memories flowed free, right back to the time when he gave Jimmy Page an old Telecaster to help the kid out…

It is more than a trifle disconcerting to talk guitars with Jeff Beck. Compliment him on a solo and he`ll turn on the leer and mumble about how it`s “all bluff” or “tricks”. Ask him to let the world in on the tricks and he`ll look sulky and expostulate, “Give away my secrets? You must be jokin`!”
Ol` J.B.`s actually convinced that if he owns up to how he does all those legendary stunts, then everybody`ll be doing them and he`ll be on the skids.
Such modesty is quite charming, but unfortunately none too helpful. However, he`s more than willing to recount his progress from band to band and axe to axe, so pull up your chairs and listen eagerly (but respectfully) as Mr. Beck lopes down memory lane, going waaaaaay back to His First Guitar.

“I had one made – for five quid. It was `orrible. I saw a Fender on an album sleeve – Buddy Holly`s or something – and all I could remember was that it had a really funny shape and the neck was about three feet long.
“I drew out what I thought was a scale version, and this bloke made me a guitar that looked like half a pine tree. It had about four hundred frets and about four-foot cutaways, but it looked great.
“Also I used to borrow a guitar from a kid at school – he had this horrible cowboy-type guitar with black paint all over it. He painted the strings black as well, so I had to buy new ones.
“The first thing I learned to play was `Twenty Flight Rock`.”
When did you achieve some basic level of proficiency?
“Oh I never did that.” We`re talking about 15 years ago and nobody could play a note, so I was classed as a hero. I had no training, couldn`t tell a middle C from a B flat. That guitar of mine was diabolical. It was in tune around the E register, when you got up the fretboard to A it was recognisable as an A, but when you reached C it was way out of tune.

“It was really good therapy, because you`d ping around and you`d know that the 12th fret was supposed to be the same as the open string, only an octave higher, and I`d pull notes to bring it into tune – and that`s how I got into bending strings.
“The next guitar I had was a Japanese Guyatone – birdseye curly maple. It cost £25, and I chopped it in and got a Burns. I`ll always remember that Guyatone because it had a big toggle switch – and that was the business. It looked like it`d be more at home at a railway station.
“I made a case for the guitar, but I didn`t allow for the switch. I was about 1/8 of an inch out. I put the guitar in the case, slammed the lid down and pressed the switch right through the plastic. Broke the thing to pieces.
“So I stuck it back together with Araldite and went off to a gig. Stood at the bus stop and the guitar case fell over and did it again. Did the gig and it was all right, went home, plugged in and it just buzzed. So I stuck it back together again, painted it black and swapped it for something else.
“Oh yes – about that time my mate bought a Telecaster.”

Hey, things are getting interesting. Keep talking, Jeff.
“£107 it cost him. It was a beauty, and I was stuck with this bloody Burns thing. So while I was in the group he played the Burns and I played the Tele. The Burns wasn`t one of those filthy things with the long horns, it was kinda stubby – a Trisonic, with three pick-ups.
“It really bellowed. It had all these switches and knobs, and then I realised that a guitar like a Fender didn`t need all that crap. So I blagged him and borrowed the Fender, and he swapped in the Burns and got a Hofner Futurama. By that time there was no way he was ever gonna get his Tele back. That was MY GUITAR.
By this time, an early version of present-day Beckerama was indeed on the drawing board. “I was playing James Burton-y sort of solos. He was the guv`nor for that kind of sloppy, plunky chicken-bending stuff…”
“I used to idolise that guy. Used to slow down the records and listen to the way he played phrases.

“Actually I bought the Tele off my mate eventually – it`s the one that I gave to Jimmy Page. I used that Tele all through The Tridents” (the group he was in before the Yardbirds) “and I bought a Fender Esquire off John Walker of the Walker Brothers for £70.”
An Esquire, incidentally, is exactly like a Telecaster except that it only has one pick-up instead of two; the bridge (or treble) pick-up, which is by far the stronger and more responsive of the two pick-ups anyway.
“I liked that so much that I never used the Tele any more, and so when Jim joined the Yardbirds I gave it to him. I used the Esquire for the solo on “Shapes Of Things`. On that record I played rhythm guitar first and then did the solo. That great hangin`-out D chord at the end of the solo was on the rhythm track, which is why the tone`s so different. There`s no way you could switch from a slack-string set-up to that kind of power, so I had to re-string it.”
Apart from his early predilection for Telecasters and Esquires, Beck was probably the first guitarist I ever saw using a Les Paul – on Top Of The Pops, miming to “Shapes Of Things”.


“I had a Les Paul that I bought from a bloke in a guitar shop in Charing Cross Road. I can`t remember what I paid…£175 or £185. Whatever it was, it was a giveaway. It was brand new, so I think he must have stolen it or something.
“I used a fuzz-box in the Yardbirds – it was homemade by this bloke called Roger Mayer, who used to make `em for a lot of people. He made one for Jimi – one for Page. I think he works for the Isley Brothers now.”
Whenever you got a new guitar, did you trade `em off on different numbers or stick to the same one?
“I had two guitars, basically but it was a question of wanting to get used to a guitar and wanting to use nothing else. There was only a short period of time when I used to trade one for the other to get certain sounds. I used to like to get all the different sounds out of one guitar. As I was saying, Pagey joined in the last part of the Yardbirds, and I gave the Tele to him. He had a Dalectro which he`s sprayed pink or something. He also had a black Les Paul Custom, and I didn`t think it sounded very good, which is why I gave him the Fender.”

Beck used a Les Paul all the way through the group he had with Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood, but when he formed the “Rough and Ready” band, he was back on Fender – this time a Stratocaster.
“I`ve always liked the tremolo arm on the Strat, because when the guitar is destrung, you can depress a note nearly as much as an octave, especially the G string. If you know what you`re doing you can play a phrase up high, then push it down and it`ll still be in tune.”
By “De-strung,” Mr. Beck means using a 1st string for a 2nd, a 2nd for a 3rd and so on, substituting a banjo string for a first. What you lose in raunch, you gain in flexibility. To a certain extent, this method has been rendered obsolete by the advent of Ernie Ball`s superlight strings.
“God bless Ernie Ball. They`re all right, those strings, but they used to break a helluva lot. Banjo strings never break. This sloppy-string bit has got to go, because the sound of the guitar deteriorates appreciably. The body drops right out of the note. B.B. King uses stock strings,” (on a Gibson 335) “and the sound he gets is – for the volume and power, a Fender Strat just wouldn`t look at it. You get the level, but you don`t get the roundness and the push. That`s why I feel that I`ve missed out a bit on the semi-acoustic bit, because they`re so much more gutty.

So why not use one?
“They`re too cumbersome. I just can`t get on with them on stage. They`re just not comfortable. I like a guitar to sink right into my waist so I don`t even notice it. If I`ve jammed anywhere and used a borrowed guitar, it`s always been like wrestling with a tea-chest or something. Or a suitcase. They used to feed back terribly if you got too close to the amp, and it wouldn`t be controllable – whereas with a solid guitar it is.”
It was at this point that I decided to prise some of Beck`s secrets out of him, and get him to pass on his pet bluffs.
“I don`t want to show anybody how to bluff. Let `em learn the proper way. I don`t want a trail of people after me learning the wrong way. You want me to give away my secrets? There aren`t any. Just don`t take any notice of anybody who can play properly and you got it.”
SPECIAL EDITORIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: He`s only kidding folks…at least we THINK he`s only kidding.

“The best way to play is the easiest way. That way, you`re not cheating anybody, because you can overcome what may be cheating by just PLAYING. If it`s coming out of you, what the hell.
“I don`t like to use speed just because I can play fast. I mean, McLaughlin plays faster than I`ll ever play, and I can tell by listening to him that he can play a scale with about four flats in it and they say `drop out one of those flats and put a sharp in` and he could just do it, straight off without even practising it. I couldn`t do that. I can play my own stuff fast enough, but…
“I`m influenced by lazy guitarists like Steve Cropper, and by fast guitarists like Les Paul, so I`m right in the middle. I don`t want to become either too speedy or too laid-back. I just want to stay where I am.”


I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Stacia (Hawkwind), Lynyrd Skynyrd, Jethro Tull, Pilot, David Essex, Queen, Deke Leonard (Man), Pink Floyd, Frank Zappa, Jimmy Savile, Herbie Hancock, Kevin Coyne.

This edition is sold!

ARTICLE ABOUT Jeff Beck FROM SOUNDS, November 23, 1974

I can`t resist the temptation of doing another Jeff Beck article. I don`t know if the Beck fans are more literate than other fans, but I always get a spike on my statistics for the blog when printing something about him. I just can`t resist those spikes – they are very addictive!
Jeff is quite the character – it is not very often that you see an artist being so critical of his own work – at the time not even released. I bet the record company were “happy” about that!  😉


Rob Mackie talks to the much misunderstood man – Jeff Beck

Shy guitarist, 10 years in pop combos, seeks funky musicians resident in England, and with non-inflatable egos, but…


The cosmic full-stop having finally been added to the two commas in Beck, Bogert, Appice, our Jeff has been adopting an even lower profile than usual. Recognising Jeff among the milling throng attempting to get close to the bar during the interval at the recent Billy Cobham/Average White Band concert, your alert fact-finding reporter inquired: “Er, what are you doing these days, Jeff?” He was greeted with the Great British Shrug, a well-known sign on the Highway Code of Non Interviewees.

Jeff`s been taking his time about things, doing his own album in his own time, and also breaking some new ground by producing an outside group for the first time – “much easier than producing yourself” – (Upp, who backed Jeff on the special guitarists` edition of BBC 2`s “Workshop”).
Beck remains a much-misunderstood man, a name to make cub-reporters and aspiring guitarists tremble alike with fear. Actually, he`s ah, ah, ah, ah, shy. Sympathy for the devil? Well if you saw Jeff play with Beck Bogert Appice at Brighton Dome during the last tour, and noticed that he didn`t once look at the audience, you might not think the idea quite so far fetched.


But, you may say, what about all those nasty things he says about everybody? And you`d be right, he`s not a man to throw compliments around, but then again, if you`ve talked to Jeff, you`d know that he ridicules suggestions that he`s anything special at least as often as he puts down other people. And he does, no mistaking it.
Basically, Jeff`s anti-show biz to the degree that he seems to feel a bit coy about actually saying anything nice about people, and just showbiz enough that he gets a giggle out of his Mean and Moody reputation.
It happens to be a fact that he had a longish, friendly chat with Rod Stewart recently after a chance meeting, but when you mention that Rod said in his interview in SOUNDS last week that their relationship was “better than it`s ever been” and that there might be a chance of the two of them working together again, you won`t get any of that “All friends together” stuff out of Jeff. He`s his own man, whatever else he is, and that`s part of the reason why he`s never been any bigger than he is in the gold album stakes.

Where other guitarists would be happy to get a few songs together, run off a few licks, and take the whole thing on an incessant tour until the next album, Jeff gets quickly bored, and once he gets bored he hangs back and gets unobtrusive, and then all those faithful Beck fans (whose existence he practically denies), who come along expecting “All that schizophrenic mad uncontrolled stuff” get disappointed and things start to crumble a bit.
Beck, Bogert, Appice? That was Jeff`s dream band back in the Mickie Most days, and if the band had got together when he first felt enthusiastic about the idea, it might have been the three-piece band to end them all. Some nights it came close, but the band took so long in actually becoming reality that I suspect Jeff`s tastes had moved on beyond that kind of music by the time it became reality.

During the tour, Billy Cobham`s “Spectrum” album became a kind of BBA anthem, permanently blowing out of Carmine`s cassette recorder (“the bible” as Jeff described it), and consequently, the music that the trio were listening to was increasingly departing from the kind of thing they were playing. So Jeff hung back and gazed at his feet, and Carmine effectively took over the group, doing the introduction and most of the singing as well as his powerhouse drumming, and the band as a whole sounded less unified, and a lot less interesting.
“Right. That`s it. He was the energy in the group, always a happy soul, and he kept me and Tim together longer than we would have done if it had been someone else drumming, but he didn`t have many ideas really that were usable, the material was sadly lacking, and rather than carry on with bum material and die slowly, I just quit. It was just a thing that I had to do, that BBA thing, to see what would happen, and I pursued it as long as I thought reasonable.”


Worthwhile? “Oh, yeah. I don`t think there was any time-wasting, really.” And yes, Mr. Stratocaster`s axe does fall a little bit on Messrs. Bogert and Appice; Carmine for dubious drum tuning, and Tim for his “unbelievable fetish for volume”. Again, Jeff adds that Tim was “doing on bass what I should have been doing on lead guitar”, so the criticism is really against what the band became compared to the high and definite Beck ideals.
But Jeff, weren`t BBA going to be the ultimate band? “They were the ultimate for that stuff, making a lot of noise.”
As often happens with Jeff, the departure comes with plenty of unreleased material left that way. The second-album-that never-was went through so much re-mixing and reshuffling, all to no avail. But there`s also a large amount of live material in the old baked bean can, and for a studio-hating live guitarist, it`s sad that there`s never been a live album that has showcased Beck live.

“A lot of people think the live tunes should be the next album, but that would be looking back. There are one or two things I wouldn`t mind being released, but they would have to be done right.” Naturally enough, he`s lost interest again, after all there`s a whole album since then, which he grudgingly admits is the first solo album, and even more grudgingly admits (with some persuasion from his management) he has had more control over than any previous album he`s been on.
The new album has Max Middleton, the keyboard man from “Rough And Ready” days. Philip Chen, bass player on just about everything British and funky of late, and drummer Richard Bailey, currently on tour with David Essex, and is produced by George Martin. From which set of names, I think you can take it that it will be more melodic than recent Beck records. But Jeff says it isn`t close to “Rough And Ready”.
“People might think that because of Max being on it, because he`s very forceful and very influential. I call him Max “Doorbell” Middleton, because he always puts in two notes that go “ding-dong”, and it sounds like somebody at the door.”

What is it like? Well, it`s almost entirely instrumental, and Jeff describes it as a mixed package. “There`s a lot of varied moods on it, and…I dunno. There`s not the magic that I wanted on there. It`s very hard to describe, but the album was under my control for the first half, and then there`s some stuff on there that I didn`t write and I had to be bribed and convinced that, that part was going to be all right. There`s some good and some unsuitable.
“There`s a shortage of good material now, and there is some good material on the album, and none of it`s bad. It`ll definitely be the best-produced album I`ve made, George Martin`s great, very level headed. Nothing impresses him.”
The album will again be with CBS, for whom Jeff is signed directly to America, and his relations with the company seem very good.

He`s still not entirely sure that the album is representative Guaranteed Genuine Jeff, and the next road band is going to be very different again from the studio one. Finding the right people is going to be very difficult, given that Jeff listens almost exclusively to black music.
Does he ever try and sound black? “No, no. I`m white…well, sort of blotchy. There`s no way a white group can sound black.”
The group? Well, he`s not going to go through protracted auditions, and he thinks most of them will have to be black, especially the drummer. “I think this`ll probably be the last band I`ll ever have, I want it to be exactly what I want. I don`t want four robots or anything like that, but not too big egos either.”

WHAT will be mine for a price?

WHAT will be mine for a price?

I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Bob Dylan, Alan Price, Golden Earring, The Faces, Jethro Tull, Gary Glitter, Gary Shearston, Wizzard, Doug Kershaw, The Irish Question, ELP, Brian Eno, Sutherland Brothers & Quiver.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to:
2. The offer should be around or upwards of 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.


As I usually get a lot of readers when I print something with Jeff Beck, it is quite tempting to do some of the articles on him when I find them. He is a genius guitarist, revered by musicians and music journalists alike. He never compromises to the point that I imagine he would be a pain in the ass at a party among friends. Not because he is one, but because when you have a guy that can play just about everything on guitar among you, it would frustrate you that he probably would refuse to play those easy sing-along songs that you want to sing when you`re a little drunk. They would be too easy for him to play. And I guess it would be difficult for people to sing along to “Scatterbrain”. Even if it had lyrics.
Enjoy this interesting article!


Blue-eyed guitar-tormenter JEFF BECK of Egerton, Surrey, lists as his favourite leisure pursuits:
– though not necessarily in that order.
CHARLES SHAAR MURRAY likes hamburgers, Marvel Comics, and picking his nose – but BECK talked to him anyway…

A digestive biscuit is poised, somewhat uneasily, a few inches away from Jeff Beck`s celebrated nasty leer.
It exudes paranoia, almost as if it possessed some strange biscuity pre-cognitive factor which enables it to realise that it is only a few micro-seconds away from being engulfed by said nasty leer, never to be seen again in its present form.
The biscuit`s suspicions are, alas, entirely correct.
A few crumbs descend on to Mr. Beck`s Levis, narrowly missing the splendidly battered Stratocaster cradled on his lap as he sits equidistant from the beer-cans and the mixing desk in AIR London`s Studio 2 – where he`s skidding towards the wrap-up on Da New Elpee.
As the journalistic profession sidles in, he`s diddling away on the Strat and peering male-violently at a sheet of paper on which is scrawled a mildly intimidating chord sequence.

“I`ve got to play over that in 5/4,” he moans piteously. “And I`ve lost me bottle.”
He dumps the Strat in a corner, and starts playing back what he`s done so far.
This stuff, as it happens, is not the material that J.B. churned out while holed up in Escape Studios after BB&A splintered into three separate initials. That stuff is still on a shelf, seeing as how it`s extremely souly and requires “some decent lyrics and a wailing singer.”
This is All New Material, and the Mad Axeman is aided and abetted by Philip Chen (bass), Richard Bailey (drums), Max Middleton (things with keyboards on them) and George Martin (production and string arrangements).
All clear? Let us press onwards.

Since BB&A vanished off the face of the earth, Beck has been skulking a little.
Cornered in the Speak, he`d muttered something about his new stuff being “Far more adult than the stuff you`re used to from me” and similar enigmatic crypterama.
What he`s actually into is a Beckified version of the currently ultra-flash jazz-funk stuff that the likes of Billy Cobham and Herbie Hancock are peddling these days.
It`s not so much a new style for Beck as a different context. The settings are yerractual piano-whirlpools and ricky-ticky funk rhythm-section, but there`s scads of widescreen Beckerama in there as well.
To start in the strangest place, there`s a track called “She`s A Reggae Woman”, which is the old Beatles tune “She`s A Woman” done reggae style, with Beck slinging in the album`s only vocal – using The Bag. You know – the bag.
What`s in The Bag, Jeff?
“Awwww…the kids`ve sussed it anyway.”

Beck curls up in his chair grinning fit to split his face, pulling on his cigar and miming to various parts as they come out of the speaker, while Max Middleton leans over the desk plunking away on a kalimba (or “African thumb piano” as it`s sometimes known).
So let`s break the silence and let Jeff tell you all about what he`s currently up to (or “to what he`s currently up”, as academicians would have it).
“It was an accident, really. I never do anything intentionally. The basic structure of the album is an accident. I was playing around with a few lines – I played you one that was in 9/4 time, which was just a finger exercise. It was something that I could play very fast and by moving the figure up and down the fretboard and adding new chords, it became a tune.
“That was the first accident. My whole life has been an accident, but sometimes accidents can be quite productive. I wrote most of the funky things on the album, but three or four of them were written at the time of recording. We went into AIR armed with about three-quarters of the album.

“Max has done a lot of internal work with the album. I`d give him a melody line – like that 9/4 thing – and he`d go home and give it some chords. Or rather he`d lend them to me – they weren`t his to give.
“I`ve known Phil Chen for years. He played with Jimmy James And The Vagabonds, and he`s one of the few bass players from the old days who sprang to mind. I wanted somebody who wasn`t really blowing their own trumpet – as it were – all the time. He sits back and lets you play, which is good. Never interferes. Sometimes he doesn`t play enough, but it doesn`t matter.
“Max knew Richard. There`s a whole family of musicians who`ve been with Gonzales and other funky bands who never really made any noise, but there are a lot of good players there.
“He can play anything, and he never plays the same thing twice. His fills aren`t hackneyed. Some people are great in the studio, but you get it the first time and that`s it. If you don`t like it, you have to get another drummer. Richard listens to everybody else and decides what he can play to it. Most drummers learn the part, and then you have to play what they can play.

“Drums are a bastard thing to play. You can`t bluff on drums. You can bluff with a guitar – like I bluff all the time. Bass and drums are unbluffable. The bluffers in the business died off about eight or ten years ago. Bluff guitarists are going to be out of business soon – so I`m probably going to be looking for a job.”
Awwww, Jeff – modesty becomes you.
“I thought I was good until I tried to learn a part which I need for this album. I couldn`t put it together for the life of me.
“It`s a slow thing in five. I know I can play beautiful over it, but because it`s in five I`m having to think hard. But when you pull off a funny time signature, it`s not funny any more, it`s just natural.
“I wouldn`t want to do what McLaughlin`s doing and set out to baffle the musician: `Now, ladies and gentlemen, we have baffle the musician half-hour`. I`m not into all that – I`m not into surprising anybody. You`ve only got to listen to Billy Cobham to know what can be done with time signatures, and this is very simplified Billy Cobham.

“Jan Hammer is influencing me at the moment. It`s only a very crude imitation, but it is Hammer that I`m copying, because his synthesiser sounds like a guitar should sound.”
Yeah, well – it`s certainly conceptually different from all that kamikaze BB&A stuff.
“Kamikaze is exactly the word – it was the biggest fight in rock-and-roll that you could ever hear. We were grappling with an abysmal lack of material and lack of co-operation all round.
“I wouldn`t co-operate and play what they wanted me to play, because I had finished with that style a long time ago. They wanted me to tear my hair out and play the guitar until it melted. Everybody`s done that, and they do it as well if not better than I do it.
“I don`t want to fight my own instincts – I want to go off and do something that, even if it isn`t that brilliant, is at least different.
“That`s always been my policy: to bring to the attention of the public things that can be listened to and enjoyed.”

Mr. Jeff Beck

Mr. Jeff Beck

When BB&A went to the Great Motel In The Sky, it added mileage to the standard canard that Beck is such an intolerable bastard that he can never keep a band together.
“I have no pretentions about it; I don`t intend to keep any band together. That`s the most boring proposition that I can think of. I`m not hard to get on with, but I get fed up with playing the same old tunes every night time after time. Even if it`s a step down, if it`s different I`ll do it.
“What I`ve just done was a challenge. I`ve never done this sort of music before. I can`t shed my old style completely, because that`s me, but I can put it in a different context, which is exactly what I`ve done here.”
If Beck`s new material can be compared to any previous aspect of his work, it`s the “Rough And Ready” era, which he describes as “an irritating period to reflect on. I don`t like that period. I don`t like the BB&A period – but I played more arse-kicking rock in there than in `Rough And Ready`, although it was far less creative. BB&A rock is uncreative, self-indulgent noise, really.”
Yeah, but I kinda dug it for that very reason.

“The only reason it was valid was that no one else sounded like that, whether it was good or bad. They thrived on excess and over-playing. If you could zero in on the energy, you got the goods. Otherwise, it was a cacophonous nasty horrible noise.”
“It was because of that that I couldn`t go on with it. The noise was hurting me so much.
“It was my decision.
“I`d like to say that it just exploded like a bomb, but it didn`t. I just couldn`t go on with it. As I said, there was a sad lack of material, and that came about twice, when we tried to do two albums.
“Avid BB&A freaks may be interested to know that there are two full albums, which if I have anything to do with it will never be released.
“If you could have a referendum and ask `Do you want the BB&A album out` and 60 million screaming people said, `Yes, please`, then I wouldn`t mind. But it`s old news.”

Look on the bright side, Jeff. The new album could sell to a whole bunch of people who`ve never listened to you before, the quaalude kids`ll buy the BB&A live album, and the basic Beck freaks`ll buy both.
“There aren`t enough Beck freaks to keep me in readies, so I don`t care about them. I`ve got to think about the people who wanna hear music.
“If they`re that much of a freak, they`ll stick with what I`m doing anyway. If they`d dump me because of one album that they don`t like, then they`re not a fan. So I shouldn`t have to worry about them.
“I`m not saying that I don`t care, I`m just saying that I`m not worried about them.”
Referring back to Carmine Pizza`s interview a few weeks back, were there really bad vibes between you and Tim Bogert?
“I must say that when it came to me throwing bottles at Tim, there must be a bad vibe somewhere. That bit of roughness could maybe have been smoothed over. But, like I said, we did two albums, and there wasn`t one piece of music that I could listen to and say, `hey, that`s me`.
“When we weren`t fighting we were playing slush. There was a thing called `Laughalong`, which could have been done better by the Stylistics.
“What the fuck do I want with a Stylistics tune?

“I want stuff that enables me to roast on the guitar, but roast well, and not have to come out with all the old shit that people expect from me.
“You can keep up with the times as well as kick ass, you know what I mean?
“I hate to say it, but Johnny Winter didn`t do anything for me the other night, and I used to rate him. He came on, and I was so ashamed to be associated with that white rock music when he played. I don`t know why, `cuz it wasn`t that bad – it just sounded so old.
“Hendrix did it all.
“He closed the book.
“When he died, that was it.
“I don`t think Robin Trower`s playing valid music. It was nice, if you`re into reliving a bit of Hendrix, when he played Hendrix-style music with a little bit of his own flavour – but I just can`t listen to it.”
Do you miss playing live?
“No, I miss getting myself represented on record. If God walked in the room and said, `this record will be a million-seller here, and do ten million in the States – here you are`, and it wasn`t 100 per cent great, I wouldn`t do it.

“If I got a hit record, it would only mean trouble for me. It would probably elevate me to something I`m not, something that that I`m not capable of carrying out.
“If I had to go out and promote a gold album, the temptation to play every night would be great, and the temptation to go out and whore about and do everything there was to be done to make money and be a millionaire would be so great.
“I`m not into that.
“The thought of having millions in the bank is no security to me. The thought of working with good players is security. It`s easy to hurt somebody by saying, `you`re a has-been`, and it frightens everybody to be thought of as a has-been…
“And I`m not gonna be a has-been. I don`t care if I`m classed as one, I`m not gonna be one.”
Yeah, Jeff… remember those fa-a-a-a-bulous `60s?
“What was all right in the `60s? Nothing was all right in the `60s

“I didn`t have any money – and that`s not a contradiction of my last statement – and now I`ve got the money to exist comfortably. I`m not talking about the kind of money that`ll change your life-style whether you liked it or not. There`s certain things I like to be protected against – like not being able to afford electricity for recording.
“Music and cars and sex are my main driving forces, and that`s the way I`m gonna keep it.”

The charts  - November, 1974

The charts – November, 1974

I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: David Coverdale, Beckett, Stan Lee, Alvin Lee, Rashied Ali, Can.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to:
2. The offer should be around or upwards of 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog. If you really like this sort of thing – follow my blog! Thank you!

Jeff Beck is recognized by the musical community and critics for being one of the greatest guitarists in history. But still, there is a chance that some of you feel the same way as me – why do I read so much about him and still listen to so little of his musical output?
One of the reasons may be that Beck has not established or maintained the sustained commercial success of many of his contemporaries and bandmates.
While transcribing this article I listened to a couple of records by Jeff Beck and was pleasantly surprised. You will need to be broad-minded when listening to his music, as much of it is instrumental and progressive, but if you dig Joe satriani or even Rush (Without the helium voice of Geddy Lee) you will find some really good stuff here. Do yourself a favour – this year when Beck will celebrate his 70th birthday(!) – listen to him play!


Beck on trial
By Tony Stewart

After a two year absence Jeff Beck is back. Currently, with two albums and a short tour, he`s testing public reaction.

A car accident several years ago resulted in guitarist Jeff Beck leaving the music scene. While with the Yardbirds he had established himself as a master of his instrument, and after the demise of that group his stature in subsequent outfits.
At one point Beck seriously considered reforming the `Birds although the idea did not materialise. But now, with a new band formed last April, Beck is back.
In this interview at his manager Ernest Chapman`s office, Beck, dressed in rough denims and drinking Guinness, talked of his seclusion, his dissatisfaction with his new group`s album, his doubts, and his hopes for their second album, due out next month. Still skinny but now 27, he was at times not exactly oozing with confidence.

Stewart: What were your reasons for leaving the music scene two years ago?

Beck: It was a forcible thing. I had an argument with the rest of the blokes in the previous group, which meant that my playing had to stop for a while anyway. Then after that I had an accident – a car crash in Surrey. I was laid up for three months.

At that time I believe you had plans to link-up with ex-members of Vanilla Fudge?

Yeah, that was the first idea. If it had worked, it would have been all right, and I would have carried on. Then I thought about it, and I didn`t want to go to live in America, which is what it would have entailed.

What did you do during the lay-off period, because after your recovery you still were in a state of retirement?

Well, I live in the country where it`s extremely quiet – in fact it`s so quiet it`s deafening – but I didn`t do anything musically except practised now and again. Just sort of idled the time away. And I built a couple of cars.

Did you feel dissatisfied with the music scene?

I don`t know really. It`s just that loud noises, and loud groups, didn`t really fit in with what I was doing – relaxing. I didn`t really go out and rave anywhere. I just played it quiet.
Then the time came when I had to look for a band, and I knew I had to look in the sort of places where there would be lots of noise and bustle, and I really didn`t relish the idea. But it had to be done, so I looked all over England. Plus I had some contacts in the States.

You say it HAD to be done. How do you mean?

Well I mean it`s the thing I can do; I can`t make a living at anything else. I could but I wouldn`t bother. You shouldn`t have to do anything you don`t want to. You should be able to make money at what you like doing and what you can do best. And this is what I can do best.

Were you feeling restless as well?

No, I didn`t bother. I wasn`t worried about anything passing me by, if that`s what you mean.

Was it a question of earning a living?

Money things are obviously a big part of it. It`s not the only part. I wouldn`t just go out and plonk, just because I was getting paid, I`d have to like it as well. And vice versa. I wouldn`t play just because I liked it.

With the reputation you`d built up as a big guitar man…

That was all out of proportion. I wasn`t really that great. It`s just that nobody was featuring a guitar as much as the Yardbirds, that`s all. They were all singing groups like the Hollies and Kinks, that sort of stuff. They all had hit songs, but nobody in the group seemed to exploit the guitar.

Even so, you did have a reputation, and when you disappeared there was more interest created. So you could have come back as a solo artist, with a back-up group, but you came back as part of a group. Why did you decide to do that?

That`s what I wanted, but the first instance in my solo career I was being projected as a solo artist by Mickie Most, which was the kiss of death for me because he tried to twist me into something that I wasn`t, i.e. like a pop singer.
Then he gave me all the usual producer chat, “you`ve got to do this, you`ve got to do that, to sell records.” And all the time I was absolutely doing the wrong thing in taking any notice of him. Because there was a market, which he didn`t know about, in America, which catered for people like me, who was almost primarily experimenting with sounds, and guitar playing.
Mickie Most had a very convincing manner. He twisted my arm, and I recorded three junk records. “Silver Lining” – that was the singing one – still has a certain magic about it, but as a song…
We were sticking all the good stuff on the B sides. Rod Stewart would get to sing on a B side and he was getting really pissed off. Quite understandably, but I wanted him to sing on the A, so that we could play something descriptive of what we were doing at the time. Eventually I convinced Mickie he was barking up the wrong tree, with me anyway. He decided he wanted to record the stuff that we liked, and he couldn`t do it. At least he didn`t have much notion of what it was all about.

Do you feel happier as part of a band?

Yeah. I don`t have enough to say as a solo artist. In other words I couldn`t sit on a stool with an electric guitar or any other guitar and entertain anyone for more than about half an hour.
But it`s not what I`d like to do anyway. I`d just like to sit back and play how I feel. That`s what I`ve been channelling my whole job for.

How did you get this band together?

The first part was the hardest – finding a drummer. Then the next part took a long time, but suddenly it all fell together. All of a sudden I had a bass player, a piano player and a singer in a space of about two months.

Did you have any firm ideas of the type of music you wanted to play?

Yeah, I just can`t switch off my style and switch on another style, I have to think of what I`ve got already. In other words, I couldn`t jump out and find a jazz drummer, or a string section, and start a totally new thing.
I don`t pretend I`m doing anything really different, but the recorded product is different. Perhaps the stage thing isn`t better.

Has your stage-style changed?

Yeah, it`s more explicit, there`s more colour in it, less violence.

When you came back did you think you were still as competent as a guitarist, or better?

Well, I had mixed feelings.
When you read things like “Beck Group back” it puts you in the hot seat. It worries you. In a way it would be better if they didn`t say anything at all – if you were just allowed to play in some small dive and make a name like that.

Do you think there`s too much superstar charisma linked with your name?

With my name? Oh, I don`t know about that. I think there`s too much of it all around the business.


When you were rehearsing the band what sort of music did you envisage?

It was a custom-built group, a bit from here and bit from there. Max (Middleton) is no more a rock and roll pianist than I am violinist. But, he blends in some way or other, because he`s just a top-class musician. And it`s rather like having an Errol Garner with a rock and roll guitar player. Plus a funk drummer.
It`s got the basis of some good things. We just have to sort ourselves out.
I didn`t really say to myself, `I`m going to form a group which has got this that and the other in it`. I was open to any suggestions. Because I don`t think any musician can be content if he`s playing ABC – what somebody else wants.
That`s always been the way in my group. Anyone can play what he wants. But there is a certain discipline needed, otherwise it`d just be jamming all night and rambling all over the place.
When you build a song, you should build it so that anyone can play what he wants without actually messing it up.

I think your “Rough And Ready” album has more of a contemporary feel than the rock and blues you played with Stewart, Wood and co.

That change must have been absolutely accidental. “Beckola” was real thundering rock and roll, which is all it is. It`s just crude and boisterous. But as you say, there is a difference. It`s accidental. It`s just getting new players in, that`s all.

But your group also help with the writing, don`t they? (not credited on album).

Oh yeah. Nobody`s any the less the writer than the next man. At the moment, though, we`re all looking for a direction. We just hope we all get it when we`re in the same group.

Again on the album, the music is subdued and controlled, though on stage you produce a driving rock sound.

Maybe it`s just nerves at the moment. Everyone`s a bit on edge. Possibly when we relax a bit, it will sound more like the album.
I always feel that people deserve more than just to sit there and patiently listen. Maybe as a crowd that`s all they want, but I`d rather inject some energy. It may not look as if I`m injecting energy into the songs though.
The songs as songs are garbage, there`s no two ways about it. They just don`t mean anything. The words don`t mean much. They`re just stock words. But they are necessary evils, as it were.
I feel if I formed an instrumental group I`d play all I`d got to say in the first couple of tracks, unless someone wrote me a lot of tunes. But rather than that I`d rather stay in the background and wail.

Were you happy with the first album?

Oh no. I feel it should never have happened.
None of us knew each other. I mean Max didn`t know me from a bar of soap. But when we played he just picked up a really elaborate chord sequence, just off the top of his head and remembered every chord. And I thought that someone who is as clever as that, and who can put the same energy and feeling into it each time he plays is worth his weight in gold.

Was it a good thing for you to produce it?

Well, I just thought I could do as good a job as Mickie Most on this sort of album. You`ve just got to have a good producer, because sometimes you get so close to your work that you can`t see the wood from the trees.

How`s the second album which you`ve just recorded in Memphis?

That`s miles, miles better in my opinion. I wouldn`t care if it just sold half the number – I`d still be happy with the direction. The playing is really tight.

What differences do you find between the two?

Well, having a producer like Steve Cropper helped greatly. Because he`s a guitarist – and he and I both seemed to think the same while we were together in the studio; he got off on the same licks that I got on.
He has a great feel for rhythm too, and he can tell when there`s a flaw in the rhythm track, and that saves a lot of time. Whereas I`d miss it, thinking of the guitar lick, he`d say “wait a minute the bass and the drums are a slight bit out there” or whatever. And we`d sit there learning from him.
At the same time he wasn`t telling us what to play. We`d go 15 takes and he`d just pick out one, an overall track being better than one which was erratic. All in all, the new album doesn`t sound like the same band.

Is the material stronger?

Yeah, much stronger, partly because we didn`t write it. We wrote four out of nine tunes.
There`s one written by Don Nix called “Going Down”, which was recorded by Freddie King. Anyway Don Nix just came into the studio while we were recording. And he said “it`s a good tune, that”. I said “yeah it`s great”, and he said “I wrote it”. So I asked if he approved of our version and he said he did.
It really pounds along. It`s old-fashioned, but it has more go than anything I`ve ever done.
There`s an instrumental with three melodies, on which I play bottle neck. The second melody comes in half way through, and the third comes right at the end. It is quite a nice piece – very melodic, but it`s based round a simple blues sequence.

Is the band finding a direction with this album?

Oh yeah. I say yeah – but the next album might be miles different again. Still, that won`t bother me in the least. This is a really important point now, to think of the next album.

Is this when you`ll decide which way to go ultimately?

Yeah, but how I`ll decide I don`t know. We have to judge by record sales. Because when you`re in a business you`re not just messing about all day. You have to ring up and check where your sales are best, and which countries are strong.
After all, we`re playing to people. We`re not playing for our amusement really. You have to find a direction from the people. I`d never play if I thought I was upsetting anybody.

You could say the first two albums are put out to test public reaction?

Yes, that`s about it. If this one doesn`t sell anything at all it won`t stop me from playing, but it will give me an insight into what is needed. After all, you have to cater for the people who are buying records and coming to concerts.


Quite an interesting ad for the one and only album from this British band produced by Ian Gillan of Deep Purple.

This number of the NME also contains articles/interviews with these people: Grateful Dead, Steeleye Span, Deep Purple, Quintessence, Cheech and Chong, Alexis Korner, David Clayton-Thomas, Procol Harum, Groundhogs, The Who, Jim Capaldi, Paul McCartney, The Hollies, John Peel, Bill Wellings, Judee Sill, The Temptations.

The NME this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

  1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to:
  2. The offer should be around or upwards of 10 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
  3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.