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Klape

Bonham last day

18 posts in this topic

Hello !

Just a quick question, do we know with who was John Bonham drinking the day he died (I'm having a hard time imagining he was alone but maybe I'm wrong) ?

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I thought he was with some one  employed to assist the band.  I am not sure if he was with this person for that whole day from his first drink until he went to bed (and was eventually found unresponsive)

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1 hour ago, Klape said:

Hello !

Just a quick question, do we know with who was John Bonham drinking the day he died (I'm having a hard time imagining he was alone but maybe I'm wrong) ?

His personal assistant, Rex King.

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2 hours ago, SteveAJones said:

His personal assistant, Rex King.

Thank you :)

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10 hours ago, SteveAJones said:

His personal assistant, Rex King.

I think that Rex King was John's personal driver and assistant for that fateful day.  Benji and Matthew were also personal assistants to Bonzo, just not on that day. 

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Posted (edited)

He was with Rex King on his way to the rehearsal but then I believe he was with the band (& some members of their entourage) from the rehearsal, back to Page's house & it was there that he fell asleep, drunk & was taken upstairs to bed.

John Paul Jones on the 24th September 1980:-

“It was just at the point where we had all come back together again. We had high hopes it was all coming right. Bonzo had been getting a bit erratic and he wasn’t in good shape. There were some good moments, but then he started on the vodka. I think he had been drinking because there were some problems in his personal life. But he died because of an accident. He was lying down the wrong way.”

And:-

On the way there in a car with Robert Plant on the 24th John suddenly said: “I’ve had it with playing drums. Everybody plays better than me. I’ll tell you what, when we get to the rehearsal, you play the drums and I’ll sing.”

Edited by Mook

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2 hours ago, Mook said:

"...Everybody plays better than me...”

 

grave.jpg

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6 hours ago, Mook said:

 

John Paul Jones on the 24th September 1980:-

“It was just at the point where we had all come back together again. We had high hopes it was all coming right. Bonzo had been getting a bit erratic and he wasn’t in good shape. There were some good moments, but then he started on the vodka. I think he had been drinking because there were some problems in his personal life. But he died because of an accident. He was lying down the wrong way.”

And:-

On the way there in a car with Robert Plant on the 24th John suddenly said: “I’ve had it with playing drums. Everybody plays better than me. I’ll tell you what, when we get to the rehearsal, you play the drums and I’ll sing.”

This sounds like a pretty devastated man to me. Obviously whatever was going on was beyond your typical domestic problems and it affected Bonzo greatly. This had nothing to do with playing ability and everything to do with a man feeling worthless and his life out of control. I heard the second quote before but I had no idea Bonzo spoke this the day before he passed away and I never heard that quote from Jones before. Taking those two quotes together paints a tragic picture beyond a simple drinking accident.

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The portrait of Bonzo at the end is not a pretty one.  He was drinking 24/7.   

Theres an anecdote in Dave Lewis book about day after cancelled 1980 Nuremberg show, a fan encountered Bonzo staggering drunk in hotel lobby clutching a bottle of liquor.  He was a massive alcoholic, and it just killed him, obviously.

he just needed serious help, but he didn't receive any.  Very tragic and sad.  

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3 hours ago, IpMan said:

 ...nothing to do with playing ability...

JPJ was kind when he said Bonham was out of shape.

At 32, the lifestyle toll took away the ability to show up and be effortlessly magnificent. He let his band down. It hurt him. Add to this he was hurting over not wanting to travel that far away from home any more because of what it would become. The previous US tour was dangerous and Over Europe was too much for him to handle. He wanted to be home. He wanted to be with the band. It tore him apart and he was unable to help himself and those assigned to watch did not.  Over Europe was a warning and it went unheeded.

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He has 16 shots of Vodka for breakfast the day he died.  I am not sure what time of day that was, but it cannot be a good way to start any day.  He really did need a real intervention.  Very sad

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Rex King picked Bonzo up from Old Hyde - his country estate - around noon on September 24th, 1980, and the latter asked to go to the pub, wherein he downed four quadruple screwdrivers (Vodka and orange juice) and a ham roll for breakfast.  According to Benji LeFevre, he was visibly the worse for wear when he arrived at the rehearsal, where he continued to drink throughout, and was reportedly rather leery and complaining repeatedly about the upcoming North American tour.  According to John Paul Jones, not much rehearsal got done, especially - or because - of Bonzo's increasing inebriation as the day wore on, falling off his drum stool several times in the process... leading to Robert Plant calling a halt to proceedings and suggesting picking it up again the next day.

They retired to Jimmy's Old Mill House where Bonzo continued drinking, and complaining about having to go to America, until he passed out around midnight and was half carried/half dragged to bed by Jimmy's assistant Rick Hobbs and (I believe) either King or LeFevre, propped up with pillows at his back and lain on his side.  Apparently he was checked on at around 8:30am and seemed to be fine and still breathing, but when Jones and LeFevre tried to rouse him at 1:45pm, he was unresponsive and there was also a bad smell in the room that supposedly wasn't there when he was checked on earlier (not exactly something you'd miss).

A sad and tawdry but sadly inevitable end for Bonzo... and sadly ironic too; he drank because he was homesick and missing his family, but by doing so to that extent, he ultimately lost them and everything else he held dear in the process.  He was also on mood-altering prescription medication to help him with his recovering heroin addiction, and that plus alcohol plus the anxiety and depression about his decreasing stamina and abilities, plus leaving his family again and returning to America (especially after the Oakland incident in '77), all resulted in a fatal combination for John Henry Bonham, alas...

Can you imagine what it was like for whoever disassembled Bonzo's drum kit at Bray studios after he died... how eerie and surreal a moment that must have been!!!

Edited by The Old Hermit

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Where did the information about the mood altering prescription medication come from?

I don't believe I've seen that before although it certainly sounds about right.

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Still hard to believe John was only 32. He looked much older. Hard living can take its toll.

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There is also somewhere the quote where Jones says once he and Lefevre have checked on Bonzo and realized he is dead, JPJ hears Page and Plant laughing and joking in the hallway and has to go to them and say "wait a minute....".  Can't even imagine what Page and Plant did once JPJ dropped the news.

Edited by in_the_evening
add

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On 17/07/2017 at 1:48 PM, Mook said:

Where did the information about the mood altering prescription medication come from?

I don't believe I've seen that before although it certainly sounds about right.

I believe it was Motival he was prescribed; a mood-altering anti-anxiety medication... according to Richard Cole (pinch of salt included, I know!), he pleaded for Bonzo to quit smack just prior to the Over Europe tour, and Bonzo supposedly replied that if it became a problem, he'd quit.  It would appear he did indeed quit between then and the ill-fated rehearsal for the North American tour, hence the aforementioned prescription.

When Cole (now incarcerated in Italy) was first informed by his lawyer that one of the band had died, his first reaction was "poor Pagey"... but was utterly stunned when told it was Bonzo.

Edited by The Old Hermit

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7 minutes ago, The Old Hermit said:

 

When Cole (now incarcerated in Italy) was first informed by his lawyer that one of the band had died, his first reaction was "poor Pagey"... but was utterly stunned when told it was Bonzo.

Very thought provoking.

Edited by TheStairwayRemainsTheSame

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5 hours ago, The Old Hermit said:

I believe it was Motival he was prescribed; a mood-altering anti-anxiety medication... according to Richard Cole (pinch of salt included, I know!), he pleaded for Bonzo to quit smack just prior to the Over Europe tour, and Bonzo supposedly replied that if it became a problem, he'd quit.  It would appear he did indeed quit between then and the ill-fated rehearsal for the North American tour, hence the aforementioned prescription.

When Cole (now incarcerated in Italy) was first informed by his lawyer that one of the band had died, his first reaction was "poor Pagey"... but was utterly stunned when told it was Bonzo.

I seem to remember reading that in Stairway to Heaven but that was probably 15 years ago which is why it was a bit sketchy.

Thanks.

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