Kubernik: On Jeff Beck

 In 1974 I met Jeff after a Grammy event at the Hollywood Palladium on Sunset Blvd. We were at a reception and when George Benson walked in the room, Jeff smiled and those two guitarists were off and engaged in conversation.

Beck confirmed a local rumor that the Yardbirds did record in Chicago in the Chess Records studio, and that he once worked for a few weeks in Hollywood at the British-owned Lewin Record Shop on Hollywood Blvd that stocked English import LP’s. There was some passport issue in his stint with the Yardbirds or Musicians Union problem where he had to stay in L.A. for a bit in 1965 or ‘66. While in town, Jeff did visit the legendary Dolphin’s of Hollywood record store in Watts and was also driven to the teenage home of future record producer Michael Lloyd by the local Yardbirds’ publicist, Kim Fowley.

  During 2001 in an interview with Chrissie Hynde, we discussed Jeff Beck.

     “We were going to do some charity work years ago and since we’ve remained very friendly. And I sort of introduced him to a guy who has become one of his best friends, so that was always good, and the three of us go out together and do things. We’ve always had different schedules and been working on other projects. But when I heard ‘Legalize Me’…He’s someone who is my guitar hero. Meeting him was such a huge thrill for me. I’m just such a fan of his rock guitar playing, because he’s the greatest rock guitar player. And in his own stuff he’s done the last twenty years, he’s certainly has gone on to Planet Beck. Where no guitar player has ever gone. And he doesn’t use a pick. What I always wanted to do was pull him down to Planet Earth and get him to play rock guitar. For him that might be a little elementary, but for me that’s where my head is at. So, when we did ‘Legalize Me,’ I thought, ‘Maybe I can get Jeff in to play the solo.’

    “So I called him and told him I had a rock track-‘Do you want to come down?’ ‘Yeah.’ He played on ‘Legalize Me.’ Jeff pulled up in his Corvette, in this English studio, RAK, where he probably recorded ‘Hi Ho Silver Lining’ (with producer Mickey Most), and he walked into the studio. We played the track four times and he had a couple of passes on it and got it into it a bit. I was so in awe. It was absolutely stupendous when he was playing. I was sort of immobilized. At one point, I caught the eye of Stephen Hague’s glance from across the room and he too had this sort of stunned expression. You know, Jeff did five takes. When he finished playing, I said, ‘Great. Thanks for coming down.’ he replied, ‘O.K. Talk to you later.’ And as soon as the studio door shut, we all yelled. Fuck! Oh my God!’ We were screaming in disbelief, but when Jeff was there…’OK. Jeff, thanks for coming in….Talk to you later.’”