Charting the path to stardom isn’t always smooth sailing, a sentiment Sir Rod Stewart knows all too well. Recollecting the budding days of the Jeff Beck Group, Rod sheds light on the time when he and Ronnie Wood were barely scraping by, resorting to pilfering eggs just to eat.
While their ascent to stardom was on the horizon, the duo, Stewart at the vocals and Wood strumming the bass, were trying to survive on meager resources.
In a candid chat with Classic Rock, facilitated by Bryan Adams, Stewart painted a vivid picture of his time with Beck. While he harbored great admiration for Beck, he also highlighted some leadership deficiencies.
“Jeff was an incredible talent, but leading a band wasn’t his forte,” Rod shared. “You’ve got to ensure your crew is taken care of. Recalling our days in New York, Ronnie and I struggled with irregular paychecks.”
This story, of artists struggling while waiting for their due, isn’t a new one. In the case of Stewart and Wood, it was quite literal; they had bread but nothing to fill it with. Fortunately, they had well-connected pals. Stewart gratefully recollected, “Jimi Hendrix’s girlfriend would occasionally buy us breakfast when we were penniless.”
Both Stewart and Wood became part of the Jeff Beck Group in 1967. Though Wood initially joined as a rhythm guitarist, he soon transitioned to the bass. Their stint was short-lived, as they moved on after Small Faces disbanded to form the Faces in 1969.
Though brief, their time with the group was monumental, giving rise to two legendary albums, “Truth” and “Beck-Ola”, establishing Beck as a guitar virtuoso.
Stewart clarifies that the hardships they endured weren’t solely Beck’s doing. As is often the case in such narratives, management might be where the fault truly lay.
“It wasn’t necessarily on Jeff but on his manager,” Stewart clarified. “I think it was Peter Grant who was managing at the time. So, Ronnie and I, staying near the Gorham Hotel, would often sneak into nearby stores to swipe some eggs.”