Steve Lukather on the time he produced for Jeff Beck: “Jeff was so magical”
“Jeff probably has 10 or 11 unfinished albums hidden somewhere.”
Image: Rick Kern / Getty
“We did about six weeks at David Gilmour’s studio on the Thames, starting about three days after Princess Diana died,” Lukather told Guitar Player, sharing some details on how Beck liked to operate in the studio. “He’d have a Marshall miked up in the live room, but he liked to play in the control room, with a little delay and reverb going in the monitors, and with a Fender Champ at his feet, facing up at his guitar,” he reminisced.
“Jeff was so magical,” Lukather continued, describing the late guitar great’s natural talent with the instrument. “I don’t think I ever saw him tune a guitar. He would pick up a guitar that was like rotted and out of tune. I’d go, ‘Jesus, Jeff, these strings are like 20 years old. Is this a B string where the high E should be?’ and he’d go, ‘Whatever,’ and play it, and it would be perfect.”
“He had perfect pitch, and he didn’t know it, because he didn’t understand what that might be. ‘F#13’ meant nothing to him, because he was completely unschooled. But if you played it for him, he’d figure it out – and probably make it weirder!”
The duo ended up producing eight songs during the session and had discussed turning the tracks into an album when Beck discovered techno. “But one day he heard the band Prodigy and suddenly caught techno fever,” Lukather remembers, revealing that Beck wanted to make a record in that vein, leaving the tracks they had already created unfinished.
“Jeff probably has 10 or 11 unfinished albums hidden somewhere. Still, recording him was one of the greatest times of my life.”