While chatting with Total Guitar, Joe Perry reflected back on how they stole Jeff Beck’s Pedal and how he was mortified.
Getting to keep something, and from the people you admire can be very pleasing. But for Jeff, it was not the case. Best known as the rock band Aerosmith’s lead guitarist, backing vocalist, occasional lead vocalist, and songwriter. Since the group’s inception in 1970, Perry has played lead guitar and has been a member of it ever since. He is renowned for his dynamic playing style and is frequently referred to by Rolling Stone magazine as the “Greatest American Rock Guitarist of All Time.”
Ever since the beginning of their respective careers, when Beck joined the Yardbirds in 1965 and Perry co-founded Aerosmith in 1970, Jeff Beck and Joe Perry have had a positive working relationship. The Joe Perry Project’s 1984 album Once a Rocker, Always a Rocker, which included Beck on a number of tracks, is just one of the several projects these two guitar greats have worked on together over the years.
Jeff passed away earlier this year and it left a huge void in the rock world. His death has been felt by many due to how much of an impact he had on rock guitar playing. He distinguished himself from other guitarists by fusing parts of blues and jazz with his own particular style and technique. His solo albums and work with the Yardbirds are regarded as masterpieces and are still highly regarded today. A significant rock music creator, Beck’s work frequently went beyond the confines of the genre.
In a recent interview, Joe Perry looked back on how the road manager totally stole Jeff’s pedal. At the start of his time with Aerosmith, Perry recalled going to a Jeff Beck concert with his band. Perry didn’t try to get in touch with Beck at the time even though they had access to the backstage. That’s when their road manager stole the pedal without Jeff’s knowledge. He claimed that he was not happy with it but couldn’t fix the situation. He remembered,
“When we were just starting to make it in Aerosmith, our manager had been one of the big promoters in Boston, and so we were able to get tickets and backstage passes to a Jeff Beck show. We had a road manager who was a great guy, but he just looked at the world a little differently.
Backstage, I didn’t talk to Jeff then, but he was using an orange Colorsound. We’re driving home, and our road manager pulls this orange Colorsound out of his jacket. He said, ‘Well, he had six of them, so I just picked it up for you!’
I got really pissed off. I said, ‘No, we don’t do that! That is not us.’ But we were still pretty hand-to-mouth, and back then, getting equipment going back and forth across the pond was a big deal. What was I gonna do – ship it to him? I had it for about three weeks, and then it got stolen from me. I was actually kind of happy to see it go. I always felt bad about it.”
After the incident, Perry ran into Beck again at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame rehearsals. The guitarist made it clear that he was still regretful over the incident. He also made sure to give one of his Klon Centaur pedals to Jeff. He said,
“Later on, me and Brad (Whitford) were some of the first guys to get some Klon Centaur pedals. We each had three or four of them. They’re pretty amazing, and still today, they’re kind of the ’59Les Paul of pedals.
I took one of my original ones, and after the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame soundcheck (for Beck’s all-star induction performance in 2009), I told Jeff the story and said, ‘I just want to adjust the karma here, so I want you to have this.’ I think he was pretty surprised to get it, and I was really happy to give it to him. I’ve given him a few presents over the years just to let him know I’m listening.”
Despite all this, The two guitarists held each other in high regard, with Beck stating “Joe Perry is one of the best rhythm players of all time.” Perry has also expressed his admiration for Beck, saying “I admire his technique and his great sound, the way he can make the guitar talk in one note.”