Sunday, April 5, 2009

Suggestion of Page-Beck album not a bad idea

While Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page were taking questions from the press backstage at Public Hall last night, one quick exchange took place that has stuck in my mind for the past 24 hours.

Beck and Page had just come off the stage immediately following their performance of "Beck's Bolero" with the "Immigrant Song" interlude, and Beck's solo performance of the "Peter Gunn" theme.

The all-star jam on "Train Kept a Rollin'" with both of them was yet to come by another hour or so.

For now, the reporters gathered there had a few questions on their mind, like the unimaginative yet obligatory "How does it feel to be inducted?" But here was one that came out of left field:
Q: "Do you see an album in the future?"

[Raucous cheers of "yeah" and applause]

Q: [Another faint comment from the gallery]

Q: "When?"

Jeff Beck:
"What's he saying?"

Jimmy Page:
"Haven't heard what he said. I didn't hear that. It was so enthusiastic we didn't get the question. Ha ha ha!"

Press agent:
"Do you see an album coming out? Do you see an album coming out?"

Jeff Beck:
"Who, me?"

Press agent:
"The two of you."

Jeff Beck:
"All right. I don't see no album coming out."

Jimmy Page:
"You've got an album coming out."

Jeff Beck:
"I just started. I get this release phobia, you know. When I get halfway through a project, I just go, 'Eh, that's no good. I don't think that's going to work.' And then I listen to it in about a year, and I just think, 'Eh, it would have worked, but it's just too late now because it's old-fashioned.' So it never gets done. But I will. Having [drummer] Vinnie [Colaiuta] and [bassist] Tal [Wilkenfeld] and [keyboardist] Jason [Rebello], there's no excuse for there not to be a release."
At least a couple of things can be gleaned from this. For one thing, both guys might have missed the point entirely, if the point was to suggest a collaborative album. It beats me if that was the point, but it's a heck of an idea.

What Jimmy Page likes about Jeff Beck's solo career, according to the speech he had just given, is how progressive Beck's sound is:
"... you'd sort of listen to Jeff along the way, and you go, 'Well, he's getting really, really good, Jeff.' And you'd hear him a few years later, and he'd just keep getting better and better and better, and he still has all the way through, and he leaves us mere mortals, believe me, just wondering."
And Page says Beck's nowhere near finished either:
"... he's done so much for rock 'n' roll, and he always will."
Meanwhile, Page's 11-year dry spell without releasing any new music is set to end this August when a movie comes out with a couple original instrumentals of his in it. Wouldn't it inspire Page to have someone so closely aligned to him at his side?

They both seem to suffer from that "release phobia," as Beck puts it, although Beck's output of new material over the past 10 years eclipses Page's. Well, that would be true of most active artists, but Beck was releasing a new album every other year between 1999 and 2003. Not to mention the fact that he's been on the road and has released two live albums and a concert DVD in the past three years!

So, Beck may not be the most productive artist in the world, but he would provide Page with some reason to get off his couch and get back into the studio!

Oh, and by the way, in case you couldn't tell already, you can add a collaboration with Jeff Beck to my list of concert lineups I'd like to see Page in. Page has been on the road only once during the creative dry spell that began once Robert Plant backed out of continuing their partnership past 1998. Now, granted, Page did have a back injury during some of that time, and that's what cancelled his first tour early and kept him off the road for a while after that. But he's too great of a talent to be in hiding year-round when older guys like B.B. King are out there with non-stop tour itineraries.

We fans just want so much more from Page than what we've got. And please don't misinterpret that. We love the Led Zeppelin albums. We're all about what happened 40 years ago. We're all about what happened 30 years ago. We love what we have from Page. But excuse us if we feel time Page spends with a beating heart should be spent converting a thumping beat into something else we can all listen to and enjoy for another 40 years.

Would an album with Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page be a good idea? Sure, it would!

But so would just about anything from Page right about now.

Please, Jimmy?

1 comment:

  1. A Beck/Page colabiration would be great. But I would really love it if Jimmy would put out a new album. And then go on tour. I've never seen him play live. If I could, there's another item off my bucket list. I'll echo your sentiments - Please, Jimmy?!


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