warning: the opinions expressed herein are not necessarily your opinions.
they are in fact my opinions, which you may chose to disregard.
thank you. the management.
there are three guitarists whose influence I would never want to shed.
one is dead and two are living.
My Favorite Compliment.
when in my mid-teens and in my first teen band the denims,
our bass player Mike Wilshire would invite me over to his parents house.
I was the drummer in the band and as such,
I'm certain I had never even touched a guitar at that time.
mike always had the coolest new records.
(he introduced me to the music of bob dylan and jimi hendrix.)
mike played a new single from one of our favorite bands the yardbirds.
the year must have been 1964? I'm guessing.
side one was called jeff's boogie.
the flip side was over under sideways down.
I loved both songs but the guitar playing on jeff's boogie simply amazed me.
I was hooked on everything jeff has played ever since.
strange sidebar: in 1965 the denims played a show on galbraith road
on the outskirts of cincinnati. the public address system (as it was then called)
was provided by an infamous pair of brothers, the taggert brothers.
known for their outlandish behavior the taggerts would show up
at a teen dance in a customized hearst with gold plated lanterns.
their p.a. system which everyone rented included gold plated microphones.
they raised chickens in their plush apartment they shared and fed them
a special blend of chicken food which would clog their throats and cause
the chickens to say what sounded like "fuck, fuck". so they had these
chickens walking around in their apartment saying "fuck, fuck," while they
would entertain...I couldn't make this stuff up, could I?!
anyway, the night the denims played I noticed the taggerts had
a very nice tape deck running so I asked if they were taping our show.
"oh yes dear", said myrtle, "we're taping over last night's show."
"well, who did you work with last night", I inquired.
"one of those new british bands...oh, yes.. what were they were called?
jimi hendrix was the most stunning guitar player ever to walk the earth.
but he was more than a guitar player.
a true blues singer. otherworldly songsmith.
a social phenom....a messenger.
and like some visionaries he burned as fast as a comet streaking across the night.
then he was gone.
jeff beck kept going.
a pure guitarist.
new sounds. new inventions. new tricks.
way back to jeff's boogie in 1964
he had chops, but he was not a chopslinger.
he had humor, touch. taste.
he evolved to give his guitar a voice.
fast forward nearly 20 years and I was standing in the balcony of a club in london. some loud band was playing but I was paying no attention. I was certain the guy just around the corner of the balcony (which was an open walkway, not a seated balcony) was jeff beck. I kept looking at him. and he kept looking back! just as I decided to head towards him, he did the same towards me.
"You're him!" I said. "You're that guy with the elephants!," he said. it was love at first sight.
unable to talk over the din, we had a good shout at one another. jeff even invited me to come out to his house in the country the next day. unfortunately I was far too busy plummeting to stardom. (a lost opportunity I will always regret.)
over the years we have become friends, bumping into one another as often as we can. usually we have some wine and tell funny stories until one of us has to go
(which ever one has a concert the next evening.)
at the time of first meeting jeff as now,
I was working with the last of my three guitar influences: robert fripp.
to say he has had a profound effect on me personally would be like saying
"hey adrian, you gotta big nose". pretty obvious.
(yeah, but how would I smell without it?...terrible. brummp chee!)
like jeff and jimi, robert has carved his own giant niche
into the overgrown mountain of guitarists.
but back to london...
Royal Albert Hall, what a strange feeling to play there. you can feel the history. as if to remind you, the dressing rooms are filled with lovely black and white photos of past performances. the beatles and the stones on the same bill together! imagine. led zeppelin. jimi hendrix.
krimson played the royal albert in 1995 with the double trio. there was a guide who, after soundcheck, took us to the top of the dome; very precarious. you could look 135 feet down into the auditorium. it was an honor to play there but musically the experience seemed a bit cold, sterile. a better london show was at sheperd's bush empire on july 3, 2000 with the last quartet: robert, pat, trey, and myself. it was also the sight of my favorite compliment.
I remember bill bruford was in the audience and I really wanted to see him.
after the show there is a customary bar you retire to to meet friends,
and press the flesh as they say.
I walked in hoping to find bill
and ran straight into jeff beck.
we hugged and shook hands.
while he shook my right hand he pretended with his left hand
to be sawing my arm off
at the wrist.
and that was my favorite compliment.