‘A bit of a nightmare’: For Jeff Beck, tour with Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson didn’t go as planned

To hear Jeff Beck describe it, his long-hoped-for tour last year with Beach Boys svengali Brian Wilson wasn’t the dream trip he’d hoped it would be.

First, he worked himself into an illness — since, unbeknownst to the former Yardbirds guitarist, fans were being sold meet-and-greet tickets that absorbed his afternoon down time.

Then, Beck tells Mojo Magazine (via New!), he had difficulty connecting with Wilson — who Beck says remained eerily distant through their time together.

Of course, a Wilson-Beck tour always appeared to be an unlikely combination. But, as Beck explained last fall, recordings like Pet Sounds helped his eyes to what pop music could be.

The shows with Wilson featured a solo instrumental version of “Surf’s Up,” from the 1971 Beach Boys albums of the same name. Beck is also collaborating with Wilson on a forthcoming solo effort.

And yet the guitarist walked away from his 18-show fall tour alongside Wilson with a bad taste in his mouth.

“(It was) a bit of a nightmare,” Beck says. “He doesn’t speak. He’s clearly in need of attention. But that’s just my opinion.”

He had a health scare at the Chicago stop, too: “What I didn’t realize was that (the tour’s promoters) wanted me to spend the whole afternoon doing promo to prop up the ticket sales. So we did this meet-and-greet stuff where audiences pay good money to watch rehearsals which robbed me of the afternoon nap,” Beck laments. “I ended up in Chicago University Hospital having an endoscopy. They still had me playing the next night. It was a bit blood and guts, but I had fallen in love with the idea of playing with Brian Wilson.”

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