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 the body electric

Presence, Creem Magazine, and H-0-R-S-E

33 posts in this topic

Sometime just before Presence was released I read a blurb in the "what's new" page in Creem Magazine. There was a box on the page was related to new recordings coming out. One of the lines read:

Have you heard the new Led Zeppelin record?

It sounds like H-O-R-S-E.

"H-O-R-S-E" is a basketball game generally played with two players. It is also Seventies-era slang for Heroin.

At the time, I remember being stunned that Creem would seemingly throw this band under the bus, given their apparently awesome relationship with this band (an extension, perhaps, of their less-than-stellar one with Rolling Stone).

I wonder if anyone else out there remembers reading this in Creem around this time.

In The Light since 1972.

Trampled Under Foot. My life with Led Zeppelin.

http://petedelorean.tumblr.com/

Edited by petedelorean

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Don't remember reading that, but I do have a Presence ad from Creem

scan0006.jpg

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Don't remember that Horse thing, but I do remember the ads for Presence, a la badgeholder's.

The Presence review I most remember from that era was the review in Audio magazine that made Bonham's lack of drum skills the focus. That's right, according to the reviewer for Audio magazine, one of the defects of the Presence album is the drumming. :blink:

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^^^^Yeah because Bonham was such a hack.

...oh wait...I mean the reviewer was such a hack. :P

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^ I guess the guy giving that kind of review must've been on "horse" at the time, while listening to Presence! :blink:

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I remember ads, not reviews per se.

I was forbidden from listening to PRESENCE because of the obelisk, my parents endured countless playings of IMMIGRANT SONG on our portable 45 single player for years and they would NOT have that "thing" in their house. The FM station played the album every night at midnight the entire month of March. We stayed up and listened of course. The dj's were fussy because the LP didn't have keys or acoustic. It wasn't PG for gosh sakes !!!! It wasn't LZII either. They griped about the drums. They whined about no "Stairway." They played it anyways just the same. After ALS the dj had dead air and then said, "we are going to play that one again when we come back from commercial- it may be pretty good- I can't tell."

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After reading the few comments posted along the lines of the DJ's....It baffles me as to why anyone would come down on the DRUMS of all things.

I don't think anyone could argue against the fact that it's some of Bonham's best work throughout the entire album. I think it's easily one of the strong points. Makes NO sense.

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I agree Rock Historian. ALS is his best drumming by far.

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I remember ads, not reviews per se.

I was forbidden from listening to PRESENCE because of the obelisk, my parents endured countless playings of IMMIGRANT SONG on our portable 45 single player for years and they would NOT have that "thing" in their house. The FM station played the album every night at midnight the entire month of March. We stayed up and listened of course. The dj's were fussy because the LP didn't have keys or acoustic. It wasn't PG for gosh sakes !!!! It wasn't LZII either. They griped about the drums. They whined about no "Stairway." They played it anyways just the same. After ALS the dj had dead air and then said, "we are going to play that one again when we come back from commercial- it may be pretty good- I can't tell."

Perhaps, you never should have shown them the album cover. Did they think it was satanic or something? Don't know what to make of why they would have an objection to the obelisk on the cover. Besides an obelisk resides in one of the major squares in Paris, where two of the most upscale hotels in all of Paris and probably Europe reside.

With ALS, that to me is Bonzo's best drumming and Jimmy's best solo! Hard to top that. Probably, my favorite Zep song, but not sure. Or Ten Years gone. One of the two! You can't go wrong with either!

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Creem published a negative review of 'Presence' in their July 1976 issue:

"Same Old Same Old" Do you care? by James Wolcott

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Presence IS the album with the best rythmic sections (Jones and Bonham). It's my favorite album along with HOTH.

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No Stairway. That's funny. That brings back memories. I remember people, and reviewers, complaining about this back when the album was released.

Some said that after Houses of the Holy, come to think of it.

In The Light since 1972.

Trampled Under Foot. My life with Led Zeppelin.

http://petedelorean.tumblr.com/

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Presence does contain Page's best electric & Bonham is a powerhouse per usual... but it is a downer of an album in comparison to any of their other albums. In places the sound is very stripped & stark such as "For Your Life" & "Tea For One", the lyrics are bleak on those two as well as angry on "Hots On For Nowhere", Plant is in a wheelchair, not a strong writing from JPJ to be found, a lack of light & shade, and... Page is spiraling heavily into heroin. Outside of "Candy Store Rock" & "Royal Orleans", the albums weakest tracks, what's light about the album? It's just totally intense.

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Creem published a negative review of 'Presence' in their July 1976 issue:

"Same Old Same Old" Do you care? by James Wolcott

Yes, I remember that one too...I believe James complained about Jimmy recycling his riffs...that he had reached the point where he wasn't just appropriating other people's songs, he was ripping off himself.

In a 1979 issue of Creem, writer Susan Whitall compared the effect of "Presence" following "Physical Graffiti" to giving methodone to a heroin addict.

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Presence does contain Page's best electric & Bonham is a powerhouse per usual... but it is a downer of an album in comparison to any of their other albums. In places the sound is very stripped & stark such as "For Your Life" & "Tea For One", the lyrics are bleak on those two as well as angry on "Hots On For Nowhere", Plant is in a wheelchair, not a strong writing from JPJ to be found, a lack of light & shade, and... Page is spiraling heavily into heroin. Outside of "Candy Store Rock" & "Royal Orleans", the albums weakest tracks, what's light about the album? It's just totally intense.

Agreed! That's why I think the title is perfect. It is probably my least favorite, but that's not saying much because I love all of them so much. As I get older, the lyrics and mood strike me more and I understand it better.

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Presence does contain Page's best electric & Bonham is a powerhouse per usual... but it is a downer of an album in comparison to any of their other albums. In places the sound is very stripped & stark such as "For Your Life" & "Tea For One", the lyrics are bleak on those two as well as angry on "Hots On For Nowhere", Plant is in a wheelchair, not a strong writing from JPJ to be found, a lack of light & shade, and... Page is spiraling heavily into heroin. Outside of "Candy Store Rock" & "Royal Orleans", the albums weakest tracks, what's light about the album? It's just totally intense.

While clearly not their best effort, I think the starkness and sludginess of Presence is what appeals to a lot of us, at least to me.

In The Light since 1972.

Trampled Under Foot. My life with Led Zeppelin.

http://petedelorean.tumblr.com/

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Agreed with above sentiments. Presence is their strangest album, with few recognisably hummable tunes compared to anything previous. And yet... I love it for its oddness, the starkness and intensity.

I do wonder how Presence would have been viewed if the band had continued with a few more albums, but as it is it's a classic for side one alone. It's also one of their best sounding albums, in terms of audio quality and tape hiss (the latter which is very strong in some Nevison-engineered PG tracks).

And yes, Bonzo's drumming totally makes the album for me. Kick ass. Or "kick arse " as one might say in these islands.

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I was forbidden from listening to PRESENCE because of the obelisk, my parents ... would NOT have that "thing" in their house.

Wow, that's quite a reflection of attitudes of the time. Ooh that spooky evil band! I shudder to think what your parents thought was acceptable to listen to!

In my day, a friend's parent wouldn't allow us to watch Monty Python's The Life Of Brian on VHS because it was "blasphemous" and was banned in Ireland at the time. Luckily, some things change.

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Lawrence Welk was acceptable :zzz:

I shudder to think what your parents thought was acceptable to listen to!

Agree w/Triplet Kick that the intensity/starkness is so attractive and memorable. The recording techniques were manic obsessive about trying to get on tape what the band was hearing and feeling "in the room," not only was mic placement exploited to get that unified halo that occurs within the sound- they used playback and re-recording on the overdubs. Presence reportedly was the simplest to mix for this reason. Post production was almost nill. The drums within the halo are overwhelming to the unprepared. Anyone who has gigged with potent drummers can relate.

To me, not only is the analogue limitations almost not there, the sound image (halo) takes the listener inside the presence of the origin of the sound. Post production required almost no eq and only basic leveling. This LP sounds most authentic to what the musicians heard while they were playing it is the point.

I can't think of a more ambitious approach since now, most acts do not have the confidence to let us hear how they really sound.

Had they been beholden to Atlantic or chained to the conventions of commercialism, the vocals would have been pushed way up and the drums squashed and the EQ at 5k would have been cut about 4db in stacks. Then compress and cut- oh wait... I won't go there. :sos:

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I missed that CREEM story, but I remember their story reviewing the Knebworth concerts of 1979, with a couple of captions under photos of the band backstage in and about their trailers (namely Percy):

"I used to be a rock god. Now I sell hot dogs." -- which I though was a little clever.

And under a pic of Plant caught having a confused look: "A rich man has a canopy over his bed. A poor man has a can o' pee underneath his bed. Get it?"

So, I'm definitely thinking CREEM "turned sour" on Zep in their later years.

Edited by dpat

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So, I'm definitely thinking CREEM "turned sour" on Zep in their later years.

Creem (USA), New Musical Express (UK), and Melody Maker (UK) all shifted their primary focus away from rock artists to feature more punk, reggae and New Wave artists in an attempt to change with the times. IMHO, when Creem moved it's offices from Detroit (to New York and later to Los Angeles) in the mid '80s it killed the irreverent spirit of the magazine. Regardless of the artists it was featuring once it moved to NYC, Creem quickly became too corporate and predictable. IMHO, when Ray Coleman left as editor-in-chief of Melody Maker it ceased to be a rock magazine. Creem and Melody Maker are both long gone.

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Don't remember that Horse thing, but I do remember the ads for Presence, a la badgeholder's.

The Presence review I most remember from that era was the review in Audio magazine that made Bonham's lack of drum skills the focus. That's right, according to the reviewer for Audio magazine, one of the defects of the Presence album is the drumming. :blink:

That review is posted on the forum somewhere. I've read it. What a dumbass. Bonham? Lack of skill? Weird seeing those words together with the word Bonham on the same sentence.

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Presence is My Favorite Zeppelin Album. It's so raw and heavy, it's awesome! I Snowmobile, and When I Have "Achilles Last Stand" on it's just Bad Ass altogether. Also, how could you say Bonham's drumming is bad? it's so good on this album! Some of his best!

IMG_0020.jpg

Edited by bend2pa

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Presence is My Favorite Zeppelin Album. It's so raw and heavy, it's awesome! I Snowmobile, and When I Have "Achilles Last Stand" on it's just Bad Ass altogether. Also, how could you say Bonham's drumming is bad? it's so good on this album! Some of his best!

IMG_0020.jpg

Yes, Bonham puts on a vertitable drum clinic on this album. Anything other than admiration for his efforts is just crazy talk.

Edited by The Dark Lord

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Hey I wasn't even allowed to have a stereo... I still have never owned a full home stereo at 51 part of it was the music and part financial If I was lucky I got to use my parents' on rare occasions

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