When Rick Wright died, a memorial party was thrown in his honor.
I was asked to play one of Rick’s favorite pieces, Where Were You by Jeff Beck, with Jeff, just the two of us.
Do you know that song?
It always sounded to me like Jeff improvised it alone and then the synth chords were put on afterwards, although I may be wrong about that.
I listened to the piece to refresh my memory, and thought it would be a nice idea to reframe Jeff’s amazing melodies with a different sonic palette than the record.
When Michael Kamen had passed away 5 years earlier in 2003, I was preoccupied by my own father dying two months earlier, and I never got to honor Michael properly, and as his wife, Sandra, would be there at the party, I thought it would be nice to use colors he gravitated towards, bass clarinets, french horns, oboes, and strings, instead of the sort of 80’s palette synths on the record.
The afternoon of the show, Jeff and Alan Rogan arrived with a battered off white strat, a Princeton amp and a Lexicon reverb unit.
We played it once, chatted awhile, and he went off to lunch.
His Strat was just sitting there.
I decided to pick it up to see if it had anything unusual about its design, since he had just gotten the most otherworldly sounds out of it.
It was just a regular Strat.
No mods, impossibly high action, but otherwise, just a strat.
All in the hands.
I put the guitar down and took a walk.
Later that evening, we played the piece for the audience of friends and family.
I have to say that I have only had this experience with one other person, Kate Bush, but when we were playing the song, I was so distracted, or maybe transported is a better word, by the person I was playing with that I nearly stopped playing.
He was that good.
He had the ability to surprise you and make you feel things with his sound and touch that you didn’t know you could feel.
I’ll forever be grateful to have had that moment in time with him to cherish.
As I’ve been denied a copy of the film and recording of our performance these past 15 years or so, I’ll just share a photo of this pick he gave me.