Jeff Beck’s Last Effort For Music Before His Death
Jeff Beck live - Super280zx / Youtube
English singer-songwriter Ian Hunter recently had a conversation with Raised On Radio, reminiscing about his collaboration with legendary guitarist Jeff Beck and Foo Fighters’ iconic drummer Taylor Hawkins.
During the discussion, Hunter revealed that Beck’s concluding studio sessions were dedicated to recording his recently released solo album, Defiance Part 1.
Reflecting on whether this album marked the final studio session for Hawkins or Beck, Hunter shared, “According to his manager, it was [the last] for Jeff. On part two, there’s a track called “Third Rail”.”
The singer went on, “He didn’t actually perform a solo; he played consistently throughout the entire piece… right then and there, and that concluded his final contribution.”
Taylor Hawkins’ passion and energy
In the said interview, Hunter talked about the album’s creative process, his collaborators, and the dynamics of the studio sessions.
As the conversation shifted towards the late Foo Fighters drummer, Hawkins, who contributed to seven different songs across the initial two parts of the album, Ian fondly remembered Taylor’s positive energy in the studio and expressed Hawkins’ desire to play on all four parts of the record.
Transitioning to the involvement of Jeff Beck in the album, Hunter provided insights into the late guitarist’s role. He recounted how Johnny Depp, both an actor and a friend of Beck, introduced the guitarist to Ian with the shared aspiration of playing on Hunter’s record.
Despite the singer’s personal acquaintance with Depp, he had not met Jeff at that point, but their collaboration turned out to be highly impactful.
Working with the late rock giants
Ian further discussed how Beck’s final studio sessions were likely dedicated to his solo album, as related to him by the guitarist’s manager.
The singer specifically highlighted a track from the album, “Third Rail”, where Jeff’s extensive guitar riffs took the forefront, with the late rocker leading the song and playing throughout.
The rocker reflected on his experience working with Taylor and Jeff, stating that Taylor went first and was an “unbelievable guy”.
Hunter also mentioned that the drummer would be on the phone for hours, possessing extensive knowledge about everyone and everything, like an “encyclopedia of music”. “He wanted to do the whole record; he said, ‘I want to do all of them’,” Ian shared.
Contribution from Beck and Hawkins
In the end, Taylor contributed to seven songs—four on the second part and three on the first.
“And then what happened was Covid was dying down, and he started going out again. Covid was kind of easing off. A lot of these people went to work. He was lovely,” Hunter said as he fondly remembered the late Foo Fighters drummer.
Ian also recounted how John suggested collaborating on a couple of songs, creating significant excitement amongst their circle. The rock singer brought up playing on a song written by Beck.
“I actually did back play on a song that he wrote, and then for him to go like that; I mean, I’ve been out to dinner with him and stuff like that, but I didn’t know Jeff like millions of people do,” Hunter added.
Hunter’s Defiance is defying people’s stereotypes against rockstars his age
Having been a trailblazer in the rock n’ roll scene for more than six decades, Ian Hunter takes a retrospective glance at his musical journey while anticipating the forthcoming chapter in his illustrious career.
Renowned for his noteworthy collaborations, Hunter persists in this tradition with his latest album. Supported by fellow legends Ringo Starr and Johnny Depp, Hunter delivers a rocking performance on original tracks such as “This Is What I’m Here For” and “Bed of Roses”.
Other big names in the list who collaborated with Hunter were: Joe Elliott (Def Leppard), Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), Duff McKagan and Slash (Guns n’ Roses), Todd Rundgren, Jeff Tweedy (Wilco), Robert Trujillo (Metallica), Waddy Wachtel, Brad Whitford (Aerosmith), Dane Clark, Billy Bob Thornton & J.D. Andrew (The Boxmasters), and Dean DeLeo, Robert DeLeo & Eric Kretz (Stone Temple Pilots).
On his website, Hunter shared that he named the album Defiance for a number of reasons. “It’s as if people my age shouldn’t be making records, blah, blah, blah. But we’ve still got a bit left. I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as we did making it,” the rock singer shared.