Led Zeppelin

ARTICLE ABOUT John Bonham (Led Zeppelin) FROM New Musical Express, June 27, 1970

Rock music history would have been altered somewhat if Zeppelin was breaking up in 1970. Luckily, they didn`t and continued as the most popular rock band in the world for many years to come. It all ended when Bonzo left this world – the more precious are these early articles with him.
Read on!

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Happier than ever – says Zeps John Bonzo` Bonham annoyed by rumours of a break-up….

By Roy Carr

John Bonham is an incredibly happy person. But if there is one thing that`s apt to annoy Led Zeppelin`s powerhouse drummer and arch-raver, it`s the rumours currently doing the rounds of the group`s impending break-up.
“I want to say here and now, that it’s all utter rubbish,” he emphasised when we met the other day.
“We’re all happier now than we have ever been. And I want everyone to know it.
“At the moment, the four of us are enjoying making our third album, and taking it easy at home in between sessions.
“Just because we are doing it all very quietly, some idiot thinks that we have packed it in, and so all those false rumours start to circulate.”
“Bonzo,” as he is affectionately known in the trade was very quick to point out, “This can really turn out very nasty. For the kids read it in the music papers, and naturally they believe it. That’s bad.”
What was originally intended as a quiet informal chat, turned into close on five hours of continuous raving around London’s West-End.
As it was a hot sticky afternoon, and past closing time, it was decided that we should find comfort in a private hostelry. So it was all down to the Cottage, which as it turned out had already been invaded by others with the same thought.

Ice cold

Suitably equipped with flagons of ice cold lager, John and I decided to roam down Litchfield Street, for an uninterrupted chat. As Mike the Camera followed us, John spoke eagerly about the forthcoming Led Zeppelin III album.
“On this album people are going to listen to each one of us. We are all writing so much better than before, and there will be much more inventiveness from the group as a whole.
“This time we are also doing some acoustic tracks apart from the familiar heavier stuff. You know,” he continued, “we`re all much closer than before.
“At the moment, we’ve got ten good tracks laid down, and we have yet to do a couple more. If they turn out O.K. then we’ll stick ’em on the album. The way things are going it looks as though it’s going to be a long one.
“But, again it’s only going to be a single album. We are not going to do the expected double-album thing, simply because most of these are just padded out with studio left-overs. On the Zeppelin’s albums, we only include what we all consider to be our very best material.”
Unfortunately, Bonzo couldn’t give me any songs titles because there aren’t any. It seems they don’t get around to giving their songs their official titles until they are written, recorded, and ready for release. Apparently, this is the last formality.
At this precise moment Mike the Camera came up to us and asked John to stop speaking for a few minutes, apparently this altered the structure of the facial muscles and didn’t make for good photographs. With a look of amazement he obeyed.
After playing at Pop-Stars, I then asked him about Lord Sutch and his Heavy Friends album which had been called by many “An unofficial Led Zeppelin album.”
“You must be joking. Sutch is a great bloke, but he used our friendship to sell his album. I’ll give you the full story.
“It started in the middle of last year in Los Angeles,” he began.
“We were in this club enjoying ourselves and so was Dave Sutch. Well, he came over to the table and we started talking about old-times.
“During the course of the conversation, Sutch mentions how he’s been in the business for years but never had the chance to cut an album, and that he really wanted to try and get one out in the States.
“He then asked Jimmy and myself, if we would do a few backing tracks for him. But on the complete understanding that under no circumstances would he mention our names. As we had a couple of days to spare, we agreed.
“But it now seems as though he really took-us-in. He knew the position we were in, so we did it purely as backing musicians and old friends, NOT as Zeppelin. And this is what we did, we played as session-men and not as we would in our own group.

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“When we arrived at the studio, he said he mainly wanted to do souped-up versions of old rock standards. So we said O.K. that sounds fine. What we didn’t know was that when Sutch came to dub on the vocals in our absence, he had re-written entirely different lyrics so that `Lucille` became `Thumpin’ Beat’ and Roy Head’s ‘Treat Her Right’ re-appeared as ‘Baby Come Back.’ You’ve only got to play the album to spot where the other songs originated from.
“We didn’t even notice that photographs were being taken during the sessions. Everyone did that album as a special favour to Sutch, and didn’t want any credit. But as it turns out he deliberately used all the people’s names to sell the album.
“So you can believe how amazed we all were when we saw our names in bold type all over the cover.”
With all the false rumours circulating you can certainly discredit any that reach your ears about Zeppelin planning to replace Robert Plant with the electioneering Lordship.
John is very proud of Led Zeppelin and it’s achievements and rightly so. As a matter of interest he told me exactly how they came into being.
“Jimmy Page originally asked me to join the Yardbirds. In fact, Jimmy, Robert, John Paul and myself actually played in Scandinavia as the New Yardbirds.
“The group proved to be so good that there and then we all decided to start afresh with a new name. On our return to London Keith Moon came up with the name Led Zeppelin, but nobody would give us a decent booking.
“We were getting offers of £25 a night. So we went to the States for our first tour and that was it.”
Suddenly, a cloudburst cooled the the heat of the day, so we retired to the Cottage. Once back inside, Bonzo started feeding a handful of tanners into a brightly lit ‘Bally De Luxe Gold Cup” machine.
To yells of delight, Three-Of-A-Kind appeared in the score frames and the grand sum of twelve bob was John’s. But alas, lady-luck did not smile on him because the machine refused to pay up.
After much arguing with the barmaid and a rather odd Lager-swilling woman who kept on shouting and poking her nose in, we left minus John’s winnings.
A Volkeswagen Beetle isn’t designed to accommodate six, but we managed it. With the windows rolled down we sped through Soho shouting words of admiration to all the many gorgeous young girls in their flimsy summer dresses.
Arriving at the Coach & Horses we were re-joined by publicist Bill Harry in company with the debonair Stan Webb of Chicken Shack fame and his manager Harry Simmonds.
Suddenly Bonzo spied a poster advertising the appearance of Eric Clapton. So with glasses held high we all posed in front of it as the moment was captured for posterity on film.

Zeppelin film

On the subject of film, John spoke about the forthcoming Led Zeppelin movie.
“It will probably be an hour long semi-documentary and will include footage from the Royal Albert Hall concert.
“One of the highlight’s of the film will be a sequence featuring my 4-year-old son Jason playing his drums.
“He’s got a completely scaled down replica of my kit, and believe me he can already play them.”
John is very proud of his offspring, and his biggest ambition is to have Jason play on stage with Zeppelin at the Royal Albert Hall. But before that there is their appearance at the Bath Festival.
“To put a complete end to all the break-up rumours. Anyone who goes to Bath will see and hear Led Zeppelin play as they’ve never heard us play before.
“We are really looking forward to that gig. In fact we are quite excited. It’s going to be a fantastic day, I can assure you.”

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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!

ARTICLE ABOUT Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin) FROM New Musical Express, April 25, 1970

A good, long interview from the early days of Led Zeppelin. There are some strange sentences at the end of the article, but to no fault of mine. I guess typos were more common for this sort of paper in the 70s. Read on!

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Jimmy Page answers the questions in the final Led Zeppelin Ask-In

13-year-olds buy our discs!

Jimmy tells an amazed Ritchie Yorke

THE last part of our four-part series on Led Zeppelin is an interview with the man who made it all possible in the beginning, guitarist extraordinary Jimmy Page.
Jimmy’s reputation as rhythm (can you believe rhythm?) guitarist with the Yardbirds and his stupendous session work in London (Joe Cocker’s classic, “With a Little Help from My Friends” features Page’s picking) was enough for Atlantic Records to sign Led Zeppelin unseen. The intuition of Nesuhi and Ahmet Ertegun and Jerry Wexler, the fathers at Atlantic, is too incredible to be believed.
As before, I am represented by RY below and JP is Jimmy. Here is how he replied to my questions in Toronto, Canada.

RY: WHERE DO YOU THINK YOUR FOLLOWING LIES?
JP: It’s hard to pinpoint really. At the beginning it was the underground clubs because that’s where we started. Obviously it’s spread by the amounts of people who come to our concerts. People are coming all over from schools and I don’t know where. The turnout is getting so big you wonder where everybody does come from. I suppose basically it was from the underground thing.

RY: THERE SEEMS TO BE A LOT OF YOUNG PEOPLE INTO YOUR MUSIC NOW?
JP: I don’t really know why this happens, specially for our sort of music. But I do know that when the Cream did the Madison Square Garden concert there were people of nine and 11 in there. This is really quite amazing. I’m not really quite sure of their motives.
I’m sure they can’t really be into the music – they can’t understand it. But then again, you find in England, kids (I don’t like to call them that), people of 13 are buying underground music and apparently know what’s going on in the music.
I know a source, a fellow who runs a record store near where I live who keeps me up to date on who’s buying what… the English charts are so strange, such weird things get in, it often amazes me who buys what. So I do a bit of research and yes, 13 year olds do buy these records.

RY: DID YOU HAVE ANY IDEA OF WHERE YOU WERE GOING A YEAR AGO?
JP: Yes, the whole thing at the times was hard rock core which you can hear on the first album cos it’s basically what it is. Obviously, there’s a couple of blues as well – hard rock and blues, the whole thing.
That was the whole idea of it and it still is really. But now we’ve had more acceptance, we can open up on other things which we probably wouldn’t have done to start with. Things like “Thank You.” Really there’s so much we can do, it’s just a matter of time getting it all out.

RY: WERE YOU SURPRISED AT YOUR TREMENDOUS SUCCESS?
JP: Oh yeah. The Yardbirds at the end were getting probably $2,500 a night and I thought LZ would probably start off at $1,500 and work our way up to that and have a good time. But that was all I expected. It’s really frightening actually the way it has snowballed.

Second album

The record sales of the second album… it really surprises me, it’s beyond my comprehension that things should go this well. Because it wasn’t a contrived thing. Obviously, it was time for our sort of group, what with the Cream break-up and Hendrix hadn’t been doing much. They had been the two real big ones at that time so I think it was just good luck that our timing was right. And in we came with the hard rock as well.

RY: WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE AMERICAN POP SCENE?
JP: Well, one always gets inspiration from people like Love, but I believe they’ve broken up, which is unfortunate ‘cos Arthur Lee was a tremendous writer. And of course Buffalo Springfield and all the offshoots of these things will be and are great. There are groups over here doing really good things.
Blood, Sweat and Tears aren’t my cup of tea. Spirit do some really nice things on albums. They give a really nice atmosphere when they play and I always enjoy seeing them.

RY: HOW ABOUT THE DOORS?
JP: Actually, I was surprised after hearing a lot about the Doors and we got a lot of advance publicity in England about how sexy Jim M. was, how virile and whatever. I was surprised to see how static he was live on stage. I admire his writing ability and when he gets it together in a studio, he really does. But on stage, he’s not really for me.
He doesn’t really come across in any way I’d like to see. Being dressed in black leather can only go so far but standing there like my father would on stage doesn’t really come across for me.

RY: WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE OPINION THAT ROBERT PLANT COPIES JIM?
JP: How could he have done? They’re completely different. If you want to relate Robert to a sexual image, and a lot of people are doing that, he’s all those things one would associate with it. He’s good looking (I’m not saying Jim isn’t), he’s got the virile image, he moves very well on stage and he looks right and he sings well — his whole thing is total sexual aggression.
As far as I could see, the Morrison thing is just an embarassment towards the audience. He would actually insult them and swear at them and his sexual thing is more of an introvert thing — it isn’t so extroverted as Robert’s.

RY: YOU’RE DOING A LOT OF PERSONAL APPEARANCES IN NORTH AMERICA NOW. HOW DID IT ALL START?
JP: We started off at less than $1,500 a night actually. We played for $200 one day but it was worth it because we didn’t care, we just wanted to come over and play the music. In England, we had such a bad time and bookers were saying, “LZ used to be the Yardbirds, we’ll book them but we’ll put them as the new Yardbirds.” It was just a joke in England that they wouldn’t accept you. They won’t accept anything new.
Over here, we were given a chance. Bill Graham booked us in both the Fillmores and all the underground promoters like Russ Gibb and these people all booked us and gave us a great start and it was on our own shoulders. You know, come over here, work as hard as you can, give them all you can and if it doesn’t work, go back to England and start again. But obviously no one would have had us back if we had died. It was just up to us.

RY: YOU’RE EARNING FANTASTIC MONEY NOW. WHAT’S THE MOST YOU’VE EVER MADE?
JP: In Boston we got $45,000 for one gig which was just incredible. It just depends now — the artistic side can go so far, then the managers take over on the business and you start working on percentages above guarantees and it obviously depends on how big the place is and that was the biggest place we played. There were about 17,000 people.

RY: SOME CRITICS THINK YOUR VIOLIN BIT IS GIMMICKY.
JP: It’s important to me, actually. Unfortunately, it does look gimmicky with the visual thing of the violin bow but, in fact, good things can be done with it. It’s pretty hard to do. It’s not as easy as it looks in actual fact. I would still include it whether people hated it or not.

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RY: DO YOU THINK YOU’VE IMPROVED YOUR GUITAR PLAYING SINCE JOINING LZ?
JP: I don’t know about LZ as LZ, but playing with these people has been fantastic. I’ve never played with such good musicians before in a group and I’m sure everyone’s improved within themselves.

RV: WHAT DO YOU THINK OF JEFF BECK?
JP: I think he’s great. When he’s having a shining night, he’s really fantastic. He plays things of sheer genius.

RY: I’VE HEARD THAT THE VANNILA FUDGE IS JOINING HIM?
JP: Yes, I’ve heard that. I don’t know how it’ll go temperament-wise. He’s got a funny temperament.

Eric Clapton ?

RY: ERIC?
JP: He’s a very tasteful player. I haven’t seen him play since John Mayall days. I didn’t see Cream, didn’t see Blind Faith shows. That day is over isn’t it? Everybody says so.

RY: WHAT BANDS DO YOU LIKE?
JP: Unfortunately, I haven’t seen all the bands I’d like to see. I’d like to see Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young group, I really would. There’s a friend of mine, matter of fact he got my guitar for me, called Joe Walsh, who’s got a group going around the Cleveland area called the James Gang: I heard them and they were very good and went down well. I expect we’ll hear more of them.

RY: WHO HAS INSPIRED YOU?
JP: Even now I don’t listen to current guitarists… Whether that sounds right or not. I was really listening to the old blues people. I thought, “Well, they’ve got their thing out of it, I’ll get my thing out of it too,” I thought that if I started to listen to everybody else like Eric (Clapton) and Jimi (Hendrix) then I`d get bogged down with their ideas and start nicking their phrases which I probably did do subconsciously and I think everybody does.
You can hear Eric’s phrases coming out on Jimi’s albums and you can hear Hendrix phrases coming out on Eric’s records. I was really listening to acoustic guitarists like Bert Jansch. He’s my alltime favourite. I was listening to that more than anything and that’s what I play a lot of at home. I would really like to develop the acoustic guitar into something much better. The finger style not like C.S. & N.

RY: H0W ABOUT BLUES GUITARISTS?
JP: They’re great. They’ve all got their trademarks. It’s so easy when you’re learning guitar to get all your trademarks off them and suddenly a style of your own develops out of this. I still listen a lot to Otis Rush more than any of the others. And a guitarist who came to England called Matt Murphy. Buddy Guy, of course. I could relate to them more than B. B. King at that time. Now I think that B.B. is very up-to-the-moment.
At that time, his records were recorded in the 30’s and it was hard to relate to them. Yet, I knew that people like Rush and Guy had drawn from them but that was today’s statement of that thing. And it wasn’t till B.B.King became more well-known and more records became available that one was able to say that B. B. King is there as well.

RY: JOHNNY WINTER?
JP: I like his steel playing very much. His bottleneck Robert Johnson things. He’s really got those things off to a tee.

RY: SOME PEOPLE ACCUSE YOU OF HAVING NO TASTE?
JP: Maybe I haven’t. I don’t know. I just play how I feel. If I feel tasteless, I play tasteless. I’ve heard every guitarist attacked that way — it depends on what they must have been as nervous as hell can do. If I sat down with a guitar I could probably play a lot of things that a lot of other people couldn’t play — you know, classical things and people might say. “That’s really tasteful, man.”

RY: HOW ABOUT THE STONES?
JP: I don’t know really, did you see that Hyde Park film? Some of it started off really good, but then they got into things like Satisfaction and it sounded pretty weak. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because they hadn’t played for so long — it was such a big ordeal playing for so many people, they must have been as nervous as hell. I think it will be good because Jagger is so fantastic, and his songwriting — the words are incredible.

Beatles?

RY: AND THE BEATLES?
JP: They just turn it out, don’t they? It’s always good and always sounds fresh whether it is or isn’t. They’ve done some good things. It’s amazing the way their guitar styles come into it.

RY: WHAT ABOUT GEORGE’S PLAYING ON “ABBEY ROAD?”
JP: Was it really George? It might have been Paul. It`s nice actually.

RY: IN WHAT DIRECTION ARE YOU GOING?
JP: It sounds corny, but we’ve got something we want to try out but I don’t want to tell you about it in case it doesn’t come off. It’s an idea for a really long track on the next album. In so much that “Dazed” and “Confused” and all those things went into sections — well, we want to try something new with the organ and acoustic guitar building up and building up to the electric thing.
It will be probably a 15 minute track and I’m really looking forward to doing it. I can’t really tell you more about it in case it doesn’t work out. But I think it will.

RV: WHAT DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE SECOND ALBUM?
JP: It took such a long time to do… on and off — having no time and having to write numbers in hotel rooms. And hearing the initial numbers we did so many times playing them to different people by the time the album came out I was really fed up with it. That’s why I had lost confidence in it by the time it came out. People were saying it’s great and I thought “Oh good.”

RY: DO YOU LIKE BEING THE PRODUCER?
JP: Writing a lot of it, as it’s only album tracks, it’s nice to have a free hand in what you’ve written. A producer, in fact, would probably say, “Well, I like that idea but why don’t you try this?” and he’d start taking over. So it would be a bit of a battle if you’d written it yourself. It would be different on a single because I guess the producer would know.
That’s why I been the producer most of the time because the songs have been either written by me and Robert, or the rest of the boys. It’s more personal really.

A single?

RY: DO YOU HAVE ANY PLANS FOR A SINGLE?
JP: Yeah, when we get back. We’ve got two ideas but then when I say ideas, an idea usually amounts to a chorus or a couple of verses or a few riffs. It’s just a matter now of going back, have a week off or so and everyone’s going to think about singles and ideas for such.
Then we’re going to come together and amalgamate all the ideas to see what comes out of it. I should thing.

RY: I HEAR THAT YOU REALLY CAN’T TOLERATE STRAIGHTS.
JP: Oh yeah. I really hate all of that narrowmindedness. But I think anyone does with long hair, or anyone with genuine feeling. Even if they’re not, even if they appear to be a straight person, if they’re sympathetic to other people, they would be fed up with hearing people making nasty comments to them.
You’re really discriminated against all the time. If I was coloured, I’d really be able to kick up a stink and I’m not, so I really have to put up with it. And I know everyone else with long hair does. It’s a bit of a drag.

RY: ANY PARTICULAR INSTANCES?
JP: Well, restaurants where you get a bad time. Try to check into hotels where they don’t like the look of you and they don’t want you messing up the swimming pool. You know how it is. It’s just JP: Unfortunately I haven’t seen live in. A hostile sort of age.

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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!

ARTICLE ABOUT Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin) FROM New Musical Express, April 11, 1970

Mr. Plant was not very impressed with The Doors. That is one of the things that you will learn if you take the time to read through this very interesting article.
Read on!

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Ask-in with a Led Zeppelin a week

Thinking as a sex symbol can turn you into a bad person – Robert Plant

Part two of an exciting Series by Ritchie Yorke

LAST week, I reported the sayings of bass player John Paul Jones. Continuing NME’s four-part series on Led Zeppelin, I turned to lead singer Robert Plant, who is regarded in some quarters as rock’s most provocative sex symbol since Jim Morrison (but wait till you hear what he has to say about that!).
I interviewed Robert in Toronto and his frank replies to my questions are below….

RITCHIE YORKE: DID YOU EXPECT TO MEET WITH SUCH STAGGERING SUCCESS?
ROBERT PLANT: Never! I don’t think anyone could expect that really. Not even Jimmy, and Jimmy already knew that American audiences were much more responsive to hard work. But none of us really expected this. Just bang! And we really never knew how big we were.
You can’t really realize it until you come to each individual town that you have never been in before and people are running down the street banging on your car windows and all that. And when you get a fantastic reception the moment you walk on stage, you start to realize just what’s happening. I could never have dreamed of anything like this.

RY: WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFORE LED ZEPPELIN WAS FORMED?
RP: I was working immediately before LZ with a group called Alexis Korner and we were in the process of recording an album with a pianist called Steve Miller, a very fluid thing – nothing definitely set up. We were going to do a few festivals in Germany and that sort of thing. Before that, I hadn’t done much at all. I’d cut three singles which I prefer to forget. I want to leave them in the dimmest past!
John Bonham and I worked together for a total of about 2 1/2 years. It was a period of trying to find what I wanted to do musically. You know, you go through the initial thing where you want to get up on stage and scream your head off, and the next minute you want to play blues and you finally find that everything is a means to an end to what you really want to do musically… once you’ve reached it.
So I feel my first four or five years were finding out what I wanted to do. You could either end up going completely into the pop field on a commercial trip, or just stick to what you liked musically.

RY: HAVE YOU NOW FOUND YOUR MUSICAL NICHE?
RP: I think I’m finding it. The first year of LZ has made me see a lot more of what I want to do. I think this year has been much more valuable to me than the other five because for the first five years nobody really wanted to accept what I was doing, even though we were doing a sort of Buffalo Springfield — Moby Grape sort of thing.
In England, nobody really wanted to know, they just said it was a noise with no meaning; and to me, it was the only noise with meaning. The Springfield and the Grape really knew what they were doing.
LZ has given me a chance to express that in lyrics on the second album, and when we do the third album I hope to get that thing even more to the point of what I’m trying to get into. Gradually, bit by bit, I’m finding myself now. It’s taken a long time, a lot of insecurity and nerves and the “I’m a failure” stuff. Everybody goes through it. Even Jimmy did, when he was with the Yardbirds, but now everything’s shaping up nicely.

RY: WHEN YOU STARTED THOUGH, EVERYONE IN NORTH AMERICA THOUGHT THIS WAS JIMMY PAGE’S BAND. THAT WAS THE IMPETUS WHICH LAUNCHED YOU HERE. IT MUST HAVE MEANT YOU ALL HAD A GREAT RESPONSIBILITY TO PROVE YOURSELVES INDIVIDUALLY, AS BOTH PEOPLE AND MUSICIANS.
RP: Yeah, but it was really good, because, well, obviously we owed a lot to Jimmy in the first place because, without him, we couldn’t have gone into the right places initially… Because people like Spooky Tooth have had such a hard time trying to get any sort of reputation in the States, and eventually all their inspiration goes.
Spooky Tooth came over here in the summer and did about seven gigs in as many weeks. It was very bad for the band.
With Jimmy’s reputation, we could go into the proper clubs, but had Jimmy been the only member of LZ who was any good at all, it would have been pointless. Fortunately each of us shone in our own little way, if that’s what you can call it, and the audiences said: “Wow, there’s Jimmy and he’s brilliant” and they look around and they take everybody else how they want to.
Obviously on the first tour, it was all Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy, which is fair enough because he deserved it, and then on the second tour people started taking an interest in the other members of the group and then with our stage act, well we’ve had some criticism of that.
The thing is that after a while you personally start going out on the stage and you can feel what’s going to happen. The moment you set foot on stage you can sort of let go, and the audience is like a piece of blotting paper and what makes it is what you give it, and you’ve gotta give it good.
Each of us has a different personality which comes to the fore. Like John, when he jumps into the air above his drums. Everybody now knows each member of the group for his musical ability and for himself, I think.

RY: ROBERT, YOU HAVE BEEN DESCRIBED AS THE MOST IMPORTANT NEW SEX SYMBOL IN POP SINCE MORRISON. DOES THIS REALLY GET TO YOU? OR DO YOU TAKE IT LIGHTHEARTEDLY?
RP: Yeah, well, don’t you think it’s the end of your life once you take it seriously, that sex symbol thing. If any musician goes on stage feeling that; I mean, you can take in all that applause at face value and it can turn you into a bad person, really it can.

Terrible harm

All this sort of popularity can do you terrible harm and I really thought that it would do once we started getting off. I thought, “God, if this keeps going what the hell will happen to me?”
You can go right off your rocker and you can start to think — “Here I am and I’m the greatest singer in the world” and all that. But it’s not worth doing that because there’s always someone who can come along and will sing better than me and I fully realize that. So all you can be is honest and be yourself.
If there’s some nights when I don’t want to say anything to the audience then I don’t. But I don’t make it noticeable.
I don’t really know how people think about sex symbols. If they can see your pelvis then that must make you a sex symbol… because I’m the only one of us that doesn’t have a guitar or drums in the way of mine. I suppose I started with a bit more chance than anybody else in the band.
You can’t take it seriously simply because you read all these things about it. You just get into your music and the sexual bit isn’t an apparent thing. It’s not what we’re there for.

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RY: YOUR STAGE ACT SEEMS TO BE GOING THROUGH SOME CHANGES, AS COMPARED WITH THE FIRST COUPLE OF TOURS.
RP: Yeah. I think that what we’re doing now is what each one of us wants to do. I think people expect us to be a lot more arrogant than we are. A lot of people say “Yeah well they’re alright but what about all that laughing and jumping around they do.”
There seems to be a label that goes with music that’s intense. People are expected to stand there looking as though they’re out of their minds. If ever I was to go out of my mind, I’m sure I wouldn’t just stand there like that — so it’s like a big play act and we mustn’t play act otherwise we’ll run away with ourselves like Jim Morrison did.

RY: DO YOU THINK MORRISON TAKES HIMSELF TOO SERIOUSLY?
RP: Oh yeah. We only played with the Doors once in Seattle and it seemed like he was screwed up. He was giving the impression he was into really deep things like Skip Spence of Moby Grape. You can get into a trip of your own that you don’t really realise what’s going on in the outside world.
Morrison went on stage and said “F— you all” which didn’t really do anything except make a few girls scream. Then he hung on the side of the stage and nearly toppled into the audience and did all those things that I suppose were originally sexual things but as he got fatter and dirtier and more screwed up, they became bizarre.
So it was really sickening to watch. My wife and I were there watching and we couldn’t believe it. I respected the Door’s albums, even thought they’re not brilliant musicians, and, as I said, that doesn’t matter. What Morrison was doing on record was good.

Over all our heads

The track “Cancel My Subscription To The Resurrection” was great, but now he doesn’t get into any of the things from the past, and the sexual thing has gone. He was just miles above everyone’s head. It seemed that he realized the Doors were on the way down.
He went on stage with that opinion and immediately started saying all those strange things which nobody could get into. There were one or two people there crying: “You’re God, you’re King,” and I was thinking, “Why?”
Then the Youngbloods went on stage and wiped the audience out because they were so warm. They’d laugh and the audience would laugh. That’s how music should be. It isn’t a real serious thing. We’re not over here to have a bad time. We’re over here to have a good time and people pay money to have a good time as well.

RY: BUT THERE HAS TO BE SOMETHING ELSE GOING DOWN. JIMMY AND I AGREED ON A THEORY ABOUT A GAP IN THE SCENE FOR HARD ROCK.
RP: You could say that and then again you couldn’t. There was such a difference, even on first hearing between us and the Cream. There was an intense difference. There were other groups in the country at the time who could have filled the Cream’s place more specifically than ourselves.

RY: BUT YOU’RE INTO HARD ROCK?

Different things

RP: Well, I think individually, off-stage, we’re into different things but it all comes out in the music. If you noticed, we had a C&W half hour the other night.

RY: THERE SEEMS TO BE A LOT OF YOUNGER KIDS TURNING UP TO YOUR CONCERTS?
RP: Yeah, the spreading of the gospel I suppose! It beats me why they come. I really think that the first album wasn’t commercial at all. You know, CS&N are far more commercial than LZ. In as much as the vocal thing is there to hang on to. With LZ there was all sorts of different things going on. Every member of the group was doing something different so it doesn’t strike you immediately as something…

RY: OBVIOUSLY YOU DID WHAT YOU WANTED AND THE PUBLIC LIKED IT AT THE SAME TIME?
RP: Yeah, that’s why I can’t see why the kids that came along got into it as strongly as we did and as strongly as the original audiences who came to see us when we first came over here. So you’ve got this stronger thing now. The audiences are really strange now. It worries me sometimes to see how it’s turning out. Go to concerts by Janis or the Youngbloods or Neil Young and you’ll still get the same people. So I suppose the audience is just fanning out more and more.

RY: YOU MADE IT IN AMERICA FIRST AND THEN BRITAIN. THIS HAS GOT A FEW PEOPLE UPTIGHT?
RP: Yeah, it has. You can imagine that England being the conservative place it is, the conservatism goes into the music as well. The musical journalists are still sort of dubious about this sort of music and they were thinking that it was a flash in the pan and they didn’t think it had any social relevance which it does.
Groups who go on stage and play music at festivals that says: “Down with the establishment” are immediately in the majority low — even in England.

RY: WHO ARE YOUR GREATEST INFLUENCES?
RP: There was a guy called Tommy McClellan, who recorded on the Bluebird label for RCA in the 30s. His rapport, the way he completely expressed himself on record, was great ’cause it was though he was saying “To hell with you,” all the time and he was just shouting out all these lyrics with such gusto, that even now, you could sit there and go “Corr.”
It’s the same with Robert Johnson. His sympathy with his guitar playing, its just like when you’re a vocalist you have to be sympathetic with the musicians you’re playing with.

RY: B. B. KING?
RP: Not really. I like B.B. I like to listen to him, I like to hear him sing and I like him stalking and leading up to things like “Don’t Answer the Door,” where he does a big rap like that Isaac Hayes album, where he does a big thing for a long time. But B.B. King is a guitarist’s sort of singer really if anybody is sort of going to take things from him.
I always respected Steve Winwood I must admit. He was to me the only guy. He had such a range in the early days when Spencer Davis first became popular. They were doing things like “Don’t Start Crying Now” by Slim Harpo and “Watch Your Step” and “Rambling Rose,” Jerry Lee Lewis, and the whole way. Steve was one of the first people who wasn`t sticking to the normal, like the Hollies and all those groups who had been “dot dash, dot dash, follow the lines” and sang all the same thing every night.
And along came little Winwood, who was only a bit older than me, and started screaming out all these things and I thought, “Gosh, that’s what I’ve been trying to do.”

RY: WHAT DO YOU THINK OF JOHN PAUL JONES?
RP: What a question! As a musician, incredible. His imagination as bass player is very good. Also as a pianist and organist, because he looks at the whole thing in a completely different way to me. I mean, the five lines and four spaces were never of any importance to me because I was a vocalist and I just hung onto the fact that it was an easy way out being a vocalist. You don’t have to know much, you just have to sing.
He comes from a different angle all together and even though it doesn’t apply to my singing he can be a definite influence on the group — if he cares he can be which is an interesting thing. Jimmy can read music and all that, but he’s more basic, more into blues and whamming out and writing the sort of thing I want to write but John comes in and his rhythms and his whole thing from Stax and soul side of things, they give you the backbeat that you need so I appreciate that.

RY: BONZO?
RP: He’s a good sparring partner! (Laughs). We played together for a long time and I think this is the only band we’ve ever had, obviously, any success in. If I didn’t like him as a drummer I suppose he wouldn’t have been the drummer, because someone would have said no. So he’s got to be all right. Besides, he’s phoning his missus in the morning to send a bunch of flowers to my wife.

RY: JIMMY?
RP: To begin with, when someone comes along and says: “Come with us; you’re going to make a lot of money,” you think he’s got to be joking, so you say okay. But in the beginning I held myself a long way off from him. The more you get into the bloke, although he seems to be quite shy, he’s not really. He’s got lots of good ideas for songwriting and he’s proved to be a really nice guy.

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ARTICLE ABOUT John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin) FROM New Musical Express, April 4, 1970

Possibly the person that gets the least of the publicity of all the members of this group, but still one very important member of the band. Mr. Jones is probably the most talented “musician” in the band and he has done a lot of different musical projects away from Zeppelin. Must not be confused with John Paul Young who wrote “Love Is In The Air” or the Pope John Paul! 😉
Read on!

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Ask-in with a Led Zeppelin a week

Bassist John Paul Jones

by Ritchie Yorke

THE only really encouraging thing that happened during 1969 for me was the unveiling of Led Zeppelin, Britain’s latest weapon in the war against American rock. By year’s end, Led Zeppelin — a group of unknowns apart from guitarist Jimmy Page — had become the most important new band since the Beatles, surpassing even Cream in popularity.
The group’s sudden success came after Cream curdled and Hendrix fell victim to well-fed delusions of grandeur. There wasn’t much of music’s usual hype, and there was even less critical acclaim for the Zepp.
Even now, it’s very much in vogue in rock critic circles to rip off Led Zeppelin as a noisy bunch of weirdies from England. Even some of rock’s upper echelon of publications still seem to deny the existence of the Zeppelin. Initially, there wasn’t much serious critical evaluation of Led Zeppelin. They were just another band into blues from England. Sure, they had a guitarist from the Yardbirds, but wasn’t Jeff Beck the man to watch from that trip? Scepticism, apathy, ignorance. Meanwhile, the Zepp had arrived and hit and left the charts coated with the debris of a hard-rock hurricane.
The band’s concert price zoomed from a low of $250 in January of last year, to $25,000 at the start of their fifth tour. Both albums had sold in excess of one million copies by Christmas. And a single, “Whole Lotta Love,” went very close to a million. The new tour will earn the group more than $800,000.
Right now, what’s happening in rock is very much in the hands of Jimmy Page, John Bonham, Robert Plant and John Paul-Jones. Without question, Led Zeppelin is the world’s most popular group, outside the Beatles, and no-one knows any more if the Beatles still are a group.
In Toronto recently, I rapped with each member of Led Zeppelin and compiled a four-part profile-through-interview report on the group. We start with bass player, John Paul-Jones, one of the finest technicians in the field.

RY: WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFORE LED ZEPPELIN FORMED?
JPJ: Vegetating in studios in London mainly. Jimmy’s also done his share of that. But he got out and went into the Yardbirds. Just before joining the band, I had gotten into arranging and general studio directing, which was better than just sitting and being told what to do.
I did a lot of Donovan’s stuff. The first thing I did for him was “Sunshine Superman.” I happened to be on the session and I ended up arranging it. The arranger who was there really didn’t know about anything. I sort of got the rhythm section together and we went from there.
“Mellow Yellow ” I did entirely on my own. I was pleased with it; It was different to what was happening in the general session scene.

RY: WERE YOU SURPRISED AT THE SUCCESS OF LZ?
JPJ: Yes, I was surprised as to the extent of our success. You see, we’d been doing all this for a long time and, after a while, you can see how a group breaks up and what causes all the ups and downs. You reckon that if you should consciously put together a group that won’t have a lot of stupid troubles; and the basic thing of what people want to listen to; good musicianship; and a certain amount of professionalism; the right promotion — with those things you figure you must stand a good chance. But to what extent, nobody knows. To this extent, its unbelievable!

RY: DO YOU THINK YOUR SUCCESS CAME BECAUSE THERE WAS A GAP IN THE ROCK SCENE AFTER CREAM AND A PERENNIAL NEED FOR A HARD-HARD ROCK BAND?
JPJ: If you think from a pure popologist’s point of view, you could say it was foreseen, inevitable, predictable. There was a gap there and we filled the gap. But there’s a lot of other things which may do it.
I think the business did need something different because Cream was going around in circles. They never talked to one another, it seemed. The groups that did have a good sound were successful but they always seemed to have internal troubles; while the groups that did get on never got heard, and somehow you had to get the two together. An amicable group, a good sound and exposure.

RY: L Z SEEMS TO BE A GROUP WHICH GETS ON WELL?
JPJ: Yeah, especially as we’re all different people. Robert and John have got the Birmingham band thing in common. Nobody had actually worked together before L Z though. We just got together in a 6ft. x 6ft. room and started playing and looked at everybody else and realise what was going to happen.

RY: WHO INFLUENCED YOUR BASS PLAYING?
JPJ: Not a lot of people because it was only recently that you could even hear the bass on records. So apart from obvious jazz influences — like every good jazz bass player in history; Mingus, Ray Brown, Scott LaFaro… I was into jazz organ for quite a while until I couldn’t stand the musicians any longer and I had to get back to rock ‘n’ roll.
I listened to a lot of jazz bass players and that influenced my session playing, and then I cannot tell a lie, the Motown bass players! You just can’t get away from it. Every bass players in every rock group is still doing Motown phrases, whether he wants to admit it or not.

RY: IT’S A SHAME THAT SO FEW ARTISTS HAVE CREDITED THE MOTOWN BASS INFLUENCE?
JPJ: Right. Yet it’s been one of the Motown sound’s biggest selling points. I used to know a few names of Motown bass players, but I can’t remember them. Motown was a bass player’s paradise, because they’d actually found a way to record it so that you could hear every note.
Their bass players were just unbelievable; some of the Motown records used to end up as sort of concertos for bass guitar.

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RY: WHAT DO YOU THINK OF JACK BRUCE’S PLAYING?
JPJ: Jack is very good. I’m not too keen on the sound he has, but that’s personal taste. Being a bass player, I obviously have more idea of the sound I like than someone who just listens to records. I like his LP “Songs For A Tailor” though.

RY: WHAT ABOUT PAUL McCARTNEY?
JPJ: Well, I think he’s perfect. He’s always been good. Everything he’s done has always been right, even if he didn’t do too much, it was still just right. He’s improved so much since early Beatles days, and everything is still right. They’re really beautiful, the things he plays.

RY: HOW ABOUT RICK GRECH?
JPJ: I don’t know anything about him.

RY: BASS HAS REALLY BECOME IMPORTANT IN THE PAST TWO YEARS.
JPJ: Bass players have really got annoyed and said to engineers “You’ve got to get it through.” Then they went to the people who cut the record, because you can get it on tape and then lose it on record. The cutters start screaming that it won’t play with too much bass and people’s expensive magnetic cartridges will jump up into the air everytime you hit a bottom string.
I think Cassidy did an awful lot, and he’s still doing so. He designs bass guitars which are utterly unbelievable.

RY: DID YOU HEAR MOMS MABLEY’S RECORD OF “ABRAHAM, MARTIN AND JOHN”? IT HAD FANTASTIC BASS REPRODUCTION?
JPJ: No, I didn’t hear that. The Motown record that really impressed me was “I Was Made To Love Her” by Stevie Wonder. When it came out, I just couldn’t believe it.

RY: YOU MUST BE ONE OF THE FEW PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY SITS DOWN JUST TO HEAR A BASS PATTERN ON A NEW RECORD.
JPJ: Bass players are always like that. The first record that really turned me on to bass guitar was “You Can’t Sit Down” by Phil Upchurch, which had an incredible bass solo and was a good record as well. Very simple musically, but it had an incredible amount in it.

RY: AFTER YEARS OF SESSION WORK. HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE IN A GROUP?
JPJ: It’s a strain, but it’s a different kind of strain. I much prefer it. In sessions you just vegetate and you reach a certain period where you’re working a helluva lot and that’s it. You can’t do anything musically and it’s horrible. You became a well-used session musician with no imagination.
I used to be the only bass player in England that knew anything about the Motown stuff so I used to do all the cover versions. I often used to almost be in tears at the sound they’d get and the way they used to mess up the songs.

RY: THE ENGLISH SESSION SCENE IS RATHER UNIQUE IN THAT THEY REALLY ONLY HAVE ONE MAN FOR EACH INSTRUMENT, AND IF YOU’RE THE MAN, YOU GET TO DO EVERY SESSION GOING?
JPJ: Right. But it’s not specialised, which is the strangest thing. You can do anything. Every record that’s been made in England you could have been on, if they used your particular instrument — from Petula Clark to visiting Americans. I remember one day — firstly at Decca Studios with the Bachelors; then Little Richard, who’d come over to do a couple of English sessions — and it was bloody awful.

RY: IT MUST HAVE BEEN ROUGH AT FIRST, THOUGH WITH PEOPLE ONLY THINKING OF L Z AS JIMMY PAGE’S BAND?
JPJ: Well if Jimmy had been incredibly insecure and really wanted to be a star, he would have picked lesser musicians and gone on the road and done the whole star trip. Everybody in the band recognised that at first having Jimmy’s name was a great help. In fact, it opened a lot of doors, and once you realised that, and because aware that you had a job to do, it worked out all right.
I’ve been playing bass for ten years now. I’ve been on the road since I was two years old — my parents were in the business, too… in variety. They had a double act, musical comedy thing. I was in a professional band with Jet Harris and Tony Meehan. That was when I was 17.

RY: WHAT DO YOU THINK OF ROBERT PLANT?
JPJ: Robert is unique. We’re all unique really, but Robert is really something. I couldn’t imagine any other singer with us. I just couldn’t. Robert is Robert and there’s nothing else to say.

RY: HOW ABOUT JOHN BONHAM?
JPJ: John is the find of the year as far as British drummers are concerned. I can’t remember anyone like him either. It’s obvious why these people have ended up in the same group. We’ve all the right people. If anybody had to leave, the group would have to split up because it wouldn`t be L Z anymore. Each of us is irreplaceable in this band.

RY: HOW ABOUT JIMMY?
JPJ: For years and years, I’ve rated Jimmy. We both come from South London and even then I can remember people saying: “You’ve got to go and listen to Neil Christian and the Crusaders, they’ve got this inbelievable guitarist.” I’d heard of him before I heard of Clapton and Beck.
I probably listen to more of Clapton through Jimmy telling me to than any other reason. I’ve always thought Jimmy to be far superior to all of them. It sounds like a mutual admiration society; people don’t believe me when I say this. but I mean it.

RY: WHY DO YOU THINK ENGLISH BANDS ARE BEGINNING TO BE STRONGER CHARTWISE, THAN AMERICAN BANDS AGAIN?
JPJ: The Americans have got lazy. They’ve had it their way for so long. As soon as some competition comes along and does well, the not-so-good bands get uptight because they think they’re missing out on all the work. The better bands pull their fingers out and really come up with something great, and they do as well as the best English bands.

RY: DO YOU THINK WE’RE IN THE MIDDLE OF A SECOND ENGLISH INVASION OF THE U.S. CHARTS?
JPJ: I think it can be taken as a criticism of American bands that so many English groups are getting into the U.S. charts. American groups should look at themselves and their music if this is the case, and ask themselves why all these foreigners are going so well when they’re not.
And I’m sure if they looked hard enough they’d come up with one reason or another, and they’d be able to get it back together and make it again.

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ARTICLE ABOUT Led Zeppelin FROM New Musical Express, January 17, 1970

This should be a goodie for all you Zeppelin fans out there!
Read on!

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Zeppelin put the excitement back into pop

By Nick Logan

IT isn’t hard to understand the substantial appeal of Led Zeppelin. Their current two-hour plus act is a blitzkrieg of musically-perfected hard rock that combines heavy dramatics with lashings of sex into a formula that can’t fail to move the senses and limbs. At the pace they’ve been setting on their current seven-town British tour there are few groups who could live with them on stage.
Friday night, the third stop of the tour, brought them back to London’s Albert Hall for a two and a quarter hour solo marathon that completely destroyed the ever-weakening argument about British reserve.
Exercising control over the sell-out crowd from 8.15 when they took the stage until 10.30 when they left it, they provoked a response that could have been a flashback to an early Stones happening, with perhaps only the exaggerations of nostalgia supporting the latter in a comparison.
At the end of two 15-minute long encores, when the audience had been on its feet dancing, clapping and shouting for 35 minutes, they were still calling them back for more.

Electricity

It was an electricity that had been building up throughout the evening. The Albert Hall suits the Zeps’ style and they were in good form, working first through a selection of their heavier numbers, of which “Dazed And Confused” is still a tour de force.
The slight frame of Jimmy Page, clad like a Woolworth’s sales counter in Alf Garnett shirt, jeans and white plimsoles, belies the fearsome aggression of his guitar, while the other side of his nature comes through on the intricate “White Summer” solo.
Midway through the set John Paul Jones switched to Hammond organ for a segment of quieter Led Zeppelin not previously heard on stage, before John Bonham’s “Moby Dick” drum solo brought him a standing ovation.
But the Zeppelin’s forte, the closing 20 or so minutes, were still to come and, when it did, such was the rapport that when on “How Many More Times” Robert Plant sang “I want you all to put your hands together…” the audience en masse had done so before he’d finished the request.
Strutting about the stage with arrogance, Plant is a most accomplished performer, drawing from the finest blues/soul-shouter traditions with a confidence out of line with his inexperience previous to Led Zeppelin.
His control is masterful; so much so that when he dragged out the lyric “I’ve got you in the s-s-s-sights of my gun, hesitating dramatically over the “s,” the crowd was shouting back and filling in the missing word.
I spoke to “Sir” Jimmy Page after the show and he confessed that the whole band had suffered extreme nerves beforehand, mainly because people like John Lennon, Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck had requested tickets.
“But it was just like it was at the Albert Hall in the summer,” said Jimmy, “with everyone dancing round the stage. It is a great feeling.
“What could be better than having everyone clapping and shouting along? It`s indescribable; but it just makes you feel that everything is worthwhile.
“We`d actually finished ‘How Many More Times’ and were going into `The Lemon Song` but the audience was still clapping so we just went into another riff and I carried on for a further ten minutes.”
The group’s intention in doing solo shows of such length, says Jimmy, is so that if the audience wants it they can continue playing without having to worry about whether earlier support groups have overrun and how much time there is left. They’ve had hassles with hall managements on this point in the past, and Jimmy points out:
“Our sets have got longer and longer anyway. They are now always at least two hours long — and that’s without any extra numbers for encores. I really believe in doing as much as it is physically possible to do… if the audience wants it.
“Sure it gets physically tiring, sometimes shattering, specially for Robert. I don’t know how his voice stands up to it, particularly on long tours in the States with the flying and that.

`Cast-iron`

“The change of attitudes and conditions does affect his voice — it’s like waking up croaky in the morning — but on the night he always seems to have the power there. He must have a really cast iron vocal case.”
Jimmy’s idea when forming Led Zepplein was to gather together musicians who could play hard rock but were able to “employ other facets” as well.
“I thought the first album was a good example of that. It had blues, acoustic numbers, progressive things and hard rock.
“But the full potential of the band has yet to be fully realised, specially John Paul Jones. He did come through on the second album, whereas the first was mainly me. People would recognise him and say `That’s a good bass part and that organ is nice.`
“We intend to use more organ. You see everyone can play so many instruments. John Paul Jones can play all the keyboard things and I can play lots of string instruments and near enough everything except piano.”
There may be a subtle change coming in their music says Jimmy, but he is at pains to point out that they won’t let the band lose its guts and drive.
Surprisingly, he confessed that he had had no faith in the Led Zeppelin II album, which is currently at No 3 in the NME LP Chart, “probably because I’d lived with it for so long. I thought we’d boobed. But that’s a purely personal view and there are some things I like on it.
“What gives me confidence is that as people have taken to the second album and I know the material for the third is better it follows in theory that it should be a much better album.”

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