Beck's Unreleased Albums May Have Been Lost in the 2008 Universal Fires

"I have a feeling that my management is not telling me because they can't bear to break the news"
Beck's Unreleased Albums May Have Been Lost in the 2008 Universal Fires

Beck fears that the majority of his master recordings were lost in the massive Universal Studios fire back in 2008.

Speaking with the Sydney Morning Herald, the artist spoke candidly about the possibility that the bulk of his recordings have been destroyed and expressed concern that no one is keeping him in the loop.

In the interview, Beck said his management "still won't tell me what was lost" in the blaze, and that he has a feeling they are holding back "because they can't bear to break the news."

In addition to alternate recordings of the albums he has already released — including different versions of songs from his 2002 record Sea Change — Beck said that about 90 percent of his total recordings, including never-before released albums, were being held in the studio affected by the fire.

"In 2001, I went into Sunset Sound [in Los Angeles] and I recorded 25 Hank Williams songs for a double album, just solo," he said. "I wanted to celebrate that influence in my music and explore it, and I don't have a copy of that; it's on a master tape, so that's probably gone."

The artist continued to list recordings that he fears could be gone forever, including an indie-rock record that "sounds like a Pavement, Sebadoh kind of thing," as well as a "[Jon Spencer] Blues Explosion album" and rock albums from his pre-Odelay era in the '90s.

Beck went on to criticize the way artists' masters are handled, saying, "I have friends who work in archives and they see the tapes for legendary artists from the '50s just lying there in a cardboard box, not being climate controlled and preserved correctly in an acid-free box." 

Earlier this year, news about the extent of the fire broke in an exposé by the New York Times, which uncovered that "some of UMG's [Universal Music Group] most prized material" was destroyed in the fire, and went on to call the incident "the biggest disaster in the history of the music business."

Beck recently released his latest album Hyperspace. Read Exclaim!'s review of the record.