In an interview with Rolling Stone last year, Jeff Beck said he was reluctant to release another album unless he found an entirely new sound. “I’ve got it,” he says now with a laugh, though he’s not ready to share the details yet. “I think I’d rather save the surprise. But it’s not Western style, if you know what I mean.
“We’ve done most of the track cutting in big studios,” Beck continues. “We’re now off mixing, overdubbing and aligning stuff – all the crap you have to do with Pro Tools. No one has tape anymore!” The guitarist plans to wrap his first studio LP since 2010 by the time he kicks off his next tour April 7th in Tokyo. “I couldn’t believe how they need to process. Somebody makes a bootleg and has it out on the street the following day. It makes you wonder why they take so long. But that’s all right. I’d rather wait and have it right than bang it all together. It’s a very important album for me.”
Why is the LP so important to Beck? “I think I’ve drawn attention. I’ve worked, worked, worked for the last three years. Now is the time really. My birthday is coming up, if you get me [Beck turns 70 on June 24th]. I thought it was time for a really really good studio album I had control over and time to do properly instead of a budget problem. Even though I do have budget problems!”
Beck spent last fall on the road with Brian Wilson, where he added a new dimension to Beach Boys classics like “Surf’s Up” and “Our Prayer.” Before hitting the road, the duo collaborated in the studio for an upcoming Wilson album. “Well, you better ask Brian,” Beck says when asked about the status of the project. “I’m not sure. As far as I know, they made a mistake by grabbing me for a tour and opening up the floodgates for a tour prematurely instead of finishing the tracks. And so we left the studio with half-finished tracks – three, four tracks I was supposed to be on and they’re still unfinished. And to me it was a bit stupid because they should have done the album, had a killer album, and then gone out on the road. But I think they wanted to grab me while I was still available. That’s about it.”
Beck also said he’s not opposed to the idea of touring with old friend Jimmy Page; they last teamed up at the 2009 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony for mindblowingly heavy instrumental takes of “Immigrant Song,” and “Train Kept a Rollin’.” “If you could talk Jimmy into appearing somewhere,” Beck says with a laugh. “He appears at the most unlikely events and then disappears again. He’s a dark horse, there’s no doubt. He’s got a completely private side to him as I have. But we have such a great laugh when we’re together and if he ever comes up for grabs, then it’d make a good package. But one wonders what he’d play. What would he play? I don’t know. He’d have to have the music sorted out and then we’d work.”