Jeff Beck chats with Fender News about his lifelong love affair with music, working with other musicians, and playing Fender guitars.
FN: You must get fans wanting to know “How did you play this? Can you show me that? Do you have any tips for me?” What do you tell them?
JB: I tell them to fuck off (laughs). No, I don’t. If they can be specific about what they want, I’m only too happy to show them.
But you’d be surprised how many kids work stuff out for themselves. I mean, when we were in Canada, there was this 19-year-old girl who looked more like she should be, I don’t know, clubbing it. She had a Stratocaster, and she knew all the Blow By Blow stuff, which was amazing. There we were in the middle of Quebec, or something. Ottawa. And she goes, “Oh, I play a white Strat.” That makes me feel good. But I said, “Why do you want me to tell you anything? Because you’ve proved that you can listen.”
I mean, I’m not gonna tell anybody, if I’ve got something special to me, I don’t want to … there’s a certain boundary that you’ve got to stop at, you know? “It’s private—get off outta here (laughs)!”
FN: You seem to enjoy sharing the spotlight, given the people you’ve had in your bands; brought onstage with you, and all that. Not everybody seems to like that. What’s the appeal to you?
JB: I couldn’t care less. I mean, if somebody is good, they should be heard. It all adds to the spice of the show, if somebody has got something to say. Prince does that—he gives solos to sax players and bass players, and people seem to love it.
It’s not all about the artist full on all the time, you know. Can’t think of anything worse. And I’ve done it—I’ve performed one after the other track, one after the other. It’s exhausting and not much fun, but when you get another player onstage, or a tune where everybody is involved and solos are going on, surely that’s what it’s about, isn’t it? It’s a conversational thing.
FN: So when you have somebody like Jan Hammer in the past or Jennifer Batten more recently or the people you’re playing with now …
JB: Yeah, well, it’s an exchange of ideas. Also, it gives you a break. I mean, otherwise I’d probably seize up.
It’s pretty full on, having said that. There’s not much time during our show where I’m not hard at it. But I don’t go off for, like, ten minutes while a drum solo is going on (laughs). They used to do that. Horrible, horrible, horrible. Ban the drum solo, I say. At least, I would say, except for Jools Holland’s drummer, who I saw at the Albert Hall. That was a proper drum solo—absolutely amazing. He kept the rhythm going, and goosing the audience, you know. Beautiful solo.
Gene Krupa was one of my favorite drummers, who kept the bass drum pulsing. Just extraordinary excitement going on there. That was in the ’40s.
Read the whole interview here.