Led Zeppelin interviews

Ed Driscoll has links to four Led Zeppelin-related interviews, at least two of which are genuine. Warning: the one featuring Robert Plant contains mature subject matter.

BTW, has anyone out there watched the new "Unledded" DVD yet?


That was some pretty interesting Zep stuff! I've rediscovered LZ this last year, esp. after finding I, II and III in a thrift store along with House of the Holy. Amazing stuff.

I really enjoyed the comments the tech made about Jimmy's playing being reckless and pushing limits, after hearing other guitarists (wannabees) crack on him for being "sloppy" in concert.

It was cool, wasn't it? And finding all those records in a thrift store? You luck dog! (or is it "you lucky cow!"?)

I confess that I agree that there is an element of sloppiness in Page's playing. When I compare his playing to that of David Gilmour (which I know only from the widely-played Pink Floyd songs) or Brian May. I think that in Page's willingness to go in all directions at once (and who else could pull that off the way he does?), he does sacrifice some of the clarity and bite that I find in some other guitarists. This is of course a very subjective judgement. I do recall back in the very early '80s, when I was hanging out with some real Zep fans, I was a bit of a snob: I listened to jazz (Charlie Christian, Django Rheinhardt, Joe Pass, John Abercrombie, Terje Rypdal, Wes Montgomery, etc.). Within our little our little knot of friends, the two ends of the continuum of great guitarists were occupied by Jimmy Page and John McGlaughlin. What a contrast in technique--McGlaughlin's was vastly better, but we didn't feel that took anything away from Page because of the style of music he played.

In my view, Page's greater contributions to LZ were in fashioning the sensibility of it, such that it could run the gamut from "The Battle Of Evermore" to "Whole Lotta Love" to "Kashmir". It was the way he contributed to the whole shape of the band and its output. Purely as an instrumentalist, I think John Bonham was every bit as important to Zep's sound as Page, as were Plant's vocals. But I don't think anyone else but Page could have merged the blues and the folk and the rock and the exotic musical elements in such a compelling way.

I'm familiar with Django, but not McGlaughlin; I'll check him out.

Did you happen to catch Dave Grohl's (Foo Fighters, Nirvana) tribute to Bonham in Rolling Stone earlier this year (spring?). It was amazing! Drummer to drummer kudos. Very insightful too.

I'd heard that John Paul Jones' influence has not been fully seen by most; apparently he did the arranging along with bass/keyboards.

My bad: I misspelled his name. Think of a cross between Tal Farlow and Carlos Santana. He gained a good deal of notoriety as Miles Davis's guitarist when Miles was starting to go electric (the days of Joe Zawinul, Billy Cobham, and Wayne Shorter). He is (or was, at least) a devotee of Guru Sri Chinmoy, and so much of his music has a strong Indian influence. He did an album ( Love, Devotion, and Surrender ) with Carlos Santana.

If you want to hear just how rippingly fast and clean his technique is, pull up his album Electric Dreams at Amazon.com and listen to the exceprt from "The Dark Prince". I doubt that he does a hammer-on in the whole piece: each note is picked.

I am not at all saying that Page is any kind of a slouch as a guitarist--not in the least. I love his solo in "Fool In the Rain" from In Through the Out Door, as well as much else. I would just say that his virtues as a guitarist are orthogonal to McLaughlin's, and that his contributions to Led Zeppelin were as much in the whole creative construction of the band as solely in his playing.

I seldom read Rolling Stone, and so I did not see that piece on Bonham. I recall hearing or reading someone either in or close to the band saying that part of his genius lay in knowing what not to play. You listen to "Moby Dick", and you realize that he was a drummer with plenty of chops. And yet, you listen to the levee song from the 4th album, and he's not filling every rhythmic nook and crannie with sound. His playing is loud, but there is a restraint about it that is itself very powerful. Emporer Joseph could never have said to him as he did to Mozart that he played too many notes. He's kind of the opposite of the crazed, hyperactive Keith Moon (who is great also, but in a totally different way). There is a kind of stalking, doom-like inevitability about Bonham's playing that I find very powerful, especially when you know that he very well could deliver more sound than you could take.

I suspect that you are right, that Jonesy's influence is greater than one thinks, though I thought that Page arranged as well.

Found it!
http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/_/id/594005 0
"They were never critically acclaimed in their day, because they were too experimental and they were too fringe. In 1968 and '69, there was some freaky shit going on, but Zeppelin were the freakiest. I consider Jimmy Page freakier than Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix was a genius on fire, whereas Page was a genius possessed" too true.

Thanks for the Rolling Stone link--it's an interesting read. I can't join Grohl in investing the band with religious significance, though.

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