Classic Rock

Living Colour’s Vernon Reid shares his appreciation for Jeff Beck

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Debra L Rothenberg/Getty Images)

NOTE LANGUAGE) Living Colour’s Vernon Reid was understandably shocked when he learned of Jeff Beck’s passing last week, sharing a series of profanity-laced tweets about the news. Now he’s opening up a bit more about what Beck meant to him and the legacy he left.

In a conversation with Variety, Reid noted that Beck’s death from bacterial meningitis “blindsided” the guitar community. He mentioned other shocking rock deaths, like Chris Cornell and Stevie Ray Vaughan, but noted, “This is undoubtedly one of the worst.” 

Reid calls Beck a “fearless guy,” explaining, “He was one of those rare prodigy people that actually kept developing. He was in the top (rock) ranks like a Jimi Hendrix or Van Halen or Jimmy Page, but he was also uniquely himself like a Robert Fripp — he could be both those things. He went forward in a way that would frighten normal people.”

Reid discussed how he was first introduced to Beck, and shared that some of his favorite songs were Beck’s version of “Somewhere over the Rainbow” and the instrumental ballad “Where Were You.” As for their relationship, Reid explains, “I didn’t spend as much time as I would’ve liked to with him, but he was always incredibly gracious and, and he was a really friendly dude.”

“Now, it’s like the idea that Prince is a character of the past — it’s crazy,” Reid concludes. “He was a living person doing his thing in real time. And it always comes down to: We were fortunate to even have them with us. At some point you go, ‘Sh**, I was on earth with this person when they were doing their thing.’”

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