Jimmy Page

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! ūüėČ

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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 clich√®s 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 ‚Äď 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.

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ARTICLE ABOUT Led Zeppelin FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, December 7, 1974

This interview with Jimmy Page was conducted some three months before the release of “Physical Graffiti”, a double album that¬†went to No. 1 on the charts in the UK, USA and Canada. Led Zeppelin didn`t release any studio albums in 1974, so this release¬†was heavily anticipated by their extremely large fan-base all over the world. And they were not disappointed – the famous song¬†“Kashmir” was by itself worth the money anyone paid for this album.

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The Graffiti of the Physical…
…and the Exploration of the Metaphysical.

A candid interview with Led Zep.
Words: Nick Kent Pics: Pennie Smith

The barley has been harvested. The heifers too have been put out to pasture, the Scalectrix sets have been pieced together¬†and stored away for the time being…
Led Zeppelin are once again fully operative, girding their collective loins for another gargantuan American tour and celebrating a reunion after what has indisputably been their longest period of musical inactivity with a amiably sturdy set of rehearsals which started last week.
The rehearsals themselves will carry them pretty much up to the beginning of January when the group fly to Europe to showcase¬†the new act to Dutch and Belgian audiences before letting themselves be swept away once again in a magic flurry of the Jet¬†Lag-intended brand of “Road Fever” (the formal Zeppelin term) that constitutes the American Tour.

November 26 – a Tuesday as it happens – marked the formal return to arms, so to speak, down at Liveware, a converted theatre¬†in an anonymous hinterland of equally anonymous Ealing. The band arrived at approximately 3.0 p.m., re-acquainted themselves¬†with a cut-down P.A. system and in a subsequent seven-hour period commenced manfully sifting through a hefty volume of songs¬†marked off as the new material to appear on the next Swansong Atlantic release – the first of the New Year. This is to be a¬†double Zeppelin set titled (for no apparent reason except that it sounds good and does tie in with the consequent sleeve¬†design – “a mechanical construction” also described by Jimmy Page with characteristic sly grin as a “peeping tom`s delight”),¬†“Physical Graffiti”.
By 6.0 p.m. one number, “Tramped Underfoot” has been both mustered and mastered to be followed by a sprightly reacquaintance¬†with “In My Time Of Dying”, the old gospel traditional Bob Dylan performed with such youthful fervour on his very first album.

Only this time Messrs Page and Plant have turned the harrowing old chestnut into an even more invigorating workout for electric bottle-neck, banshee vocalese and sudden dapper swerves in the 12-bar framework courtesy of a single off-the wall chord occasionally tossed into the affair like a musical handgrenade Рor a sudden Bonham thrash that sets the hairs on the back of the neck a-quivering.
This after all is Led Zeppelin, the true Princes of the Heavy Metal Zone, back after what appears to have been an extrasomnabulant sojourn; while it seems the likes of such callow pretenders as Queen, teethed on self-same power chords and pulp athletics, have been edging in on the action with such success that it must have put the wind up their spiritual forefathers.
Still, the spirit is strong enough on this first rehearsal to motivate the band into a spontaneous version of “When The Levee¬†Breaks”, the track that blitzed off the fourth album and a number the band have never actually performed outside a studio. Until¬†now that is. Jimmy Page is thinking very seriously of renovating it for the new tour as, after all, with its bottleneck mainvein¬†it fits like a dove-tail joint directly against the grain of “Dying”.

Subsequent valiant stabs are made at two more new numbers – “Sick Again”, which even in its skeletal form shows distinct signs¬†of bristling out as a Zep masterwork, while there is always “Custard Pies”, a prime Zep knock-about which displays a conscious¬†bent towards Page`s Eel Pie Island beginning.
Finally, at 9.0 p.m., regular as clockwork, Robert dusts out his best Presley grunt and the band obligingly fall into place¬†for “Don`t Be Cruel” encoring with “Hound Dog”. Plant, right in the spirit by this time, is pushing for a third time around –¬†“You daw-w-n`t- / ahk…uh cray-zz-uh-music. You don`t…uh…”
“Persistent isn`t he,” mutters Bonham, now more than ever resembling an amiable barrel draped in a donkey-jacket, who`s not¬†having any of it.
So Plant makes do behind the drum-kit, banging out rimshots and the cow-bell introduction to “Honky Tonk Women”, moving his¬†arms like a man throwing darts in a pub.
John Paul Jones counters by doing his party-piece Ramsey Lewis impersonation, ear-to-ear grin like one of those mechanical puppet organists you pay 5p to see perform sea-side medleys via a slot-machine in a sea-front amusement arcade.
The rigours of the day now make him resemble a third-year law student holding down a holiday job sorting the Christmas mail.

Only Plant and Page appear to preserve that necessary look of pop-star…”ambiance”, the former unchanged down to the last¬†wisp of the luxurious lion`s mane of blond hair, while the latter`s guitar hero veneer is omnipresent as ever.
Page, in fact, always tends to look quite diminutive in size whenever he moves onstage – much smaller in fact than he really¬†is, though this must have something to do with Plant`s stockier “boyo” physique paralleling his own; and then there`s always¬†the low-slung Gibson guitar, hung almost as low as Steve Marriot`s knee-length drapery back in the Small Faces days.
Yes, so anyway there we all were in this Ealing rehearsal studio, like, and well, mind you, it has been quite a time since¬†the name “Zeppelin” has resounded imperiously throughout the Media.
The occasional interview, that reception at the Chislehurst Caves, but otherwise it`s been pretty much relegated to the¬†backwaters of Rolling Stone “Random Notes” and the tattle columns of those other…uh, music periodicals. And even then it`s¬†been pretty much lean pickings.
Of course there`s always the odd morsel or so like those two that appeared recently.

I mean, Jimmy, did you see that one about Keith Richard located out in Switzerland adding organ and backing vocals to the track¬†“Scarlet” that you, Ric Grech and Keith himself recorded down at Island`s Basing Street studios a couple of months ago, and¬†which was supposed to be the B-side to a cut-down “Ain`t Too Proud to Beg” and here Keith was muttering something about it¬†being donated to “a Jimmy Page album.”
“Oh dear (laughs). I think that must have been Keith putting someone on actually. I`ve certainly no plans whatsoever to record¬†a solo album or anything like that.”
Page and Richard are old acquaintances from way back, by the way, starting when Page was brought in to help out on the first¬†Rolling Stones album. And while we`re back in the past for a moment, there`s this piece in the current Rolling Stone that has¬†John Entwhistle beefing about how the name “Led Zeppelin” was his invention and how he even designed the prototype for your¬†first album cover.
“Well, I don`t know about that at all…Um-m, to start with the thing about the cover is completely wrong. We did that quite¬†separately. The other – well, Keith Moon gave us the name. We`ve always credited him for that.

“I mean, originally there was going to be a band formed from the session for `Beck`s Bolero` – Jeff, myself, Nicky Hopkins,¬†Aynsley Dunbar and…yes, John Paul Jones was in by that time. Maybe John Entwhistle did think of the name and told it to¬†Keith Moon in which case I suppose he might have cause to be a bit angry. The rest of that – I don`t know about.”¬†Page`s native paranoia at critical harassment seeps through the tone of this voice, as the legendary Zep/Rolling Stone feud,¬†and his words momentarily take on a kind of bruised quality. This after all, has been something of an Achilles` Heel for¬†Zeppelin and particularly Page – more probably so than ever because here they are about to release an album, a double set at¬†that, laden with the fruits of two previous years`-worth of labour, even if the album itself took some six weeks to record. And¬†Page himself more omnipresent than ever.
From the daring double 12-string over-dubs that graced “The Song Remains The Same” it`s come to no less than six guitars –¬†“five in harmonies” – intertwining themselves for “Ten Years Gone”, not to mention “In The Light”, Page`s self -proclaimed¬†piece de resistance of the album. And all for the first month of 1975.

“1974”, in Page`s own self-effacingly jocular terms “didn`t really happen, did it?”
A grin and then serious: “1975 will be better.”
From the look of things, Zeppelin are certainly committed to endowing the on-coming year with their own particular zeal. I mean, isn`t there this film of the band on tour in the States nearing the final editing stages? The oft-touted Led Zeppelin movie forever being greeted with the archetypal knowing grin when its existence is broached to one of the band or their entourage, followed by a few visibly mysterious verbal ruminations.
Stuff about “weird fantasy scenes” and such-like. Jimmy Page is more specific. Well not that specific…well, you tell them,¬†Jimmy!
“Well to start with, the film is nearing completion, though we don`t have a title or distributor yet. I`ve yet to mix the¬†sound-track and the final editing hasn`t been completed. I mean, but now it`s starting to get there. We`ve finally got a¬†distinct framework.”

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Direction of the movie has been handled by two different factions – the first Joe Massow whose most notable previous achievement¬†appears to be “Wonderwall” and, more recently, Peter Clifton, who was responsible for the Jimi Hendrix “Live At Olympia” film.
As to the actual form of the film, well, most of the live footage comes from the Madison Square Gardens concerts of `73 and,¬†yes, there are “fantasy sequences” concerning which Page is very cagey about letting anything slip.
“I mean, it would give the whole thing away, wouldn`t it. Like, I went to see `The Exorcist` and the audience was laughing at¬†it because they knew what to expect, whereas if they`d been separated and placed in a room where an unknown film called `The¬†Exorcist` was being screened, the last thing they`d have been doing would be laughing.
“It`s just…well for a start, the fantasy scenes do relate to individual numbers the band play. Like Robert`s bit comes in¬†`Song Remains The Same` and `Rain Song`, Bonzo`s is in his drum solo `Moby Dick,` John`s is `No Quarter` and mine comes in¬†`Dazed And Confused`. Mine`s a bit weird, actually…well so is everyone`s, really. They just happened that way.

Might there be a touch of the `Kenneth Angers` about your bit, then, Mr. Page? Certain oblique references to Aleister Crowley and the like making themselves manifest?
“Oh no (pause). I know what you mean of course, but…”
And the backstage footage? Might we expect candid Zeppelin equivalents to the supposed high-jinx omnipresent throughout Robert¬†Frank`s “Cocksucker Blues”, the…um…vivid account of the Stones` `72 tour?
“Not really. I mean there are a few things…uh…like some chicks offering to give a policeman a…uh `seeing-to`”.
And so the richly-endorsed Zeppelin `road fever` legend-weaving stays firmly anonymous, even in the face of such occurrences¬†as…well there`s that song that Frank Zappa wrote called “Mudshack” about that group who eh…and there was everyone thinking¬†it was the Vanilla Fudge and it turned out to be…say no more.
And even since then, events even more incongruously shaped have occured, centring inevitably around Page himself. For example,¬†16 magazine, America`s equivalent to the likes of Popswop only-more-legendary have printed, in a style so garish only a magazine¬†coming from L.A. could be responsible, a list of “Who the stars do-it-with” and…uh, “How they do it.”

Page, to say the least, appears to possess a particularly interesting case-history to wit – “Girls, he`s into anything and¬†everything. Those who`ve tried say it`s an experience they`ll never forget.”
I see. Uh well, Mr. Page…
The subject to say the least is not welcomed.
“It`s something you can`t really dwell on because people think if you`re doing it, then the rest of the band are into it too¬†and that would cause all kinds of trouble. No it`s…well all I can say is that it comes down to the term `road fever`.
“I mean I personally can`t play a gig in some godforsaken part of America to god-knows-how-many people and then return to a¬†box. It`s just a total change of life-style, that`s all one can say really.”
But still, without dwelling perhaps on specifics, surely Page had some thoughts on the whole groupie syndrome, with particular reference, say to L.A.?
“I just view it all with amusement. Like the whole Rodney`s scene thing, which is just ridiculous. I mean, you walk in and¬†the next thing you know there are cameras everywhere and you`re ducking under the bar to get away. I mean, Roy Harper has this¬†photograph of me on the point of sticking a pork-pie in a girl`s face.

“Actually the last time I was in L.A., there was this incredible groupie feud which was getting down to razor-blade sandwiches. The¬†competition thing out there is incredible and you`ve got to keep out of the middle of it or else, y`know it…it gets to you¬†too. There`s a new song we`ve done for the album…called `Sick Again`. That about sums it up.
“But then again referring back to the road fever thing, and I mean, at the moment I`ve got to start building up my stamina¬†because everytime I`ve toured the States I`ve returned a physical…and mental wreck. I mean, after the last tour they tried¬†to get me put in a mental hospital. It was going to be either that or a monastery! Ultimately I just went to sleep for a¬†month” (Laughs).
“Sleep” – plenty of it – appears to be the basic Page stamina tonic. That and food.
“This time I`m definitely going to take a `juicer` along with me. I mean, I used to be a vegetarian and that was like committing¬†suicide in America. The last time I ended up just eating hamburgers and at the end I was just a complete mess. This time though –¬†precautions are going to be taken.”

To change the subject then, Aleister Crowley. The great Page obsession or so we`ve been led to believe.
Roy Harper told me less than a couple of months ago that Jimmy was currently writing a book on Crowley which is in fact, untrue¬†though Page is about to open a book-store dealing solely in books on the Occult called “The Equinox” and situated in Kensington`s¬†Holland Street. Page again seems somewhat reluctant to talk about his studies of Crowley at any length.¬†“It`s simply that….I don`t want to do a huge job on Crowley or anything – that doesn`t interest me in the least. I mean if¬†people are into reading Crowley, then they will and it`ll have nothing to do with me. It`s just….well for me, it goes without¬†saying that Crowley was grossly misunderstood.
“I began being interested in him in school after having read this ridiculous book called `The Beast` where the author hadn`t¬†the faintest idea of what Crowley was all about and was totally condesanding (condescending? – Blog Editor) so I took it from¬†there. But I mean, how can anyone call Crowley the world`s most evil man – and that even carried over to the thirties when¬†Hitler was about?

“For a start, he was the only Edwardian to really embrace…not even the New Age so much as simply the 20th Century. Who else¬†would state anything as revolutionary as something like his theory that there would eventually be an equality of the sexes,¬†which is where we`re at right now. It`s like…there`s this incredible body of literature – I mean don`t even bother with the¬†sex thing because that`s all such a bore anyway – and it`s like… there`s a diamond there to be found at the end and it¬†involves a life`s study.”
Page however has made a sizeable inroad into Crowley`s work through even to the notorious forbidden books he`s studied. Not to mention the famous Loch Ness mansion that he bought some time ago.
“All I can say about that place is that there`s this incredible sense of peace and…energy moreover. It`s amazingly stimulating¬†staying up there.”
And the case-history.
“Oh Christ don`t mention that. I mean, post-Crowley…don`t even bother with that…its history is literally littered with¬†suicides and bankruptcies. It`s a whole local thing there. Old wive`s tales abound.”

Any acquaintances of your experienced anything perhaps unforseen?
“One couple flipped out up there (pause). It depends what you bring to the place – expectation-wise.”
The obvious connection from Crawley is to Kenneth Anger, right? Anger, the famous devotee of Crowley`s, the film director of¬†such classic starts as “Invocation of My Demon Brother”, which Page claims extended from its 10-minute length “to seem like a¬†lifetime” when he saw it, “Fireworks” and “Scorpio Rising.”
And now there is “Lucifer Rising”, lasting 93 minutes constantly dogged by such unforseeable circumstances as film mysteriously¬†vanishing (or being stolen). “Lucifer Rising”, which Jimmy Page has done the sound-track for.
“I`ve always got on very well with Anger. He`s a good friend, really. He`s never been as awe-inspiring and unapproachable to¬†me as some would probably tell you. It`s just…one day he asked me to toss some ideas around for a sound-track and I went¬†away feeling something but never being able to really express it, until one day when it all sort of poured out and I got down¬†immediately to recording it. Actually I saw him recently and he was playing my soundtrack against some of the rushes and it¬†came together really nicely.”

Still it`s an even more intriguing series of connections we`re getting here. Kenneth Anger, one-time cohort of Bobby Beausaliel, who reputedly knew one Charles Manson, who again may just have known the guy in L.A. who set out to kill Page when he was passing through with the band over two years ago.
Almost scarey, that.
“I don`t want to think about that at all. I just don`t want to get into that. It`s…people thought there might have been some¬†connection but…there`s a lunatic fringe whether they`re Christian or Satanists or whatever. It`s too risky because they are¬†out there. It`s not a Kharmic backlash or anything like that. Definitely not. There have been lots of little magic happenings¬†but nothing that has really perturbed me.
“But that awareness – obviously you get these magic flashbacks everywhere. On stage, in America – everywhere. What you put out¬†you get back again all the time. The band is a good example of that simply because there`s an amazing chemistry at work there,
if only astrologically.
“Astrologically it`s very powerful indeed. Robert the perfect front man, Leo…Jagger`s a Leo, John Paul Jones and I are uh…stoic Leos (laughs), Bonzo the Gemini. It`s when you`re pushing each other to the limits that the strength of the chemistry¬†comes out and makes itself manifest in this binding of consciousness.”
He`s right y`know. 1974 didn`t really happen, did it? 1975 will be better.

Patches in their most basic form in 1974 - later on they became more advanced, as we all know now.

Patches in their most basic form in 1974 – later on they became more advanced, as we all know now.

I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own¬†webpages ‚Äď please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: The People of Pan, The Pretty Things, Wings, Bruce Johnston, Elton John, Bad Company, Robert Fripp, Chaka Khan, David Essex, Brian Eno, Noah Howard, Mott The Hoople.

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

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ARTICLE ABOUT Jimmy Page FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, APRIL 21, 1973

I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages ‚Äď please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

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Jimmy Page, the mild Barbarian

By James Johnson

Jimmy Page`s slightly timid, mild-mannered exterior is of course, deceptive. There`s no need to explain how Led Zeppelin come across on stage, while in between concerts Рon the road Рthey`ve long been renowned for a little loose living, as hotel managers across the world will surely testify.
“Barbarians was how we were once described,” says Page, a slight gleam in his eyes. “I can`t really deny it”.
Those excesses aside. Zeppelin have always been the ultimate in anti-stars, relentlessly avoiding publicity or anything that could divert them from simply laying down their music.
Little has changed, except in a small way with a set of lights and new stage set-up prepared in readiness for their forthcoming American tour.

But even this, as Jimmy Page explains with only mild interest spreading across his almost schoolboyish face, is hardly a revolutionary step.
“It`s nothing phenomenal. It`s just that we`ve never really had any lights before, so we thought it might be fun and add a¬†little extra atmosphere.
“Everybody else has been doing it for years but, before, we`ve always let the music speak for itself.”

It`s also well known that Page`s opinion of rock journalists isn`t too high, which perhaps helps to explain why last week he appeared so cool and reserved, picking his words as carefully as a guitar line.
At present, perhaps he has more reason to be more antagonistic towards the press after recent heavy criticism of Zeppelin`s¬†new album, “Houses Of The Holy”.
But if Page was on the defensive, it didn`t show. Bad reviews don`t worry him.
“I don`t really care. It doesn`t really make any difference. I`m deaf to the album now because we made it such a long time¬†ago, but I know there`s some good stuff there.
“You can`t dismiss something like `No Quarter` or the `Rain Song` out of hand. Maybe you could attack `The Crunge` or `D`yer¬†Maker` for being a bit self-indulgent. But they`re just a giggle. They`re just two send-ups.
“If people can`t even suss that out, on that superficial a level, then obviously you can`t expect them to understand anything¬†else on the album. It beats me, but I really don`t give a damn.

Page feels that Zeppelin`s raunchier hard rock numbers like “Whole Lotta Love”, represent only a small area of what the band¬†have been doing on record.
“There`s been a general maturity that was showing by the third album, which a lot of people haven`t been able to come to¬†terms with. For me, the third album was very, very good and still had more of an attack than anything before.
“But obviously, people have this preconceived notion of what to expect, and when a band is constantly in a state of change –¬†and that doesn`t mean lack of direction but a natural change – then they can`t come to terms with it because each album is¬†different from the last.
“How they should approach our albums is to forget they ever heard of a band called Led Zeppelin, forget about what they¬†expect to hear, and just listen to what`s on that particular record. That`s all we ask, but we don`t get it.”

Even so, it seems that it`s the hard rock side of Led Zeppelin that remains the most popular. Says Page: “The rock and roll¬†is in all four of us, and on stage that`s what comes through.”
Yet somehow it`s not represented much on the new album?
“In fact, we had two tracks – one called `The Rover` and another, unnamed – that we were going to use, both of which were¬†really hard rock.
“We`ll probably use them next time, possibly re-writing one of them, but still keeping the essence.”

Clearly, as always with Led Zeppelin, there was no shortage of material when they came to record “Houses Of The Holy”.
“When we went into the studio, we had no set ideas on how we wanted the album to turn out. We just recorded the ideas we¬†had at that particular time. We just got together and let it come out. There are never ever any shortages or stagnant¬†periods.
“I write a lot at home, and I`m fortunate in having a studio set-up where I can try things out.¬†Lately I`ve been experimenting with chords a lot more, and have tried a few unusual voicings. There are several ways material¬†can come to the band, but it`s always there.”

Surprisingly perhaps being a supremely capable musician in his own right outside the context of Led Zeppelin, Page doesn`t find himself writing anything, maybe for his own satisfaction, that might never be used by the band.
“If I find a number coming that I know wouldn`t be suitable, I scrap it” he says. “I stop working on it from that moment on.”

And apart from the odd session he does “as a favour for friends”, it seems that Page`s energy is totally committed to Led¬†Zeppelin. He can`t see himself ever wanting to play in another band, or in another line-up.
“Nothing else would gell together so nicely,” he states firmly. “I know it would be a mistake to break it up because you¬†see it happening to other bands. They split, and what comes after doesn`t work nearly as well.
“The chemistry isn`t there. And if it`s there in the beginning, then it`s criminal to break it up.”

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In many ways, Page has always been a “one band man”. His only other band was the Yardbirds which, in a sense, was the¬†forerunner of Led Zeppelin anyway.
He admits he wouldn`t have missed those days in the Yardbirds, but chooses his words diplomatically when it comes to talking about the troubles the band suffered, especially between personnel.
Of Jeff Beck, with whom he played in the Yardbirds during the band`s last year, he contents himself with the comment: “I¬†used to get on very well with him at the time, and I admire him as a musician.”

He continues: “Basically the Yardbirds are, for me, a mixture of good and bad memories. There were certainly some magic¬†moments and it was a great time to be playing, with new material coming to the public`s ears.
“It was great when we had two lead guitars with Jeff Beck, but there`s little evidence of it left on record. There was¬†`Happenings Ten Years Time` which I feel went over a lot of heads in Britain, although it perpetuated the Yardbirds reputation¬†in America. They were always into the more lyrical side of what we were doing.
“Also there was one horrible live album that was going to be released, which was recorded by a man who spent most of his¬†time recording stuff like Manuel`s Music of the Mountains.
“I remember he put just one microphone over the drums, and that was over the top so there was no bass drum at all, which¬†showed how much he knew about it. Obviously the album had to be stopped.
“It was unfortunate, though, that no live stuff was ever recorded properly.”

Page, of course, has always been best known for his work on electric guitar, which has perhaps overshadowed anything he`s done on acoustic, even though he`s featured acoustic playing on every Zeppelin album.
He says he has to treat the two instruments differently. “Simply because of the mechanics of the guitars. I don`t personally¬†think the finger style works on an electric guitar. You just get overtones and harmonics coming out. It doesn`t sound right¬†at all.
“Then again, an electric guitar can work for you. It can start singing on its own through the electronics, which you can`t¬†engineer on an acoustic guitar. They`re two totally different fields. Personally, I find them both equally as fascinating.

“Probably my greatest influence on acoustic guitar is Bert Jansch, who was a real dream-weaver. He was incredibly original¬†when he first appeared, and I wish now that he`d gone back to things like `Jack Orion` once again. His first album had a¬†great affect on me.
“Undoubtedly, my affection and fascination for the guitar is just as strong as it`s ever been. After all, everyone`s¬†approach to the instrument is so totally different.
“There are so many styles of playing to listen to and to get off on. You can`t help but be totally involved with it. I`m¬†still coming to terms with the instrument even now.”

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In 1973 car radios ruled, and radio stations were even more powerful than today.

This number of the NME also contains articles/interviews with these people: Stackridge, Argent, Traffic, Steeleye Span, Ry Cooder, John Bundrick (Free), Latin music, Keith Emerson, Captain Beefheart, Steve Miller.

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