Eric Clapton and The Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood have been familiar with each other due to previous performances they shared although the former has never been a band member. In a recent interview with Mojo, Wood recalled Clapton’s words on the topic, and his statement included a commentary on Jeff Beck.
The band’s current guitarist took the part after Mick Taylor quit in the 70s, but he was not the only name considered for the position. Jeff Beck also auditioned for it, but Wood fit with the band better and thus has been a member ever since. Meanwhile, Beck remained as the guitarist of The Yardbirds.
He replaced Eric Clapton in the band after he left due to disagreements in 1965. But despite his departure, according to Ronnie Wood’s interview, Clapton was familiar with The Rolling Stones and the late guitarist enough to have a few words about the two’s possible relations.
Apparently, Clapton believes that Beck would not have kept up with the band’s schedule if he had joined them but indicated that he could have by reflecting on his regret for the lost opportunity. Following his comment, Wood jokingly pointed out that he had to live with them.
The guitarist recalled his interaction with Clapton as follows:
“‘He wouldn’t have kept up with the timetable!’ Eric Clapton once said to me, ‘I could have joined that band.’ I said, ‘Yeah, but you gotta live with them, Eric!’”
In addition to Clapton’s statements about Jeff Beck, Wood explained that the late musician would not be happy with the spotlight and would leave the other members to deal with it. According to him, Beck also was not pleased with ‘the simple blues and rock’n’roll approach’ for which The Rolling Stones are famous, according to the guitarist.
He expressed his point by stating:
“Anything to do with the spotlight, he’d be like, ‘You can take care of this,’ and he would be gone. And Jeff was not satisfied with the simple blues and rock’n’roll approach – much as he loved Buddy Guy. When he hooked up with Jan Hammer, the experimental jazz stuff, that was where I got off, although we’d already gone our different ways.”
In the end, according to Eric Clapton and Ronnie Wood, Jef Beck would not have been happy with the Rolling Stones if he were to be a part of the band for several reasons. Thus, the band made a good decision in choosing Wood as the guitarist. The only issue seems to be Clapton’s lost chance with the band, which he ‘regrets.’