Jennifer Batten thinks Jeff Beck is “the greatest guitar player who ever lived”

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ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 13, 2002

By Steve Newton

Any guitar freaks lucky enough to have seen Jeff Beck at the Commodore last year will rave about his top-hatted blond accompanist, whose mastery of the guitar-synth almost stole the show from the British rock legend. The waiflike lady was Jennifer Batten, who returns to Vancouver to host a Digitech guitar-effects clinic at the Masonic Hall (1495 West 8th Avenue) this Wednesday (June 19). (Tickets are $5 at all Long & McQuade outlets.)

“They have a cool new all-in-one effects unit called the GNX3,” reports Batten, on the phone from an undisclosed location (she’s being hounded by a stalker) in Southern California. “It’s an amp modeller—it’ll model amp sounds, so you can choose to have a Fender or a Marshall, or you can customize it to get whatever kind of sound you want. It has a digital eight-track recorder in it, plus all the standard effects that you could get in any effects unit—delays and reverbs and choruses, stuff like that.”

Batten will demonstrate the GNX3 using her own model of guitar, a Washburn JB100, while performing tunes from her two solo CDs—1992’s Above, Below, and Beyond and 1997’s Jennifer Batten’s Tribal Rage: Momentum—and previewing material from her upcoming third disc. Then she’ll open the floor to questions, so fans can ask about her recent work with Beck, whom she met while on a world tour with Michael Jackson.

“I knew that we were goin’ to England on the Dangerous tour in ’92,” she recalls, “and I just wanted to meet him and get an autograph. I ended up giving him my first record, never thinking that he’d even listen to it, and three or four months later he called me up and said, ‘Let’s do a record together.’ ”

It took a while for Beck and Batten to hook up, but when they did, she wound up writing for, and playing on, Beck’s 1999 Who Else! and 2000 You Had It Coming CDs. Then she lived out her rock dream by joining him on an extensive tour. “I was a Jeff Beck fan forever,” she says, “and it was just amazing to hear him every night, because he would approach songs differently from night to night. It was really, really inspiring. I think he’s the greatest guitar player that ever lived.”

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