New Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Jeff Beck is hoping to take his current touring band into the studio this fall to start work on his first album of fresh material since 2003’s Grammy Award-winning “Jeff.” But he’s not sure what to do with it yet.
“We can do more or less anything from ambient trance to thuggery and just about any kind of jazz fusion to almost kitsch,” Beck told Billboard.com before his induction on Saturday in Cleveland. “It’s great, but how do you forge the very first kind of casting?
“I get this release phobia when I get halfway through a project. I go, ‘That’s no good. I don’t think that’s gonna work.’ Then I listen to it about a year later and think, ‘Eh, it would have worked. It’s just late not ’cause it’s old-fashioned,’ so it never gets done.”
Beck says he and the troupe — keyboardist Jason Rebello, bassist Tal Wilkenfeld and drummer Vinie Colaiuta — did some recording last April in California, and while that material “is in a hard drive at the moment” he’s of a mind to start over again. “There may be some fruit in there,” Beck says of the material, “but I’d rather just start again with the four of us, the way we work together, and start hacking together some things.”
He doesn’t, however, expect the band to do much writing while on its current North American tour to promote Beck’s new concert DVD, “Performing This Week…Live at Ronnie Scotts.”
“We always think that’s a great idea,” Beck notes, “but lo and behold when you get off a bus you don’t want to get together and hold hands and start rehearsing. But things do happen at sound checks. Intensive playing and intensive sound checks usually produce some little bud of an idea. That’s my ideal way of making a record, organic.” But, he added, “We really need a new studio album pretty damn quick to justify more touring.”
Beck added that he was pleased to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, especially this time it was as a solo artist whereas his previous induction was with the Yardbirds.
“I didn’t really enjoy the first one. I felt kind of frustrated that I had to go back and be part of a band,” says Beck, who was inducted by former Yardbirds bandmate Jimmy Page. The two played on a combination of “Beck’s Bolero” and Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” and also took part in an all-star jam on “Train Kept A Rollin'” with Metallica, Aerosmith’s Joe Perry, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ bassist Flea and Rolling Stones guitarist Ron Wood. Beck was included in an all-star rendition of Elvis Presley’s “Jailhouse Rock” as well.
“[The induction] means a whole lot when you’re recognized for your playing alone and not just [as] part of a successful pop band.”