On a private plane en route from the Van Nuys Airport to Seattle, the Rod Stewart Group is settling into a cozy 5 hour flight that is two hours too long. There is some grumbling amongst members of the orchestra because Rod is not with us. And though our charter aircraft is very nicely anointed with the best food and alcohol money can buy along with executive seating and a gorgeous blonde stewardess (what else?) the band is some what annoyed with the slow speed of the beast. A commercial jet can go from LAX to SeaTac in about 2 to 3 hours. Ours was a prop jet which is great for short hops of 2 to 300 miles flying at an altitude of 10 to 15,000 ft. which meant it was going to take 5 hours.
The group was seated mostly in the middle portion of the plane with Jeff Beck and his minder in two of the big recliner seats similar to commercial business class. I end up in a similar seat just on the other side of a bulkhead towards the rear of the plane. After 2 hours everyone but me had fallen asleep. The stewardess had put blankets over Jeff and his mate.
Now I’m a mischievous sort by nature but some of the antics I got up to I learned the hard way by way of the commando training I had learned in the previous 4 years in the Rod Stewart Group. They had created a monster. Fairly harmless college hazing type stuff but damned annoying if you were on the receiving end. I have to give credit where credit is due and learned this trick from one of our notorious roadies named Boiler aka The World’s Most Disgusting Man.
As I surveyed the cabin and all the boys sleeping like innocent babes i couldn’t help but think of what a golden opportunity lay before me or maybe it was more like a fox in the henhouse. I asked our stewardess for a salt and pepper shaker. She was reluctant to give them to me and gave me a sidelong glance and asked me what the fuck I was up to. I said oh nothing and she refused so I finally told her to get the damn shakers or I’ll get them myself.
I could have done up any one of the boys in the band but that would have been boring and redundant as we’d all be recording and touring the world for the last four years and had done most every dirty trick in the book to each other by then.
So, despite Rod’s explicit instructions not to fuck with Jeff I proceeded to pour salt into his hair and then pepper. If you’ve never tried this one you have to be careful that none of the salt falls out of the hair onto the face and wakes the victim up as you are seasoning him. The pepper is lighter and is not as much of a danger of falling out of the hair but one still has to take precautions. I seasoned lightly at first and then when I saw he was still sleeping peacefully I laid it on.I also did this when the stewardess was busy so there were no witnesses. I also put the shakers back when she wasn’t looking. I’m thorough if anything.
As we begin to make our final approach the stewardess starts to lightly tap and wake everyone. As most people do when they wake up, Jeff stretched and started scratching his head. What happens to the victim is they first feel the salt which is similar to sand and they start scratching harder which makes the pepper start to fall in their face and very often start a sneezing fit. It did in this case.
As Jeff is sneezing and literally having a fit, he starts yelling “You fucking bastards. I’ll have you all!!!” I’ll never forget looking around the corner from my rear seat seeing the very diplomatic Jim Cregan trying to calm Jeff down saying,” nothing to do with us mate.” Jeff kept on bellowing,” I’ll have you all!” which translates to “I’ll get you for this” in American English.
It was torture to keep a straight face but I did and Jeff wasn’t believing any of the Brits offers of denial. He tore into all of them and ignored the Septics (Americans), I guess figuring only the hooligan Brits in the band would stoop so low. Jeff kept on shaking and scratching his scalp which made things worse and he kept sneezing. The poor innocent bastards were looking at each other wondering who did it and I wasn’t about to own up to it. I looked confused like I just woke up. My act was flawless. It was a big mystery. Everybody on the van ride from the airport to the hotel (Jeff was in a limo) was saying “did you do it? I didn’t do it. I know you did it and so on. I kept my secret to myself. Ya know… the fine line between humor and unemployment. I might have told Kevin Savigar but I think I kept this under wraps for while.
Like until now. I loves ya Jeff. The utmost respect. You just happened to be in the right place at the wrong time.