Rod Stewart and Jeff Beck have been discussing their first LP since late Sixties Jeff Beck Group classics Truth and Beck-Ola for years, but Stewart tells Rolling Stone the duo are inching closer to a reunion. “Jeff and I had a lunch together just before Christmas,” says Stewart. “He’s going up to record some tracks with his band in February in San Francisco and to send them over to me, so we’re making progress.” Adds Arnold Stiefel, Stewart’s longtime manager, “They have some really clever things planned – it’s mind-fucking stuff.”
It will be Stewart’s first project since completing his American Songbook standards series, which have sold 18 million copies since 2002. Stiefel adds the singer would write new songs for the LP, making it Stewart’s first album of new material since 1998’s When We Were the New Boys.
Beck and Stewart briefly reunited in 1985 for a cover of Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get Ready” for Beck’s Flash, and the two performed a stirring version of the track at Beck’s 2009 gig at Los Angeles’ El Rey Theatre. Months later, Beck told Rolling Stone he was open to a reunion album with Stewart. “For me, I’d have to turn the clock back 20 or 30 years, stylistically, to do match what Rod does. Not that that is meant to be a derogatory statement. He loves the Sixties. He loves blues. He loves old stuff. Nothing cutting-edge and new.”
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Back in 2004, Stewart staged a Jeff Beck Group reunion with Beck and Ron Wood at a Royal Albert Hall rehearsal. “Woody was playing bass,” he said. “I was singing, and it sounded fucking brilliant. We did ‘Rock My Plimsoul’ and ‘I Ain’t Superstitious’ and everybody was glued to it. But Jeff phoned me two days later and said he didn’t want to do it. I’ve given up.”
If this clip of “People Get Ready” from the El Rey Theatre is any indication, both are still able to pull off their former jobs.
Stewart also discussed his second child with wife Penny Lancaster, due in less than three weeks. “It’s a little boy and we’re either going to call it Aidan or Rory – Scottish, Gaelic names,” he says. “It’s weird having children at my age. I know it’s a cliché but it does bring out the youthfulness in one, if you know what I mean.”