Frank Zappa Could Have Been President, Says Jeff Beck
In a series of short anecdotes shared with Classic Rock, the British blues guitar icon recalled their first meeting in the ‘60s, during a Jeff Beck Group tour of America.
“I loved his political outbursts,” Beck said. “From what I could read between the lines he probably could have made the best American president ever. He was very knowledgeable about world affairs and he had a deep cynical streak.” He continued: “Me and Ronnie Wood knew no fear when we were together in ’69. I knew where Frank lived and I drove up to Laurel Canyon in a rented Camaro and did a rubber burnout outside his house. He, of course, heard it, and came out and said: ‘You can cut out that shit,’ and invited us in. He took a shine to me and Ronnie big time.”
Beck went on to recall a scarier moment with future Rolling Stones member Wood. “We did a gig in Florida and there was this monsoon-type rain going on; there was a lot of condensation in the air. Ronnie did this fabulous bass solo, I slapped him a high five and 400 volts went across our two hands and blew us both off the stage.” He reported: “We’ve both got small pockmarks on our hands where the sparks hit.”
Beck also discussed listening to Led Zeppelin for the first time – the band masterminded by his friend and formed Yardbirds bandmate Jimmy Page. “I thought: ‘That’s a little bit more than inspired by [the Jeff Beck Group’s] Truth album.’ When I finally got over that, I realized I needed more than I had. I needed a frontman with girly appeal. [Robert] Plant certainly had that in abundance – the bare chest, golden locks and all that. We had Rod Stewart!”