Rock Radio UK is reporting that Jeff Beck insists he's never made a good record – and says he tries to avoid listening to new music in case a talented guitarist knocks him off his feet
His new album, Emotion and Commotion, is released on April 12, featuring orchestration, collaborations with Joss Stone and reworking of some classic tracks.
But despite already generating five-star reviews, Beck says the recording process does nothing but irritate him.
He tells the Telegraph: "I've not come close to making a great record yet. But records are a nuisance – because they're a lie. The live thing is still the king.
"It's the experience of people responding. You need one good amp and a player, and that's it. Then you're closer to revealing what you're trying to say.
"And the computer is like a Zimmer frame. You play one note and you can make a whole album out of it. It's convenient but it's not real – where's the music?"
Beck's "one good amp and a player" attitude is the main reason he admits he doesn't listen to much rock or metal – but there's another reason: he's afraid of being too impressed by someone else's guitar work.
He explains: "I'm a bit timid on the listening front. I don't like over-the-top heavy metal. There's too many amps and too much volume. It's just flat-out ear assault. Speedy guitars leave me physically upset – you think of all the subtleties that were built into the guitar and amps, and discover they completely cover the whole lot with a rack of effects. The guitar doesn't need that.
"And I don't want to be pole-axed by any great new players. Jack White shook me – the White Stripes in full flood was like Led Zeppelin."
The experience leads him to recall the first time a player from outside his comfort zone knocked him for six: Jimi Hendrix's appearance on the scene.
Beck says: "The thing I noticed when I saw him was not only his amazing blues, but his physical assault on the guitar. His actions were all of one accord – an explosive package.
"Me, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page were all cursed because we were from Surrey. We all looked like we'd walked out of a Burtons shop window. But there was Jimi with his military jacket, his hair about 14 feet in the air, playing with his teeth. We'd have loved to have done that.
"He hit me like an earthquake. I had to think long and hard about what I did next. The wounds were quite deep, actually – I was constantly looking for other things to do on the guitar, new places to take it."
Meanwhile, Paul McCartney shared a Hendrix anecdote with his audience at the Hollywood Bowl on Tuesday night. The Beatles star recalled: "We released Sgt Pepper on a Friday – and by Sunday Jimi had learned it and was opening with it."