IN THE NEW issue of MOJO – on sale in the UK today – Jeff Beck looks back on his last five decades as one of rock’s most innovative instrumentalists, his genre-splicing fretboard ingenuity propelling him from The Yardbirds and the Rod Stewart-fronted Jeff Beck Group to his immersion in jazz and solo success.
For Beck, it may have all started with the influence of rock'n'roll originators Gene Vincent and Little Richard (“Suddenly I was on a mission”), but it’s his explosive post-Yardbirds recordings with Rod Stewart (particular the songs on 1968’s Truth) that have remained touchstones in the heavy rock universe.
Despite occasional live collaborations with Stewart taking place in the the ensuing years, an album of new recordings has failed to materialise much to Beck’s disappointment: “I did some demos for him [a few years ago], real down-home blues like Muddy Waters and Elmore James,” he recalls. “I was going to give it The Jeff Beck Group treatment; Truth times two. But he wasn't into that. Rod has a short attention span. Now he doesn’t need the money, there’s no drive. Musically he’s obviously done enough.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Beck talks declining an invitation to replace Mick Taylor in the Stones, touring with Brian Wilson, playing with Jimmy Page (“Maybe there could be mileage in playing acoustic music”) and his long-awaited new album.
All this and more can be found in the new issue of MOJO magazine, which features an exclusive, mammoth interview with the mighty Black Keys. The issue goes on sale in the UK today (Tuesday, April 29).