September 1999 To March 2000

Jeff Once More At The Crossroads

As much as Jeff loves the fan electricity generated by doing live shows, we must remember that he really doesn't enjoy the rigors of touring as he's said numerous times. Robert Knight pointed out to me that if one combines the shows he did this spring with the ones currently, the result is that Jeff is doing more shows than he ever did in one time period with maybe the exception of the Jan Hammer era. Given his perfectionist nature, it isn't surprising that on at least several occasions on this leg of the tour he hasn't been totally happy with his own playing, the lighting and stage production, or his expectations of having to go out and greet the faithful aftershow pass holders which has resulted in his refusal to do so several times thus far. The redeeming force that is counterbalanced against this backdrop is the youthful zaniness and energy of his band, most notably Jennifer and Steve who give Jeff a chance to go out and have fun playing on a nightly basis.

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 the crossroads?

Dick Wyzanski

Summer '99 Tour Reports From The Fans

A Jeff Beck Interview (Courtesy of and Jerry McCulley)

The Muse of Mischief and Murder
Jeff Beck Interview
by Jerry McCulley
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

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

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

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

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

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 -

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)

Tour Report - Florida Theater, Jacksonville, FL

Tale Of Two Jeff's

"It was the best of times. It was the worst of times." - Charles Dickens
Status quo has never been a philosophy of Jeff's. Revolting against the norm and creating new uncharted sounds with his axe has and will always be his calling card. Yet, this tour he is being called upon to replicate pretty much the same show to re-promote 'Who Else?' as he did in the spring. At the Florida Theater in Jacksonville on August 15th he did just that with all the spark and fire you would expect from Jeff Beck. Yet all was not happy in the kingdom.....

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!

The encore was breathtaking as Jeff hit the six note high bending harmonic on 'Where Were You' perfectly! One would have thought at this point Jeff was happy with the show but something troubling had happened earlier during 'Angel(Footsteps)'. Just as Jeff was getting through all the hard high slide parts, the lighting crew lit the guitar neck in such a way that he lost his place momentarily. A noticable disgusted growling gesture emerged from Jeff and was part of the subject of a closed door band meeting after the show.

Jennifer and Steve came out after the meeting and greeted the faithful who had passes. It was made clear later on however that Jeff was in no mood to mingle. He went straight to the tour bus and spoke to one person for about a half an hour and signed a guitar. That was it, cut and dried. I spent some time after chatting again with Ralph and Dan, Jeff's guitar tech. Also I spoke with Chris Hill, Jeff's main sound guy, who told me that 'Hurricane' was recorded at Jeff's home as early as the early nineties but Jeff was never satisfied enough with a version to put on the CD. There is hope on the horizon. Although Jeff repeatedly did not emerge after shows in places like Tampa and Mansfield, Mass, he was spotted at the aftergathering at Jones Beach and was said to have looked more relaxed.

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

Kip Alkema's Show Reports

Hello fans, This is my first attempt at this side of the coin in the music biz. I have been around music in one way or another all my life. Everything that has happened in my life revolved around it. Anything that means anything to , music has always been a part of it. That includes meeting and marrying my best friend beautiful wife, Jennifer. Music is something different to everyone. From a soothing background mood or shouting to the skies about what means the most to you. There also are those who grasp it like a long lost lover. Their very being is a part of what they hear in music. It's a part of their lives! The list goes on and on, but the big question is, what does music do for you? The answer lies within the listener's mind. If you only listen to music, you will never hear what it's all about. Music is whatever you want it to be. You only need to open your ears and let you mind hear what does it for you.

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.

I have loved every release that Jeff Beck has ever put out. He is the master at extracting sounds from a guitar that were not only unheard of, but also helped change almost three generations of guitar players and the way they play today. That tradition continues with the release of "Who Else?".

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

Collector's Corner: Some New Finds

First we've come across a tape from St. Louis during the '95 tour. This tape is so clean, so perfect it had to come from the soundboard? How did this happen? According to Beck soundman Chris Hill, whom I spoke with after the Jacksonville '99 show, the only way it could happen (since he swears none of Jeff's people recorded ANYTHING on that tour) was for someone associated with non-Beck controlled parts of the show (sound company, promoter etc.) used a wireless remote. Chris says it's simple for someone to hide it from the artists' crew if they really want to.

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....

Exclusive Fan Photos From Tour '99

From Maria Cordell......Tabernacle, Atlanta, GA

From Kim Brubin........The Boathouse, Norfolk, VA

From Kip Bruins ('A Jeff Beck Webpage's' official photographer)......The Ice Palace, Tampa, FL

Jennifer, after the show.

Jeff does some tapping of his own.

Yes, Jeff does use a pick sometimes...and a capo too.

The powerhouse....Steve Alexander

From Sam Stricklin..........The Tennesee Theater, Knoxville, TN

From Ron Laviciones.......Puyallup, WA

Thank yous....