JEFF BECK ON "BECK'S BOLERO"

One of Jeff's most popular tracks for fans and Beck himself, 'Beck's Bolero' was actually written by Jimmy Page. So how did Jimmy Page come to write 'Beck's Bolero'? 'Well, with some difficulty and largely without me! He had heard me play in the studio after hours - in those days there was a lot of naughty recording sessions going on late at night. We would do this crap single for someone in about ten minutes 'cause they didn't have enough money to pay for the studio, then we'd leave the gear set up and have some fun! I fell in love with Jim's playing 'cause we spoke the same language - we probably still do but I dunno. I think we're both still steeped in the old days. We were out to get the most out of the studio, bending the rules like using slap echo - doing all the things you weren't allowed to do on a session.

'It was decided that it would be a good idea for me to record some of my own stuff like 'The Nazz are Blue' with a view towards making a solo album - this was partly to stop me moaning about the Yardbirds. I went over to Jim's house and he had this 12-string Fender and he loved the idea of using a bolero-type rhythm for a rock record. He was playing the bolero rhythm and I played the melody on top of it, but then I said, "Jim, you've got to break away from the bolero beat - you can't go on like that for ever!". So we stopped it dead in the middle of the song - like the Yardbirds would do on 'For Your Love' - then we stuck that riff into the middle.

'I always try to do things wholeheartedly or not at all, so I tried to imagine what my ideal band would be. We had the right producer, Keith Moon on drums, Jimmy on guitar and John Paul Jones on bass. You could feel the excitement in the studio even though we didn't know what we were going to play. I thought, "This is it! What a line-up!" But afterwards nothing really happened 'cause Moony couldn't leave The Who - he arrived at the studio in disguise so no one would know he was playing with another band. That band was the original Led Zeppelin - not called "Led Zeppelin" but that was still the earliest embryo of the band.

I was using a Les Paul for the lead guitar and for the backwards slide guitar through a Vox AC30 - it was the only amp I had and it was covered with beer! Actually, I think it was the beer that gave it it's sound! You can hear Moon screaming in the middle of the record over the drum break. If you listen after the drum break you can only hear the cymbal afterwards 'cause he knocked the mic over! Wonderful!'


This interview was originally published in `The Guitar Magazine' Vol 3 No 4, June 1993.

© Douglas J Noble 1993

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