Ahead of his new album, Emotion and Commotion, Jeff Beck offered some thoughts on a few of his favorite guitarists in an interview with the U.K.’s Daily Telegraph.
Remembering Jimi Hendrix, Beck recalls, “The thing I noticed when I saw him was not only his amazing blues but his physical assault on the guitar. His actions were all of one accord, an explosive package. Me, Eric and Jimmy, we were cursed because we were from Surrey. We all looked like we’d walked out of a Burton’s (menswear) shop window. There was Jimi with his military jacket, his hair about 14 feet in the air, playing with his teeth. We would have loved to have done that.”
As for contemporary guitar heroes, Jack White impresses Beck. “Jack White shook me. The White Stripes in full flood, it was like Zeppelin. But I don’t like over-the-top heavy metal. Can’t stand it. Too many amps, too much volume. It’s just flat-out ear assault. I’m sure there’s a lot of deaf people out there. Speedy guitars leave me not feeling detached but physically upset. When you think of all the subtleties that were built into the guitar and amps for you to discover, they completely cover the whole lot with a rack of effects. The guitar doesn’t need that.”
Jeff Beck is currently flying high. Last year he saw a sold out world tour, a second induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the release of the platinum-selling Performing This Week... Live At Ronnie Scotts, which earned a Grammy nomination for “A Day In The Life” in the category of Best Rock Instrumental Performance.
The new album is released on Rhino on April 12.