Pennie Smith

ARTICLE ABOUT Ted Nugent FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, September 18, 1975

It has been a while since I`ve been active on this blog. Time to move things along again. Since you last heard from me I have received mail from two of the original writers of the NME, giving me their blessings in regard to this project of mine. Thank you – it really means a lot to hear that all the work I have done here is appreciated. As one of them said so fittingly: “It is a labour of love”.
Since I last updated this blog there have been some changes in world power, at least in the USA, and who better to mark this than rock`s own political right-wing man – Ted Nugent. He may be too extreme for a Norwegian Social-Democrat like me, but he made some interesting records in the 70s and I give him credit for that. But not too much credit – so here is “only” a concert review.  😉
Have fun!

IMG_0414

NUGENT GOES NOVA

Hammersmith

By Max Bell
Pic: Pennie Smith

I wasn`t supposed to review this but the bloke who was had a headache. After I left Hammersmith so had I.

Well…was Ted Nugent as ferociously frightening as when our writer witnessed him manhandle his way across Texas? Did he incite his fans to levels of stomping malevolence hitherto unseen in England`s brown and parched land? In short, was he the most outrageous rock`n`roll individual to ever slip into a Gibson and riddle the stalls with hideously demonic heavy metal in the constant search for the fractured ear drum?
Or was he just bloody silly?
Before Nugent did his pieces we had to sit through Dirty Tricks and latecomers to the bill Lone Star, a new hard rock band that a lot of people are saying nice things about. It was the loudest collection I`ve ever heard. Both bands were plagued by a constant whirring fizz from the left hand side of the PA.
Lone Star played a reasonable high energy set, promise of greater potential. Dirty Tricks were just `orrible. I`ve never seen such a dismal rehash of English unemployment rock tedium. Competence and volume, four/four riff cliches, a singer who actually wants to look like Rod Stewart. The guitarist`s amps, speakers, strap, volume pedal all failed. He carried on regardless, throwing down the gauntlet of excess. Pshaw!

The whole evening was overkill city. By the time Nugent came on the kids were already totally diz-busted by a diet of HM crunch, kept dribbling by the break-neck assortment of inter-band record filling.
Ted`s criteria for success was going to be a battle of volume. It was, and he made it.
Apparently the rest of the tour is being recorded for a live album. I reckon they`ll burn these tapes fast.
Afterwards Nugent said it was the worst gig he`d ever played. Still, Ted went down the proverbial electronic storm. He trampled the audience into a state of complete nervous exhaustion. Far be it from me to hold any reservations in the area of dangerous decibels, but after half an hour I felt defeated.
Nugent`s steamrolling abilities were confirmed, but occasionally he gave us an indication of something more interesting nesting within his fingertips. If he`d slipped in some more of his tasty stuff the whole event would have been more bearable.

IMG_0415

Set coup de rock explosions, “Stranglehold”, “Hibernation” and “Great White Buffalo”, all trundled along apace. Nugent proved his old trooper professionalism too when the bass amp spluttered to a standstill of indignant silent entrenchment. Ted improvised a rather good “Cat Scratch Fever” and none guessed the off-the-cuff taking-care-of-biz going on under their noses.
The feedback during “Great White Buffalo” was dangerous. There`s no place further Nugent can take the frequency without driving his following beyond the line. Small wonder all the band wear ear plugs on stage. In future cotton wool, hearing aids and aspirin will be compulsory survival kit for band and audience alike.
Much of the material was filler for the tooth, fang and claw comin` out of hibernation speed kills moments of panic. If it was a duff set, it was certainly heavier than either of the Stateside concerts I`ve seen and the reaction didn`t indicate any dissatisfaction on the part of the paying customers. Christ knows what he`ll do with Liverpool and Birmingham.

Me? I`m staying in a corner over Ted until he steps out and delivers the HM tour de force that moments like “Stranglehold”, “Pony Express” and “Breast Fed Gator” indicate he has up his sleeve. From what I`ve heard, “Free For All” promises to go somewhere towards distilling his pearls into solid mud.
Ted`s great cos he plays the cause and effect game for keeps and anyone who disagrees better get outta the way. I wish he`d turn it down occasionally mind, I mean three Nugent gigs in a month is enough for even the staunchest devotee.
Till then ambivalence is the best policy.
Can I `ave me ears back, Ted?

IMG_0416

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

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Hot Rods, Phil Manzanera, Tom Jones, Elliott Randall, Jefferson Starship, Richard Ingrams, Joe Albany, Doo-Wop Article, Soft Machine.

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.

Advertisements

ARTICLE ABOUT Ian Hunter FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, April 5, 1975

People sometimes forget that Mr. Ian Hunter Patterson has reached the grand old age of 76 this year. He seems so youthful in the way he presents himself, so it is easy to forget that he is older and wiser than most people you know. We hope to have him around for a long time as Hunter continues to tour extensively across Europe and North America.
In March 1975 Hunter joined forces with Mick Ronson, and released his first solo album in april after recording sessions at AIR Studios in London. A great album that also features the much-covered song “Once Bitten Twice Shy”, originally written by Hunter alone.
Check it out, if you for some strange reason have missed this great song.

IMG_1044

AARGH!

That was our Lay-out Man`s reaction when he discovered that Charles Shaar Murray had written his Runter-Honson interview in a slightly eccentric manner. Pennie Smith (who still thinks Ronson is an electric shaver) took very normal pictures.

Haul ass, Ronson. It`s exactly four steps from where the band coach is parked to the stage door of Newcastle City Hall and there`s a mean wind blowing, but even before one scuffed green shoe – which goes great with the black suit with the gold piping and the green T-shirt – hits ground zero, the chicks are there with the autograph books out. “Over here, Mick! Hey, over here, Mick!”
Ronson`s ready for them, and as his hand goes out to pick up the first pen, Ian Hunter in massive leather coat, has slipped around the cluster of girls and is almost home free before one spots him – “and can I have your autograph too?” He signs the book like he`s clocking in for work. Thank you, Masked Man.
Freeze it. Voice-over: “He`s got an incredible fan following, and he looks after `em. Mott was always a guys` band, and now all of a sudden I`m with Mick and there`s chicks camping out outside his door. I think it`s great for me and `im, because it adds an extra element. Mick`s a great-looking guy and he doesn`t ignore his fans. He talks to `em, he`s forever writing letters to `em, and I was never particularly into that. He`s been going on at me to talk to `em.
“See, I left Mott and so most of the Mott fans didn`t like me, made me the bad guy. Mick`s got his fans, but I`m in a kind of limbo and all I`ve got`s my music, and I`m so hot on the music that I don`t really care. But at the same time I see what happens when the chicks are all screaming for him and I think that we need that. Because it`s something that Mott never had…”

Unfreeze. The assembled company straggle into the hall and commence sound-checking. Bad Co`s album plays through the P.A.
For some unearthly reason there`s 75 loose volts of best quality high-grade electricity floating around Hunter`s vocal mike. Apart from that, Ronson`s sustain pedal has gone on the blink, which is quite a problem as it`s a special one whipped up by someone Pete Townshend knows and it`s not the kind of thing you can schlep into your local Newcastle music shop and have fixed while-U-wait.
The building is icy cold. On the stage, Blue Weaver is checking out his various keyboards. The reason that it`s Weaver up there and not Pete Arnesen is that Arnesen is currently recuperating from an operation, and so Weaver, who played organ on Mott`s last American tour, was flown in at a few days` notice to take over. Principally an organist, he`s not used to playing the pounding rock and roll piano that Hunter and Ronson require, and so his nails are battered and broken.
On a podium in the centre of the stage behind a massive double drum kit is Dennis Elliott, who looks to be about nineteen and is whomping his way around his drums while Hunter and Ronson stand about three-quarters of the way back relaying instructions through the talkback mike on the mixing desk.

Last up is Jeff Appleby, bass player and charter member of the Hull Mafia. He looks startlingly like Ronson with his bleached hair and peaky features. The three of them run through “Truth The Whole Truth Nuthin` But The Truth” before Hunter wanders up on the stage to join them. It`s what you call your cooperative sound check, with Hunter and Ronson checking their sidemen`s sound together and then each of them doing the others. Hunter slams through some power chords, and Ronson instructs him to use the middle pick-up switch position before the two swap places.
Unlike the roadies, who`ve been vaulting on and off the stage as if they were in training for some weird kind of Roadie Olympics, Hunter climbs onto part of support group Jet`s Fender piano as one of the stages in his descent. Unfortunately it starts to topple, and if it hadn`t been for a roadie who happened to be standing in the way at the time, Hunter and the piano would`ve taken quite a nasty little spill across the front couple of rows of Newcastle City Hall.
Ronson takes the stage, clambers into his guitar and rambles around a few riffs, testing out his pedals and gadgets. For a second he hits the riff from “Once Bitten Twice Shy.”

Cut to Hunter playing the same riff at the start of the evening`s show. The hall is around three-quarters full and for the past five minutes there`s been a steady chant of “Ron-son! Ron-son!” Eventually the band stalk on, the sidemen in black and Hunter and Ronson in white outfits which glow sickeningly under the ultra violet lights at the side of the stage. Ronno`s suit is emblazened with painted eyes, as if in some kind of compensation for Hunter`s invisible peepers. A spotlight hits Hunter`s guitar as he bounces the Chuck Berry riff around for a few bars, and then he moves to the mike with that flat “`Allo” and the band hit the groove and the lights come up and, and…
The sound is hideous. All you can hear is Hunter`s guitar and vocal and Elliott`s drums, though occasionally a bit of lead guitar and piano shine fitfully through the fog. It gradually cleans itself up as the show progresses, with Hunter and Ronson scrupulously sharing the vocals, trading off one for one and two for two. Curiously, for the first half of the set, Ronson`s performances seem better received than Hunter`s, though it must be borne in mind that Hunter was performing songs from an album which nobody in the audience had at that time heard, whereas Ronson was drawing on his two solo albums – and I`d bet cash money that at least half of the population of that hall had one or the other.
He seemed infinitely more confident sharing the stage with Hunter than he had performing those same songs last year on his own tour, though the audiences were approximately the same size. Had Hunter traded in his huge Mott audiences for the appreciably smaller Ronson public?

Make no mistake about it, a solidly Ronson audience it was. Monsoon could stand in shadow at the back of the stage by his amp while Hunter was in the spotlight singing, suddenly raise his hand and have the hall explode to order.
Hunter`s time finally came during “Boy”, probably the solo album`s major song. Strumming away at a totally inaudible acoustic guitar, he aimed his shades at the gallery and sang his goddam heart out against the band`s rising storm and got his first ovation of the evening. The Ronson audience had become a Hunter-Ronson audience.
Freeze it. Voice-over: “Ronno`s fans were probably wondering what this great lumbering lumberjack from the outback was doing with `im, and the strident Mott fans were asking me why that bleedin` pansy was playing guitar with me…”
Unfreeze. By the time the band got into an uproariously ramshackle version of Uncle Lou`s “White Light White Heat”, the teenagers are down the front grabbing at Ronson`s lissome young bod. Memo to Monsoon-san: learn the words son. Singing the first verse six times is definitely a no-no. The high point of the number is a totally crazed guitar duel where the rhythm section drop out and Ronson`s rat-in-a-trap lead comes up against Hunter`s chordal volley. The first kamikazes of the evening scale the stage, and one guy gets slung right off, flying gracefully back into the throng. Hands reach out for Ronson`s foot, only a few inches back from the lip of the stage.

Freeze the kid in mid-air a few seconds before he lands. Voice-over: “Pete Watts was the ace at accidentally leaving a leg over the edge of the stage. I can`t be bothered with it; I never could, but Mick`s an arch-exponent of it. He knows how to handle those people. He digs it, he gets off on it. He really wants `em to grab his leg because he feels that that`s what they really want to do. He was upset because it got a bit `eavy down the front there…”
Unfreeze. Blue Weaver starts playing intro from the title song of “Play Don`t Worry.” Ronson steps forward, but instead of starting to sing he raises his hand for silence and says, “I`d just like to ask the security men to be a bit less heavy if they can. They just wanna come down the front, they ain`t doin` any harm.” Hunter breaks in: “And remember that if you break any seats I`m payin` for half of them and he`s paying for the other half.” Laughter and applause. Hunter may not be much into dangling his leg off stages, but he`s a past master at relating to audiences. Everybody relaxes as Ronson sets into the song.
Lower sound-level. Voice over: “I was really in a bad way while I was doing that album. I was feeling really depressed and I didn`t want to `phone anybody or see anybody or talk to anybody…” Hunter: “Tell him how many Mandies you were doing.” Long pause. Very long pause. “I went through two bottles of fifty in a month. The words of that song were sort of to myself, really…”
Fade up on lyric of chorus: “Play, don`t worry/play don`t be scared, don`t you think about them, start your dreaming again of tomorrow…”

IMG_1045

Right now Ronson ain`t worried. He`s in his element. The band`s roaring behind him like some great raging beast, his guitar`s bucking and screaming like he`s tearing it to pieces and it`s trying to get away, his face is contorted into a triumphant snarl, girls are grabbing for his feet and trying to get up on to the stage, Ian Hunter`s stalking around the stage beating his own  guitar halfway to death and egging the band on before returning to his side and, inches away, howling at him to goad him past the edge, probably rasping, “C`mon ya bastid c`mon ya bastid, play you swine rip it out”…something like that as the song crashes to a halt and Mick Ronson looks most unlike a man with a confidence problem.
Voice-over: “You go back to the `Mad Shadows` album and listen to `No Wheels To Ride`. I was working on Ralpher then and he was playing incredible stuff. I really like to push guitarists over the edge. Ronson`s a bit better that way; he really likes me to goad him on. I goaded him on in `Truth` and I was a little worried in case I pushed him too far, because when a guitarist is playing a solo it`s like a lyric, and you mustn`t push `em too far because it`s very personal to `em…”
“Truth”, which is Ronson`s guitar showpiece on the album, doesn`t really happen at Newcastle. Maybe it`s the sound, maybe it`s the duff sustain pedal, but he just strains and strains and hardly anything comes out. Occasionally a squeal, sometimes a whine, maybe here and there a dazzling lick which blows everybody`s mind and then long tortuous pauses before Hunter comes back into the vocal. Voice-over: “Oh, in Glasgow he played this great enormous solo which went on for about twenty minutes, and we just rode along with it. I forgot half the words because I was listening.”

During “Slaughter On Tenth Avenue” Ronson`s playing suffers badly because he`s in acute danger of losing his guitar throughout most of the song.
Somehow he keeps playing even with a girl or two hanging on to him, but it`s difficult to keep your solo together with someone wrenching on your arm. Eventually, Hunter leads into the medley of Mott hits which climaxes the set; “Roll Away The Stone” first slowed down and then, as per record, “The golden Age Of Rock And Roll” and “All The Way From Memphis”. Cut to strobe-speed selection of stills of various Mott line-ups, settling finally on film of Mott performing the same songs.
Voice-over: “I can remember in Paris on the last tour with Mott, there was something up with me. I was really feeling rotten. We did the Olympia and we went down a riot and we came off and Tony De Fries was in the wings and he came up to me-you see, Tony`s a very good friend of mine – and he was concerned and he said to me, `That was great – but what are you gonna do?`
“Now, Bob Hirschman was one of my managers at that time and I was going to dinner with him and Tony said, `Come to dinner with me`, and said that I couldn`t because my manager was there. And all the way through that dinner I remembered Tony saying, `What are you gonna do?` I couldn`t understand what he was saying, but I couldn`t get those words out of my head. In the end it wound up around two o`clock in the morning at Tony`s hotel, and he and Ronson were sitting there waiting for me. Ronson`s been in the band a month and had already talked to Tony at great lengths about it. Tony knew I`d be round there. I said, `We played great, what do you mean “what am I gonna do?”` and he said, `It`s over.`

“Mick knew. Mick had sussed it, because he`d been in Mott a month, and he said, `I think you must get out and do your own album`. I never had enough confidence to think that I could just get out and do it and that annoys me intensely. Bowie had said to me in `72 that I had to lead Mott and take them over and I already thought that, but I needed a second person to say it to me. So there we were again. I was totally mixed up, I didn`t know what I wanted to do, and he said, `You got to do your own album`. I was already thinking that.
“I thought that he was trying to get out of Mott as soon as he got in, and he said, `No, I don`t wanna get out; I wanna do your album with you.` And I was thinking, `This is it, this is all over. Then I went to the States because I hadn`t signed the final papers for the house and I realised that I could no more go back than fly. I could go and play with Hawkwind, I could go and play with Ducks DeLuxe, but I couldn`t have gone back to Mott. I hated it so much that I was willing to drop the English tour, because if I`d done it I`d`ve freaked. It would`ve been really embarrassing. Mick was saying, `I`ll do the English tour if you want, but you really shouldn`t be doing it.`
“I`d been trying to drop hints to Pete and Buff, but they didn`t pick up on them. See, I love Pete. If he rings me up tomorrow and asks for me, I`ll be there. Buff – long pause – is a funny guy. I can`t knock him, but he gets very mixed up, and he was upsetting me a lot, but he couldn`t help it. I`d stood it for so long and I couldn`t take it no more. He`s no kind of bastard, but he gets real nervous and he gets me at it and I get twice as bad as him. Pete was taking everything very easy and relaxing and thinking that it would all go on forever, and I kept on hinting to him and saying, `Don`t rely on me.`

“I think they thought I was there for life. I shouldn`t be too romantic about it…I think they were taking me for granted. When Mick Ralphs left he kept saying to me, `You must keep it going, you must keep it going.` It was a guilt thing because he felt that he`d left us in the shit, and I know now how he was feeling. They`re in an awkward position, because Bad Company`s doing good, me and Ronson`s on the road and it must be really frustrating for them…”
Off to a conflagration of applause and a renewed barrage of stomping and howls for “Ron-son! Ron-son!” intermingled with the odd shout of “`Untah!” They wait for just the right length of time before returning and cartwheel into “All The Young Dudes”, for which things really break loose.
Before coming out for the encore, Hunter has donned an absurd white top hat with a long plume which waves as he takes a gulp of air and launches into the first line. Weirdly, the song seems to recall the glittering MainMan empire of 1972, when, in addition to Bowie, Lou Reed, Mott and Iggy Pop had joined up. Superimpose the famous still of Bowie, Reed and Pop and pan onto Tony DeFries in the background.
“Tony got the feeling that he could do it all the time, and he tried Mott the same way; trying to get Mott a mystique. Mott were known, Mott were the kids next door. We were a street-corner band, but we went along with it because the guy had the gift at the time. I still love Tony and Tony`s friends are few and far between these days, but I still love him and I think anyone with any integrity should love him too, because he tries to do something. He made a lot of mistakes and he crapped on a lot of people, and when Tony DeFries drops a bollock it`s a big one…”

Pan back onto Iggy, almost as an afterthought. Voice-over: “I think Iggy`s the most overrated rock star ever. Iggy has all the attributes of stardom except that he doesn`t deliver on any level. I`m a mate of his and he`s a mate of mine, but Iggy does not deliver on any level. He`s the all-time should-have-but-didn`t, and it`s because he`s just not quite good enough. Dave`ll tell you different, but it`s not happening and it never will with him. Everybody`s working for Iggy, everybody thinks Iggy should be a big star, but he`ll never be a big star as long as he`s got a hole in his ass. It`s not the laziness either – if Iggy worked 24 hours a day he still wouldn`t do it. Alice Cooper made it on Iggy. He sat and watched and decided to take it to extremes…”
Somebody mumbles about how Bowie drew a lot on Iggy as well. “David is a piece of transparent paper, but he has a lovely way of transferring things and putting them out as…don`t let`s talk about Dave.”
“Dudes” ends, followed by a ramshackle version of “The Girl Can`t Help It”. As the band leave the stage, slow pan through the audience finally focussing on The Critic. He turns his head to the camera and remarks, “There is much about this band that needs working on. They still haven`t gotten their sound right and they`re still not quite used to each other yet, but if nothing goes wrong they should be doing some tremendous things before long. Ronson, in particular, is clearly benefitting from his surroundings and Hunter really seems to enjoy being a sideman now and then. Like their album, their concert performances deliver just enough to suggest that they`ve hardly started yet in terms of what they can produce…” The camera pulls away as he keeps talking and his voice is drown-by the sound of a hallful of people looking for their coats.
Fast flashback to pre-gig dressing room. Hunter finds the piano, and is informed that the scratches on it were inflicted by Alan Price when he opened a bottle of beer on it during a scene from “Don`t Look Back”. Hunter instantly pounds through his audition piece, the song that he played when he was after the job with Mott The Hoople those many years ago. It`s “Like A Rolling Stone”.

Cut to hotel, post-gig. It`s beginning to get early again, and Mick Ronson is up and drunk. Even after a successful gig, about the only way that he can wind down is to climb into a battle of wine and pull the cork in after him. At half-past four on a chilly Newcastle morning, he`s sprawled in a sofa near the hotel entrance and for long periods of time it seems like he`s passed out. Voice-over: “Mick gets a little funny when he`s pissed… Mick wonders why he`s one of the Top Ten guitarists in any poll in the world and he`s got no money. He was doing gold albums on wages, and maybe he thought at the time that if he cut up they`d just use someone else, which of course wouldn`t have been the case. Mick really thought that he could never leave Dave, that nobody else would want him. He`s crazy – there would`ve been a queue a mile long…”
But at half-past four Mick Ronson is facing his own private demon. Flanked by his girlfriend/assistant Sue Fussey and Big Dave from Sturico, he relentlessly refills and refills his wine glass in spite of their efforts to get him upstairs. Eventually The Critic, who is in fairly poor shape himself, ambles over. “They`re trying to get me to go upstairs,” says Ronson from the depths of the sofa.
The Critic thinks it over. “D`you want to go?” he says at length. Ronson looks up at him in horror. “You`re not trying to get rid of me as well, are you?” And the demon is firmly on his back. At this point in time nothing can convince him that he`s really liked and wanted, despite the affection and concern that everybody around him shows towards him, despite the audience reaction and the last couple of groupies still waiting for a chance to talk to him (Aw shucks.-Ed.)
He struggles to his feet and something clicks into place inside him. Clearly and distinctly, he enunciates, “Everybody thinks I`m a nutcase because I blow all me money. But I`m not. I`m not. They`re the nut-cases.” Then Dave and Suzi led him off to the stairs.
Freeze. Roll end titles.

IMG_1046

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 – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Ace, Keith Emerson, Slapp Happy & Henry Cow, Alvin Lee, “New California Rock”, “Country Special”, Gloria Gaynor, Swamp Dogg, Michigan Flyers, Leonard Cohen, Tom Paxton, George Melly, John Helliwell.

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 around or upwards of 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT Led Zeppelin FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, 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.

IMG_0737

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 – or 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.”

IMG_0743

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 – 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!

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