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Jeff Beck, Clapton to Rock Arenas

Beck on the guitar gods’ 2010 tour and reuniting with Rod Stewart

Feb 07, 2010

Theo Wargo/Wireimage

After a pair of successful gigs in Japan last year, Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck are bringing their duelling-guitars show on the road: The duo are launching a co-headlining tour, starting February 13 in London. Each will play his own set before sharing the stage for an extended encore. Calling from his home in England, Beck is in the middle of scouring his vinyl collection looking for rare tracks to revive with Clapton.

Which records have you been checking out?

Right now, Little Walter and Robert Johnson, looking for anything I might have missed, not that Eric missed much with Cream. But there might be a riff there waiting for us.

You replaced Clapton in the Yardbirds ”“ will you play any of those songs together?

Mention the word Yardbirds to Eric and he’ll turn purple. I don’t know why. They didn’t serve him badly, and they certainly didn’t serve me badly.

Are you and Eric close?

There is a respect there, but we aren’t bosom buddies or anything. I’m probably speaking out of turn, but we both have been striving for the same thing: to be recognised as guitarists. He’s recognised; I’m not [laughs].

You have only six shows booked. Will you do more?

If Eric is up for it. He is a difficult character, and I’m difficult. But last time we played together, he seemed to be a lot warmer and a lot more content with his life in general.

Rod Stewart joined you for two songs at an LA gig in April. How did that go?

I couldn’t believe he showed up. He rang me the next day and said, “What about an album?” And I said, “Yeah, right.” I am mildly interested, but it would have to be a genuine effort ”“ not a weekend blues album.

He came close to a Faces reunion last year, but then he backed out.

I don’t blame him. Let the memory carry. Rod’s voice is different now. Roger Daltrey’s voice isn’t the same. Same for Robert Plant. If you can’t hit the notes, then it’s time to think about another form of music.

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