If the name Beck now conjures a young, Southern California slacker-rocker and not the legendary English guitarist, Jeff Beck has only himself to blame. It's been more than five years since his last release and a lot longer than that since he had anything resembling a hit.
Now Beck, 54, is back with a new release, "Who Else!," an ironic title considering that most under-35 music fans think of Someone Else when they hear his name. He's also on a tour that lands Saturday at The Orpheum, his first since performing on a twin bill with fellow guitar star Carlos Santana four years ago.
Certainly his fans do. Beck has earned his place in history several times over. First, he made his mark as the most adventurous of the Yardbirds' triumvirate of guitar gods, which includes Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page. Next, he formed his own Jeff Beck Group, which launched the careers of singer Rod Stewart and current Rolling Stones guitarist Ron Wood and, more significantly, forged a style that countless hard rock and heavy-metal bands have fed off since. Then, in the mid-'70s, he unleashed his own influential take on jazz/rock with albums such as the landmark "Blow By Blow."