Hot Wired Guitar: The Life of Jeff Beck by Martin Power

Martin Power's new book, Jeff Beck (2011, Omnibus Press) is a comprehensive examination of every facet of guitarist's life. The book is massive and covers every band, album, session, tour, and seemingly every guitar and amp. If you're a Beck fan or just seeking a unique perspective into British rock and fusion from the 60s through to the contemporary era this is your book.

Especially interesting to me is the insight gained regarding Beck's alternating between the business of being a musician and his second passion, automobiles (old hot rods). We find Beck wishing that he had been two people at once so that he could have pursued both music and cars with full intensity. The alternation, though, is what kept the musician sane and healthy during his long career (p. 346) and we may all be thankful that he was not split in half. This is interesting in light of a couple other biographies I read lately: those of Danny Gatton and Roy Buchanan, both of whom committed suicide. In those biographies one gets the sense that, quite the opposite of Beck, they didn't feel like one person doing more than one thing (Gatton, like Beck was a hot rod fanatic) but two different people -- divided and torn in multiple directions and unable to live in any of those different worlds.

Hot Wired Guitar is intensively researched and well written; it's a real feast for fans of, arguably, the best guitarist of his generation, and I highly recommend it.

I'll leave you with something awesome: