Guitar Aficionado

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


By Damian Fanelli

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I recently had the pleasure of speaking 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, Pink Floyd, 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, which will be published in June 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

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

GUITAR AFICIONADO: 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 -- and the other times you worked with him?

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 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 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.