Jeff Beck isn't your typical guitar legend. His goal, in fact, is to make you forget that he plays guitar.
"I don't understand why some people will only accept a guitar if it has an instantly recognizable guitar sound," says Beck."Finding ways to use the same guitar people have been using for 50 years to make sounds that no one has heard before is truly what gets me off. I love it when people hear my music but can't figure out what instrument I'm playing. What a cool compliment."
Beck burst onto the music scene in 1966 after joining the Yardbirds. Although his stint with the band lasted only 18 months, Beck played on almost all of the group's hits. More importantly, Beck's innovative style heard on classics like "Heart Full of Soul" and "Shapes of Things" helped influence the psychedelic sound of the "60s.
At the height of the Yardbirds' popularity in 1967, Beck left the group and embarked upon unpredictable journey of musical discovery that has lasted nearly four-decades as an Epic recording artist. During that time, Beck has left his distinctive mark on hard rock, jazz-fusion and modern music history.
While many of his contemporaries are satisfied with musical inertia, Beck continues to add to his legacy as an innovator with the release of his 14th album, simply titled "Jeff ." Produced by Andy Wright (Simply Red, Eurythmics) and mixed by Mike Barbiero (Blues Traveler, Metallica), the 13 songs on "Jeff " reflect how Beck's fascination with electronic music continues to evolve.
"On my last album, "Who Else!," I spent a lot of time in the studio with Andy Wright just toying around with different sounds. We had a great time, but I bogged down in the possibilities," says Beck, who earned a Grammy for instrumental performance for the song "Dirty Mind " from that album."When I went back to the studio for "Jeff," I didn't want to get bogged down again so I brought in a few people to help push us along."
Although they only met when the album was almost finished, Beck says David Torn of the New York trip-hop group Splattercell became an important collaborator. Much to Beck's delight, Torn gutted an early version of the song,"Plan B. "Dave ripped the vocals out straight away and made my guitar line the song's main hook. That's what I should have done in the first place, but it takes a remix guy to come along and put a different spin on what you're doing," he says."The instant I heard Dave's album with Splattercell, I wanted him to dismember one of my songs, and he came through beautifully."