Slate Chocolate Marble
Slate Chocolate Marble

Led Zeppelin Official Forum

Register now to gain access to all of our features. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to contribute to this site by submitting your own content or replying to existing content. You'll be able to customize your profile, while also communicating with other members via your own private inbox, plus much more! This message will be removed once you have signed in.

Ross62

Interviews with Jimmy Page - 2015.

194 posts in this topic

Did Uncut Magazine ever release the Q&A with Jimmy, questions submitted by the readers of the magazine? Was it not to be released in Jan 2015?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jimmy Page Revisits Two of Led Zeppelin’s Most God-like Albums, 'IV' and 'Houses of the Holy'
Posted 01/09/2015 at 8:19am | by Brad Tolinski

PAGE 1.

It’s a beautiful Indian Summer day, and I’m standing on Queens Gate Road in London, England, a stone’s throw from the legendary Royal Albert Hall, where Led Zeppelin played in 1970, a performance immortalized on 2003’s Led Zeppelin DVD.

It’s a fitting landmark, considering that I’ve just finished a productive hour chatting with the band’s guitarist and producer, Jimmy Page, about the new deluxe editions of 1971’s Led Zeppelin IV (the third best-selling album in U.S. history) and its 1973 follow-up, Houses of the Holy.

I’m searching in vain for a taxi when, suddenly, a middle-aged man holding a sizable video camera on his shoulder walks up and politely introduces himself to me. In tentative English, he explains he’s with a Dutch television station that is producing a segment on the lasting importance of Zep’s classic “Stairway to Heaven.” At least, that’s what I think he says.

“So, vat is da meaning of dis song?” he asks.

Good question. I’ve written an entire book on Jimmy Page and have had a good three or four decades to think about it, so I should be able to say something relatively intelligent on the matter. But the truth is, it isn’t an easy task. There’s an elusive quality to the song that defies a simple explanation, which probably explains its extraordinary durability.

I surprise myself by speaking quite passionately about the song’s theme of spiritual yearning and redemption. I concede that the lyrics are pretty vague, filled with lines like “sometimes words have two meanings,” “there are two paths you can go by” and “there walks a lady we all know/who shines white light and wants to show/how everything still turns to gold.” But, like any other mystical text, the song’s virtue is in its ambiguity—it’s designed to draw you in and “make you wonder."

I conclude by telling him that the enduring popularity of the entire Led Zeppelin IV album is probably due to the strange timelessness buried within its musical DNA. Songs like “Battle of Evermore,” “When the Levee Breaks,” “Rock and Roll” and “Stairway” are profound in their ability to shift between the pagan rituals of Stonehenge and some unspecified space age where “all is one and one is all.”

“It’s not an album—it’s a work of comparative mythology,” I sputter.

The Dutch cameraman smiles and seems satisfied, if not a little puzzled, by my response. After he leaves, I’m a little mad at myself for not bringing up these ideas to Page during our interview an hour earlier, but as a guitar journalist, I was on a different mission.

Last June, Led Zeppelin launched an ambitious campaign to reissue their catalog, releasing remastered versions of their first three albums, each accompanied by a second disc of entirely unreleased music related to that album. As the holidays approach, a second round begins with special editions of their fourth and fifth albums, IV and Houses of the Holy.

The Led Zeppelin IV deluxe edition includes unreleased versions of every song on the original album, including alternate mixes of “Misty Mountain Hop” and “Four Sticks,” stripped-down guitar/mandolin instrumental versions of “Battle of Evermore” and “Going to California” and the much-speculated original Sunset Sound Studios mix of “Stairway to Heaven.”

The Houses of the Holy companion disc offers rough and working mixes of “The Ocean” and “Dancing Days” as well as revealing guitar-heavy mixes of “Over the Hills and Far Away,” “The Rain Song” and a cool alternate take of “The Song Remains the Same.”

It’s a ridiculous amount of ground to cover in 60 minutes, but Page seems game. Well…pretty game. As an interview, Jimmy is as dynamic and quirky as his music. He’s a highly original thinker who can dazzle with his clarity and insight, but when he wants, he can be as secretive and mysterious as King Solomon. Just the mention of a song title will have him enthusiastically holding forth in great detail, while seemingly innocent questions about guitars or effects can be met with a succinct, “I’m not going to answer that.”

But, hey, it’s all cool. Just like “Stairway to Heaven,” a little bit of mystery always makes you wonder.

GUITAR WORLD: One of the biggest bits of news is that you’ve included some of the original Los Angeles mixes of IV on one of the bonus discs. The story has always been that, aside from “When the Levee Breaks,” the mixes done at Sunset Sound Studios were a disaster. However both “Stairway to Heaven” and “Misty Mountain Hop,” both included in the companion disc, sound pretty damn good.

After we completed most of our work on the fourth album at Island Studios and Headley Grange [a remote three-story stone farmhouse that Zeppelin used as a recording facility], [engineer] Andy Johns and I went to Sunset Sound in Los Angeles to mix. The tapes included most of the music that would end up on IV, including “Stairway,” “Going to California,” and even a few things that ended up on Physical Graffiti, like “Down By the Seaside” and “Boogie with Stu”—but not “Battle of Evermore” which wasn’t finished yet.

We did some great work there, and I was particularly impressed with their wonderful echo and reverb facilities. The only problem was, they also had a rather “colorful” studio monitoring system. While we were mixing, everything sounded huge and the low end sounded especially massive. But when we returned to England and played our work back, the sound was nothing like what we had heard in Los Angeles. It was deflated…a pale echo of what we’d heard in L.A.

Around that period of time, there were alarming stories of tapes that had been damaged or slightly erased or interfered with by magnets used by airport security. We all wondered whether anything had happened to them. In actual fact, nothing had happened to them. Regardless, the band was not particularly enamored with the way things sounded, so I agreed to remix everything.

There were exceptions. The Sunset Sound mix of “When the Levee Breaks” had a density that we could not be replicated when we remixed it in England. It didn’t have that space—that black hole. So we put that one on the original album. We’ve included the remix on the companion disc so you can decide for yourself.

PAGE 2.

You also included the Sunset mix of “Stairway,” which also sounds pretty good.

Yeah, it’s also pretty superb.

When you were putting together the companion disc, did you have any second thoughts? Did you think any of the alternatives would’ve been better to put on the original albums?

Weeeeeellll, I don’t know about that. I think it is what it is. I suppose you could look at it this way: you wouldn’t have the versions that you know, and you wouldn’t have had the possibility to use these wonderful versions for the bonus disc! [laughs] It might’ve took 30 or 40 years to manifest, but Zeppelin runs on sidereal time—or time you can stretch—within the music and in the general ambience of the band.

On the original version of “Rock and Roll,” the beginning of the solo is almost buried, and then slowly emerges as it unfolds. On the companion disc, the alternative mix offers more clarity, but it begs the question: why did you bury it in the first place?

It makes you listen harder! I didn’t want it to be vulgar and punch the listener in the nose, I wanted to play with them a little bit and draw them in. It’s actually pretty interesting what’s being played.

The new version of “Four Sticks” also offers more clarity in certain areas, particularly in John Bonham’s drums. There is so much going on in that song. Was it difficult to achieve a final mix?

There were a number of attempts to get that song right. I know, because I just reviewed them all! You’d get to the point where you could hear all the textures…and then realize there wasn’t enough bass. [laughs] Back in those days, it was all manual mixing, so every mix is different, which is really rather good. Getting a great mix was a kind of performance itself. We didn’t start having automated mixes until In Through the Out Door.

I suppose you could argue which one is better, but on both versions of “Four Sticks”—the original and the alternate version—you really get the feel of the ride of the mix and how we’re trying to get all the textures to organically move throughout the song. I’ve always felt that “Four Sticks” was very abstract, so it was particularly important to get the soundscape right. In some ways, the textures are the song.

But regarding hearing John’s performance, or some of the other nuances, I was very diligent during this whole process to release things that had real musical value. A lot of thought went into what we were going to use to compliment the original tracks.

Going back over both of these albums, it’s striking how much electric 12-string you used. What was the primary guitar?

Well, on “Stairway” I used both my Vox Phantom that I used on “Thank You” and my Fender Electric XII.

Did you use them for tonal differences?

Not really. They both sort of sounded the same. It was more about how they played. They felt different. On “Song Remains the Same,” it’s just the Fender.

PAGE 3.

Listening to the dramatic, stripped-down version of “Battle of Evermore” on the companion disc, something occurred to me. What came first, the mandolin or the guitar part?

The mandolin part. I was at Headley Grange one evening and started playing John Paul Jones’ mandolin. I had never really played a violin or a ukulele or any instruments with those kinds of tunings, but before I knew it I had written the whole thing—the verses, the chorus and the breakdown. The rhythm guitar was created later because I had to work out what the chords were and the correct inversions—because I didn’t know what chords I was playing on the mandolin.

Why fade the track halfway through?

It’s a vignette. It’s similar to how I handled “The Song Remains the Same” on the companion disc. I wanted to give the listener a sense of how the track evolved, but didn’t feel the need to belabor the point. Same with “Going to California”—that’s not the full-length version, either. It’s about illustrating the texture and vibe.

I think you’ve said each album is essentially a reflection of what you were feeling at that particular time and space. Houses of the Holy is the most celebratory album in your catalog. It’s the only album without a blues.

Well, I’m not sure I’ve ever said it was a summing up of where we were at that point in time; it’s more about what we’re managing to achieve musically under the roof of a recording facility. I think it’s more about how we’ve managed to push things, and we’d been pushing all the way through.

Here’s the interesting thing: if we had been forced by the record company to make singles, we would’ve never been able to explore like we did or make albums like IV or Houses of the Holy. Because we created each album as an independent production, we could actually dictate that there would be no singles. And when you look at the whole of the catalog, my god, you realize what a saving grace that was not to have to comply with commercial radio.

Our attitude was, “Here’s the album, and if you want to give something to radio, then fair enough, but don’t bother asking us to follow it up with something similar.”

Houses features some of your most layered and complex guitar arrangements. Around this time you had installed a home multitrack studio. Did that influence the material on Houses?

Yes, I did have a home multitrack recorder, and I was experimenting quite a bit, and certainly some of it was done with Zeppelin in mind. “The Rain Song” was one of the tracks that I had developed at home. My demo features a Mellotron and everything—I didn’t play it as well as John Paul Jones, of course—but the whole idea, with all the various movements, was done at home.

What about “Over the Hills and Far Away”?

No, because that was easy to convey to the band with just a guitar. What I wanted to achieve with “The Rain Song” I felt was less evident from just performing the guitar part, so creating a demo was important.

To be honest, I just usually taped things to remind myself. One of the most important things to remember is that musicians of our generation—before there were cassette recorders—had to remember everything. Most of the time I didn’t really need to record demos because I had already committed the idea to memory.

“The Song Remains The Same” is genuinely unusual. It’s almost a compendium of folk and country guitar techniques presented in a completely different context—the opening solo features straight flat-picking, the bends behind the vocals are reminiscent of country guitarist Clarence White, and there’s a healthy amount of hybrid picking on your Fender XII.

That’s fair enough. It wasn’t intentionally any one of those things. It was just the result of me listening to all these alternative six-string things at the time and summing them up…or perhaps reprogramming them. [laughs] But it’s all a question of taste—of what you put in or leave out to make the most of your technique relative to the song.

I was so OCD then that, by the time it came for me to record my guitar parts, I was completely absorbed by what I was doing and the right parts just seem to come out. And most of the solos were pretty spontaneous. I’d warm up and then immediately record, and then I’d do the next one. I never wanted to labor the point of anything.

PAGE 4.

Continuing with the uplifting theme of Houses, I’d like to talk about “Dancing Days.”

Yes, that whole song is like a celebration—it’s jubilant.

But I would say Houses of the Holy is an album of many moods. Each song captures an essence of a feeling, an emotion or sensitivity, and you can hear the band maturing as we play all these different styles. I feel there’s a logical progress from each album. You can see the expansion and risks we were taking. Or should I say, the new territory that is there to be civilized and conquered. [laughs]

“Dancing Days” is interesting because I remember exactly where I was when I laid down those slide guitar parts. I was at Olympic in Studio One, and I stationed myself in the control room and fed my lead out to an amp in the studio. I wanted it really loud, and you could get the ambience of the whole room. I just roared. I hadn’t even worked out what the part was going to be. But I guess I was so on top of my playing that I could just sort of do that.

It sounds like the arrangement to that song was all sort of meticulously worked out, but it all just came out, and all I had to do was a few little drop-ins and the song was done. And then I double-tracked it as well. It was pretty spontaneous. When the rest of the band came in later, I said, “I hope you’re gonna like this.” They were like, “Wow!”

Houses of the Holy sounds different than any of your other albums. Your guitar sounds brighter, and the drums are a more refined version of the groundbreaking sound you created on IV.

I thought it was important to make each Led Zeppelin album sound radically different than the one before. All the changes were intentional. That’s why we used different engineers and different locations.

I don’t want to go into detail, but I used a lot of different guitars on Houses, which might account for some of what you are hearing. And although we used some of the same techniques to record John’s drums that we developed at Headley on IV, most of Houses was done in a traditional studio, which is why it sounds brighter. You wouldn’t have the same expansion and headroom that we had with the high ceilings in Headley.

Why isn’t the song “Houses of the Holy” on Houses of the Holy?

Because it comes out on the next album. [laughs] It’s meant to be a little mischievous.

This hiss is quite audible on the version of “No Quarter” on the companion disc. Did you hesitate to use it, or did you try to eliminate it using modern technology?

It was such a great take by John Paul Jones, I wasn’t about to let a little hiss stop me from using it. In some ways, it adds to the ambience of the time and place.

The guitar solo on the original version of “No Quarter” is one of your more unusual statements. It’s jazzy without being jazz.
With the piano being the way it is, the last thing I wanted to do was play a jazz homage. It would’ve been too obvious. I wanted to show the guitarist hasn’t gone to sleep—he’s thinking about presenting the composition in a different way, using different colors and tones and figures that are…spritely. It’s like water nymphs or something coming through.

While the music on Houses is primarily upbeat, your use of dissonance on the opening riff of “Dancing Days,” and the rather sour use of seven chords on sections of “The Ocean,” undercuts the happy subject matter and keeps them from sounding too…

…cozy. I never really wanted to take the easy way out. Those harmonies you are talking about are stretching and pushing those songs and making them a bit angular. You’re not in a comfort zone when you are listening to the opening riff of “Dancing Days,” but I think it feels natural in a dark way.

It’s “Dancing Days,” but it’s not disco!

It’s not the norm. It’s not a chug-along thing. It’s got intent in its attitude. It’s an attack. Although it’s not as extreme, that idea also appears on the solo to “Misty Mountain Hop.” I was pushing myself to explore new areas of harmony. I wanted to investigate those outside edges—maybe push myself over the edge! I’m surprised, really, that I’m here to tell the tale.

Photo: Atlas Icons/Jeffrey Mayer

post-1183-0-97692600-1423177881.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On February 19th, the entire companion audio from the forthcoming deluxe reissue of Physical Graffiti will be presented at a special playback event at Olympic Studios in London.

The event will be hosted by JP, who will introduce the evening and participate in a Q&A session after he has played the previously unreleased music from the album. Doors open at 18:00, and the event will run from at 19:00 until 20:30.

WIN A PAIR OF TICKETS

The playback will be streamed live around the world and 10 members of JimmyPage.com can win tickets to attend the event with a guest.

To be in with a chance of winning, simply email info@jimmypage.com with the subject line 'Physical Graffiti Competition' between now and when the competition closes at midnight on Friday 13th February 2015. Please include your full name in the body of the email for guestlist purposes if you win. The ten winners will be chosen at random from the inbox and will be notified via email with further information by midnight on Monday 16th February 2015 - so keep an eye on your emails. Competition winners and their guests must be 18 or older and are responsible for their own travel costs.

Good luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Would love to go to that event....too bad it's in London, instead of NYC, which is a bit closer for me! Many thanks for the info Steve!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the info, SAJ. I would love to attend an event like this!! Just looked at airline ticket prices to London (just in case, ya know), and I am in shock at the prices!

:(

Edited by Ddladner

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jimmy Page: my autobiography will be published when I'm dead

Led Zeppelin's Jimmy-Page says he will not publish his autobiography while he is alive, telling Channel 4 News: "What I would do is do a book to be published posthumously."

http://www.channel4.com/news/led-zeppelin-guitar-jimmy-page-autobiography-music-video

Thanks,LedZepNews.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jimmy Page: my autobiography will be published when I'm dead

Led Zeppelin's Jimmy-Page says he will not publish his autobiography while he is alive, telling Channel 4 News: "What I would do is do a book to be published posthumously."

http://www.channel4.com/news/led-zeppelin-guitar-jimmy-page-autobiography-music-video

Thanks,LedZepNews.

...Indeed thanks to all for this link.... I am elated to hear Jimmy's charming interview, as he reflects on his timeless youth, some stones left unturned in the journey of this video, suddenly turned...complete..at last we heard from Jimmy!

....Journey to Heavenly Kashmir, a radical movement indeed, it would have to be the Great Four Artists of Led Zeppelin!! Incomparable artistic vision; whether Jimmy chooses to continue this musical journey or not, he is very much himself in 71st year of his timeless youth.....

...this must be a complete interview, as it has not surfaced any longer so far...

Edited by PlanetPage

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...I hope that Royston Ellis will watch this video as well, although he has not thus far mentioned this video that surfaced in his blog via Roystonellis.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it was published in Uncut January 2015 pages 14-16. You can preview it for free at Apple's Newsstand.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it was published in Uncut January 2015 pages 14-16. You can preview it for free at Apple's Newsstand.

Thank you

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page: Why I assembled a 40th-anniversary edition of Physical Graffiti

Jimmy_Page_today.jpg

Independent.co.uk | Pierre Perrone | Friday 13 February 2015

So many myths have grown around Led Zeppelin, the British rock band that ruled the Seventies and continues to cast a long shadow over popular music, that their guitarist, producer and curator extraordinaire Jimmy Page has to see the funny side. The 71-year-old’s hair may be snow-white but his black-clad frame is as pencil-thin as it was in his prime. The years roll back while we converse in front of a roaring fire, in a plush Kensington hotel, a stone’s throw from the Royal Albert Hall, where Led Zeppelin triumphed in 1969 and 1970.

He is talking up the 40th-anniversary edition of the double studio set Physical Graffiti, the third tranche of a reissue campaign that kicked off last June. The addition of companion discs containing out-takes, alternative, and rough mixes has returned the group’s first five multi-million-selling albums to the charts, introducing them to yet another new generation of fans.

Page is debunking a story about what happened before the recording of Physical Graffiti started. “On this one, we’re really bouncing. We’ve been touring and we’re going in there and John Paul Jones has left his choir,” he quips, alluding to the rumour that, at the end of 1973, his multi-instrumentalist bandmate considered quitting the biggest group in the world to become a choirmaster at Winchester Cathedral. The truth is more prosaic. “John had a big family and he wasn’t there on the first few days. His holidays over-ran,” he says.

led-zeppelin.jpg

Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Bonham, John Paul Jones as Led Zeppelin in June 1983 (Getty Images)

Back in 1973, since vocalist Robert Plant was also late arriving, Page and drummer John Bonham began rehearsing the epic “Kashmir”, the unstoppable, Panzer-like track which typified the ambition and scope of Physical Graffiti. “I had that riff on an acoustic piece I was working on and I also had those staccato parts that became the brass parts. The idea of using the orchestra over that riff goes back to classical music, things like Benjamin Britten’s Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge and The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra. I knew it was pretty radical. John Bonham understood what it was about. The whole band took to it. “Robert said, ‘oh, I’ve got some lyrics that I wrote before, in Morocco’. He tried them out and they worked really well,” says Page.

As he admits, there was no guarantee the Eastern-flavoured majesty of “Kashmir” was going to translate across to the general public. Yet it became another gem in the superlative Led Zeppelin catalogue, more sonically ambitious than the era-defining “Whole Lotta Love” and “Stairway to Heaven”, and a milestone at the crossroads of world music and rap, recycled by Puff Daddy for “Come With Me” on the soundtrack to the Godzilla blockbuster in 1998. “People went, ‘oh, he shouldn’t have done that’, but you might as well say, ‘oh, he shouldn’t have dabbled in world music’. Of course, I should have. I was doing that as a teenager, so why in heaven’s name not? It’s all part of the big picture,” says Page.

Like many of his contemporaries, he followed up his interest in skiffle, rock’n’roll, folk and world music by delving into the blues. “We were doing the best research before the internet,” he recalls. “I’d include Arabic instruments like the oud and Indian ones like the sitar in that. It was all permeating into my playing, and that grew when I was in the Yardbirds and then Led Zeppelin. But everyone in the band had their own influences.”

Led_Zeppelin_1970s2.jpg

Jimmy Page, John Bonham, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin in 1975

In the summer of 1968, Page and Jones considered vocalist Terry “Superlungs” Reid and Procol Harum drummer BJ Wilson but, once they teamed up with Plant and Bonham for that first rehearsal in Soho’s Gerrard Street and started jamming “Train Kept A-Rollin’”, they never looked back. Within weeks, Page and Jones had ditched the New Yardbirds moniker and come up with Led Zeppelin. The name was inspired by a comment made by Who drummer Keith Moon when they had jammed with the Yardbirds guitarist Jeff Beck and pianist Nicky Hopkins on “Beck’s Bolero” two years earlier. “This will go down like a lead balloon”, said Moon.

By the time they returned to the States in the spring of 1969, they were topping the bill and recording their second album on the hoof. As their popularity grew, they headlined stadiums, travelled by private plane and created mayhem wherever they went, with many a tale of groupie debauchery passing into rock lore.

They also became the most bootlegged band of all time. Peter Grant, their formidable manager, used to scour the audience for recording devices, and made the occasional baseball-bat-assisted intervention in record stores selling pirate recordings. Page has remained fiercely protective of their catalogue and amassed his own collection of bootlegs, which proved handy when he began considering the current, definitive, state-of-the-art, expanded reissues.

Led_Zeppelin_1970s.jpg

Unlike many of the groups they inspired, Led Zeppelin were a versatile, ever-changing outfit, with Page as likely to strum a mandolin or a 12-string acoustic as to attack a twin-necked guitar with a violin bow before plucking another killer riff from thin air

“I made it my business to see what was out there, especially with this project. This stuff hadn’t come out on bootleg because it had been so carefully guarded,” says Page. “Because I was the producer from day one of Led Zeppelin all the way through, I had more points of reference than anyone else... The prospect of being able to do a companion disc to each of the originals, to give the fans what they wanted and more, was so attractive. On Physical Graffiti, there’s an early stage version of “In the Light”, you’ve got the structure of it, and you can hear the additional work that went into it.”

This approach is commensurate with the fact that, back in the Seventies, Led Zeppelin didn’t release singles in the UK. Indeed, by 1974, they’d assumed even greater creative control with the launch of their own label, Swan Song Records. They hit the ground running with the eponymous debut by Bad Company and Silk Torpedo by the Pretty Things but, as Page proudly recalls, “Physical Graffiti was the first piece of Led Zeppelin product on our own label, the right album for the right time. We had material that was left over from the fourth album and needed to be heard. Other people had done double albums and I was really keen to do a double showing all that we were capable of, from the sensitive guitar instrumentals through to the density of something like “In the Light” and the urgency of something like “In My Time of Dying”. Every track has its own character.”

Indeed, many consider Physical Graffiti, with its lavish, fenestrated cover and breadth of styles, the pinnacle of Led Zeppelin’s output. They would not be as carefree again. After a car crash in Rhodes in the summer of 1975, Plant was in a wheelchair when they recorded Presence. Two years later, the singer’s first-born son Karac died of a stomach infection. The making of In Through the Out Door in 1978 was overshadowed by Bonham’s struggle with alcoholism and Page’s battle with drug addiction.

zeppelin.jpeg

Unlike many of the groups they inspired, Led Zeppelin were a versatile, ever-changing outfit

And then John Bonham died in September 1980, putting an end to the last chapter of their stellar career. Page, Plant and Jones have reunited three times since, for Live Aid in 1985, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Atlantic Records in 1988, and to pay tribute to Ahmet Ertegun in 2007, but these, as well as the two albums Page and Plant made in the Nineties, have been mere postscripts.

While Plant has forged on as a solo performer and the frontman of the Sensational Space Shifters, the guitarist has struggled to find partners on his wavelength, despite collaborations with Paul Rodgers, David Coverdale and the Black Crowes. He talks wistfully about doing his own thing “towards the end of the year. Not anything you’d imagine I’d ever do. I’m warming up on the touchline. I know what’s coming next, the fans do not and it’s nice to surprise them,” he muses, as much about the reissues as about his next venture. “It’s been fun. We didn’t repeat ourselves, we went over the horizon in every direction. There are so many tangents, so many facets to the Led Zeppelin music. We were not a one-trick pony.”

Unlike many of the groups they inspired, Led Zeppelin were a versatile, ever-changing outfit, with Page as likely to strum a mandolin or a 12-string acoustic as to attack a twin-necked guitar with a violin bow before plucking another killer riff from thin air.

How does he feel about their legacy? “Some bands have done terrible things, some bands have done really good things, playing in the spirit of Led Zeppelin. You’re only passing on the baton really. What does matter is that we’ve managed to make a difference and quite clearly Led Zeppelin’s music did.”

‘Physical Graffiti’, including a disc of previously unheard material, is released on 23 February.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/led-zeppelins-jimmy-page-why-i-assembled-a-40thanniversary-edition-of-physical-graffiti-10043864.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page: Why I assembled a 40th-anniversary edition of Physical Graffiti

Jimmy_Page_today.jpg

Independent.co.uk | Pierre Perrone | Friday 13 February 2015

So many myths have grown around Led Zeppelin, the British rock band that ruled the Seventies and continues to cast a long shadow over popular music, that their guitarist, producer and curator extraordinaire Jimmy Page has to see the funny side. The 71-year-old’s hair may be snow-white but his black-clad frame is as pencil-thin as it was in his prime. The years roll back while we converse in front of a roaring fire, in a plush Kensington hotel, a stone’s throw from the Royal Albert Hall, where Led Zeppelin triumphed in 1969 and 1970.

He is talking up the 40th-anniversary edition of the double studio set Physical Graffiti, the third tranche of a reissue campaign that kicked off last June. The addition of companion discs containing out-takes, alternative, and rough mixes has returned the group’s first five multi-million-selling albums to the charts, introducing them to yet another new generation of fans.

Page is debunking a story about what happened before the recording of Physical Graffiti started. “On this one, we’re really bouncing. We’ve been touring and we’re going in there and John Paul Jones has left his choir,” he quips, alluding to the rumour that, at the end of 1973, his multi-instrumentalist bandmate considered quitting the biggest group in the world to become a choirmaster at Winchester Cathedral. The truth is more prosaic. “John had a big family and he wasn’t there on the first few days. His holidays over-ran,” he says.

led-zeppelin.jpg

Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Bonham, John Paul Jones as Led Zeppelin in June 1983 (Getty Images)

Back in 1973, since vocalist Robert Plant was also late arriving, Page and drummer John Bonham began rehearsing the epic “Kashmir”, the unstoppable, Panzer-like track which typified the ambition and scope of Physical Graffiti. “I had that riff on an acoustic piece I was working on and I also had those staccato parts that became the brass parts. The idea of using the orchestra over that riff goes back to classical music, things like Benjamin Britten’s Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge and The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra. I knew it was pretty radical. John Bonham understood what it was about. The whole band took to it. “Robert said, ‘oh, I’ve got some lyrics that I wrote before, in Morocco’. He tried them out and they worked really well,” says Page.

As he admits, there was no guarantee the Eastern-flavoured majesty of “Kashmir” was going to translate across to the general public. Yet it became another gem in the superlative Led Zeppelin catalogue, more sonically ambitious than the era-defining “Whole Lotta Love” and “Stairway to Heaven”, and a milestone at the crossroads of world music and rap, recycled by Puff Daddy for “Come With Me” on the soundtrack to the Godzilla blockbuster in 1998. “People went, ‘oh, he shouldn’t have done that’, but you might as well say, ‘oh, he shouldn’t have dabbled in world music’. Of course, I should have. I was doing that as a teenager, so why in heaven’s name not? It’s all part of the big picture,” says Page.

Like many of his contemporaries, he followed up his interest in skiffle, rock’n’roll, folk and world music by delving into the blues. “We were doing the best research before the internet,” he recalls. “I’d include Arabic instruments like the oud and Indian ones like the sitar in that. It was all permeating into my playing, and that grew when I was in the Yardbirds and then Led Zeppelin. But everyone in the band had their own influences.”

Led_Zeppelin_1970s2.jpg

Jimmy Page, John Bonham, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin in 1975

In the summer of 1968, Page and Jones considered vocalist Terry “Superlungs” Reid and Procol Harum drummer BJ Wilson but, once they teamed up with Plant and Bonham for that first rehearsal in Soho’s Gerrard Street and started jamming “Train Kept A-Rollin’”, they never looked back. Within weeks, Page and Jones had ditched the New Yardbirds moniker and come up with Led Zeppelin. The name was inspired by a comment made by Who drummer Keith Moon when they had jammed with the Yardbirds guitarist Jeff Beck and pianist Nicky Hopkins on “Beck’s Bolero” two years earlier. “This will go down like a lead balloon”, said Moon.

By the time they returned to the States in the spring of 1969, they were topping the bill and recording their second album on the hoof. As their popularity grew, they headlined stadiums, travelled by private plane and created mayhem wherever they went, with many a tale of groupie debauchery passing into rock lore.

They also became the most bootlegged band of all time. Peter Grant, their formidable manager, used to scour the audience for recording devices, and made the occasional baseball-bat-assisted intervention in record stores selling pirate recordings. Page has remained fiercely protective of their catalogue and amassed his own collection of bootlegs, which proved handy when he began considering the current, definitive, state-of-the-art, expanded reissues.

Led_Zeppelin_1970s.jpg

Unlike many of the groups they inspired, Led Zeppelin were a versatile, ever-changing outfit, with Page as likely to strum a mandolin or a 12-string acoustic as to attack a twin-necked guitar with a violin bow before plucking another killer riff from thin air

“I made it my business to see what was out there, especially with this project. This stuff hadn’t come out on bootleg because it had been so carefully guarded,” says Page. “Because I was the producer from day one of Led Zeppelin all the way through, I had more points of reference than anyone else... The prospect of being able to do a companion disc to each of the originals, to give the fans what they wanted and more, was so attractive. On Physical Graffiti, there’s an early stage version of “In the Light”, you’ve got the structure of it, and you can hear the additional work that went into it.”

This approach is commensurate with the fact that, back in the Seventies, Led Zeppelin didn’t release singles in the UK. Indeed, by 1974, they’d assumed even greater creative control with the launch of their own label, Swan Song Records. They hit the ground running with the eponymous debut by Bad Company and Silk Torpedo by the Pretty Things but, as Page proudly recalls, “Physical Graffiti was the first piece of Led Zeppelin product on our own label, the right album for the right time. We had material that was left over from the fourth album and needed to be heard. Other people had done double albums and I was really keen to do a double showing all that we were capable of, from the sensitive guitar instrumentals through to the density of something like “In the Light” and the urgency of something like “In My Time of Dying”. Every track has its own character.”

Indeed, many consider Physical Graffiti, with its lavish, fenestrated cover and breadth of styles, the pinnacle of Led Zeppelin’s output. They would not be as carefree again. After a car crash in Rhodes in the summer of 1975, Plant was in a wheelchair when they recorded Presence. Two years later, the singer’s first-born son Karac died of a stomach infection. The making of In Through the Out Door in 1978 was overshadowed by Bonham’s struggle with alcoholism and Page’s battle with drug addiction.

zeppelin.jpeg

Unlike many of the groups they inspired, Led Zeppelin were a versatile, ever-changing outfit

And then John Bonham died in September 1980, putting an end to the last chapter of their stellar career. Page, Plant and Jones have reunited three times since, for Live Aid in 1985, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Atlantic Records in 1988, and to pay tribute to Ahmet Ertegun in 2007, but these, as well as the two albums Page and Plant made in the Nineties, have been mere postscripts.

While Plant has forged on as a solo performer and the frontman of the Sensational Space Shifters, the guitarist has struggled to find partners on his wavelength, despite collaborations with Paul Rodgers, David Coverdale and the Black Crowes. He talks wistfully about doing his own thing “towards the end of the year. Not anything you’d imagine I’d ever do. I’m warming up on the touchline. I know what’s coming next, the fans do not and it’s nice to surprise them,” he muses, as much about the reissues as about his next venture. “It’s been fun. We didn’t repeat ourselves, we went over the horizon in every direction. There are so many tangents, so many facets to the Led Zeppelin music. We were not a one-trick pony.”

Unlike many of the groups they inspired, Led Zeppelin were a versatile, ever-changing outfit, with Page as likely to strum a mandolin or a 12-string acoustic as to attack a twin-necked guitar with a violin bow before plucking another killer riff from thin air.

How does he feel about their legacy? “Some bands have done terrible things, some bands have done really good things, playing in the spirit of Led Zeppelin. You’re only passing on the baton really. What does matter is that we’ve managed to make a difference and quite clearly Led Zeppelin’s music did.”

‘Physical Graffiti’, including a disc of previously unheard material, is released on 23 February.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/led-zeppelins-jimmy-page-why-i-assembled-a-40thanniversary-edition-of-physical-graffiti-10043864.html

...THank you this link this Morning... there is no question, Jimmy is a Master Musician..........

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Page as likely to strum a mandolin or a 12-string acoustic as to attack a twin-necked guitar with a violin bow."

When did that ever happen?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Page as likely to strum a mandolin or a 12-string acoustic as to attack a twin-necked guitar with a violin bow."

When did that ever happen?

Journalism in the 21st century Reggie,and the question's been asked if Jimmy was a sloppy player?!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Page as likely to strum a mandolin or a 12-string acoustic as to attack a twin-necked guitar with a violin bow."

When did that ever happen?

There is footage floating about the internet of Page playing a mandolin in front Headley Grange. I think it's from the It Might Get Loud documentary.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is footage floating about the internet of Page playing a mandolin in front Headley Grange. I think it's from the It Might Get Loud documentary.

Disco Reggie was refering to Page using the violin bow with the double neck section of that quote... hence the bold section...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now