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ThreeSticks

Led Zeppelin in the months following Bonzo's passing

64 posts in this topic

The time between Bonzo's passing and the early December 1980 announcement (however obscure the statement may have been) that Led Zep had disbanded is the subject of a lot of conjecture and rumors. If you listen to the surviving members nowadays, they will tell you that the decision to bust up was immediate. That the band couldn't have survived without Bonzo, and the decision to stop was immediate. They just wanted to wait a little bit before announcing it. However, I have heard in so many LZ documentaries over the years that various drummers ranging from Carmine Appice to Aynsley Dunbar were seriously rumored to be replacements...even to the point of rehearsals being scheduled. I can understand the temptation to tour because the band must have forked over a bunch of money to promoters for all the cancelled gigs on the North American tour.

 

Do you feel that the decision to disband was totally immediate and unified, and do you feel that the surviving members seriously considered keeping it going but thought the better of it in the end?? I mean, the announcement that they put out in early December 1980 wasn't exactly a definitive statement that the band was done. It just said that they couldn't continue as they were. Well, or course not, nobody could replace Bonzo. But The Who said the exact same thing after Moon died....that they couldn't continue as they were....but that they would try to continue.

Edited by ThreeSticks

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The decision to disband was immediate and unanimous. It was Peter Grant who suggested they "think it over" with the understanding they would reconvene in about two month's time, which they did. Although the press may have speculated on a  replacement, there was never any considered by the band nor any rehearsals held.

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8 hours ago, SteveAJones said:

The decision to disband was immediate and unanimous. It was Peter Grant who suggested they "think it over" with the understanding they would reconvene in about two month's time, which they did. Although the press may have speculated on a  replacement, there was never any considered by the band nor any rehearsals held.

You are likely right Steve however I believe an alternate theory is just as plausible:

I think that Page & Jones did in fact want to move forward with a new drummer, at least to finish out their commitments toward the NA tour, but Robert immediately said no way, game over. Jimmy realized the band could not lose two members and continue in any fashion so that was that. I truly believe it was ultimately a Robert decision, and one he made the very second he found out Bonzo had passed away.

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10 minutes ago, IpMan said:

You are likely right Steve however I believe an alternate theory is just as plausible:

I think that Page & Jones did in fact want to move forward with a new drummer, at least to finish out their commitments toward the NA tour, but Robert immediately said no way, game over. Jimmy realized the band could not lose two members and continue in any fashion so that was that. I truly believe it was ultimately a Robert decision, and one he made the very second he found out Bonzo had passed away.

Come on, man. There were no unfulfilled touring commitments as all the North American dates were cancelled (and elapsed) when they reconvened in December 1980. There was a contractual obligation with Atlantic Records for one more album, which they reluctantly met two years later with Coda. There is absolutely nothing to suggest whatsoever that any of the surviving members supported continuing on. Bear in mind these men had entered an 18 month artistic hiatus following the loss of Robert's son.  No way they "move forward with a new drummer". Peter Grant simply felt it was appropriate to reconvene prior to issuing an official public statement concerning the band.   

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8 minutes ago, SteveAJones said:

There was a contractual obligation with Atlantic Records for one more album, which they reluctantly met two years later with Coda. 

I've raised this before, but if the band no longer existed...then wouldn't that have eliminated any requirement for another album? I've always found this last contractual album a little tough to explain, as much as I am glad it did come out. 

Subsequent greatest hits packages also came out on Atlantic, so they didn't change labels after the completion of the "contractual obligation". What if there had been no usable tapes available? Could Atlantic have forced Jimmy to reform a band to fulfil the obligations (highly doubtful)? Did the contract have a clause giving them rights over any post-Zeppelin music by the former members in the case that Zeppelin didn't fulfil it's obligations? 

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With the assistance of hindsight, I have no doubt that there were varying degrees of decisions by each of the four surviving decision makers.   I'm sure Plant was flat-out firm in his decision to call it quits.  At the other end was probably Grant, who saw the fortune they would be walking away from. I think it was the Grant angle that fueled replacement drummer chatter.  JPJ was probably his typical indifferent self, probably saying he would go with whatever decision was made.  Page was probably somewhere between Grant and Plant, but probably more focused on scoring smack. 

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I wonder how much money LZ had to fork over for the cancelled tour? Groups cannot contract to do a tour and bow out because they don't feel like it. You have to pay back promoters and such. There have been all sorts of cases throughout rock/pop music history of promoters and artists/managers ending up in legal disputes over cancelled tour dates. Unless there is some clause in these contracts that if someone in the band dies or gets seriously ill, the band doesn't have to pay back the money.

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Just finished reading the Grant book and he was definitely done, he didn't care at all about lost fortune's. I think the other drummers called and offered their services but that was it.

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7 hours ago, thozil said:

I've raised this before, but if the band no longer existed...then wouldn't that have eliminated any requirement for another album? I've always found this last contractual album a little tough to explain, as much as I am glad it did come out. 

Subsequent greatest hits packages also came out on Atlantic, so they didn't change labels after the completion of the "contractual obligation". What if there had been no usable tapes available? Could Atlantic have forced Jimmy to reform a band to fulfil the obligations (highly doubtful)? Did the contract have a clause giving them rights over any post-Zeppelin music by the former members in the case that Zeppelin didn't fulfil it's obligations? 

In my opinion, it had everything to do with honoring a commitment made to Ahmet Ertegun and preserving their relationship with Atlantic Records and little else besides. The industry really went into a slump aside from New Wave releases. Ahmet may have even called upon Peter at some point after their disbandment to inquire on if they would fulfill their contract for the sake of getting the rock record buyers back into the record stores.

 

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6 hours ago, NealR2000 said:

I think it was the Grant angle that fueled replacement drummer chatter. 

I think it was so many other established rock bands having replaced original members and carried on that fueled the replacement drummer chatter. Grant was shattered, already reeling from a divorce and struggling with drug addiction. As he said in his book, he entered a period of blackness in his life that lasted years.

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5 hours ago, ThreeSticks said:

I wonder how much money LZ had to fork over for the cancelled tour? Groups cannot contract to do a tour and bow out because they don't feel like it. You have to pay back promoters and such. There have been all sorts of cases throughout rock/pop music history of promoters and artists/managers ending up in legal disputes over cancelled tour dates. Unless there is some clause in these contracts that if someone in the band dies or gets seriously ill, the band doesn't have to pay back the money.

Insurance underwriting protects the artists and management in the event of a tour cancellation. We saw this come into play when Page w/The Black Crowes had to pull the plug on their remaining dates. The insurance underwriters had to eat it. Consequently, Page could not perform publicly for at least six months afterward (and he didn't).   

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4 hours ago, SteveAJones said:

Insurance underwriting protects the artists and management in the event of a tour cancellation. We saw this come into play when Page w/The Black Crowes had to pull the plug on their remaining dates. The insurance underwriters had to eat it. Consequently, Page could not perform publicly for at least six months afterward (and he didn't).   

Why did this happen?  Was this when Jimmy hurt his back?

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I would tend to agree with IpMan. Plant knew the time was up before Bonham's death and that simply confirmed it.

I have long thought this. Robert Plant is the true keeper of the Zeppelin flame, whether for the right or wrong reasons, depending on your viewpoint. Plant is very keen for the past to remain in the past and to move forward and as a result, the Zeppelin legacy is largely intact save for a few disastrous and ill-advised reunions.

Plant was obviously disillusioned with Zeppelin before the end and seeing as he had lost his boy, who could blame him? The only reason they carried on after Karac was because Bonham talked him round after himself coming under pressure from Grant and possibly Page.

There are elements of his own past in Zeppelin that Plant is not proud of, he has gone on record about his preening and wailing and not liking some of his lyrics (although I think his lyrics in all Zeppelin are great) and maybe that is something to do with his reluctance in reforming properly.

It is well-known that Page and Jones wanted to capitalise on the positive reaction from the 02 concerts and go on the road as Led Zeppelin, but Plant said no. Unbelievably they toyed with touring with a new singer and even held some auditions. Can you imagine if that happened? Led Zeppelin with Steve Tyler on tour? I have nothing against Steve Tyler but NO. Not Led Zeppelin. 

So, anyway, Plant, for better or worse, should be thanked for Zep's legacy.

And Pagey, if you are reading this, an excellent way to preserve a legacy is to release some more DVD's!!!! And don't tell me there is no material - because there is!!!! And if you don't want to look for it because Kenneth Anger is still in the basement then I will go and have a look for you.

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1 hour ago, morningson said:

I would tend to agree with IpMan. Plant knew the time was up before Bonham's death and that simply confirmed it.

I have long thought this. Robert Plant is the true keeper of the Zeppelin flame, whether for the right or wrong reasons, depending on your viewpoint. Plant is very keen for the past to remain in the past and to move forward and as a result, the Zeppelin legacy is largely intact save for a few disastrous and ill-advised reunions.

Plant was obviously disillusioned with Zeppelin before the end and seeing as he had lost his boy, who could blame him? The only reason they carried on after Karac was because Bonham talked him round after himself coming under pressure from Grant and possibly Page.

There are elements of his own past in Zeppelin that Plant is not proud of, he has gone on record about his preening and wailing and not liking some of his lyrics (although I think his lyrics in all Zeppelin are great) and maybe that is something to do with his reluctance in reforming properly.

It is well-known that Page and Jones wanted to capitalise on the positive reaction from the 02 concerts and go on the road as Led Zeppelin, but Plant said no. Unbelievably they toyed with touring with a new singer and even held some auditions. Can you imagine if that happened? Led Zeppelin with Steve Tyler on tour? I have nothing against Steve Tyler but NO. Not Led Zeppelin. 

So, anyway, Plant, for better or worse, should be thanked for Zep's legacy.

And Pagey, if you are reading this, an excellent way to preserve a legacy is to release some more DVD's!!!! And don't tell me there is no material - because there is!!!! And if you don't want to look for it because Kenneth Anger is still in the basement then I will go and have a look for you.

I agree 100% with everything in this post.

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I have always felt that after the completion of the North American tour (that is, if everyone managed to survive it) that Plant would've said that he wanted to do solo work and for the band to adopt an arrangement similar to Genesis where the band members would either take time off or do solo projects for an extended period, and then come back, make new music and tour as Led Zeppelin when the time was right. I don't feel Plant would've just bolted. The band was too good, but the days of LZ working non-stop were over, as were the days of being tax exiles. Since LZ stayed in Britain from 1977 until the end, one would assume that some of the awful tax laws that forced English rockers into exile had been reduced. It still saddens me that Bonzo died before all this could've happened. It's possible that being able to stay in England with his family and the reduced workload, along with support from family and friends, might've led him to getting sober or at least severely curbing his booze intake once the tour was done. I don't know.....it's probably wishful thinking on my part.

Edited by ThreeSticks

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It is well-known that Page and Jones wanted to capitalise on the positive reaction from the 02 concerts and go on the road as Led Zeppelin, but Plant said no. Unbelievably they toyed with touring with a new singer and even held some auditions. Can you imagine if that happened? Led Zeppelin with Steve Tyler on tour? I have nothing against Steve Tyler but NO. Not Led Zeppelin. 

I still question whether JPJ and Jimmy seriously entertained the idea of bringing in another lead singer and touring under the name of Led Zeppelin. The whole thing may have been a callous business tactic on the part of a greedy business manager to try to piss off Robert enough to cave in. Once they realized that the singer auditions weren't going to influence Robert, they dropped the whole idea. It's just speculation on my part, but I wouldn't put it past anyone in the music industry to do this.

Edited by ThreeSticks

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I wish JPJ would get on the dog and bone to Jimmy, and they get together, start jamming, maybe writing, and do something. Page and Jones. Could be called JPJPJ! ha!!! They could invite old mate Jason if they wanted.

AND TOUR!!!!!!!!

Quick, someone do up a graphic! Then get onto them!

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9 hours ago, ThreeSticks said:

I still question whether JPJ and Jimmy seriously entertained the idea of bringing in another lead singer and touring under the name of Led Zeppelin.

Exactly right, ThreeSticks - according to Miles Kennedy, anyway, who rehearsed with Jimmy, JPJ and Jason in London in 2008. Kennedy said that even though he sang Kashmir, No Quarter and Rain Song with them, Jimmy and Jonesy themselves told him afterwards that 'It was a new project, it wasn’t going to be Led Zeppelin'. Can't get much clearer than that, really! 

Edited by Brigante

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2 hours ago, Brigante said:

Exactly right, ThreeSticks - according to Miles Kennedy, anyway, who rehearsed with Jimmy, JPJ and Jason in London in 2008. Kennedy said that even though he sang Kashmir, No Quarter and Rain Song with them, Jimmy and Jonesy themselves told him afterwards that 'It was a new project, it wasn’t going to be Led Zeppelin'. Can't get much clearer than that, really! 

Yes, all true. But Steven Tyler did audition and apparently Jimmy got pissed off with him for something which I can't remember and told them to put him on a plane.

Whether it was going to be called Led Zeppelin or another name, I'm glad nothing came of it. It could have been disastrous. No Plant, no Zep. No Bonham, no Zep. No Page, no Zep. No Jones, no Zep. 

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So, did having Jason Bonham sitting in for O2 concert warrant passing the gig off as a "Led Zeppeln" show? 

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4 minutes ago, Stryder1978 said:

So, did having Jason Bonham sitting in for O2 concert warrant passing the gig off as a "Led Zeppeln" show? 

Fine for a one off but we all know it wasn't really Led Zeppelin deep down.

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I'm sure even if they had toured in 2009 with Steven Tyler / Myles Kennedy / whoever, they'd have had trouble credibly calling it Led Zeppelin. Bit like "Queen + Paul Rodgers", no one seriously thinks it's Queen do they, that band died when Freddie Mercury did.

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2 hours ago, morningson said:

Steven Tyler did audition and apparently Jimmy got pissed off with him for something which I can't remember and told them to put him on a plane.

According to Tyler, after they'd rehearsed for a while, Jimmy said to him 'So, do you want to write a record with me?' and Tyler said ''Thanks, but I'm in Aerosmith!' I can see why that might have pissed Jimmy off...! 

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1 hour ago, Mook said:

Fine for a one off but we all know it wasn't really Led Zeppelin deep down.

AGREED!

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Exactly right, ThreeSticks - according to Miles Kennedy, anyway, who rehearsed with Jimmy, JPJ and Jason in London in 2008. Kennedy said that even though he sang Kashmir, No Quarter and Rain Song with them, Jimmy and Jonesy themselves told him afterwards that 'It was a new project, it wasn’t going to be Led Zeppelin'. Can't get much clearer than that, really! 

I wonder why this never materialized. Myles, other than the fact that he's in 15,000 bands, would have been a nice singer for a JPJ/Page/Bonham project. Having Steven Tyler in the thing would've been a disaster. It would make the band look like one of these record company produced super groups that makes a record but never tours because everyone is involved in so many things. They needed to get a singer who could hit the high notes in The Immigrant Song for the project to be truly awesome. I wonder why the project never materialized. They didn't need the Led Zeppelin brand name. They could've called themselves The Magic Bullets, but as soon fans found out who was in the band and the songs they would be playing, I guarantee you the band could've played 50 dates in 17,000 seat sold out arenas in the United States (and elsewhere). 

 

I really do hope that at some point Jimmy Page gets together a new band, puts out a new album, and does a new tour. I was so fortunate to see the Page/Plant "Clarksdale" tour, and it's a night I will never forget. Seeing Jimmy back on stage playing with fire was a dream come true.

Edited by ThreeSticks

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