Led Zeppelin

ARTICLE ABOUT Led Zeppelin FROM SOUNDS, August 14, 1971

One more in this series where a short article are followed by a detailed equipment list for the band. Hope the cover band artists enjoy this one too.

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From ashes

By Martin Hayman

Led Zeppelin could surely never have foreseen the welter of superlatives that has overwhelmed them since they rose from the ashes of the Yardbirds in 1968. At the time they made their first foray to the U.S. on Boxing Day 1968 to name their debut precisely, the band was a collection of new faces and one of Jimmy Page`s old session playing mates.
In the Yardbirds Page had been somewhat overshadowed by Jeff Beck, whose fame had rapidly advanced in the U.S. with his collaboration with Rod “the Mod” Stewart. Page had taken bass until Beck`s departure and it seemed a bit too good to be true that the struggling Yardbirds could nurture yet another guitarist of comparable brilliance. But as it turned out, it was Page who took the larger slice of dollars and fame, for Page was a guitarist in a band rather than a guitarist with a few sidemen.
Page formed the nucleus of the new band with session drummer John Paul Jones, and eventually took on, independently, two of the former members of Birmingham`s Band of Joy, bassist John Bonham and vocalist Robert Plant. The latter has been one of their strongest assets. Not only could he sing, and sing with phenomenal power and projection, but he seemed to have an instinctive understanding of Page`s guitar pyrotechnics; such a close affinity was there between voice and guitar that at times one wondered whether it could be telepathic. He also had the right face and image, blond, tall, dramatic, obviously English.

DEATH

The combination of a heavy name on guitar and the teen-pulling power of Robert Plant proved a sure-fire combination for the concert-halls of the States. For rather less obvious reasons, Zeppelin never really got off the ground in Britain before they disappeared over the Atlantic.
Perhaps English audiences were still too fixated with the death of Cream and pre-occupied with finding another band who stuck more closely to the blues format. Although Zeppelin very honestly credited blues material to the composers, they only used it as a taking-off point for their own brand of what has appropriately been called thunder rock; nobody can accuse them, however, of not being in complete command of the blues format, as they demonstrate in their compelling rendition of the Howlin` Wolf Classic “How Many More Years?”

STRAIN

Their rise to such dizzy heights has not been without a certain amount of strain from within and backbiting from without, of course. Staunch allies have turned out to be a trifle lukewarm when it became clear that this was a group for everybody to enjoy, and yesterday`s superstars have cooled off on the whole set-up to a marked degree. Plant now feels that he has to hold back a bit to keep from burning himself out: “If you take up the reins that are given you, you end up destroying yourself.”
It was for that reason that the band put together their last album in the country with a mobile recording truck, and produced some pleasantly contrasting acoustic material.
A new album was recorded in February, and delays in mixing should be resolved in the near future.

Equipment

JIMMY PAGE
4 4×12 Marshall speaker cabinets, each have 3 35 watt speakers in each cabinet
2 Hiwatt 100 watt amplifiers, treble booster
2 Vox echoe chambers
1 Echoplex echo chambers
1 Sonie Wave (Therome)
2 Les Paul guitars
1 Rickenbacker 12-string guitar
1 Fender Telecaster
Ernie Ball Super Slinky strings
Vox Wah Wah pedal

JOHN PAUL JONES
Fender jazz bass guitar
Fender Telecaster bass guitar
3 acoustic cabinets
2 acoustic amp tops (pre-amp)
2 Marshall 4×12 horn cabinets = 3 SW speakers
2 Marshall 100 watt amplifiers
1 Farfisa Duo Pro organ
1 Farfisa single manual organ
1 145 Leslie speaker cabinet

JOHN BONHAM
Drums all by Ludwig
1 14 in. x 10 in. side Tom Tom
1 16 in. x 16 in. side Tom Tom
1 18 in. x 16 in. side Tom Tom
2 26 in. x 15 in. bass drums
2 14 in. x 6 1/2 in. snare drums
1 24 in. Ride cymbal
2 20 in. crash cymbals
2 14 in. Hi Hat cymbals

ROBERT PLANT
3000 watt JBL PA system
8 6 ft. x 4 ft. Wuffer speaker cabinets
4 long range horns
4 medium range horns
4 close range horns all with electronic cross-overs
1 Binson echo chamber

All instruments and drums are miked up with Shure Unidine microphones

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Alun Davies, Roger McGuinn, Rev. Gary Davis, Judy Collins, Ottilie Patterson, Gentle Giant, Black Sabbath, Moby Grape, Henry McCullough, David Bowie, Marc Bolan, Yes, Family, ELP, Jethro Tull, Grease Band, Osibisa, Strawbs, Pink Floyd, Mimi Farina.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

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ARTICLE ABOUT Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin) FROM SOUNDS, JUNE 26, 1971

Just as you thought that this blog would follow a predictable formula as you were waiting for the next article from 1976, we suddenly shake things up a little by moving backwards in time. And what better band to represent a shake up than this? Never afraid to experiment, Led Zeppelin were the masters of surprise, and Robert Plant took this element of surprise into his solo career many years later.
Enjoy this great article from 46 years ago and marvel in the fact that Robert Plant released his new album “Carry Fire” just two days ago. He is still doing it – still hungry to create! A true musician and a living legend.

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Robert Plant in the talk-in

“Sometimes I wish I`d been Elvis… or Superman”

By Steve Peacock

You`ve just come from the studios. Were you recording for the fourth album?
Yes, it`s that long dragging-out thing of mixing a lot of the tracks. The intention originally was for a double album, and then we thought `well, not this time` – but then we`ve been saying `not this time` since the second album. Jimmy (Page) took all the material over to Sunset Sound in Los Angeles with a very famous producer who said it was THE studio, and did the mixes. We finished recording in February and the idea was to mix it there and get it out in March. But he brought the tapes back and they sounded terrible, so we had to start mixing all over again. It`s a drag having to do it twice, but we`re coming to the tailend of it now.

So it`s basically Jimmy who`s producing the album?
Well, we all discuss the thing, but when it comes to putting it right down he`s usually the one to do it. I`ll be there as often as I can because I know exactly what I want, but I know that if I`m not there then we know each other well enough to know exactly what we both want. But for me it`s really a case of getting to know things at the moment. I can go along there and sit for twelve hours and suggest things, but I like to be of some practical use. Still it`s only three years now that I`ve been in a position to get accustomed to recording studios. It`s growing pains that I`ve got now.

HARD

The first two albums were very hard musically, but on the third there was a lot more acoustic stuff. Is the new one following on in that sort of direction?
I don`t think there`s any set thing. We don`t get into any mould and stay there. People might want us to, and other people might not want us to, but bollocks anyway. Most of the mood for this new album was brought about in settings that we hadn`t come across before – we were living in this old falling apart mansion somewhere out in the country, I can`t quite remember where, and we had the Stones mobile truck, so the mood was… bang! like that, and we could hear the results immediately. There was no big scene about going back into the studio and doing it again because we had time to experiment, especially with drum sounds.
We did this thing called “When the Levee Breaks” which is an old Memphis Minnie number, a Kansas Joe McCoy thing, and the drums on it sounded incredible. There was a secret to it which we just stumbled across really, which was just one microphone, just one – and the revelation of finding out that one microphone did more than about 35 in a studio set the mood really; it was enthusiasm. Out of the lot I should think there are about three or four mellow things… they`re really improved a lot – there`s a thing called “Stairway To Heaven” and a thing called “Going To California”, but also there`s some nice strong stuff, some really… we don`t say `heavy` do we?

FLAME

You can say heavy if you like.
Well, I don`t know whether we do. But it`s strong stuff, and its exciting, and the flame is really burning higher and higher and higher. But its probably best that we keep out of the way and quiet, and then when the album comes out we`ll wait for the torrent and the retort.

Do you think that sort of music succeeds on an album? I mean obviously it gets people going on stage and you get that feeling, but when it`s just coming out cold off an album do you think…
Yeah, but it isn`t as simple as one, two three, four and away we go – I don`t think it ever has been like that, because “Communication Breakdown” at the beginning wasn`t a one, two, three, four, and we`ll see you at the end. There`s groups who do that who are supposed to be copyists of us and things like that, but you listen to groups who are `copyists` of yourself and there`s nothing going on. I mean, to have people coming along and saying Grand Funk are the Led Zeppelin of America and they`re really knocking Zeppelin off their position – you`re going well `please stop, I think you`ve got it wrong`.

STOMP

Do you really enjoy doing those acoustic things?
I do, because I manage to plonk guitar on about three numbers on this album and it means so much to me to be involved more than just vocally, to know that I`ve been able to contribute something a little more. But they can be so good because they can start off in one vein, and when you come to do them on stage they`re nearly always like a stomp type of thing, and it gets really close to the people. That`s all it is really with us, I think – just saying well, “Good evening, and if you don`t laugh and if you cry, and if you don`t shout, and if you don`t moan, and if you don`t argue, then you haven`t had your money`s worth”. There`s no story.
Everybody`s getting hung up on critics and things, but if they just let people get on with it, and let audiences pay their five bobs or seven-and-sixes or whatever we try to keep it to and just came out saying something and laughing, then whatever it might be, so long as people get something positive out of it then we`ve done our job.

Have you ever thought of doing a solo album of stuff that maybe doesn`t come out through Led Zeppelin, or are you satisfied with Led Zeppelin as a vehicle for everything you want to do?
It can be the vehicle for anything that any of us want to do. John Paul`s delving very deeply into electronic stuff now, which to begin with I thought was a bit harsh. But listening to him a bit more and watching him a bit more and knowing him a lot more… it all fits in. We don`t get on each other`s nerves, because each time we feel as if we`re going to do that we just say “See you in a week”, so every time a new idea comes up it`s chewed and chewed. That`s why people can`t expect us to keep to “Whole Lotta Love” and things like that, because somebody might arrive at a rehearsal or a session and say “How about this?”
The idea of a solo album occurs obviously, to everyone, but the thing is who else could play on it apart from me? There`d only be three other people, and that`s Bonzo and Jonesy and Jimmy, because they`re the most accustomed to what I do – vocally and everything else. I`ve sung with other people, people who I`ve admired and things like that, but there`s a thing that spurs up in me when we (Led Zeppelin) are doing something good and it gets into a good thing. I don`t mean repeating “Whole Lotta Love” every night, but there may be a section in the middle that which has never arisen before, and at that point everybody just looks around at each other and goes “Right”, and we go from there.

You do tend to do things like “Whole Lotta Love” a lot though. Is this because you really like it or because you feel it is expected of you?
Well it is expected isn`t it? But it isn`t just “Whole Lotta Love” because that lasts on stage maybe four minutes, and for the rest, the construction that comes at different parts in that four minutes, spreads it to a ten minute thing. But within that ten minute thing, there are parts where the audience are up and applauding, there are parts when they`ll maybe be quiet, and there are parts where they`re shouting their heads off. That`s how all that started really, with things like “Dazed And Confused” and “How Many More Times” – when we recorded “How Many More Times” we just didn`t know what we were going to do; we knew the basic riff, but we didn`t know “The Hunter” was going to come into it, or “Rosie” – they come on the night, or they come at the session.
I think that`s why we`re still together and we`re not bitching at each other or anything like that, because we know that wherever it is – even if it`s in Iceland – if we suddenly hit on something… you can feel it coming from behind – the bass and drums suddenly knit together and its like a big handshake between the two and they go off, and Jimmy and I`ll stay doing something else. It`s like a good jigsaw puzzle. That`s why a solo album would be useless because you wouldn`t get half of it together. You could bring in all the incredible musicians you liked – the Memphis Horns, anybody – but you wouldn`t get such a strong buzz. I wouldn`t anyway.

Do you never feel held back by what your audience expects, or do you feel that what they want is what you have to play?
Well, I don`t think that what they want is what we have to play, because we didn`t have to play “Bron-Y-Aur Stomp” or “Friends” and things like that because it wasn`t expected of us was it, and we did get a bit of a knocking for it, although personally I think that album (III) is the best thing that we`ve done. But you see you can get upset momentarily by the remarks, and probably all the way through this interview you`ll get this one coming from me, but for all the people who griped and took the trouble to write gibberish to the music papers there were a lot of people who were surprised that we`d taken that much trouble to go that much farther.

MATURITY

Well certainly when I heard you were doing things like that I thought good, now they`ve made their name they`re going to start thinking about a wider scope of music.
It`s been there with James from the word off really, because really it was his conception and compared to mine his alternatives were numerous. I think he probably could have started doing something like that, but that probably it wouldn`t have been as largely accepted. It`s nice to have an audience and to say `Right, we want to please people` and to get the ultimate kick out of it ourselves, because really there`s very little else to get kicks out of apart from music, and the arts generally. You can`t really turn up one day and decide to do a completely acoustic album and write twelve acoustic numbers three minutes long. But it isn`t as if it has to be acoustic… on this new album the electric numbers are, in my eyes, a lot better than the ones before. They may not be as instantly commercial, but if you listen to them long enough I think there`s a lot more thought and a lot more maturity in them.

MARKET

How much is Led Zeppelin as a whole aimed at a commercial market? I mean, how much does that enter your thinking when you`re writing a song or making an album or doing a stage appearance?
Well they are three vastly different things. Writing a song, all it is is that you`re in a certain mood and something starts to come out. It might never reach an audience and there are things that haven`t reached audiences. If at the end of a song it`s a gas then it`s on the LP, and if it`s a gas that we want to think about a bit longer then it`s not, or maybe there isn`t room for it on the album. Writing a song is the last place you`re going to start thinking about 2 x 20,000 people in Madison Square Garden. What was the second one?

Making an album.
Making an album is a case of making your own personal idea of what is perfection at that point. I mean with the third album, I shed a couple of tears because I was so happy with it, but a lot of people weren`t, so there`s one proof of its pudding.

FARCE

You don`t conciously think `we can`t use that because…`
Oh Christ! It would be pointless me having a word with you if that was the case wouldn`t it? If that was the case I`d want to be on the front of the ——– every week (Robert did mention the name of a music paper but, ever true to the journalistic ethic that `dog doesn`t bite dog` we omitted it). I`ve seen people, mind you, who worry about the position of their guitars before they go on stage at “Top Of The Pops” – and there`s another farce. Bonzo and I went there the other night, and we went into the bar, and there were record pluggers everywhere. There was nil conversation – the whole thing stank. I`m afraid we became objectionable, because the more it went on the more I was thinking `why?`, and `When`s the train to Worcestershire?`, and `How did I get in here anyway?`, and I got in because I said I was Mickey Most anyway, and they didn`t know I wasn`t. I`m going to get shot next week now. But the whole thing typified exactly what you were saying do we think about – and we don`t. You can`t because if we did I`d have done something really silly to myself by now. That is The Business.

IMPRESS

How about when you`re on stage, and there are all these people who`ve come to see the Led Zeppelin that they know; don`t you ever feel tempted to shock them and do something that is completely unexpected from you? Or is it very important to you to play to your audience, to play to what they want?
I don`t think you can decide when you go on stage. I mean, you can`t deny that when you`re in a position to impress then you give them all you`ve got – everything, everything that you`ve got. But the mood changes so often through three hours – you get knackered in one place or maybe your head`s spinning round and round – but there`s a part, five minutes on as it`s building to it that you suddenly get caught up, and you go right up with it and you take off somewhere.
It`s just a case of light and shade really, and the audience are there as a blackcloth to your light and shade so they can either get off on it or please themselves. There`s no premeditation – there is in the fact that “Whole Lotta Love” will come somewhere towards the end of the night – but not really otherwise.

Yes, but would you leave out “Whole Lotta Love” for instance?
No. Because a lot of people have come because they enjoy that, and they haven`t really had the time to get into “Friends” and “Celebration Day”… but “Whole Lotta Love” has to be there to get everybody in. Ah, that`s a rash statement. To get the people in who wouldn`t have come just to hear the other things.

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VIKING?

You think that by doing “Whole Lotta Love” you can lead people to things that maybe they wouldn`t have thought of?
To give them the chance of hearing things that we reckon are worth hearing, as opposed to just the cliched… what has become our National Anthem. But don`t forget that in the past year in the eyes of the Press I`ve gone from a pre-Raphaelite f—ing entity to a Viking warrior or something – so really it would be nice for them to stop thinking about all that and just have a listen to things they might not have given a second thought to before. I`m so much more adamant now when I`m singing things like “That`s The Way” than I ever was when I recorded it, and I`ve seen people get off on the fact that I emphasise the parts that I feel need emphasising, and I feel it come back.
But then I feel it come back from “Whole Lotta Love” because it`s A climax – its not the best climax that the group will ever have, but its nice to see people climaxing in every possible way around you. Really, when people pay money – and you can`t really say that they can get away without paying money – they should be able to have every aspect, every mood every angle, for three hours YOU. Not `how does it look?`

There are times when your stage act, the way you move around, does look a bit contrived – all that stuff with mike stands. I admit its not so much now, but in the early days, like that first tour with the Liverpool Scene and Bloodwyn Pig…
Yeah, well that was the first one we ever did. At that stage I was a vocalist, full stop. What could I do when I had three people around me who were really getting it on? I got excited, and when you get excited you can round and round in circles – I mean I`ve run behind the amps and leant up against the amps and blown one because it`s been so good – but you can`t go around and have a little guide book to original poses when you`re getting excited. If I didn`t get excited I`d leave the group tomorrow. So really these pre-meditated things are just… well, I know damn well they`re not (pre-meditated) and I don`t think they look that way either. It`s just another extension of this vocal- thought – motion – audience thing – it`s the supreme contact. We`ve lost a lot over the ages of contacting one another, reaching each other through means apart from speech, and it`s not a page out of some book on erotica when I`m dancing around, it`s just `Well great!`

SQUEEZE

How do you feel now about singing a lyric like “Squeeze my lemon `till the juice runs down my leg”?
I think that was poetry at one time. In it`s original context, that Robert Johnson album, “Travellin` Riverside Blues” – I was playing the album the other night and I felt so proud of owning it, and that line “squeeze my lemon `till the juice runs down my leg” was just so indicative of that person Robert Johnson. When we recorded that it was in LA and it was a time when there was a lot of looning – and there was a lot of looning going on – and it was one of those states of mind you get into when everything`s rosy and shining, and so a lyric like that comes zooming in. It`s borrowed, admittedly, but why not? I really would like to think that someone who heard that and then saw some clever critic writing about Plant living off the far superior Robert Johnson, or whatever they have to say to keep their jobs, would go and listen to Robert Johnson as a result. But I wish I`d written that, I really do. Sometimes I wish I`d been Elvis… or Superman, or that fella in the San Franciscan cartoons who always ends up an alley with some chick with her legs up in the air.
But Robert Johnson… just him, the sympathy between guitar and vocal, the whole atmosphere of a record that was done in some back room – you can do that with John Lee Hooker and it`s 40 minutes of boredom half the time, sometimes. But this Robert Johnson thing was a complete and utter statement. He was almost the innovator of the walking bass and all that sort of thing that Tommy McClennan and Muddy Waters grew from. Tommy McClennan especially came along afterwards and said well, that`s it, that the ultimate personal blues. But “squeeze my lemon” – I wish I could think of something like that myself. But it`s not cool to do that these days, you realise that don`t you? If I`d been Elvis Presley I could have done something like that, but he cottoned on to Arthur Crudup instead. I could have just been a Robert Johnson bloke.

GLORY

What do you think Led Zeppelin has achieved after three years of phenomenal success in terms of stardom, or whatever you like to call it – audience reaction?
Well I hope we`ve made the impression by now that nothing is the norm, that nothing need be the same next time. We haven`t categorised ourselves. And I don`t think we`ve thrown ourselves at the public as much as a lot of other people who say they haven`t – we don`t put ourselves in the way of glory. But three years is such a short time to start making any grand assessment. We`ve had the opportunity to be super-duper incredible stars, and we could have lived on that much more than we have done, but I think its just a case of holding back all the time because if you take the reins that are given to you, you end up destroying yourself – overdoing it, over playing it, over living it, and suddenly finding out that the things from your past don`t fit in at all with what you`re doing now. Therefore it`s much better for me to go home and be as I have been for years and years and years, then make some new being out of myself…
I haven`t set myself any sort of position, and I don`t look up to myself as being this that or the other. It`s easy to say you don`t, and do, but I think if I just carry on like this then our success will carry on for a long time, at least I hope it will. But anyway, our ability will increase and that`s the main thing. I`m not going to lose sight of dry land, I don`t think, though I`ve seen a lot of people do that.

YARDBIRDS

Is it true that Led Zeppelin was originally formed by Jimmy, to kind of cash in on the market left open in America when the Yardbirds split up?
No, not really. What happened was that Jimmy didn`t want to pack up altogether, but Relfy and all that lot did, and the stuff that the Yardbirds were doing was exciting – the fact that it had been overlooked in England and that the Yardbirds had overlooked England also was by the by. The Yardbirds weren`t the biggest thing in America but they were the innovators almost of something that smelt refreshing to the American public. The ideas that Jimmy had were his own ideas, some of which he got out in the Yardbirds, some of which he didn`t. His ideas were fresh, and they excited me, and the ideas that I`d got, lyrically, didn`t have to coincide with what he was doing – they could have been totally different, and if they had been then I imagine that the group would have been different altogether.
But we came together and we had the same likes and dislikes anyway, and blah, blah, you know it all anyway because you`ve read it a million times. But the point was, had that fusion not been the way it was we might have been like anybody – Edmundo Ross if you like. It didn`t have to be the way it turned out, because you can`t tell someone how to write a song. Had I been a different kind of person or had anybody else in the group been just fractionally different, it would have been a different kettle of fish.

COPIES

Yes, but would you have been asked to join the group in that case? Or did Jimmy want those sort of people to make a band that would play that sort of music?
Well you don`t think Jimmy asked me to join the group before he`d seen me work, do you? I mean he didn`t say `I`ll have you, now what can you do?`

Obviously not, but the point I`m trying to make is that it is an accepted story that the group was formed for that reason, to fill the gap left by the Yardbirds, whatever it may have developed into now.
People have said that, and it has been said by the people who say things for us, but this is where you lose the artist or the person who is directly involved. That was the case in as much as Jimmy wanted to continue as the Yardbirds were with a powerful thing. His alternatives were great and I know that at one point he probably wanted to do something at the other end of the scale, which he`d probably have done equally as well. But it wasn`t a case of filling in any gap – it was the fact that I went to Jimmy`s and because of what he had written and what he was playing the group turned out the way it did.
Had it been simply a gap to be filled it would have been easy to take every cliche, everything from the Yardbirds, everything from everybody else who was fading or messing around, and built something on it. I`ve seen a lot of groups do that – a lot of groups who are supposed to be Led Zeppelin copies – and you can take so much, but that doesn`t make you original. And I think we were (original), despite the orientations that were there, and will always be there because I have to listen to sounds and I can`t avoid it.
But we weren`t created to fill that gap primarily. Although it was my first chance of doing anything constructive with established people, apart from Alexis (Korner) and people like that, I just couldn`t have changed after all those years of battling and saying I believed in what I was doing. I had the Band of Joy, and we couldn`t get many gigs in the Midlands, and we finally made Middle Earth and things like that, so I`d been adamant that long that it would have been pointless for me just to do anything, to accept being told to do anything, just to fill that gap.
It`s a fine point and it would take me a long time, and I`d have to know you a long time, before I could get into explaining it in the finest detail, but it is something that mustn`t be just stated as a fact. Its not as simple as that.

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Al Kooper, Leo Lyons (Ten Years After), Elton Dean, Edgar Broughton, Fat Harry, Stan Tracey, Keef Hartley, Stephen Stills, Jack Lancaster, Juicy Lucy, Heaven, The Moody Blues, Ian McDonald, J.J. Band, Natural Acoustic Band.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT Led Zeppelin FROM New Musical Express, April 10, 1976

This is a masterclass in how you slag off an album. Even if you like this album, you must admit that the trashing done by Mr. Murray is utterly great. If I made an album of music that someone didn`t like – this is how I would like to be told. Almost a piece of art this one. Have a nice read!

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How a stampede of rogue elephants missed me by inches

By Charles Shaar Murray

Led Zeppelin: Presence (Swan Song)

Zep albums are like Sherman tanks or platoons of charging elephants: stand in front of one of those, baby, and you best believe you`ll know that something`s just run you over.
“Trampled Underfoot” wasn`t just one of the Zep`s most psychotically irresistible wrecking-ball riffs; the title was the keynote to the entire Led Zeppelin experience.
With “Presence”, the hand-brake`s off the steamroller again and someone`s just chewed through the rope that keeps the rogue males corralled; only this time instead of being right behind the eight ball waiting for the apocalypse to come and swallow you whole, you`re sitting pretty up on a nearby hill with a Thermos flask and a bunch of sandwiches wrapped up in wax paper watching the carnage below in relative comfort and worrying about the ants in your socks.
In other words, I thought my razor was dull until I heard this album, and that reminds me of a comparison that`s so specious I`m ashamed to even think of it myself. Lemme explain.
If – strictly for the purposes of argument – we accept the analogy of hard rock as musical incarnation of feisty rough`n tumble streetfighter, then Led Zeppelin are beginning to bear an increasing resemblance to some hard-as-nails ex-Commando unarmed combat instructor who could undoubtedly take out our imaginary street-fighting yobbo in four seconds flat and be calmly picking his teeth by the time his adversary stopped twitching.

In terms of all matters relating to expertise, and even “feel” in its primary sense – for reference, check out all those funk bands who`ve mastered every single known “funk” device but are so well-oiled and precise that they`ve long ago ceased to be funky in the real as opposed to formalised sense – Led Zep can, quite effortlessly, piss from a great height over any competitors within a Marshall stack`s range of them – not that there are that many to begin with.
I mean, nobody has the orgasmic macho bit down anywhere near as well as Mr. Plant. There ain`t a drummer alive with John Bonham`s pace, time or shoulders. I can`t think of a single bass player who could hold down John Paul Jones` gig without fumbling the ball by either trying to get flash or failing to carry the weight.
As for Mr Page… sheeeeeiiiiit! He`s as near to absolute storm centre as you can get without being either a genius (vide Hendrix), a dangerous loony (Beck) or a musical kamikaze pilot (James Williamson of the Stooges, Wayne Kramer and Sonic Smith of the MC5).
The capacity for organisation which is one of Led Zep`s greatest collective strengths – i.e. when it allows them to marshal their admittedly awesome resources to the utmost – carries with it the seeds of their greatest failings:
the radiation of an unmistakable aura of calculatedness which mars totally the spontaneity – or, to be more precise, the illusion of spontaneity – which is essential if a piece of rock and roll is to be anything more than mere weightlifting, if it`s going to transcend calisthenics, or even gymnastics, and achieve the dimension of dance or sex or violence – anything as long as it provides an analogue of something real.

First the good news.
“Presence” is solid, non-stop, copper-bottomed, guitar-bass-and-drums Led Zep rock and roll.
No mellotrons, no acoustic guitars, no boogies-with-Stu, no-hats-off-to-Harper, no funk or reggae piss-takes: just mercilessly methodical two-fisted pounding Led Zep for the entire duration.
Now the bad news.
There ain`t one single candidate for the Led Zep All-Time Killer Hall Of Fame in the whole caboodle.
Right from the beginning the Zeps have been hauling irresistible cranial lightning bolts from out their grab-bag.
From hats of seemingly infinite capacity they`ve conjured sixty-ton rabbits like “How Many More Years”, Communication Breakdown”, “Whole Lotta Love”, “Dazed And Confused”, “Moby Dick”, “Thank You”, Immigrant Song”, “Black Dog”, “Rock And Roll”, “Stairway To Heaven”, “Trampled Underfoot”, “Kashmir”, etc., etc.
There`s nothing on this album that leaves any residue after the first play.
The album`s best stroke is “Nobody`s Fault But Mine”, with a waving forest of overdubbed phased guitars, muscular jostling bass and drums and Plant alternately howling over the band and moaning in the pauses – a la “Black Dog”, he added as an afterthought.
It`s credited to Page and Plant, which would come as a considerable surprise to Blind Willie Johnson, who was under the impression that he wrote the song in 1928.
Nick Kent told me one time that when he did his first-ever Jimmy Page interview he raised the point that many alleged Page-Plant songs – notably “Whole Lotta Love”, “Bring It On Home”, “The Lemon Song”, “Black Mountain Side” and “In My Time Of Dying” – are either traditional or else straight lifts from the likes of Willie Dixon; Page got extremely defensive.

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As well he might – if Blind Willie were still alive and had a good lawyer, he`d be along to collect his dues.
The royalties that Skip James got from Cream`s “I`m So Glad” – Clapton not only gave him his full composer credit but personally made sure that he got the bread – enabled Skip to die in relative peace and comfort, a fact attested by his widow.
Any rock and roller who steals from a bluesman is an asshole.
I hope Elvis Presley had a few sleepless nights after Arthur Crudup died in poverty without ever seeing one penny in royalties from “That`s All Right Mama”, and I would think that by now Jimmy and Percy could afford to pay Willie Dixon his dues for “Whole Lotta Love” and “Bring It On Home”.
(Anyone desirous of checking out these assertions need look no further than Sonny Boy Williamson`s “Bring It On Home” and a Muddy Waters track called “You Need Love”, which is “Whole Lotta Love” with a slightly different beat, but the same lyric and melody and almost the same riff.)
Anyway…
“Achilles` Last Stand” (presumably a reference to Plant`s temporary cripplehood at the time of writing and recording) gets its head down and charges remorselessly ahead, “For Your Life” is a grunt`n-stutter job in both the vocal and riff depts, “Royal Orleans” is short and sharp, “Nobody`s Fault But Mine” has already done bin dealt with, “Candy Store Rock” hustles and stabs, “Hots On For Nowhere” is vaguely swing-ish (i.e. what Glenn Miller would`ve sounded like if he`d been a murderously heavy four-piece rock band), and “Tea For One” has the pace, feel and licks of a slow blues but isn`t.
Sha da da da da yip yip yip yip mum mum mum mum sha da da da da…

“Presence” falls into the back row of the Zep canon (“Led Zeppelin”, “Led Zeppelin II”, “Led Zeppelin IV” (the runes album) and “Physical Graffiti” being the front-runners and “Led Zeppelin III” and “Houses Of The Holy” being the runners-up).
It represents yet another demonstration of the band`s mastery of form and an all-time low in the content department. Someone (I can`t remember who, but my mother used to keep quoting it to me) once said that genius is ten per cent inspiration and ninety per cent perspiration.
“Presence” is the proverbial ninety-nine and forty-four hundredths perspiration.
Mitigating circumstances: I don`t think anybody else could do anywhere near as well with this material, and I`m sure that Zep can slaughter any rock audience that you or Peter Grant or any promoter currently functioning can assemble with this stuff.
But the sad fact remains that despite the excellence of the playing, singing and production, “Presence” never gets any higher than simply being a demonstration of capabilities and an exercise in style.
However, let`s look on the bright side.
Zeppelin are rock and roll`s greatest ground-to-ground tactical nuclear missile, so let`s not listen to any more cry-baby whining about Britain being a second-class military power.
After all, if the Russkies start any hoohah, we`ll just beam this mutha at Moscow and we`ll have `em begging for mercy before the end of the first side.

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A double-page spread for the ad of the album severly shot down by Mr. Murray

I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Woody Herman, Howard Schuman and Andy Mackay, Man, Roy Wood, 50`s Rock and Roll, Boxer, Al Jarreau, Bill Wyman, The Bothy Band, Mike Dorane, Billy Connolly, Fats Domino.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 15 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin) FROM SOUNDS, March 13, 1976

Checking the All-Time stats for my blog I find to my surprise that articles about Jimmy Page and Led Zeppelin is not as far up in the total number of views that one would expect. It may be that the Zeppelin fans are so fanatic that they have read it all before, but I expected these articles to be better ranked. I will try again with this article.
Most people visit my blog straight onto my main page, but there are some people clicking directly onto the article, probably because it has been shared by someone. I like that. I like as many readers as possible as I`m doing this for all you music-lovers out there.
So… to give you all more motivation to share my articles I will promise you this: The five bands or artists with the most views on my blog at any given time will be given special attention. Sometimes I skip certain articles, meaning that I don`transcribe them. The five in the lead at any given time will from here on out NOT be skipped, but transcribed for your pleasure EVERY TIME I see them in an issue.
Right now those five are the following bands/artists: Rainbow, Deep Purple, Lemmy, Steve Howe (Yes) and Beck, Bogert & Appice.
Let the sharing games begin! 😉

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Technological gypsy

An interview with Jimmy Page

By Jonh Ingham

Here I am, trying to think of a snappy opening and all I think about is Paul McCartney: What`s that man movin` cross the stage? It looks a lot like the one used by Jimmy Page` (mental association of Page at Abbey Road, plugged into a tiny, antiquated looking Vox, except that across the top at the back were a row of knobs jutting from a decidedly new-fangled looking box), and what kind of snappy opening is that?
So, maestro, if you will keep the fanfare low key, we`ll dissolve the visual into the comfortable-rather-than-plush offices of Swan Song Records.
Jimmy Page has been up all night, first meeting with Peter Grant and then viewing videos of Led Zep`s Earls Court performances. (Ah, to have a VCR and friends in high places.) He shrugs off condolences. “Two nights is the norm.”
If some of his dialogue sounds fractured and impressionistic, there are the reasons. Dressed in black pinstripe suit, black shirt buttoned at collar, black boots, he looks incredibly fragile and painfully shy. Shades shield his eyes.
But he is energetic and at the least, loqacious. When he gets fired on a subject, there`s no stopping, talking so precisely and at length that half one`s questions never get asked.
He speaks very quietly in a hypnotic monotone, the words pouring out quickly, fleshing out his dialogue with his hands, or playing with a ring made of a snake wrapped around a thin slice of rich brown agate. On his right hand is a complex gold signet ring with a tiny ruby at the top. Occasionally, his fingers shake.

He doesn`t waste much conversational space, though this isn`t apparent until you check the tape and find a lot said in very little time. The lack of volume causes such concentration that the speed with which he thinks isn`t apparent until played back. It`s very fast.
The reason we are meeting is, of course, the continuing career of Led Zeppelin, rock band. Having decided to work they have maintained a schedule with a vengeance. When Robert Plant`s accident prevented them from performing a world tour the band concentrated on finishing the now legendary film and recording an album.
As Plant continues to recuperate – he`s beginning to run, sports fans – and the band begin to plan a touring schedule they no longer have to worry about those items known in the Biz as `product`, which Mr. Page calls “a pretty strong footing”.
Having written and rehearsed in Malibu, the group recorded at Musicland Studios in Munich, the first time they have recorded in a studio since the fourth album, completing an album in three weeks.
“The novelty of that knocks me out. Although we rehearsed there were still two tracks written in the studio. But the overdubs, Robert`s lyrics, the spontenaiety… There`s still the excitement of the basic tracks. It was all finished before Christmas, and then the artwork…”
Ah yes, the artwork. Zeppelin have had a penchant for complicated covers ever since the kaleidoscope adorning the third album. The fourth album went through some five or six different covers. `Houses Of The Holy` was held up for months while the colour was got just right.

And now `Presence`, as the new platter has been entitled, has been held up by what was intended to be a simple cover so nothing could hold it up.
“It always takes so long. It`s amazing, they`ll have the artwork as a yardstick and send back two alternatives, neither of which are like the original. You know that once it becomes a matrix number, God help you. All you can hope for is to hold onto the quality through the initial pressing, because you know that in two or three years someone will give you a copy to sign and all the colours will be off, the centrepieces will be too short…”
As to what the album sounds like, reports vary. Some say it has a heads down dedication to rock and roll, while others reckon that the diversity shown on `Physical Graffiti` is explored even further. Jimmy poetically confuses the matter even more.
“It was recorded while the group was on the move, technological gypsies. No base, no home. All you could relate to was a new horizon and a suitcase. So there`s a lot of movement and aggression. A lot of bad feeling towards being put in that situation.
Also, we`re playing more as a band than any LP before. Everybody`s playing in such a way as to bring out everybody else. I`m really happy with it, and I`m not usually that optimistic about them because I`ve lived every mistake over and over.
“There`s so many things that have come out from those conditions of having to finish it in a certain time. I was amazed at the inventiveness, the fact that no overdubs were wasted. …Just totally taking chances, experimentation, and they seemed to work. Everything seemed to be on our side, to flow out.

“There`s a blues that`s so held back. Seven minutes long and at no point does anyone blow out. That`s one of the solos I thought I`d never get out. Everyone`s been doing blues since 1964. `It`s going to fall into clichès or it`s going to be too jazzy,` but everything worked okay. So things like that really encourage me.”
The group originally moved their recording environment to country houses in an attempt to extend the environment that had surrounded them writing at Bron-Y-Aur cottage in Wales, so that you could record sitting around the fire, and if the logs crackle, what does it matter? “No-one`s going to hear – probably think it`s the needle or something.”
Also, on early records you could hear the acoustic qualities of the rooms it had been recorded in, but starting in the mid Sixties there began to be an illusion of the room`s acoustics, the sound being very dry with lots of overdubs, echo added afterwards to give perspective.
“I wanted to get away from all that and try and create the sound of the room, and space. The only clear example I can give is `When The Levee Breaks`, where it sounds on the surface as though it`s very simple until you start to listen to what`s happening.”
But the crucial factor, regardless of the environment, is to get a good `live` drum sound, with harmonics aplenty.
“There can`t be anything worse for a drummer than going into the control room knowing he`s got a great sound in the studio and hearing cardboard boxes. Keeping the front of the bass drums on, that sort of thing – not many people do that, it`s the mike inside and lots of blankets.

“It`s a pretty unorthodox way of recording, actually. Sticking the mike up three flights of stairs to get the drums… The depth.” he laughs. “That`s one of the secrets.”
Most of the group`s songwriting is handled by Plant and Page, though there is no set method.
“Of late the music`s been coming first – little bits that I`ve orchestrated, an instrumental that gets a vocal. Or we sit down together, tinkling around. And then there`s 1-2-3-4 and we`ve gotten through two verses before we realise it. That`s the rock and roll. Counting it in and suddenly… whew.
“So there are those with a lot of personal thought and those that just jump out, so there`s a lot of different aspects. I`ve heard that Elton just writes music to lyrics he`s been given.”
He shakes his head. The phone on the coffee table rings. He looks at it, irritated.
“When things develop as a group they start off instrumental, Robert`s there, singing anything that`s coming to mind, the same way you`re playing anything that`s coming to mind. I guess at that point he`s another instrument, and then he moulds the feeling that he finds is relating, and crystalises it. He kicks them over as well. He`s very conscientious about that.”
The phone rings again before he can get a word in edgewise. In one quick movement he grabs the receiver and flings it against the wall, clattering to the floor. The other telephone next to it rings a second time. Jimmy laughs, beaten by technology.

“I contributed lyrics on the first three LPs. After `Stairway` I realised he`d come such a long way on his level, and everyone else was improving on their level, I thought I`d just concentrate on what I was doing. I`ve had lyric books and lost them, so it`s like the writing on the wall. And why not? Robert writes damn good lyrics.”
Page started producing via his fascination with technology. Sound interested him, the changing of an instrument from what it should sound like via effects like echo and phasing, at a time long before it was the norm.
“It`s the challenge of it, being able to come up with all these sounds.”
I mentioned that Led Zep and technology seem synonymous with 50,000 watts and a cord plugged into the wall.
“Well that surprises me.”
Yeah? I was surprised he was surprised. `Kashmir`, which is not Led Zep in the way that `Trampled Underfoot` is sonic attack Led Zep, still comes over as an awesome explosion propelled at majestic earblast volume. Only I didn`t get that far, because I used that classic definitive phrase `heavy metal`.
Jimmy interjected immediately.
“Well what do you class as heavy metal then?”
I reeled off a few titles that owed their livelihood to Alexander Graham Bell.
“Yeah, it depends what your classification is. We`re using dynamics – we can be really loud at one point and drop to a whisper at another. I can`t relate that to other groups I`ve heard who get to a solo and just ride, the same thing right through. Perhaps it`s our dramatics which is coming out.

“We`ve got volume for effect, plus when we play in America in really giant places and you just have to have that power to reach those people in the back, because they`ve taken the trouble to – well, the stories you hear about just getting tickets, let alone anything else. They`ve taken the trouble to go and they may be at the very back but they`ve made the same effort as the people down front, so you have to present them with as much as you can, which means being able to hear it.”
It didn`t occur to me at the time to ask, since he obviously didn`t consider Zeppelin heavy metal, how he felt being classified as the progenitor of the genre.
“We hadn`t toured America in over a year, and those stadium dates were the first two: Atlanta (52,000) and Tampa (59,000). They all came down – “You`ve broken this record and that record` – we`d virtually stepped off a plane. My God, what`s happening? Especially Tampa, Florida. I get really nervy before I go on anyway. A bag of nerves until
I`m into about two numbers.”
Zep seems one of the few super bands that seem to enjoy working live as well as recording, though Jimmy sees them as completely separate aspects.
“We try and change – no, that`s not right. It changes every night. A lot of it is done on signals; if we`re building up to a crescendo and stop and it`s just one instrument, slow cascading passage, a lot of that is just on signals, and spontenaiety. You might hit some really magic bits and everyone is really working together, and it`s not on record. You`re not frozen in time. Captured.

“Whereas when you`re recording it doesn`t have the vibrancy, because you haven`t built up this magnetic feedback between you and the audience. But you`ve still got the spontenaiety, if you manage to hit it, and sometimes it`s hard work, but when you`re out there and really enjoying yourself, then it`s really rewarding. Both aspects are as exciting and unpredictable.”
What maintains Page`s interest as a musician now is the mathematics of music, studying harmonies and melodies and within them chord structures and patterns and how they`re built and interlock and can be linked.
“I got into it knowing there was this gigantic devotion to the study of ragas, because it`s seven years before you even play one. Just doing scales and so on, practising 12 hours a day every day. Knowing that, I wanted to get into what they were actually having to commit to memory, what the problems were to overcome. There were things like splitting half-notes, not into quarter notes but into so many degrees. All this started to really fascinate me, knowing that in these ragas they use one scale ascending and another descending, and that instilled in your memory, you don`t even have to think about it. And time signatures…
“I started to pay attention to tablature and really get involved with the technical aspect of everything. It`s interesting… I wish I`d thought that when I started!”

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What was it then, trying to string a couple of licks together? But the vision of 11 year old Jimmy Page playing a cardboard guitar in front of the mirror was not to be corroborated.
“Yeah, well, you know… Until suddenly you realise the scope of the thing and what you`ve got to do to pull it off.”
He also professes to be “dabbling” with synthesisers, having completed a soundtrack for Kenneth Anger`s film `Lucifer Rising`.
Anger, a noted American experimental film maker who gained noteriety 12 years ago with a bike film called `Scorpio Rising`, and more recently with `Invocation Of My Demon Brother`, a short, intense, ritualistic film with a jagged, rough, almost naive synthesiser soundtrack by Mick Jagger that had a quite disturbing effect, began `Lucifer Rising` ten years ago. But friend and confidant Bobby Beauseloil (later a friend of Charlie Manson) stole large portions of the footage. (What was left eventually became `Invocation`.) Now he is shooting it again, a feature length film. With the first 20 minutes finished, he asked Page for his services.
“With a synthesiser every instrument is different from what it`s meant to sound like, which is especially interesting when you get a collage of instruments together not sounding the way they should and you think, (excited) `What`s that?` That`s the effect I wanted to get, so you didn`t immediately realise it was five instruments playing together. Because Anger`s visuals have a timeless aspect.

“The important thing with `Invocation` was that the visuals and music were like that-“. He interlocks his hands tightly. “And the music couldn`t really exist on its own. That`s how I wanted this music to be, but I wanted to hold up and keep the attention without people actually listening to it.
“The film`s pacing is absolutely superb. It starts so slow, and after say four minutes it gets a little faster and the whole thing starts to suck you in. The thing was, I only saw clips, and 20 minutes is a long time, and he put the music onto the visual – I know he didn`t do any edits because I saw the piece with different music – and things just worked out in synch. Like certain bits match certain actions. It`s so well crafted, and this undercurrent of everything working independently.
“It`s just so arresting. I had a copy and while I was in the States I hooked it up to a big stereo and frightened the daylights out of everyone.” He laughs softly.
“I was on the sixth floor and there were complaints from the twelfth. There`s a real atmosphere and intensity. It`s disturbing because you know something`s coming. I can`t wait for it to come out.”
Which conveniently brings us to the long overdue Zeppelin film, based around a 1974 Madison Square Garden concert, fantasy and documentary sequences lifting it out of the arena. It is now in the credits stage, and will be released sometime this summer. Although it may be considered a documentary it is more a musical.

“It`s so time consuming. It`s a horrible medium to work in. It`s so boring! So slow! Just shooting the fantasy sequence. `Can you do it again so we can get a different angle? Can you do it again?` I`m not used to that. It`s a silly attitude, okay, but nevertheless… The Anger things is completely different. Working with him is a unique experience.”
We`re interrupted by a phone call for Jimmy. When he returns we start talking about his love for travel.
“The complete shock of change of environment. The whole… what`s the word? I refuse to say vibe… The total experience and the impression it has upon you. The smell of a place, the linguistics, the general atmosphere. The difference of the music there – but I`ve put a lot of work into those sort of things anyway before getting there. It`s like an excuse to see how things apply, musically anyway.
“The attitude of people, too. When you get to a place where there haven`t been too many white people… Suspicion, overcoming that, and the hospitality. Arabs will open up their house to you; lay on these huge meals and you`re just blown away by the spectacle of it. Robert finds it especially stimulating for lyrics. And musically for me it`s ideal.
“If I had only got to a certain stage in playing and not gotten into that situation where you keep progressing with things I`d have definitely gone into field recordings.

“I`m obsessed – not just interested, obsessed – with folk music, street music, the parallels between a country`s street music and its so-called classical and intellectual music, the way certain scales have travelled right across the globe. All this ethnological and musical interraction fascinates me. Have you heard any trance music? That`s the thing.”
As it happens, someone wanting to record the Pan Festival at Joujouka in Morocco had played me a tape, a wildly hypnotic, timeless music accompanied by bright images of dancing and village life. Brian Jones recorded there, though it was merely a recreated festival.
“I don`t know how much they put into it. He got what he wanted. But I don`t know if he saw certain spectacles. Like they`ll be dancing in total trance state, one will smash a bottle over his head, and you know, skull, blood everywhere,and the next day, not a trace.”
Have you seen these things yourself?
“Well, I`ve witnessed one particular night that was very odd. But it`s not distressing, it`s refreshing, because it makes you re-evaluate everything. You know that you`re seeing a facade. What`s underneath it? What`s really going on? I`ve heard just so many stories of what people have seen. They`re not lying.
“For instance, there`s a man towards the south (of Morocco), in fact a holy man, but he`ll invite you to mint tea, and while he`s standing there mint grows up around his toes and feet and he picks it, makes tea and a small animal eats the stalks and it`s gone.”

As he tells you this his face lights up like a small boy with a big secret.
“I haven`t seen that, no, but the person who had and told me had no reason to lie. I`ve witnessed other things which I don`t care to discuss. I think if a person`s into it they`re the kind of things he`ll experience himself rather than having it related to him.”
When did you first get into altered states of consciousness and so forth?
“What, in relation to music? When I heard `Jerusalem` when I was about five years old and I wondered what the feeling was that was going on.”
Suddenly, he makes a connection.
“Yeah, yes, that`s what it`s all about! That`s just a mundane sort of thing you relate to and you start taking that on and on and on, you start relating that to particular themes, vibrations in music, things like mantras, and keep going, further and further… There`s a lot to learn.
“I don`t want to get too dippy about all this. If you take the view of the scientist and everything is in a state of vibration, then every note is a vibration, which has a certain frequency, and you know that if you put 40 beats into a frequency it`s going to be the same note every time.
“You take that into infrasound and people can be made to be sick, actually killed; taking it the other way, not to be too depressing, what about euphoria, etc., and what about consciousness being totally… No, I won`t go into that one. Time warps.”

We discuss various ethnic musics.
“What I`ve heard recently is festival music from the Himalayas.”
Have you been there?
Longingly: “No… It must be frustrating to look into Tibet. See the prayer flags and not be able to step over.” He laughs.
He mentions that during their aborted world tour they had planned to record in places like India, Bangkok, to try and infiltrate the hustle and bustle, the general noise… Playing also with local musicians.
“Obviously, you get interesting results, from anything, and anything new always gives me a charge.”
As he says, only George Harrison has tried the idea, with `Wonderwall`; he also mentions his trip with Robert to Bombay, recording some of their numbers with a local orchestra, and how it threw such a new perspective on their work.
We return to the subject of control through sound. The United States is developing an anti-riot weapon that hits you with a strong jolt of exactly 60 cycles, a frequency (as Eno discovered empirically) that makes mincemeat out of your bowel muscles.
“The euphoric state is taking it the other way – there has to be all these aspects. Not only things that create misery but things that create – Ah! That is the powerful weapon to use, not a weapon that makes you shit yourself but something that creates euphoria, and when they get that you`re fucked. They give you a dose of that and you won`t even know you`ve got it. I`ve obviously been listening to some Dick Barton films.”

He became interested in parapsychology and altered states at about 11.
“Reading about different things that people were supposed to have experienced, and seeing whether you could do it yourself. And sometimes, yeah, but I didn`t understand a lot until I grew up.”
It was at this time, too, that he discovered Aleister Crowley.
“But I couldn`t understand what he was getting at until years afterwards. It kept nagging me, I couldn`t fully grasp what he was getting at.
“I feel he`s a misunderstood genius of the twentieth century. Because his whole thing was liberation of the person, of the entity, and that restriction would foul you up, lead to frustration which leads to violence, crime, mental breakdown, depending on what sort of makeup you have underneath. The further this age we`re in now gets into technology and alienation, a lot of the points he made seem to manifest themselves all down the line.
“His thing was total liberation and really getting down to what part you played. What you want to do, do it. Anyway, that`s a minor part, just one of the things they couldn`t come to terms with. Saying there would be equality of the sexes. In an Edwardian age that`s just not on. He wasn`t necessarily waving a banner, but he knew it was going to happen. He was a visionary and he didn`t break them in gently.

“I`m not saying it`s a system for anybody to follow. I don`t agree with everything, but I find a lot of it relevant and it`s those things that people attacked him on, so he was misunderstood.”
Finally, there is the question of why a three hour live saga instead of a cataclysmic 90 minutes?
“The intention was to cut back in the January-February tour of America. `What are we doing? We`re mad, three hours.` So we attempted to cut it back to two hours, and I don`t know, it just went to three hours again.” He chuckles.
“Not having a set pattern is what does it. That way it`s such an invigorating catalyst at times, because everybody feels that way and somebody starts doing something and everybody smiles and away it goes off into another thing altogether. And you`ve got to keep thinking fast – when it`s working well it`s really great, four people building something, changing gear without crunching them.”
Oh by the way, have you found your angel with a broken wing?
He stumbles on the reply, reckons the question was below the belt, and settles on the simplest reply.
“Yes.”

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Evelyn Thomas & Ian Levine, Shaun Cassidy, Alan White, Cate Brothers, Julie Tippetts, Adam Faith, Pat Travers, Deep Purple, Jesse Winchester, Phil Collins.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 15 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin) FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, February 14, 1976

I`ve said it before and I`ll say it again: I really like the way this journalist let the interview objects speak to us readers without a lot of interruptions. Even if there is a lot of talk about corners at the end of this.
Have a good read!

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Sensitive Plant pines for British soil

And occasionally New Jersey Shoulder to cry on by St. Laurent of Paris

Reporter: Lisa Robinson

Robert Plant was acting like he didn`t care.
But when I started to tell him what Mick Jagger had said about him, I detected a strong glimmer of interest in his eyes.
“Mick`s been so nice,” Robert said.
He brings you up all the time, I insisted, in a pleasant chiding way of course, things like “should I get a tambourine like Robert Plant.” And more in that vein.
“Actually,” says Plant, “I remember talking to Mick at the Plaza one night, about the sort of separatism, or lack of communication between one rock band and another.
“You know in the old days there was a constant sort of jousting for position, a definite ego number that was apparent all the way up to a certain point. I guess I realized talking to him that there isn`t all this clanship and unity between bands in this rock and roll scene.
“Then, when this accident happened, there was a giant rally round from a lot of people who I never think of that often, you know?
“Wishes and regards sent to Maureen, to us both. From people on all levels of the business, you know.
“It was a really great gesture, it brought a new validity to it somehow, just a great surge of energy. Just at the time that we were both pulling out of the worst of the accident. It was an enlightening thing.
“Maybe in times of need you do get this sort of camaraderie…”

It is obvious that the near fatal car accident suffered by Robert Plant and his family last summer in Greece has affected his life profoundly.
Whether he talks of Led Zeppelin, their new album “Presence”, possible plans for touring, or his wife and children, an awareness of what life means to him since that experience is always at the very front of his mind.
Discussing his “tax exile” status Plant was bitter. Then again, he related it to his situation.
“I really cannot believe the criticism that I`ve had hurled against me, the remarks made by people about leaving my wife when she was in hospital… all that. It`s a very sad situation, you know, to have to leave one`s own country for the sake of money.
“It makes good sense, obviously. That is the motivation for 99 1/2 per cent of the people who have done it. With me well, not only did I want to preserve some of the reward for what I`ve worked like hell for – what I sit racking my brains to try and create – but it was almost the principle of the thing.
“The government in England is almost saying, `Well, never mind, they`ll come back you know… they`re English and they`ll come home`.
“And the loneliest times… just to know that you`re a prisoner… it`s really more sad than any accident to be thrust out of your own country. If the government tried to work out a reasonable deal… but they`re adamant, and sure that `they`ll come back`. And they`re damn right… the number of times we have come so close to getting on a plane and going home. The spirit of Albion is really imbedded in everybody`s soul.”

Robert talked longingly of his farm: “That little farm is a lot of my life, and so are the two little seeds that run around it. So those are the saddening moments… but it really is the principle. If the government could lead a renovation, under reasonable terms I`d have no qualms about going back and saying okay, let`s make a deal. And I know everybody else feels the same. But it`s just this attitude of gotta get it all, gotta fill me pockets. Which is not where I`ve ever been at despite a few rather uneducated people commenting that that is all. So…I suppose when I do go home it`ll be Hallelujah and I shall kiss the soil again.”
The last time Led Zeppelin “performed” anywhere was in Jersey, at an impromptu gig egged on by Bonzo, and Plant says it was great.
“You see the possibility of playing and who can avoid it, you know? It was like rock and roll night at this dance hall that was like some place ten years gone by, in the best old English tradition.
“Guys with dickey bows and evening jackets ready to bang your head against a wall if you stepped out of line, and chairs and tables lined up in escalation. Chicks wearing suspenders and stockings and a lot of rock and roll.
“Bonzo said `C`mon man, let`s plan on going`. And I said, `look man, I can`t even walk for God`s sake, don`t embarass me. I can`t hobble across the dance floor and onto the stage.” He said we`d go through the side door and then up the back steps. And with amazing grace, that`s what I did and I found myself plunked on a stool. But I really was shy.

“Every time I went to hit a note, I stood up. Not putting any weight on my foot, but just sort of standing. Oh, there were some great photos.
“You know these guys in holiday areas with the cameras who come and take your photo and then you have to call midday the next day and show up at the pier where he will present you with whatever snaps he took the night before, and you find out how silly you looked or how drunk you in fact were for an extortionate price?
“I gave the guy a free hand to shoot like crazy, you know… shoot all these shots of Led Zeppelin in this antiquated ballroom, you know, backing this pianist. And we never even announced it. It was such an exciting experience, nobody even sat down. It was just rock and roll, but in the most basic sense of the word, it was great.
“Of course,” he continued, “I made sure that I sat almost behind Bonzo, wedged between the drums and the piano… but then I found myself edging forward just a little bit. Then, after the third number, I was wiggling the stool, past the drums and further out, you know. And it was like another flash of white light. It was great, really good. Except for we wouldn`t stop playing. They kept flashing the lights inside the place and really like, `Get them off the stage now, they`ve done enough`.
“I just talked to old Ralphsie – Mick from Bad Company – and they played the same gig.
“So this tiny weeny little dance hall is getting the pride of English musicianship for nothing. Just for the hell of playing, you know.”

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Talking about how Zep came to do their new album in a mere (count `em) 18 days, Robert recalled: “I moved to Sunset Strip because the trek to rehearsals from Malibu was a bit long. And I got bored with the Hyatt (Hotel) in a shorter amount of time than it normally takes, so I knew I must be getting better.
“Then I hopped on a plane and went to Germany. After getting used to it, the studio turned out to be okay, and as soon as we came to an understanding with the machinery and the equipment, we were off.
“I think we only went out twice; we were really too tired to do anything but put our heads down. It was like 14 hours a night, 18 days.
“Jimmy worked like a Trojan, no two ways about it. It`s his energy that got this album together so quick. I mean I was not really in any physical condition to hop around with gusto inspiring the situation greatly… although I was surprised the vocals were so good. The lyrics were coming thick and fast, presenting no problems at all.
“I had no second thoughts about the lyrics, they were all reflections on the time near and before the accident and that time afterwards, that contemplative thing, so I was very determined lyrically and vocally, but Jimmy put his energy into it. He worked so hard, and the guitar playing on this album surpasses anything I`ve heard for ages and ages. Brilliant, so much life in it. It`s like hallelujah and we`re back.
“There`s one song called “Achilles Last Stand” – you know, immortal but for the heel, or for being a heel, I don`t know which. No, I mustn`t joke about it, because I am very proud of it.

“There`s one song I wrote when I was very sad and missing Maureen in Malibu, and it`s very personal. You know times go very slowly when you get up every day and you can`t even kick a ball… run and kick a roadie… even kick your drummer. So time has been the teacher and I`ve been the pupil.
“Whew, that was heavy, did I really say that?”
`Fraid so, Robert.
“It`s hard to find the words to say it, but the whole experience of doing that album was very inspiring. It`s come from a different corner altogether of us, I think it`s come from that corner called survival.
“The only time that I wondered that it might not be there anymore was because of the physical. Only because there was a time when my soul was so covered by that cloud that I really didn`t know… what`s the point… but that only lasted a few seconds every day until it finally wore off. I mean I believe that we could start another album right now. Three weeks is amazing to record and mix and walk away.”
We change the subject – the Zeppelin movie. Does Plant have aspirations to the silver screen? The next Roger Daltrey?
“To be quite honest, I don`t think that I could… I mean for us, with that movie, it was basically the gig that was filmed…”
But what about the other stuff? You riding around on a horse and all?
“How dare you… me riding around on a horse… what do you think I`m doing, advertising men`s hairdressing or something like that?”
Sorry.

“Well… if I act onstage, I mean it`s not a sort of dance macabre, it`s not something premeditated. It`s just an extension of me, you know. But the whole process of being involved in any sort of serious filming bores me to tears. I mean just seeing those clips, adverts for films here makes me think. When we deliver something, we do it with as much as we`ve got. If we sink to the floor after that next note, or get dizzy reaching such a high pitch, or all the dogs start barking in Brooklyn… you know, only they can hear it folks… But you know what I mean, just to sort of waddle around with a script in front of a camera, I couldn`t possibly do. The interjections between the music on the film are just enough to give it the relish it requires.”
As for future plans, Plant said that he didn`t think Zeppelin would be doing anything on our shores for at least twelve months once he was able to go back home.
Really?
“Well, as much as I can be on the road ad infinitum, I really can`t be without Maureen and the kids and the farm and that whole thing back there which I love. I`ve really got to go back. I`m not at the sort of desperation point, but it`s only fair to tour when you`ve had a lot of that which inspires you to lift yourself above… You`ve got to go home to get a little bit of fire in you to go back again. It`s like going back to your corner.”
How long?
“Well, who knows, you know. I mean I`d been away a year when I went home. I was so pleasantly thrilled and intoxicated by the atmosphere and everything. It must be the same for everybody, it must be the same for Mick, for Elton. You can only come out of your corner giving something wholesome and brilliant or good or whatever if you`ve been back in your corner to sort of shuffle around and sort of fire yourself up again.”
Twelve months?
“Well, you can look at it two ways. You can say that, but then you can say is twelve months long enough to be at home after everything I`ve been through? I could do with just sitting down with my family and just thanking the gods that I`ve got one, that I`m part of one. That doesn`t mean that I`ve lost the grease at the bottom of my shoes, it means that I`ve got to go back to my corner for a little while.”

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Queen, Tony Iommi, The Fania All-Stars, David Bowie, Sailor, Gay and Terry Woods.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 15 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.