Beck on the Highway

The man of the moment wants some moments for himself.

Once his jaunt through America has wrapped, Beck plans to move on to the next phase of this mission. He's already recorded what he describes as a straight folk album and hopes to finish mixing it by year's end. (It will be put out by K Records, a small firm based in the Pacific Northwest that is responsible for 1994's One Foot in the Grave, a rough but insinuating acoustic recording that Beck aficionados rightfully regard as among his finest pieces.) In addition, Beck is eager to dig into numerous unspecified projects for Bong Load prior to getting together with the Dust Brothers to begin fashioning Odelay's successor. As he puts it, "We have a lot of unfinished songs, so I'm sure we'll finish those and then do more."

In the meantime, Beck is concentrating on getting to the end of what he sees as a two-year-long road, and he has no intention of letting the fame that visited him midway through his journey prevent him from reaching his destination. "I don't worry about that stuff," he says, "because I'm completely immersed in such a different world. People who listen to your records have this abstract idea of you as a musical entity just sitting there worrying about things, but I don't. I'm out like 300 days of the year on tour, working my ass off. So that's really the last thing on my mind.

"I've been doing what I'm doing for a long time. There's a foundation there that's not going to get blown over by someone coming in and making a fuss over it. Magazine covers are nice, I guess, but a magazine comes out and then two weeks later, it's on the recycling pile. I'd rather think about music."

Beck, with the Cardigans. 7 p.m. Thursday, May 22, Red Rocks, $18, 830-2525 or 1-800-444-

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