Too many classic rock docs feature the same critic talking heads, with their cringe-worthy opining about the artistry and career of the subject. Though not always the same critics, it is always the same pompous bloviating that makes you fast-forward in order to get to the good footage. Not so Matthew Longfellow’s Still On The Run-The Jeff Beck Story
Longfellow’s Classic Albums documentaries for Eagle Rock Entertainment thankfully veer from that formula by using musicians as the talking heads, typically the ones involved in making the record, and for The Jeff Beck Story he extensively features the man himself. The talking heads include both musicians who have worked with the rock guitar god, like Vinnie Colaiuta, Jennifer Batten, and Tal Wilkenfeld, and those who stand on Olympus beside him, like Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, and Dave Gilmour. Much time is spent describing what makes him so special, and what a rebel and maverick he is. Though there is a certain amount of repetitiveness, it is not at the expense of plenty of fantastic footage that proves their points.
We see El Becko nailing the styles of influences Les Paul and Cliff Gallup. We get bits about the making of his multi-tracked instrumental, “Definitely Maybe,” how the composition of “Superstition” got started with Beck playing drums, the “annoying” inspiration for “Scatterbrain,” and other tasty crumbs that will delight fans.
The film is beautifully shot and edited. And, while there are no real mysteries revealed about the man’s personal life, you will come away with a better understanding of what drives Beck’s mercurial approach to his career, and why he is so important to the history of modern guitar.