What's New! 1998

Compiled by Dick Wyzanski

January 19, 1998 - February 9, 1998 - March 6, 1998 - April 2, 1998

April 10, 1998 - April 17, 1998 - April 22, 1998 - June 1, 1998 - June 16,1998 - July 23, 1998

August 5, 1998 - August 17, 1998 - September 15, 1998 - October 12, 1998 - October 20, 1998

October 30, 1998 - November 3, 1998 - December 8, 1998

January 19, 1998

  • Two things...first Jeff was in New York the night of Monday January 12th for the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame inductions. The reason being of course because Gene Vincent was inducted in. Jeff played one of his Gretsch Duo Jets on "Be-Bop-A-Lula" with Jonny Lang on acoustic guitar and vocals. They were backed up by Paul Shaffer and the "CBS Orchestra" (from the Letterman Show). The show was taped for telecast by VH-1 and will be shown Monday, January 19th at 9PM EST, and again on Saturday, January 24rd. As a sidenote...Peter Green also will make a rare appearance with Santana on "Black Magic Woman". Second...the long awaited George Martin album (See Aug. '96) will be out this summer. Jeff will appear on "A Day In The Life".

    February 9, 1998

  • Books, books, books....there will be three new books out this year that will either totally or in part feature Jeff Beck. The first and most comprehensive will be the long awaited biography by Annette Carson. Any well read follower of the page already knows Annette's story and she will be telling Jeff's as her manuscript has at last found a publisher. The book, published by Plexus Publishing of London, should be available by mid 1998. It will be available in both the UK and the USA in trade paperback format which is a generously sized quality paperback. This is a MUST HAVE for any serious Jeff Beck fan! Next in the fall of 1998 we should see the release of 'The Jeff Beck Chronology Part I' by Christopher Hjort and Doug Hinman. This privately published book will trace in day-by-day fashion the career of Jeff Beck with emphasis on concerts, TV and radio shows and recording sessions between the years 1965 and 1975. Christopher is also in need of pictures and memoribilia for this project...if you can help contact him at:hjort@gazette.no. When we find out how you can get it we'll let you know! Finally just released is 'MusicHound Blues - The Essential Album Guide' (Visible Ink Press). This comprehensive reference guide to most of history's major blues artists includes a section on Jeff which lightly traces his career and gives it's opinion of Jeff's best efforts (none of which is 'five bones' to them, huh?). And somewhat humourously they refer to Jeff as a 'dictatorial egomanic' which we take some umbrage with but hey, to each his own. You can order the book online at: http://www.fsbassociates.com.

    March 6, 1998

  • A few things to report this month...lastest on the album, Jeff is now working with Tony Hymas who is writing some material. Jeff will also reportedly use six of the dozen or so cuts he did with Steve Lukather. The March 1998 issue of Vintage Guitar has an interview with Paul Burilson (of the Rock N'Roll Trio which did the original 'Train Kept A Rollin'). In the interview Paul mentions that Jeff had agreed to be on his new Sweetfish Records release 'Train Kept A Rollin'. Paul says he recorded two versions of 'Train', one his style and one the way the Yardbirds did it and was about to send the tracks over to England when he heard that they couldn't work out the details with Jeff's record company, Sony/Epic. As he says, "It would have been nice." This is pretty much what happened with Jeff's B.B.King appearance. Joe Satriani was on the March 2 edition of the 'RockLine' radio show. On the show Joe was saying what a huge fan of Jeff he is. So big in fact that when his G3 Tour had a stop in London he sent a car to Jeff's house with the invitation, 'Jeff if you feel like coming to show to jam just step outside your door.' The car was parked outside his house all weekend. At the G3 concert that weekend however was Beck mate Brian May who Jeff has been hanging out with recently. The two continue to talk about some sort of collaboration in the future as they have done for years.

    April 2, 1998

  • On Saturday March 28, Dick Wyzanski got ahold of via phone Dan Griffin, who is producing the as yet unreleased video documentary "Heirs To The Throne". The documentary was to have coincided with the release of "All The Kings Men" but funding ran short and Dan hopes to have it distributed by the end of the summer. Here's some brief highlights of the chat.

    Dan said that he and Scotty Moore had been talking about different people to be on the record. The Stones had treated him like royalty so he was keen to get together with Ron Wood. When asked who else Ron might feel could contribute, Ron suggested Jeff Beck. Ronnie and Jeff had spoken on the phone occasionally but hadn't seen each other in a few years. Dan faxed Jeff's management in London who replied back in fifteen minutes..."Jeff would love to do it." Dan says of his initial meeting with Jeff at the airport in Ireland, "I picked Jeff up at the airport. His plane was late. Then I saw him and Ian Jennings (Playboys bass player) come through the door. He had a big smile on his face that lasted the whole weekend." They went back to Woody's Sandy Mount home and spent two nights shooting the session. Dan filmed Jeff doing "some really over the top stuff" which never made it onto the Lp track. The essence of the two generations of rockers was caught by Dan in a classic style dilemma. Jeff and Woody were in one room discussing how they should tactfully suggest some change in the musical direction. Unbeknownst to them, Scotty and DJ were in another room discussing the very same thing from their perspective! When an offshoot tempo and beat of "Last Night I Met Carl Perkins" was decided on, the group, according to Dan, "cut three passes in about an hour." It became "Unsung Heroes" and the rest is a matter of record.

    About the five thousand dollar guesting fee Jeff earned, Dan reflected, "Jeff didn't get his. It had to go directly to Sony. Sony put me through six months of hell to try to get the licensing. Fortunately I knew some people at Sony who have helped me out in the past. There was one executive who kept saying, 'Why should we license this. Jeff never puts any product out for us.'"

    When asked by Dan about the legendary session later, Ron Wood reflected, "That was two of the most magical nights." Jeff was asked by Dan about it later also. Much of the same sentiment was uttered. When asked if there was anything Jeff would have liked to have changed about the session, Jeff had a humourous comment in classic Beck style which this writer agreed not to print. However think back to his tongue in cheek speech about Rod Stewart at the '94 Hall of Fame show and then listen to "Unsung Heroes". You'll figure it out.

    April 10, 1998

  • There may be some movement in the Beck camp as to a tour this summer as it seems they may be getting some of their ducks in a row. A recent email to the page informed us that bassist/stick player extrodinaire Tony Levin had been signed up to tour with Jeff this summer...we immediately contacted Tony who informed us that he hadn't 'signed on' but rather 'they' are considering it and he wouldn't know anymore for some time.

    Jeff was in attendance a couple of weeks ago at a retirement party for now 72 year old Sir George Martin held at George's Air Studios in London. Jeff, quoted in Rolling Stone Magazine said of George, "He's such a father figure in the way his musical knowledge guides you. I'll be most upset to know that he's not continuing in music." The event also doubled as the record release party for Sir George's 'In My Life' album due out May 19th. The album, a collection of Beatle's covers, features among other things,as we have told you,Jeff performing an instrumental version of 'A Day In The Life'. And this just in...the album will finally be released in the U.S. on October 6th, 1998 on MCA Records.

    Lastly, we here at the page were saddened to hear of the death of Cozy Powell and for more info you can go to Cozy's Website.

    April 17, 1998

  • This just in...Jeff is scheduled to play The Montreux Jazz Festival on July 11th...we're not sure of the lineup, maybe someone mentioned above? Go to the The Montreux Jazz Web for more info.

    April 22, 1998

  • Also just in...as we've mentioned earlier, Jeff was hanging out a bit with Queen's Brian May several months ago and it turns out that they have finally got around to recording together as they have so long talked about. Jeff will be featured on a cut of Brian's next solo album 'Another World' due out June 1st...Jeff is on a track called 'The Guv'nor' which is about Jeff and also features him on guitar!! The late Cozy Powell is also on some cuts but we're not sure if he's on 'The Guv'nor'.

    Go to Jeff Beck Bulletin #5 for Dick's review of 'The Guv'nor'!

    June 1, 1998

  • Dick W. was recently contacted by Jennifer Batten, who had just finished up a tour with Michael Jackson, and asked if she could have copies of several '95 Jeff Beck Tour tapes that he had been sent from other collectors. Dick said 'sure' and sent them off not thinking much of it as we all know that Jennifer is a huge fan of Jeff's. Well, it turns out she was sworn to secrecy but we're not, so here's what we've found out (not from Jennifer by the way). Jeff is scheduled to play at least the three following dates in Europe: July 7th, Amsterdam; July 9th, Paris; and the aforementioned July 11th date for Montreux. The lineup backing Jeff will be; Jennifer Batten (guitar), Randy Hope Taylor (bass) and ex-Duran Duran drummer Steve Alexander. Word is that Jennifer is set to arrive in England June 2nd and that rehearsals will begin immediately. As for material we hear they will be trying out some of the new stuff Jeff has been working on for his album to test it's 'road worthiness' but as for the album itself, still no word.

    Also as for that George Martin tribute album that it seems we've been talking forever about, it seems that it was only released in Europe (we didn't know that) but it has sold over 100,000 units so a U.S. release is imminent.

    June 16, 1998

    OK, here it is Jeff's schedule for the summer European tour. Gee, I wish I was Italian or German all of a sudden!

    July 23, 1998

    Well, we've got some preliminary reports in from Jeff's European Tour and damn, we're missing some great stuff....this also just in, following his European stint, Jeff is now planning a South American Tour for the last summer/fall. One definate venue will be the Free Jazz Festival in Rio D, Brazil as well as some dates in Mexico. But back to the present, two reports in from the Amsterdam gigs thanks to Steve Kusaka and Steve Headrick. The Paradiso is a relatively small club, the price of a ticket? About $22.00 American. The opening act none other than The Big Town Playboys with Andy Fairweather Low sitting in reportedly. Jeff and band took the stage at 9:30 PM and thanks to both Steves we have the setlist. You won't recognize all the titles...Jeff did 5 or 6 new pieces that he has been working on for his next release. And to repeat the lineup (and correct a previous error, no Pino Pallidino) you got; Jeff Beck (guitar), Jennifer Batten (guitar & guitar synthesizer), Randy Hope Taylor(bass) and Steve Alexander(drums). And here it is: The show started with Jeff and Jennifer trading licks. Jennifer, who one person described as looking 'normal' compared to her Michael Jackson attire, used a guitar synthesizer throughout the show to basically play what were the keyboard parts on the original recordings. A feat many described as truly amazing as well as her ability to rip it up on straight guitar. Many times during the evening Jeff would stand back, arms crossed and let his new band loose admiring them like he might one of his latest cars. Everyone was all smiles throughout the night which ended with an encore of "Where Were You" and one of the last three songs on the list (we're not sure). Jeff's rig consisted of 3 newer looking Marshalls, his ProCo Rat as well as a Cry Baby Wah. He used his familiar Surf Green Strat Plus throughout the show but switched to a reverse headstock white Strat after 'Where Were You' to play the last song of the encore.

    From Montreux we have a report thanks to Jean-Pierre Lamon. J-P describes Jeff as 'enormous and imposing'. The set list and his impressions of Jennifer are much the same as our Amsterdam reporters (she was great!). Also at Montreux anyway it seems that the encore version of "Were Where You" was done as Jean-Pierre describes it as 'twice faster', that's interesting! Also on the bill that night was John Mayall and John McLaughlin. John McLaughlin joined Jeff and band onstage for the last encore in which they did Hendrix's "Manic Depression"...we hear it was a lengthy version. Stayed tuned for more reports! Also something noted from the Hamburg show....this list is an exact copy of the one taped to the mixing board. We have since learned that these 'alternative' titles are courtesy of Ravi, the production/stage manager for the tour, Hah!

    August 5, 1998

    Well today marks the day of Jeff's last European date in Neu Isenburg, Germany and we've got two new reports. Two of our readers, George Bendo and Dave Burns, caught Jeff at the Munich Colliseum and they had some interesting observations. Both George (who drove over 500 miles from Budapest, Hungary) and Dave said the set was pretty much the same as our list above. The show was opened again by The Big Town Playboys. Both also said they talked to some roadies when they noticed some recording gear and Dave was told that the last four shows of the tour were being recorded for a possible live album to be released next year. George said he noticed some cool T-Shirts and black polo shirts and guitar picks on sale that said "JB's Back In Europe" with Jeff's signature. Also Dave was told that indeed everyone is off to South America next and that if 'all went well' a North American/British tour could follow next year. Gee, we hope so. And again the encore to the show was 'Where Were You' as George described 'tender and light' and 'Slingshot', '100% maximum overdrive'. Thanks to all for the reports!

    Also this just in...we are trying to confirm a rumour we recieved (and that this point that's all it is) that Jeff will be in Los Angeles August 19th at a Brian May gig. If anybody knows anything give us a shout.

    August 17, 1998

    We just got in a great European tour report that we felt we just had to share with you. This comes in from a reader of the page named Dave Corbin and I'll let you read his story that shows even a Jeff Beck tour can have shades of 'Spinal Tap' in it.

    Well, I wish I could say the show was fabulous but all I can say is that the anticipation was great! I was on a European business trip for my company and had the weekend of 7/25-26 free. I went to a place in Italy called Desenzano di Garda which is a really great little town on a lake at the base of the Alps. It's almost exactly midway between Milan and Venice. The only way to get there is by train, bus or car.

    Anyway, when I got there, the first thing I did was to confirm that Jeff was indeed scheduled to play. I had been trying in vain to do this from outside the country for weeks. As it turned out he was scheduled to play at a disco called Genus "The Greatest Disco in the World!!" Well, OK, as long as he's going to be there, I can handle a disco. I couldn't get an advance-sale ticket but if I showed up early I could probably get in.

    I went early and the place was nearly deserted but I was told to go around the back. Sure enough they were selling tickets and soon I had mine. Other people had already been to other shows and had some cool T-shirts; couldn't wait to get mine. They let us in early; around 8:30 for a 10:00 show. I thought we were going to go into the disco the back way but as we walked along we noticed an equipment truck...on the other side of the equipment truck, there, right on the edge of a gigantic parking lot is a 15 by 30 foot stage with an amazing amount of state-of the-art equipment on it. There's only a 3 foot high railing ten feet in front of the stage! So, it finally sinks in; I'm going to get to stand ten feet away from Jeff Beck and watch him play, WOW!!

    First person I notice on stage is Andy Roberts messing around with three apparently brand new Marshall DCM2000 amps. This setup with only one measly pedal attached is for Jeff. On the other side of the stage is one of the most elaborate rack setups I've ever seen; looks like enough equipment for three people. This is of course for Jenifer Batten. Well, I know which side of the stage I'm going to plant myself in front of!

    So the crowd starts to build, it's getting to be 9:45 so everyone stand up in anticipation. I think everyone in the crowd is a major fan. I estimate that there may be 800 people; maybe more. I think I must be the only one who speaks English! Anyway 10:00 rolls around. Every time a tech moves in the shadows, people start shouting. We wait and we wait but still nothing. At about 10:30 people start to get really restless. Shouts of "Bastardo" are heard. A few beer cans and bottles are thrown (Italians are not famous for their patience). Then it starts to look like the dreaded cancellation may be in store for us. Sure enough, a few minutes later the official announcement comes, the show is cancelled.

    Oh well, I knew it was too good to be true. I hang around a bit before going to get my 25000 Lira back. I shout out to Andy asking what happened. "I've no idea. I only hope he's OK" he shouts back. Apparently there has been no word of where the band is. For me this is still a mystery. If anyone knows what happened to this show, I'd like to know. My theory is that Jeff heard about the venue and decided that he didn't want to play in a parking lot!(who can blame him?) I think the parking lot thing was a last minute decision on the part of the local promoter who probably thought he could save money by not actually having to rent space on one of the indoor stages. Well, instead of saving money, he made nothing at all.

    The good new is that in spite of this I had a great weekend in a really wonderful little Italian resort town. I plan to go back there ASAP with my family in tow.

    As it turns out Dave is right. We heard Jeff didn't do the show because the promoter moved the stage location and the start time several times so Jeff said 'screw it'.

    September 15, 1998

    Ok, here we go...we now have Jeff's South American tour dates. As some of you know, these dates have been on Jennifer Batten's website for a while but these dates are somewhat updated. And that's it. The lineup will be the same as the European tour. There is a question mark after Porto Alegre because neither we or Jeff's or his management is quite sure where it is. During a recent call to London we heard that when Jeff was asked in what country Porto Alegre was, he replied, "I don't know, why don't you ask Dick Wyzanski in Florida, he knows everything else." Hah! Also rumour has it that some dates are being pencilled in for a U.S. tour in perhaps February or March of '99. Stay tuned.

    October 15, 1998

    Just a few updates here as Jeff begins his South American tour and these have mainly to do with venues. Word is that this gig sold out on September 24 after tickets went on sale September 18. Thanks to some of our readers we have learned that Porto Alegre is a city of 2 million people in southern Brazil in state of Rio Grande do Sul. We hear it's a great city loaded with Jeff Beck fans!

    October 20, 1998

    Here's our first full report from South America and as you will see Jeff continues to wow them! Thanks to Rodrigo Werneck for the report from Rio De Janeiro.

    October 18, 1998 Jeff Beck played here in Rio de Janeiro, at the Free Jazz Festival '98, yesterday. The Festival staff and the Brazilian newspapers have been quite curious about Jeff, especially after the tickets to his gig were completely sold in 6 days. This was the absolute ticket sales record since the creation of the Festival, 13 years ago. Even the Steve Wonder concert had its tickets available for more time (Steve played in a past edition of the Festival, and was the best seller so far). The Festival staff even arranged an extra gig with Jeff's management, and that happened yesterday also, at 5 p.m.

    The Brazilian newspapers have been publishing some big texts about Jeff, his past and present works, etc. He got a huge promotion here in Brazil, by playing at this Festival. Originally planned to be a jazz festival, the organizers began to call some blues artists in the past, and after that others music genres were included (pop, rock, etc.). Now it happens at a big venue especially mounted for the event, in a beautiful place next to the Guanabara Bay. The stage was built beside the Museu de Arte Moderna (Museum of Modern Art). Jeff and band will play today (Oct. 18th) in Sao Paulo, and on Oct. 19th in Porto Alegre, in the south of the country. The Free Jazz Festival is happening in the 3 cities at the same time (actually there are some shows also in Curitiba, but Jeff won't play there).

    I arrived at the venue with 3 friends, at 9:00 p.m. The first concert of the night, Wayne Shorter and band, began their set at 9:45 p.m. There were a lot of local famous people at the venue, including TV artists, comedians, and musicians. Free Jazz Festival is nowadays very famous here, as I said before, and TV Networks and Newspapers dedicate a lot of promotion and space to it. I saw Victor Biglione, one of Brazil's most famous guitar players, standing up next to the stage (he is a huge Beck fan, he even recorded a version of "Cause We've Ended As Lovers", some time ago).

    Wayne Shorter's concert was a short one, only 1 hour, and no encore. Some fusion, some traditional jazz parts, not exactly my cup of tea, so I spent all the time drinking some beers at my table, waiting patiently for Jeff's show. At 11:10 p.m., the lights turn off, and Jeff is announced to a very enthusiastic audience ! I've heard from a waitress that his earlier gig was absolutely fantastic, cheered by the audience, so I was waiting with a lot of excitement myself, it was the first time that Jeff came to Brazil to play.

    The band enters the stage, Jennifer Batten with her guitar, Randy Hope-Taylor and his bass guitar, and Steve Alexander behind a monstruous drum kit ! They start to play the initial chords, and then a familiar guitar sound cuts the air ! Someone is behind the 3 Marshall amplifiers, located at the right side of the stage, and suddenly he appears, with his green Fender Stratocaster, Mr. Jeff Beck ! The crowd went crazy, and the band feels all the excitement, and plays furiously !

    The set list was similar to what I read they have been playing during this tour: "New Tech", "Arab Hoot", "Sending Sweets", "Savoy" and "Big Block" from "Guitar Shop", "Led Boots" and "Blue Wind" from "Wired", but while choosing a song from "Blow By Blow" he dropped "Diamond Dust" in favour of "Cause We've Ended As Lovers", maybe because it's a hit here in Brazil. It's a pity, I was really expecting to listen to the former song, though I love the latter as well !

    There were space for all the musicians to play some solos, both Jennifer and Randy played impressive parts, but the one that really impressed me was the drummer, Steve Alexander. This man is a machine, not a human being ! When you go to a Jeff Beck concert, of course you expect a talented drummer (like Simon Philips, Terry Bozzio, etc.), but I have not heard about Steve before, and his solo was awesome ! Probably due to the audience's response, it was a very long drums solo, but absolutely inventive and rich of different rhythms.

    Jeff's guitar work was brilliant on every and each song, and the sound coming from his green Strato was exactly the same we are used to recognize, thanks also to the good quality sound of the venue's equipment. If I remember right, after "Blue Wind", the band went out of the stage, after thanking the delighted crowd. After some seconds, they came back and started to play "Where Were You", almost identically to the original version. Almost at the end of this song, the roadie brought a white "left-handed adapted to a right-handed guitarist" Strato, and Jeff switched to it. Some strange and apparently unexpected noises (feedback, etc.) appeared, and Jeff didn't wait too long for them to be repaired, he simply broke the white Strato into the stage's floor ! The audience went crazy, and the band left the stage once again !

    After a minute or two of anxiety, they came back ! Now Jeff was hanging a red and white Strato, and they played "Slingshot" ! Heavy and fast, strong tune to finish a show. By this time, it was already 1 a.m., and the time to finish the show arrived, unfortunately. I'm sure that the audience would stay there for 1 or 2 more hours of music, but of course Jeff had already played another gig before, at the same day and venue, so they were probably tired !

    This was, with no doubt, the show of the year here ! I'm sure that Jeff Beck has proved to his old time fans that he's still kicking ass, and he surely has got lots of new fans ! I could see a lot of young rock fans with their eyes wide-open, enchanted with the music coming from the stage.

    P.S. Check the end of the A.N.Other Photos page for pix from Brazil!

    Thanks again, Rodrigo!

    October 30, 1998

    For the latest edition we have two items...a brief report from Jeff's gig in Mexico City from our bud 'Gonzo' Cotto and excerpts from an interview for the Brazilian edition of 'Guitar Player' provided to us courtesy of the interviewer, Luiz Chagas. First here's Gonzo's impressions.

    Finally, I got the chance to see my guitar hero live and didn't miss the opportunity. Even though it was announced that JB was going to play October 10 and 11, he played just on the 10th. I don't know exactly why he didn't play the October 11th concert.

    I arrived in Mexico City's airport on Saturday the 10th around 1:00 PM. My friends and I went out to have some taquitos and then we went to the Metropolitan about 7:30PM. The place was totally crowded. There was supposed that a Mexican guitarist opening the concert (which was scheduled for 8:00). I was a little disappointed because I don't like this other guitarist, but by 8:30 nothing happened. I thought "Well, it's going to start very late because we're even going have to wait until this guy finishes his set to hear Beck". By 8:45 there was a guy sitting behind the drumset, then a black man appeared and picked up the bass and then Jeniffer came out. They started to play a blues number and by the middle of the song, Beck appeared and everybody started to yell.

    He played a lot of known songs (especially from "There and Back" and "Guitar Shop")such as Star Cycle, The Pump, Too Much To Lose, Big Block, etc. They also played some new songs I think are going to be in the new album. His sound was amazing (as always), his rhythm and tempo amazing (as always), his phrasing amazing (as always) but what was really new and amazing was the the band. They were so great I couldn't believe it. Jeniffer should be as famous as Beck because she's a great musician (she played on guitar synth everything the piano and keyboards did on the records), the drummer did a solo on 'Led Boots' that really knocked me out. They started with a couple of songs from "Guitar Shop" but none of them were my favorite song, then they played a bunch of new songs but not my song, they played some more songs from several albums but not my song, the concert finished and they hadn't played my song yet! They left the stage without playing my song! Then after a minute Beck and Batten came back and it was obviously to play my song: 'Where Were You'. I always thought that Beck would be able to play that beautiful song in studio but not live, I was so wrong! He played it much better than the recorded version with Jeniffer backing him up with the strings Tony played on "Guitar Shop". Of the new songs, they played a slow blues and a reggae number that really knocked me out, I can even say that the blues one is one of the better songs I've ever heard in my whole life (and the list of course includes Where Were You).

    A few days later I met the drummer who was supposed to play with the opening band. He told me that they didn't play that night because Beck wanted Mexican music(Mariachi music). I don't know exactly why but the producers, managers or whatever couldn't find any Mariachis so they didn't let anybody open the concert.

    A lot of people told me that Beck is great on record but live he's 300 times better, it's true! I can say objectively that he's the best guitarist alive...subjectively that he is the best guitarist ever. I can't imagine anyone who could surpass his playing, at least in this century. Gerardo "Gonzo" Cotto

    Thanks Gonzo, now here's the GP interview:

    Hi friends, I'm a journalist and a musician who loves Jeff's music. Fortunately enough the Guitar Player's editor -- Brazilian edition -- invited me to cover, as a free lancer, Jeff Beck's tour in Brasil. Well, I stand here in Sao Paulo and wrote the bio. My friend, Sergio Basbaum, also a musician, and a regular on GP's staff, invited me to do the interview with him. We talked with Jeff from Sao Paulo to London's Equator Music on September, 19, 9:00 PM (LT/SP). It was wonderful and I'd like to share it with our friends all over the world.

    Here, are some highlights:

    Guitar Player - How do you manage, after so many years, to keep
    such inspiration when you play?
    Jeff Beck - Well, I think it's because I take time from the 
    business. I've got a really nice house, and I keep busy doing 
    other things. I think, unlike other peolple that just play and
    do nothing else (if you do just that...) you can easily burn out
    of inspiration, but I make sure I get away from the music business...
    and, although I would like to play more, I think it's probably the
    main reason, the fact that I'm able not to be connected with the 
    hassles of music, you know, and having a great team of friends that
    have nothing to do with the music business, it helps you kinda clean 
    up your mind.
    GP - Do you have any kind of music you usually listen to, things that
    keep you connected to music?
    JB - I listen with one ear to pop radio. Unfortunately, in England,
    there are only two or three stations which I can listen to... the
    rest is too much trendy music, which is empty -- sort of machines and
    rap... do you know what I mean? It's a different world we're living in
    now, from the one I was used to in the 60s and 70s... but I'm still
    capable of understanding what people are putting down in terms of pop
    music, what young people -- because music, to me,should be youthful;
    I'm not interested in any music that's got gray hairs attached to it
    (laughter)...  but I've got a few gray hairs but, you know, uh... 
    it's cool -- I just appreciate talent, no matter what type of music it
    is... and I don't think you can get rid of the quality, if you have the
    ability to...if you're a musical person, you can pick out the good from
    the bad, you know, and there's always a little bit of good somewhere... 
    but I'm not actually trained into listening to one specific station... 
    you know, I can just as easy put a cassette on of Django Reinhardt and
    listen to it for three hours in the truck, you know...I've been going 
    back into the 40s and listening to Django... I've had the fortune to 
    be given a rare album of his which is all electric guitar.. and I
    never knew he even played electric guitar, you know... in this way...
    and it's a revelation... but you can hear the beginnings of rock and
    roll in this record I've got... well, he's slapping the strings and 
    bending them, I mean, in 1940, this is... so, I've been giving that a
    good listening... But also John (McLaughlin), you know... You know, 
    I'm listening to young bands, but they all strum... a lot of distortion
    (laughter) - you know, apart from the heavy metal brigade, like Steve 
    Vai and stuff... they've got a west coast sound, you know, which I 
    don't follow too closely... I'm more interested in melody and technique
    on those lines- traditional technique.
    GP - When was the moment that you found your sound on the guitar, your
    style -- and thought 'I'm going to work in this direction'?
    JB - Yeah...I think...when I met George Martin in 1975 or 76... I 
    was very honored and proud that he was interested in taking on the
    project...And I just thought how... how... what's the word? unusual 
    it would be to put my guitar style with George... but it worked, and
    he could see the potential in a sort of orchestral sense of embellishing,
    do you know what I mean?, of scoring strings around some of the things I
    was doing to make it more listenable... and he helped me... that album 
    helped me find a place away from rock singers... (laughter)... if you
    know what I mean, I mean, it actually supported itself by the strength of
    the melodies... and I was then put in the driving seat position, rather
    than the lead guitar..I was a lead voice on the guitar... and George 
    helped me to get that in a way... 'cause it was very well-done... and 
    that album survived... in a melodic sense, yet about twenty years, you
    know... and from that album, it was a kind of springboard, and then I
    met with Jan Hammer... and he again was... he turned me around to face
    the other way, and wanted to do more heavy rock (laughter)... and that's
    when George said,'You know, I think you'd better make this your goal, 
    you know, go with Jan',  because he couldn't understand where he fitted
    in. And there wasn't any room for George to do another 'Blow By Blow',
    if you know what I mean. I was actually attempting to make an album
    which is, if  I dare say, a little bit commercial, and I think, you
    know, to George's ear, that's fine.. it would have been...it wouldn't
    have gone too well with him if I had done too many...too many 
    bends and whistles and things...we were experimenting -- don't forget it 
    was twenty years ago, when music was very middle-of-the-road, it was all 
    kind of Perry Lane (?) disco music, and the Philadelphia sound and
    all that...so we had to fall in line a little bit with it... Then I
    realized that people wanted the heavy stuff, and I couldn't carry 
    around a fifty-piece orchestra to do "Blow By Blow" so...  I wanted
    to have a tight unit that could travel the world without having to
    spend a fortune on pretty strings and stuff so... I then went 
    backward and picked some of the Hendrix-type, Yardbirdsy-type (things...)
    Special thanks again to Luiz Chagas!

    November 3, 1998

    Hey! Thanks to Luiz Chagas, Sergio Basbaum and the folks at Guitar Player/Brazil, we have the rest of the interview that Jeff did for that publication prior to his South American tour! Also check the Batten Report next week for some first hand recollections of the tour! Here we go:

    GP - In  one interview to GP in the US you said that you could never be 
    as wild in recording studios as you were in your mind...
    JB - That's right. Or on the stage... oh, ok, I understand, then maybe 
    on the stage -- because when there's a million people there, I mean, not
    a million but thousands of people, I turn into someone else. That cannot
    be cheat 'I'm someone else!" I'm sure many people will tell you the same 
    thing: they have to become another character, even if it's just a method
    of going through nerves. You know, the nervousness. So, yeah, I mean, I 
    can't really... I'm not that well... much of an actor... I can't 
    certainly turn into another person in the studio,which I don't like (laughter).
    GP - Yes... because I've got the impression that you waited five years to 
    record 'Flash", which is a very different record in your story...
    JB - Yeah, that's right... well that's the reason I wasn't really ready 
    to make any album at that time... and it was a forced issue, because Epic
    was saying "you're hot, people are screaming for an album...  (...if...) 
    you don't wanna make one, we'll make one for you. Here's what you're gonna
    do... you're gonna come over and spend two months with Nile Rodgers and
    make a great album..."... and, unfortunately, Nile was doing all kinds of 
    wicked stuff... (laughter)... he was more interested in Madonna, and quite
    right, you know... he was making millions! But he still accepted the gig
    with me... and, unfortunately, he didn't come across with what I was hoping,
    which was some really good pop instrumentals,,, and he tried to make me sing
    and stuff like that... I didn't wanna sing... I don't like to say it, but 
    the album is the result of a corporate mistake, you know... That's the story
    on that... but I'm... I should have come out with another album soon 
    afterwards, but unfortunately the circumstances prevented that...
    GP - Ok, but there's some real great things on that album, anyway...
    JB - There is, yeah... yeah...
    GP - ... the track with Jan Hammer is wonderful...
    JB - Oh, yeah...yeah, that's great...
    GP - 'People get ready' is incredible...
    JB - Ironically, the two tracks you just mentioned have nothing to do with 
    Nile Rodgers... you know, it was the guy that Epic... but, you know, I've
    nothing against Nile... you know, it was the guy that Epic... they were 
    waving the flag, and saying, you know, "Go! Nile's the hottest producer in
    New York, you've got to do it with him..." The... then really the misjudgement
     -- if there was any -- was  down to them, I woud think. Those guys, and not
    incidentally, those guys are not involved in Epic in any shape or form anymore.
    GP - "Ambitious" is a great solo anyway, too...
    JB - Yeah, that was more like it, you know... That was a cool song, and if we had 
    about four more of those... you know, with Jimmy Hall singing... I though he sang
    great, you know, Jimmy Hall...
    GP - Ok... Now, of all you body of work, which is thirty years of career, what 
    are your favorite works, that we can say "Oh, if you want to begin to listen to
    Jeff Beck, he would like you to begin from this point..."?
    JB - ... (laughter) Well, I think that's like saying "How many... Which is your
    favorite record if you have to be left alone on an island... with one or two 
    records...?" you know, I think that's a question that we would need a lot more
    thought than we have time for...but, you know, I mean, the things that stick 
    out, the ones that revolut... well, not revolutionized, but that are unique in
    a certain sense that the guitar has never been used in that way, which is... 
    more in the ballads and, you know, like 'So where were you?"... but that one
    from 'Guitar Shop', which is played purely with fourth harmonics...that would
    be typical me, typical Beck sort of... I suppose it would be fair to say that
    nobody else had done that... hum... some of the heavy stuff like... 'Star 
    Cycle', you know, which was one of the first ever... hum ... melodies played
    over sequencer.... that was quite revolutionary... and a few other things, 
    you know, maybe 'Porkpie Hat'... or, you know, stuff where it's a classy blues,
    which isn't twelve bars, you know, it's not the regular kind of Chicago-style 
    blues... that helped me open a few doors... and I also got a letter from Charles
    Mingus about that....
    GP - Oh, yeah?
    JB - I've got a personally written letter, which is hanging, you know, in a 
    special place in my house. He left that when I... (recorded 'Porkpie Hat')...
    and that's one of my prized possessions...But, you know, I mean, you cannot
    really introduce anybody to me without, I suppose, 'Chimes' and 'Shapes of 
    Things' -- you know, Yardbirds... with the sitar emulation, you know, that 
    kind of indian solo I did in that...that was quite unique as well...
    GP - You did that sitar?
    JB - No, it was an Esquire -- Fender Esquire ... and they had a sitar player
    in the studio...He couldn't play so, I said, "Listen, this is what I want..."
    ... and they said, "Well, you put it down it..."
    GP - I'd like to know what we can expect of your show in Brazil?
    JB - Well, I'm trying to finish this album, which has been a thorn, you know,
    a real drag...to say the least... I'm trying to get it finished, but
    unfortunately music has been changing so rapidly we had to keep postponing
    the record. But what we want is to come down there and play all-brand-new
    material from this album... obviously to promote it, because it's all 
    brand new tunes. But we'll still have about a half hour in the show of old
    stuff as well so, we've selected the most powerful, most impressive stuff
    of the old albums.
    GP - We got the set list from Montreux through the Internet.
    JB - Oh, you got the set list from there?
    GP - Yeah, 'New Tech','Savoy', Star Cycle'...
    JB - Yeah, that was just temporary, except for the ones that are already on
    release. 'New Tech' was just a temporary title so, it's quite funny...
    (laughter) We actually haven't named half of those tunes yet.
    GP - What is like to have a woman in the band? To play with a 
    woman?(Jeniffer Batten)
    JB - Fantastic... She's just a tomboy, you know, she's really one of us,
    you know... She's not really playing in a conventional guitar style, she's,
    hum... albeitly, she's plays rabid, really heavy solos sometimes, but 
    there's more a supporting-like a keyboard... role... do you know what
    I mean? She's got a really space-age set-up for a guitar, with a... an 
    interface midi, you know, so she's making sample sounds and keyboards
    sounds with the guitar, so...She's just one... she's the most easy-going
    person to get on with. She's been a friend of mine, and I think she's 
    very pleased to be out there, and I'm very pleased to have her in the band.
    GP - We'd like to know about your work with George Martin...
    JB - Yeah... He asked me to play one Beatle track... you heard the album,
    I imagine you heard it...
    GP - It's 'A Day In The Life'... I'd like to know about your relationship...
    JB - Well, I actually thought that in the mid-70s he was one of the few 
    producers that wasn't drugging, you know, taking drugs and making forges 
    just for the sake of it... He was definitely, and always been, involved
    in music for the love of it. And I thought he was a great reference point
    in my career, to see where I was going, I though he helped me a great 
    deal... as a sort of a senior figure listening to rather heavy rock and roll,
    and making it palatable for most other people to listen to... and we've 
    been friends ever since. And he respects me and I respect him. I was very
    proud that he choose me to be on his 'In My Life' record.
    GP - Well, everybody's waiting for your new album...
    JB - (laughter) I'm waiting for it too...
    GP - When do you expect to release it?
    JB - It will be out in November. It will be finished and, hopefully, 
    delivered for released by November, 30.
    GP - Steve Lukather tracks or Tony Hymas?
    JB - Hymas and me are producing the record... that's from about a month
    ago. Some of the tracks we're looking at what Steve Lukather just produced,
    but it looks as though we'll have to remix those anyway... but we have 
    about twelve new tunes... and it's a question of selecting and running
    that (...material...) in acceptable order, you know, so the album runs nice, 
    you know...
    GP - Do you know Brazilian music?
    JB - Yeah, I'm very familiar with some of that, but I just can't wait
    to see how people react to what we have... (laughter) You (...guys) are 
    born with rhythm, that's why I'm sort of keen to come down... whereas 
    most western cultures, they don't have much rhythm in their bodies, 
    you know, but Rio, I mean, you know... Brazilian rhythms... fantastic...
    GP - Which object gives you more pleasure, a '59 Strato or a vintage Jaguar?
    JB - ... you mean a Corvette... the car is a physical, moving object, which
    is very necessary...they're both... I can't live without either, probably...
    GP - Are you still into cars?
    JB - Yeah, yeah... you know, the... you get to used the car... that's the 
    thing it serves to get to work on them, and you get to drive to them so, 
    there's a confirmation... and a result there. If you practice the guitar,
    you can go on stage and play... So, both those things have a function, you
    know, the end of it...
    GP - ... just a very last question. Do you live in a castle? Is it true?
    JB - No, it's not a castle... It's mine, and if you think about some of 
    the houses I've lived before, it's a castle (laughter). No, it's just a... 
    it's a large... there are much bigger houses, but it's very.. for a couple
    of people, it's a big house-built in 1591...four hundred and something
    (...almost...) four hundred and ten years old. I mean... Well, it's not 
    a castle, no... it's a... there are many castles near where I live. But 
    this is a private residence, just...bought by somebody who made arms 
    in the 1590s...
    GP - ... and there is a lake-mirror.
    JB - Yeah. The river runs through the garden. It's beautiful...
    GP - Is it in London?
    JB - It's in Sussex - 50 miles from London.
    GP - Well, Jeff, it was a great honor to talk to you.
    JB - Well, thank you... It's been much interesting... I'll see you very 
    shortly - down there... Bye-bye for now... Bye!
    PS.: unfortunately we just saw him on stage. But it was a gas. The people behaved as if in front of a legend (and he is indeed). The gig - billed with Wayne Shorter -- was sold out in six days, two months earlier. It was fine, and unforgettable. Bye.

    December 8, 1998

    Just a few things before we're going to be taken up in the holiday frenzy...things I don't think we've mentioned outright in either the 'What's New' or 'Batten Report' sections. The latest on the CD...we heard from management the release date is February 15, 1999 however a recent email from our bud at the L.A. Times, Fred Shuster has heard from Epic the date is February 23, 1999, no title as yet. As for the tour... a U.S. tour is planned opening date tentatively is March 11, 1999 in Miami, Florida, no venue announced as of yet. Also from Fred S., Alex Hodges, Stevie Ray Vaughan's former manager who now does booking for the Universal Amphitheatre in L.A. is now bidding for Jeff to do several nights there in March or April. Happy Holidays!

    Be seeing you...