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This interview is kind of special, as it was the start of the band later known as “Beck, Bogert & Appice”. Throughout the interview Tim Bogert is referred to as Bogart, but to preserve these transcriptions for true historical value, I choose not to correct this mistake in the text.
The vocalist, Kim Milford, unfortunately only played six shows with this group. On June 16, 1988, Milford died of heart failure following open heart surgery several weeks earlier. He was 37 years old.
Beck with a vanilla flavour
By Danny Holloway
A week ago last Sunday, the Jeff Beck Group played their last date at London`s Roundhouse. The following Tuesday a completely new band met for a week`s rehearsals before flying off to the States to start a tour in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on August 1. The band will play 17 dates in 19 days before wrapping the tour up in Seattle, Washington, on August 19.
The first Jeff Beck Group emerged in 1968 with three relatively unknown sidemen backing Beck. On drums was Micky Waller while Ron Wood plucked the bass strings and the inimitable Rod Stewart handled vocals. Here Jeff explains how he happened to get Rod into his group.
“Well, Rod was out of work. I knew this because I went into this club and saw him in there alone on different nights watching the band. At that time
there were only a half a dozen groups of any consequence – and I thought Steampacket were really good. I loved Rod`s voice, so I asked him to join.”
That first Beck group lasted long enough to present one very fine debut album, “Truth”, and one rather disappointing follow-up, “Beck-Ola”. Following the bust up of that band, Beck was hot on forming a group with the rhythm section of Vanilla Fudge – bassist Tim Bogart and drummer Carmine Appice.
This union of talents was prevented from coming together by a number of mishaps, but at the top of the list was a car accident which left Jeff recuperating for months after.
Bogart and Appice formed Cactus, a group which never quite lived up to their expectations, and Beck later re-emerged with a new Jeff Beck Group. Whereas the first Beck band had been a good rocking unit, this second band concentrated on bringing in a more melodic element that was often lacking in Jeff`s music. Pianist Max Middleton in particular added new textures to Beck`s familiar pastures of heavy riffs.
This group was a let-down to many of Beck`s avid devotees. They knew he was capable of a stronger and more original entity. And his guitar playing had been suffering since his year long lay-off after the accident.
This second Beck group recorded two albums also, “Rough And Ready” and “Jeff Beck Group”. Both offerings were very bitty; there was a general feeling that he was scraping the surface of his creative abilities.
So, here we are up to date. Beck dismissed his most recent band at the Roundhouse and today we have his new group. You could call them the Jeff Beck Group chapter three, and if they follow the pattern set down by the first couple, they`ll probably be good for two albums.
But who really knows, because this is something special. This is what Beck has been waiting for for so long. His dream band. Get the idea?
I went on an exclusive mission last Friday evening with photographers Robert and David Ellis (unrelated) to the Rolling Stones rehearsal room near London Bridge. The area surrounding the rehearsal studios is made up largely of blue collar factories with lots of agieng brick, while the streets are nearly desolate of pedestrians. It`s not the sort of place you`d fancy for a midnight stroll, that`s for sure.
Once inside, we meet the boys. On bass we have Tim Bogart, and the man behind the drum kit seems to be – yes it is – his pal Carmine. (These two are fresh off the boat.) Another American, Kim Milford, has taken over from Bob Tench as the new lead vocalist, and aside from Beck himself the sole survivor from the previous band is Max Middleton on keyboards.
The band posed for a few shots while it was still light outside, taking in the colour of the neighbourhood for the backdrop. The Ellises make use of a gate, some dustbins, and a street sign that reads Crucifix Road before moving on to the local pub which turns out to be the band`s favourite set.
On the way back to the studio, more pics are taken of Jeff sitting on his bright red Corvette Stingray. Once inside, he agrees to do the interview.
“The idea for this group started in 1969 when they (Tim and Carmine) rang me up while I was in America. They heard that the original group was splitting up. And unfortunately, owing to different circumstances, we`ve been unable to put it together before now.
“We`ve been forced to do material from the last two albums because of lack of time to get things sorted out. It won`t be long before we drop all those. The thing is: we`ve never played what the people wanted to hear in America. They expect vicious, violent rock and roll. That`s what I`m known for, but I was avoiding all that in this previous band. I was trying to play subtle rock and roll. That stuff was more suitable for clubs, not big stages. This new group will play much heavier music.”
Kim Milford is the kind of lead singer girls will go crazy for – definitely on a par with Robert Plant. His long blond hair passes his shoulders, fully encompassing his delicate baby face. He`s an excellent shouter and will most likely present a focal point for on stage activities.
His main background has been in singing with various Broadway shows, including leads in “Hair” and “Jesus Christ Superstar”. His last band consisted of remnants from Genya Ravan`s Ten Wheel Drive, called Eclipse.
I asked Milford how he felt about going out on tour in the States after a week`s rehearsal with the band.
“I`m sort of used to it because I used to have a lot of that when I replaced people in shows.”
I put the same question to Tim Bogart and Carmine Appice. First Tim: “The only thing that worries me is whether I`ll remember some of the licks that I`m a bit shaky on.”
Now Carmine: “All the licks that I play are right up my alley anyhow. I don`t have to remember all those notes like Tim. And basically I know the tunes because I listened to the albums. I think it`ll be a pretty incredible band.”
Meanwhile, Max Middleton says: “I know my licks, I`m not worried.” As you might guess, Max is the quiet one.
And finally, back to Mr. Beck. Would there be any line-up changes after the current U.S. tour? “Well, that remains to be seen,” he said.
We hung around for a bit to check out what they were sounding like. The cold, claustrophobic basement was soon bombarded with a ferocious thunder. They warmed up and moved through a couple of Beck originals. “New Ways-/Train Train” and “Ice Cream Cakes”.
All in all, I`d say there`s going to be a lot to be heard from this Jeff Beck Group. It seems as though these musicians will bring back the man`s creative and technical genius.
Before “American Idol” and other “talent”-competitions, this was the way they did it in England anno 1972.
This number of the NME also contains articles/interviews with these people: Dave Brock (Hawkwind), Arlo Guthrie, Report from the Elvis Fan Club Convention, Rod Stewart, Roberta Flack, Bruce, West and Laing, Arthur Lee, ELP, Uriah Heep, Slade.
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