Skip to main content

Producer Ken Scott: 'Jeff Beck Didn't Think He Was Good Enough'

I recently spoke to producer and engineer Ken Scott, who has worked with a who's who of rock legends -- from The Beatles to John Lennon, George Harrison, David Bowie, Jeff Beck, Steve Morse, Lou Reed, Elton John, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Devo and beyond.

Scott co-produced Bowie's The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year and will be released in numerous deluxe variations on June 5.

He's also written a new book with Bobby Owsinski, Abbey Road To Ziggy Stardust: Off The Record with The Beatles, Bowie, Elton & So Much More, which will be published on June 6 by Alfred Music Publishing.

You can check out the Bowie portion of my interview here; the Beatles-heavy portion of the interview will be published this week on GuitarWorld.com. (Actually, here it is.)

In the meantime, here's our conversation about Jeff Beck, who figures heavily in Scott's new book.

GUITAR WORLD: You worked with Jeff Beck on his Truth album [1968] and on There and Back [1980]. What differences did you notice in him between those two periods?

Well, there's a whole thing in the book about the different places I've been with Jeff and his mental state. With Truth, it was before any of them [the Jeff Beck Group] were really known. It was just a bunch of great guys, and we had a blast recording it. When we were gonna start the next album, they came in after their first American tour and they had egos out the door. It was obvious very quickly we weren't gonna work well together. So the sessions got cancelled.

Then I worked with him several times later. At Trident [Studios in London] he came in to start mixing the stuff he and Cozy Powell had recorded at Motown, but because of certain events, that never got finished. He also came in and played on a couple of tracks when I was working with Stanley Clarke [Journey to Love, 1975] -- and then he was great, back to being a nice guy.

On There and Back, he didn't think he was good enough to be playing with the musicians he was playing with [Jan Hammer, Tony Hymas, Simon Philips and Mo Foster]. It became really hard pulling stuff out of him -- because he didn't feel capable. I've seen so many sides of him, it's fascinating.

For more about Ken Scott's new book, Abbey Road To Ziggy Stardust, click here or check it out at Amazon.com.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month*

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Damian Fanelli
Damian Fanelli

Damian is Editor-in-Chief of Guitar World magazine. In past lives, he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor, and his non-Pulitzer-Prize-winning stories have appeared in Guitar Aficionado, Vintage Guitar, Total Guitar and countless other publications, including 13.7 metric tons of daily newspapers. He's written liner notes for major-label releases, including Stevie Ray Vaughan's 'The Complete Epic Recordings Collection' (Sony Legacy) and has interviewed everyone from Yngwie Malmsteen to Kevin Bacon (with a few memorable Eric Clapton and Ty Tabor chats thrown into the mix). Damian, a former member of Brooklyn's The Gas House Gorillas, was the sole guitarist in Mister Neutron, a trio that toured the U.S. and released three albums (one of which appears in the 2015 Disney film 'Tomorrowland' starring George Clooney and Britt Robertson). He's in two NYC-area bands and plays Teles with four-way switches, B-benders and semi-snazzy aftermarket pickups. He quotes Terry-Thomas twice daily.