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Jeff Beck, New York City, 1970

An Englishman with toast and tea. I didn’t set this up as a photographic stereotype. Jeff Beck walked into his hotel room after a blistering concert, called room service and ordered what you see here. This was to have been one of my first interviews with a rock personality, while editing my college feature magazine. I was a huge Jeff Beck fan. But all he wanted to talk about were guitar amps and Cadillacs, subjects about which I knew little and cared less. So I left with no story, one roll of Illford HP5 film in which the subject never looked at the camera, and the feeling that I had wasted Jeff Beck’s time, not to mention mine. Flash forward two years. My phone rings. It’s Jeff Beck. Somehow he’d heard an album I had produced with an 80-year-old blues singer, Esther Mae Scott, and he wanted to know what kind of amp was being played on a particular track. I still didn’t know the answer, and once again found myself unable to engage a rock idol.

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