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Jeff Beck On His Rolling Stones Audition: Keith And I Would Have Punched Each Other Out

Simone Joyner, Getty Images

Shortly after being named a ‘Living Legend’ by Classic Rock Magazine, Jeff Beck spent some time looking back at his storied career, including an ill-fated 1975 audition for the Rolling Stones.

The Stones were looking to fill the guitarist slot that had recently been vacated by Mick Taylor. Beck stopped by thinking that he was merely going to help them out with a couple of tracks for their next record. The fact that he might be auditioning for the group never crossed his mind.

As he relates in the story, he had been in the studio for two days without seeing any of the Stones. Looking around the area, he saw a stack of guitars and thought “odd…how many guitars does Keith need?”

Pianist Ian Stewart told Beck “they’re giving you an audition. They’ve told all the other guys to f-ck off.”

“Eventually, we got into the same room together and I started playing Bill Wyman’s bass so hard the dust was flying off. I wandered off and the engineer, Glyn Johns, said ‘that’s incredible!’ I said: ‘One for the archives, mate. I’m leaving tomorrow.’”

The group wasn’t happy with Beck’s decision to leave, but he describes the recording situation back then as “dysfunctional” and says that he couldn’t deal with the “lack of purpose.”

From their side, the Stones defended their methods as the way they worked as a unit, but Beck wanted no part of that, saying that “I’m not into chaos.”

“Some people might find it hard to believe that you’d walk away from the Stones gig, but Keith and I wouldn’t have gone through an album without punching each other out anyway.”

In the end, Beck was happy with his decision, because he was slated to work with Beatles producer George Martin on the album that would become Beck’s ‘Blow by Blow.’

Having recently revealed a new band lineup, Beck is excited about his forthcoming album, which he says will be “a real band album.”


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