“Sometimes Jimi Hendrix’s girlfriend would go and buy us breakfast because we had no money”: Rod Stewart says early days of the Jeff Beck Group were no picnic

The Jeff Beck Group rocking out at the Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles,in 1968
(Image credit: Robert Knight Archive/Redferns)

As the saying goes, it is a long way to the top if you wanna rock ’n’ roll, and Sir Rod Stewart can relate. Rod the Mod has been looking back on the early days of the Jeff Beck Group and says that he and Ronnie Wood were so broke that they’d have to steal eggs.

Fame and fortune were in the post but in the meantime, Stewart, who was fronting the late electric guitar genius’ band, and Wood, who was on bass guitar, were living off scraps. 

In a recent interview with Classic Rock, conducted by Bryan Adams no less, Stewart spoke fondly of Beck, but admitted that he wasn’t exactly on top of the HR issues at the time.

“Jeff was a great guy, but he wasn’t a great bandleader,” said “I mean, you have to look after your band. I remember when me and Ronnie were staying in New York, and we never got a per diem, we just got our money every week, and sometimes that money would be very late in coming.”

It is a tale as old as time. The players are the last to see the bread. In Stewart and Wood’s case, quite literally, and even then they would have nothing to put in it. Thankfully, they had some friends in high-places who would check in on them and make sure they didn’t go hungry.

“Sometimes Jimi Hendrix’s girlfriend would go and buy us breakfast because we had no money,” said Stewart.

Stewart and Wood both joined up with the Jeff Beck Group in 1967. Wood was initially on rhythm guitar before switching codes to bass. They would both leave the band when Small Faces split to reform as Faces in ’69.

If their time in the band was brief, it was productive, leaving behind two studio albums that would cement Beck’s reputation as one of the world’s best guitar players, Truth and Beck-Ola. 

Stewart doesn’t blame Beck for those early days, scratching around New York City with empty pockets. Again, in a tale as old as time, the fickle finger of blame could be pointed at the management.

“[It was] no necessarily Jeff’s fault, but his manager,” said Stewart. “I think it was Peter Grant. So me and Woody would go up the corner from the Gorham Hotel where all the bands used to stay, and we’d go into shops and nick eggs – steal them.”

Which begs a follow-up question: what did you to do with the eggs, Rod? Drink them Rocky-style?

To find out, check out the full interview in Classic Rock.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.