“Only friends I was so low,” Jeff Beck he said, looking back on his childhood in a newly discovered audio clip of an interview with Rolling Stone’s Kory Grow. “They were one step away from jail, most of them. The guitar saved me from that.”
Beck – who passed away this week at the age of 78 — takes a look at his entire career, from the Yardbirds to the Jeff Beck Group to the merger era and beyond in the interview, which can be heard in full on the new episode of our site Rolling Stone Music Now Podcast. “I’ve never had it big before, happily, probably,” Beck said. “When you look around and see who made it huge, that’s a really rotten place when you think about it. I’m probably blessed that I didn’t have that.”
The nearly two-hour tribute episode features new interviews with three guitar legends: Mike Campbell Tom Petty and Heartbreakers, Vernon Reed of living color, and Joe Satriani. Elsewhere in the episode, Andy Green joins host Brian Hiatt to discuss Beck’s entire career.
“Jeff Beck is probably the most unique in terms of things that are spontaneous and whimsical but melodic,” says Campbell. It was always surprising, like, ‘How did he come up with that? Plus, it sounded great!” Campbell also reveals one thing he and Beck have in common: They both kept guitars in their bathrooms, just in case.
“Jeff didn’t care about perfection,” says Reid. “He was concerned with dwelling in space, with the moment, with emotion… when he really plays with textures and just writes all this machine pathos, I mean, that’s just extraordinary to me.”
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