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Jeff Beck: "I'd love to do something with Robert Plant..."

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Finally, the crowning glory from the Classic Rock Roll Of Honour… an interview with our Living Legend. Say no more.

Living Legend

Winner: Jeff Beck

Jeff you’ve just come offstage after being presented with the Living Legend award and having performed a live set with vocal contributions from Chrissie Hynde and Joss Stone. Can you sum up your feelings?

I didn’t see the entire awards but I thought Gene Simmons did a grand job [as MC]. When I played, I was shitting my pants as it was the first time with a new line-up, and because Roger [Taylor from Queen, who presented the award] was in the audience. Also all of the other dudes in the crowd; the metal dudes.

You must be accustomed to playing to rooms full of fellow musicians by now, but that was to the millionth degree.

[Laughing]: The stress factor was incredibly high, let’s just say that.

How do you feel about the title of Living Legend?

I’m thrilled to bits. My career seems to have snowballed again during the last couple of years. Don’t get me wrong, I have been working very hard but I’ve made myself known in places that I’ve never been before. It’s definitely been worth it.

In accepting the event’s top award you join a club that includes Lemmy (2005), Alice Cooper (’06), Jimmy Page (’07), Ozzy Osbourne (’08), Iggy Pop (’09) and Rush (2010).

Yeah. The ironic thing is that I’m nothing to do with that kind of music [traditional hard rock]. It’s kind of wacky. I had quite a lot to do with its origins, but it’s not something I’m doing now.

With a career that’s edging towards half a decade in duration, is there a secret to staying in the business – remaining a star – for so long?

Being frightened, I think.

Care to elaborate upon that?

Well, Groucho Marx was the world’s most successful comedian. Thanks to the Marx Brothersfilms he was mega-rich. And every night he used to go home for tea from the studio and tell his wife: ‘It could all finish tomorrow’. [bursts out laughing]. I can imagine him saying that, with cigar between his teeth. His wife would reply: ‘Don’t be silly, dear’. But Groucho’s mantra is something that I’ve followed.

What are your plans for the immediate future?

Well, Veronica [bellino, drummer] is over here and we’re going to record. I want to do the power-trio thing, but with a whole modern spin. It’s time for me to stand up and do something special.

There are also whispers of you collaborating with Percy…?

[sounding confused]: Percy?

Percy Plant… as in Robert.

Oh, that Percy. [Laughs]. Yes, absolutely. I bump into him a lot. It always sounds like a load of empty twaddle when you talk about something [so potentially important] at an industry party. I’ll let him make a move. But if he wants to do it I’d be very, very happy.

Finally, is there anyone to whom you’d like to dedicate the award?

Golly… just to the fans, I suppose. You can have the best roadies or manager in the world but the fans are what makes it really happen. I’ve got such faithful ones, and they’ve been with me for so long. They’re the messengers of this music. Some of the things that people say to me are so tear-jerking, it’s astonishing. So, whether they’re a pain in the ass or not, this one is for the fans.

(Interview: Dave Ling)

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With the type of music Plant has been doing lately, I don't see Jeff Beck fitting in anywhere.

The way Robert changes his music from project to project it wouldn't matter. He can change depending on the direction he wants to go to, even just temporarily. Not many artists like that. Perhaps, Paul Simon too!

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