The guitarist’s guitarist, Jeff Beck has been getting new notes and sounds out of his six strings since his rise to fame in the mid 60s, and this DVD tells the story, from comparing record collections with Jimmy Page in their school years, right up to the present day.
At the launch for this DVD, at the Curzon in Mayfair, we were joined by Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page for the screening, as several other ‘Names’. The story goes from the school days through to the Yardbirds (in which Page famously switched to Bass so that he could play with Jeff), and Jeff talked about the pushes and pulls, and the commercial leanings of producer Micky Most which lead to the solo hit single Hi Ho Silver Lining, something Jeff hated at the time. On the DVD, there’s much contribution from Ronnie Wood (who was playing bass at the time of the first two Jeff Beck albums) and vocalist Rod Stewart, and a few laughs are produced out of the story of how Jeff found out Rod had joined the Faces. Some honest and heartfelt moments.
Some of the Jeff interviews come from his garage, with him elbow deep in an engine. He really does have a passion for motor cars, fixing, building, racing, and there’s much footage of him driving around Sussex (in the south east of England) – an area I know very well and something we talked about after the show.
There’s words about keyboardist Nicky Hopkins, and several interviews with Jan Hammer, who has been a long time collaborator, including during the mid 70s jazz era. The Cozy Powell albums are skipped through, the way Cozy got the audition is a good story.
I would also liked to have had more on the BBA album(s) and the 1985 set Flash. But the 80s were filled with sessions he was driven to left right and centre as he was disillusioned with the music scene, Jeff immersing himself in his cars. The Guitar Shop era is covered well.
Other contributions come from his current band, and also guitarists Eric Clapton (Jeff’s predecessor in the Yardbirds), Slash and Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour, the latter sitting next to me during the screening. David and I shared comment on how Jeff took the guitar to a new dimension.
After the screening, I spent time with both Jeff and David Gilmour. I recounted to Jeff the story Cozy Powell told me about the recording of the Tilt album and the track with Jeff and bassist Jack Bruce, and how the tape-op messed up, and Jeff remembered having to go back to re-do that track, with a laugh.
Jeff’s solo work has covered blues, rock, fusion and more recently a lot of more experimental work. The reconnecting with Page is covered, jamming on stage with him, there’s some fantastic work shown that’s previously unreleased. And what’s obvious throughout is Jeff’s passion for both guitar and cars.
Yes, there are gaps, and some is skimmed over, but given the length, depth, quantity and quality, no one project could hope to do complete justice to, but what this does do is get you wanting to investigate a whole lot more.
When Sessions include Roger Waters, Cozy Powell, Vanilla Fudge, Mick Jagger, Rod Stewart, Tina Turner, Brian May, Roger Taylor (who was also there at the launch/screening) to name just a few, you know you have a guitarist who’s more than just a bit special; his discography is really worth investigating and here’s the proof. A wonderful guitarist and a wonderful production. 10/10