You Had It Coming is due to hit stores February 5 and the legendary artist has lined up more than a month of theatre dates starting 10 days later in Seattle.

He wasn’t known for being particularly prolific prior to this recent burst of activity, reportedly preferring to concentrate on other pursuits, including a vintage car collection. Beck toured extensively in 1999 behind Who Else!, his first album of original material in more than a decade.

After the experience – which culminated in a Grammy Award nomination for the album – he had an epiphany of sorts.

“I was trying to come to terms with the fact that I didn’t want to stop playing,” he admitted. “The thing looking me in the face was, ‘If you don’t play … you’re not going to play.’ After 120-odd gigs, including people’s back gardens in Italy, I didn’t want to go all through that for nothing – to lose track of the band and go into recession again.”

So the axe man quickly returned to the studio with his band – guitarist Jennifer Batten, bassist Randy Hope-Taylor and drummer Steve Alexander – and got right back to business.

The happy result for fans of one of the most innovative guitarists in rock is that they won’t have to wait another five years or so to see him.

After the Seattle launch, Beck will head south and east through larger markets including Vancouver, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Dallas, New Orleans, Atlanta, St. Louis, Chicago, Toronto, Philadelphia and Boston. Tour highlights will include a two-night stand at the Warfield in San Francisco February 20 and 21.