Johnny A. (far left) and Jeff Beck (third from left) performing with campers at the MGM Grand.
FILMMAKER BRUCE HENDRICKS PARTICIPATED IN THEApril 2013 Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp session with Jeff Beck at the MGM Grand Hotel, Las Vegas. Hendricks—who wields a Fender 50th Anniversary Stratocaster gifted to him by his wife, and now owns a Strat signed by Beck and a Les Paul signed by Les Paul—filed this first-person report on standing onstage with a legend. – MICHAEL MOLENDA
Jeff was such a gentlemen—funny, charming, and patient with all of us. We performed “Little Wing,” “Fire,” and “The Stumble” with him, but while you’re playing with Jeff, all you’re really doing is watching him, because he’s such a virtuoso that it’s sometimes hard to figure out what he’s even doing. During “Fire,” when it builds to the solo, I was standing right next to Jeff, and he gives me this look that says, “I don’t know the next part of the song.” I had to make this fateful decision—“Do I take the lead?” I got the impression that Jeff wanted me to, so the moment the lead section hit, I just nailed it. There was a big grin on his face, so it was an incredible moment for me. But, later on, I thought, “Oh my god—did I just take Jeff Beck’s solo?”
Music and movies are my passions, but of all the things I’ve dreamed of doing—winning Oscars and things like that—I never dreamt of standing onstage playing with Jeff Beck. Something like that you don’t even dare fantasize about!