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Interviews with Jimmy Page - 2015.

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He's re=writing history; Page did not consider Plant a "master musician/ virtuoso" in 1968 when he put Zep together; all accounts from other reliable sources show that Plant's initial tenure was tentative. The Page spin. Masterful at it.

I've read this before, but I don't remember why Page had reservations about Plant's role in Led Zeppelin during the band' first two years.  Could someone please refresh my memory?

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I stumbled across this interview last week.  It was published in an Australian newspaper in September 2014.  Page is more forthright than usual in it.  He talks about why he stopped drinking and mentions that he doesn't throw anything away from his musical career.



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I've read this before, but I don't remember why Page had reservations about Plant's role in Led Zeppelin during the band' first two years.  Could someone please refresh my memory?


The problem was that Zeppelin was Jimmy Page’s band. Page, and, to a lesser degree, bassist John Paul Jones set the musical direction. Plant was not even Jimmy Page’s first choice as a singer, and even after he hired him he maintained doubts about the extent of his contribution. “It was obvious he could sing,” Page told Zeppelin biographer Mick Wall, “but I wasn’t sure about his potential as a frontman.” Also, “I didn’t know what he’d be like yet as a songwriter. When I first saw him he was a singer first and foremost.”


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I don't really listen to BBC Radio2 that much, but I'm sure the "Johnnie Walker Meets Jimmy Page" broadcast will be streaming for me to enjoy when I get home from work tomorrow, correct?

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I'll try to listen to the Johnnie Walker meets Jimmy Page special this afternoon, though I think 5 til' 7 pm is a bit early, meal time in this household.

Imo this is a late night listen 10 til' midnight.

Thank f**k for the BBC i-player.

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Jimmy Page on Band Chemistry, Future Plans and "Stairway to Heaven"
 March 28, 2016  | by Gary Graff


No discussion about the greatest guitar players in rock —or popular music, for that matter—history ever takes place without Jimmy Page’s name at or near the top of the list. If the British native had just been the founder and guiding force behind Led Zeppelin, his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame credentials would have been stamped in indelible ink; but, as we all know, there’s so much more than that.

The onetime choir boy (really) from Surrey played his first professional gig with a skiffle band on a BBC stage show at the age of 13 and made his name as a session prodigy, primarily for producer Shel Talmy, playing sessions for The Who, The Kinks, Marianne Faithful, The Rolling Stones, Them and many others before joining The Yardbirds (on bass) in 1966, later switching to guitar after Jeff Beck left the band. Post-Zeppelin Page scored films, formed The Firm with Paul Rodgers and another band with David Coverdale and returned to sessions for The Stones, Graham Nash, Stephen Stills, ex-Zep mate Robert Plant and others.

The past couple of years have seen him immersed in reviewing his life, both through the large-format “photographic memoir” JIMMY PAGE and via a deluxe Led Zeppelin reissue campaign that outfitted each of the band’s albums with a wealth of unreleased bonus tracks. On the other side of all this, however, is the future; Page has plans to record and tour, keeping details somewhat close to the vest but assuring us that at the age of 72 he still has plenty of power, mystery and hammer of the gods to offer.

Music Connection: Your book opens with a photo of you as a choir boy—a surprising image for those who know you from the mayhem of Zep and other rock adventures. What’s up with that?
Jimmy Page: I know in America there’s people who say that music started in the church. I guess, on a group level, even if it was only singing in choir, that was true for me, but I was playing guitar at the time. I thought it was amusing to put that [photo] in. It’s my start in music, you know? It’s like the earliest image and I thought, “Yeah, that’s got to go in....”

MC: So with the Zeppelin reissues and the book, has it felt like having your life flash before your eyes during the past couple of years?
Page: Well, it’s sort of multi-tasking, isn’t it? (laughs) In a way it is, isn’t it? Certainly with the book, it starts off there when I was about 12 or 13, but it goes through to, like 70, so you definitely see your life sort of flashing by and you see the decades flashing by. But it’s alright. You see yourself growing up, really.

MC: So what was in that young Jimmy Page’s mind back then, when you were just starting out?
Page: Y’know, I see these early photographs of The Beatles and George Harrison has got his first guitar, which was my first electric guitar. He’s up north and I’m down in the south, so there must’ve been a few of them around, but not too many. And there I am probably doing what they were doing up there, which is try to emulate the music I heard coming from America in some shape or form and thinking I was Cliff Gallup or some of the early ones in rock & roll, or rockabilly if you like, in the modes of what (Elvis) Presley was doing and inspiring so many people. Buddy Holly, Gene Vincent, all of them. And then accessing the blues and wanting just as much to be B.B. King as much as James Burton. It was the growth of this voracious appetite I had for all things six strings, really. I can see how it manifests across the board.

MC: That’s an experience you almost can’t have anymore, with so much information saturation and not quite as much musical invention.
Page: What’s interesting about my musical history is I was there in the early days when rock & roll hit England and people were seduced by it and intoxicated by it, and then they took that music off the airwaves. But it was too late; everyone was captivated by it. I saw that changing style and what was going on in London, outside of London in the south, what was going on before The Beatles explosion and all that. I mean, I was THERE, you know? I know exactly how things came to be, about how the blues injection came on board with us, with that blues movement from Chicago, all of it. I call that really fascinating—and we haven’t even started. We’re just talking about something that’s pre-Beatles, do you know what I mean?

MC: What was the process of exploring all of those styles to coming up with your own?
Page: Because I had such eclectic tastes as a teenager, I was listening to classical music, I was listening to Indian music and African music as much as country blues. And I played a bit of (harmonica) as well; who didn’t want to sound like Little Walter, eh? All of these styles I was taking on board, so when I became a studio musician and started doing studio dates, I had quite extensive roots. My playing wasn’t just in one area; it was across the board. So it put me in good stead for being accepted into what was a very closed shop. I was seven years younger than anybody else who was playing there at the time, and I was accepted in—welcomed in, really. So that was really cool.

MC: What was the impact of those hired-gun days?
Page: All of my roots, if you like, that didn’t change, but the days of being a studio musician were like an apprenticeship. I went in there not reading music; I could read chord charts. I came out of there reading music fluently, and I came out of there knowing things about recording techniques, which I thought I didn’t know beforehand but I wanted to know about it. That’s how it was; it was sort of like a growing picture, really.
MC: There’s been so much written about you and Zeppelin over the years. Did you think a photographic memoir would tell a different kind of story, “a picture’s worth a thousand words” kind of thing?
Page: I just thought it was much easier to be able to do something like that because I had photographs in my own archive, like the early ones that are in there. And then I had photographs of my own from Bron-Yr-Aur cottage. And it’s all from my own perspective. I thought I’d rather do this than someone else, really, ’cause I wanted to fill in the gaps and I thought it was probably easier dealing with photographers than writing an autobiography. I just thought, “I’d rather spend my time on this one,” and that’s what I’ve done. Now that we’ve got the illustrated book, maybe in the future a written book will follow. (laughs)

MC: Were the book and the reissues done concurrently, and did they impact on each other?
Page: It’s interesting you should say that, ’cause what happened first off was there was the book, and because the book gives the group itineraries of the various groups I’d been in, like The Yardbirds and Led Zeppelin, The Firm with Paul Rodgers and this and that and the other, I had decided to do the website—“On this date so many years ago” or whenever I did this and I did that. So the book led to the website with something different on the page each day. And then I was archiving my own music and it got to the point I went through The Yardbirds stuff. And once I’d done that it got to the Led Zeppelin and I just wanted to be able to find a vehicle where these alternate mixes and versions could be given the proper profile as more information to accompany the original studio albums. And if you’re gonna do something like that you want to do it properly, right? Why do a job if you’re only gonna do half a job. I don’t do things by halves.

MC: A seminal moment of your career, it seems, was when Jeff Beck left The Yardbirds and you became lead guitarist. What’s your perspective on that development?
Page: That’s true. We came over (to America) when there were just four of us, when Jeff wasn’t in the band anymore and the whole of the guitar mantle was on my shoulders. I was really experimenting and trying this idea, that idea. We were playing all the underground circuits over here, all those venues, those magical names that we all know, like The Grande Ballroom, The Fillmore, Winterland, all those places. I saw or witnessed the rise of underground radio on FM that was playing longer tracks than the AM singles market, and I knew that I wanted to make an album that would be suited to underground radio like that.

MC: Which became Little Games.
Page: That’s right. There was a producer involved, but I was really into sort of the production of things as well and I knew what I wanted to do, so I was gonna be producer and do something that would showcase all of the musicians, not just myself. Although the first album would be a guitar tour de force, and I was doing acoustic guitars as much as electric at the time, it wasn’t going to be at the expense of anybody else, and that’s exactly how that first album was put together. Because we weren’t locked into a singles market we could keep developing and expanding what we had, the sort of combined talents of the band. And with the writing that went into it and the performances, it was going to just change pretty much everything, from recording techniques to how songs were constructed and how riffs were done.

"The days of being a studio musician were like an apprenticeship. I came out of there reading music fluently,
and I came out of there knowing things about recording techniques."

MC: Take us back to that first time Led Zeppelin played together—actually as The New Yardbirds, of course. Did you know what you had immediately?
Page: As soon as we finished, we knew we had something. It was so very exciting. Everyone wanted to get on with it, just get into the playing and see what we could come up with. That’s the most rewarding aspect of things from my end of it; I played in what I believe was the best band that was ever going—the best rock & roll band, for sure. At the end of the day, the music holds up and stands the test of time. It’s very warming to think that it touches people the way it still does.

MC: What was the key to that success?
Page: Mmmm...You try not to think about it too much, really. For starters, it was four fantastic musicians, and you can find four great musicians in bands, but it doesn’t always gel the way it did with us. It was that sort of chemistry that comes together once in a blue moon.

MC: You’ve curated quite a few Led Zeppelin archival projects over the years. What’s the emotion like to listen to your life flashing before your ears?
Page: It’s quite a joyous experience. I’m able to hear it all in a different context. It became very apparent to me what a wonderful textbook it had been for bands. And, secondly, it really brought home all the areas we had touched upon as far as styles.

MC: The latest Led Zeppelin reissues are filled with so many extras and bonus tracks. What was the experience like of diving into that sort of minutiae?
Page: Well, all of it was really good to review. It took hundreds of hours of listening. As a safety measure I wasn’t going to do all this work and the project and find the other two guys weren’t behind it, so what I did was put together the Led Zeppelin III companion disc with all the various materials that are on that, all the different mixes and different versions, and also Presence, which I knew would be totally fresh to their ears. I played it to them individually and they were just knocked out with what was being done and they said, “Yeah, go ahead,” and I did go ahead and listened to hundreds of hours of tape. It’s a lot of interesting things for people to hear.

MC: Back in the day, of course, you would record music and put out an album. Now there are so many options—almost limitless. Do you enjoy having these avenues to re-tell and even expand the story?
Page: Sure, yeah. I’ve always paid attention to high resolution downloads and all the digital ways of accessing the music, and the vinyl and how we can put out the best vinyl now that people have ever heard. To be able to present all this extra information, it’s a useful thing to do because it gives the fans, those who actually listen to it rather than just hear it, you’re giving more information so it’s more fascinating to the whole picture.

MC: What type of things did you learn from going through all that material?
Page: Let’s put it this way; it was a real thrill to have the mixes, ’cause the mixes are from the time, you see. It’s not, “Let’s get the multi-tracks up and make something that sounds like it’s from today.” No, because those records were so good in the first place and they’ve got such a strong character to them, the mixes that were done at the time have got a power to them because of that, and an honesty. With Led Zeppelin, it’s all performance. It’s not put together the way things are done today, digitally. In this world of analog recording you had to really deliver a performance, whether it was the guitarist or the singer or whoever it was, or collectively. When the red light went on, you just had to perform.

MC: And, from the control booth, capture the attitude and spirit of that performance.
Page: Well, yes. It’s a bit of shaping, and that’s the thing about being a producer, I guess.
MC: We all love “Stairway To Heaven,” of course. Talk about the shaping and construction of that song, please.
Page: We were all out at Headly Grange at the time, living in the same house, and eating, sleeping and making the music and recording it—there might even be some eating in the music, too. We had this sort of work ethic where we were all together, and the possibilities were limitless, really.

 the idea was to have a song which would actually change as we went through it, layers would unfold with the instruments as they were coming in and the drums would be coming in later as the song progressed and there’d be this movement to the guitar solo that took you through and the momentum would unfold as the pace accelerated.

I knew something like that wasn’t necessarily the done thing in popular music. It was done in classical music but it was tricky with sort of rehearsing it and routining it until Robert had gotten the lyrics, and then it came together, really.

The performances of it were more complete once it had the lyrics there, but it gave us the opportunity to really build something and shape it to perfection.

MC: Is this everything? Have you tapped out the Zep archives?

Page: Well, I’ve been archiving material from when I was at home doing multi-track recording when I was a kid, living at my parents’ house, before I was a studio musician. So I’ve got stuff that goes right across really. None of it’s any good, of course. Maybe some of the songs that I wrote were okay, but the lyrics weren’t so cool. (laughs)

MC: There’s kind of a dichotomy between what the fans want, which is everything, and what you feel comfortable putting out, isn’t there?
Page: Yeah. You want them to hear the best, and that’s what it is. There’s no other discussion on that, really.

MC: Would you like to give a similar reissue treatment to The Firm albums you did with Paul Rodgers?
Page: Possibly, yeah. Certainly with The Yardbirds, but possibly for The Firm. But, you know, it’s quite a time-consuming process, and I’m ready to get on to something new and now, if you will.

MC: Such as?
Page: I want to be putting together something whereby I will be going out and playing live. That’s an important thing. I’ve got new material, too. I’ve certainly got a past, and I would be able to play with just that material, too. So that’s something I want to do, really.

MC: Tell us about your new material.
Page: I can’t tell you much. (laughs) One of the things that’s awful is when you tell people you’re gonna do this, that and the other is they’ve already worked out in their minds what exactly you’re going to do and then people present you with this whole package of, “Oh, are you working with this thing? Are you doing this? Are you doing that?” Let’s just say that I know what I’m going to do, without a shadow of a doubt. I’m going to be playing guitar—that’s absolutely, definitely.

MC: Has working on the archival material informed the new music in any way?
Page: I’ve had new music together for quite awhile; I just haven’t committed it to any sort of recordings because I didn’t want to date it. But I’ll date it and I’ll put a brand on it at the time that I do it. Then I’ll make a point of playing that live, and that’s about as far as the story goes on that.

MC: Is it worth even asking how many guitars you own?
Page: Well, I don’t know, really. I should know, but I can’t because I’ve got a lot of various instruments, a lot of string instruments that go from sitar to five-string banjos to mandolins to acoustic guitars, tabla drums blah de blah de blah. There’s about 120, 130 instruments, I think. That’s a lot, isn’t it? But I can tell you one thing; I haven’t got ’em all in my bedroom at once. Please do understand that.



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Pagey is so cool in his shades! B) I always love to read what's new in Jimmy's world.

He is absolutely right about Zep having one-of-a-kind chemistry.  Damn they had it in 
spades! Some of the greatest rock 'n' roll photography are those 4 guys just doing their
thing under the stage lights.  All 4 were a great unit who complimented each others

And of course he's aware many fans would love him to release pretty much any and
all recordings of Led Zeppelin. Ha!
:lol: Not happening.  Jimmy's a stickler for only putting
his stamp on certain things.  I think there are some more little goodies that could someday
see the light - even outside of Zep.  Who knows  what other projects he's got on the shelf

Thanks for posting!

Edited by KellyGirl

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More of the same in that interview I'm afraid. Only time he seems to be near a guitar is on a magazine cover... sigh.

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I know that this interview has been posted on this thread before, but I noticed that half the interview is missing and since I have full access to it, I thought I'll post it, this time so that folks can read the interview in its entirety! :peace: 

Bonham, Grohl & Led Zeppelin’s legacy: An epic Jimmy Page interview

Features / 16/12/2015 / by Paul Elliott



The guitar legend opens up about absent friends, superstar fans, bad reviews and the next best thing to playing with Zeppelin

In a West London hotel, Jimmy Page is looking back on his 50-year-career. The founder and creative genius of Led Zeppelin is here to speak to Classic Rock about his life and work – from the first recordings he made as a naïve teenager to the legacy that rock’s greatest band leaves behind. He recalls the magic of when Zeppelin first played together, the battles with bootleggers and the press, the brilliance of the late John Bonham, the joke song that backfired on him. And he explains why playing with The Black Crowes was closest he’s come to replacing the feeling of Led Zeppelin.

When you think back to 1968, when you first put Led Zeppelin together, how soon did you realize that you had something unique?

It happened in the first rehearsal, which was in London, in Gerrard Street. I said we should play Train Kept A-Rollin’, but I think I was the only one who knew it. I don’t really know what else we did. But as soon as we played together, everyone knew instinctively that we’d never played anything like that before, or heard anything like that before. And it was just so right.

Had you already written songs for the band before that first rehearsal?

There was material I already had in mind, like Babe I’m Gonna Leave You and some other things. And by the time I got everyone in my house and we were doing steady rehearsals, we were working on Communication Breakdown and You Shook Me. Laying down that material, it was phenomenal. We knew just how good it was.

What did you have in Led Zeppelin that was different to other rock groups of that era?

In those days, you’d find really great groups built around one instrumentalist. In Led Zeppelin you had four master musicians. I know Cream had three, but to get four guys together, all at this high level, that was something else. To be honest with you, I knew the group was dynamite. From the rehearsals we did at my house, I knew what we had. And after we did the first tour in Scandinavia, I knew it would translate in a live capacity.

The first Zeppelin album was released in January 1969. What do you remember about the making of that record?

It was great how the first album was done – by playing it live in Scandinavia, to really oil it up before going into the studio. That way you were able really work it out before you’d recorded it. If you’ve got the benefit to do that, it’s a really healthy way to go into the studio, especially with guys who haven’t been in a studio too much beforehand. Also you had to record very thoroughly, and it was pretty ruthless – you couldn’t go in there wasting time, certainly with a new band.

What were you aiming for with that album?

You wanted to get in there and make the thing explode. You put all the chemicals together and it explodes out of the speakers. The word is chemistry, or alchemy. And that album was a complete picture, you know? So may ideas and combinations that people had never heard before. John Bonham had so much power and so much character in his playing, and there was some great keyboard playing from John Paul Jones. To get that album the way that it was, that was very cool.

From the very start, the band created a huge buzz in America.

We just went in and just destroyed San Francisco, and that was it. The first album wasn’t even out. And it just spreads like wildfire – that this band was just incredible, and then they hear the album…

By the early 70s, Led Zeppelin were the biggest band in the world, outselling the Stones. How did you deal with that level of fame?

If you’re talking about the time of the private jets and all that sort of stuff – do you mean that sort of lifestyle? Because other people were doing that, basing themselves out of cities and using a plane. It made sense. 

I meant how you, as the leader of the band, coped with that pressure. Was Zeppelin’s manager Peter Grant the key to this – taking care of everything so that you could focus purely on the music and nothing else?

Yes, to go that far creatively, you needed somebody to be looking after the business side of it. And Peter definitely took care of the business side of it – outside of the making of the albums, certainly. But he and I went to Atlantic in New York in the initial stages, to do the original deal. And at the time of the fourth album, when we wanted to put that record out with no information on the cover – no band name, no title – Peter and I had an interesting meeting at Atlantic.

How did that go down?

When we got there, the Atlantic lawyers separated us. Peter was in one office and I was in another. They were saying, “You’ve got to have the name of the band on the cover.” I smiled and said, “You can print it on the inside bag, so that when people pull the album out they can see ‘Led Zeppelin’…” I was taking the piss, basically. Because they weren’t going to get the album unless it was under the circumstances we wanted.

You got what you wanted – and that album turned out to be one of the biggest selling records of all time.

Yeah. But we were getting so much bad publicity at that time. That’s why we thought: okay, let’s put out an album with no information and let’s see what people think about that. Never mind what Rolling Stone says…

The bad reviews you had in Rolling Stone – did it hurt?

It didn’t matter. You could tell, even from the concert reviews, that they probably spent their time in the bar. They definitely hadn’t concentrated on what was going on. What was going on, right from that point in San Francisco, was that people were just flooding to see us, and that never stopped.

Do you remember Rolling Stone’s review of Bob Dylan’s 1970 album Self Portrait? It began, famously, with the question: “What is this shit?”

Yeah, well that’s what I would say about Rolling Stone. I wouldn’t say that about Bob Dylan.

But for you personally, were there moments when Led Zeppelin failed? Are there songs in which you hear the band struggling, or perhaps reaching for something that could not be reached?

I don’t think so. I can tell you how things were with Led Zeppelin. When we were working at Headley Grange, recording with a mobile truck, or if we were in the studio, booked for time, we would go in there and we would really work with what ideas we had. There would be things coming out of jams, on the spot. And if one had a riff and it didn’t quite make it, or if it sounded like something we’d done before, it wouldn’t be revisited.

So there are no Led Zeppelin songs that embarrass you?

No. None.

But there are some that sound a little throwaway. There’s one on Zeppelin’s last album, In Through The Out Door – the playful rock’n’roll number, Hot Dog

Yeah. Hot Dog was just a bit of fun.

And earlier, on Houses Of The Holy, you did a reggae song with a phonetic joke title, D’yer Mak’er. It was a joke that was lost on your American fans.

In America they had no clue what it meant, and it was just boring to have to explain what it was. You’d think: why didn’t we name it something else? At least the Brits got it, thank God.

Are there Zeppelin songs you feel are underrated?

What would you say?

Poor Tom is one. Maybe it got lost on Coda, the outtakes album released in 1982 after the band split. But it’s a great track. Dave Grohl loves it: he said that it’s one of John Bonham’s best performances.

Yeah. He’s right. And okay, here it is with Poor Tom. I had an idea for the drumming in that song. I said to Bonzo, ‘This is what is.’ And I knew he’d got it within five minutes, maybe not even that. He’d got the syncopation in his playing. That’s what it was like playing with John. He and I were so in sync – it was so cool. You could be writing something and, bang, you knew exactly how it would all sound.

Another underrated song is For Your Life, from Presence. So underrated, in fact, that when Zeppelin played it at the O2 in 2007 – the first time you’d ever played it live – many reviewers thought it was a new song.

That was… interesting (laughs). The reviews for the O2 were wonderful. But in the euphoria, people thought For Your Life was a new number. They knew all the other things, but that one song they weren’t aware of.

I would suggest that anyone who didn’t know For Your Life should not have been at the O2 that night. Their ticket should have gone to a genuine Zeppelin fan.

Yeah, I think you’re probably right. But in context, it was so cool to do that song. It’s quite edgy to play. There’s a lot to remember in it, so many changes, unexpected changes.

Was it also hard to stay in the groove on that song, because you play it so slow?

To get the tension in it – yeah. It’s quite an intense groove on that one.

You’ve said that you were pretty nervous before the O2 show.

I always get nervous, but probably never more so than then. You only had one shot, for heaven’s sake. But we’d put a lot of rehearsal into it, so I knew it would work. And really, it was a great gig, which is why it was so important to me that we got everything right with the DVD of it (Celebration Day). It sounded so, so good. For people who didn’t actually manage to get to the gig, what they got as a DVD was not going to disappoint them. They didn’t get into the show, but my goodness that DVD is good.

And better than the bootleg DVDs that were on sale within days of the gig…

You know, there was a guy from Japan who filmed it. He was on the plane immediately to go back to Japan, and the DVD was out within a matter of hours, let alone days of weeks. It’s the same thing when you play in Japan. I know for a fact that if you do a tour there, you’re bootlegged instantly. So if you’re starting a tour, you’re warming up, you really don’t want to go over there and do a dodgy show. You’ve got to go in there with all guns blazing.

Surely the biggest problem is not bootleggers but fans filming gigs on their phones?

Oh yeah, everyone’s like that now. On the first Led Zeppelin tour we’d be doing stuff that was going to appear on the second album. But now, bands have to be so careful about playing new stuff in front of an audience. You’re confounded by YouTube.

Kate Bush found a solution. For her shows at the Hammersmith Apollo in 2014, she requested that fans did not film the performances, and it worked.

Did you see that concert? I did. And I can tell you: if somebody had held up a camera they’d have been lynched. There was such a feeling towards it. The people had so much respect for Kate.

You had your revenge on the bootleggers with the Led Zeppelin reissues – all nine of the band’s studio albums supplemented with previously unreleased tracks. Out of all that archive material, what for you is the very best of it?

I love the Bombay session from ’72 (featured on the new version of Coda). It was just Robert (Plant) and I that went out there. I was so mad keen to do something with Indian musicians. They were the equivalent of what you would now call the Bollywood musicians, except in those days it was really insular. They were classical players, and they’d never heard Led Zeppelin music before. The whole idea of the experiment was to see what it would be like for these ethnic musicians to translate from the guitar.

Golden god: Jimmy in 1977 ( Chris Walter/WireImage )

The first song you played with them was Friends, from Led Zeppelin III. Why that song?

When I’d written Friends, I’d thought of it in that sort of Indian style, with the complex rhythms from the tabla.

You can hear that in the original.

Absolutely! I thought we could do this song. They played it purely on their technique. It was so exciting. And because we were only in there for an evening, I didn’t want the moment to go, so I thought: right, let’s do something else. We had this great percussion: a tabla drummer and another playing a double-ended long drum. So I fired up Four Sticks (from Led Zeppelin IV), and these drummers were so technically adept, they just sailed through.

All of this additional material on the reissues was drawn from your personal archive. Is there more treasure that you have hidden away?

Yes. I have stuff that precedes Led Zeppelin as well – stuff that I did way, way back when I was a teenager, writing, trying experimental recordings at home, in a really sort of naïve way. Then, going on to when I was a studio musician, I have stuff from that period. And I’ve got lots of material from The Yardbirds.

Will any of this material ever be released?

Well, I started going through all this stuff, revisiting it with an idea of putting it all together in chronological order, to have a proper inventory of what it was – from Led Zeppelin and beyond. But once I hit the Led Zeppelin stuff, I just focused on that.

So in answer to my question…

For now, there is no answer.

What do you feel is the best record you’ve made outside of Led Zeppelin?

I don’t know. What do you mean by best?

Maybe the one that you most enjoyed making.

I had a solo album in 1988. Outrider. It wasn’t bad at all. I can still relate to it.

What about the records you made in the period just beforeOutrider? In the mid-80s, you recorded two albums with Paul Rodgers in your group The Firm, but that band seems to have been written out of history.

I enjoyed what I did with those albums. Paul is such a great singer. But I think, unfortunately, that The Firm’s second album (Mean Business) was one of those things recorded in the 80s that suffered a bit from the sounds of that time. The band was really good, but with that album you don’t get the full meat and potatoes.

And after that?

I enjoyed working with David Coverdale (for one album, Coverdale Page, released in 1993). What I really enjoyed doing was playing with The Black Crowes. That was phenomenal. There was only one downside. The set that we had was a mixture of Black Crowes songs and Led Zeppelin songs. So I was playing on their music was well. But when it came down to putting together an album, their record company wouldn’t let them do a re-record. So that’s why that album (Live At The Greek: Excess All Areas, released in 2000) was mostly all Zeppelin stuff, with some old blues songs. It was really a bit upsetting, but nevertheless the Zeppelin stuff we did, playing it with them, was bloody marvellous. Just fantastic. I had a whale of a time.

Your love of music – is it still as strong today as it was when you were a kid?

I’m certainly very passionate about it. And it’s funny, really. I’m quite aware of the fact of being that kid who was on that bloody embarrassing TV thing when he was in a skiffle group when he was about twelve. But that passion that I had as a kid, it took me though the world of being a studio musician – and it was such a great schooling, you know? I learned to read music, and by the end of it I was doing arrangement and production. For an untrained musician, self-taught, it was so cool.

Did you always believe, as a young man, that you would be successful?

Oh my God. Not if I’d been thinking as an adult as opposed to a teenager.

Meaning what?

As an adult, you’d think: if you muck up, you ain’t gonna be seen again. You know, that pressure of not wanting to fail. But I just went in there and pulled it off. When I look back, I think that was quite something.

And when you think of what you went on to achieve with Led Zeppelin, what are you most proud of?

The fact that our music reached so many people. We couldn’t supply the demand of people wanting to see us. Even when we hadn’t played in England for a number of years and we played Knebworth (in 1980), there were record crowds for that time.

What was it about Zeppelin’s music that connected with such a huge audience?

It’s no one thing – it’s so many things. We touched on so many different areas of music. That’s why Led Zeppelin is such a vast, panoramic, all-encompassing thing. Over the years, you hear these artists that have been inspired by our stuff, and they’ve done something in the same sort of vein, but people can hear what we did first. Led Zeppelin is the forerunner, the catalyst, for a lot if ideas and movements. And the fact that this music has been so alive all through the years – young kids come to it, they learn from it – that’s absolutely brilliant.

The band is gone, but the music lives on…

That’s it, exactly. People are always telling me how important our music has been to their life. And that, really, is the whole heritage and the legacy of Led Zeppelin.

Jimmy Page at the 2015 Classic Rock Awards ( John McMurtrie )
Edited by Kiwi_Zep_Fan87

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And there you have it.  Too much thinking as an adult these days.  Too bad the kid inside Jimmy is being suppressed by the adult.  It's always best to follow your heart, but that darn head sometimes gets in the way.  Much love to you, Jimmy.

Thanks for sharing, Kiwi. :) 

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Do you remember Rolling Stone’s review of Bob Dylan’s 1970 album Self Portrait? It began, famously, with the question: “What is this shit?”

Yeah, well that’s what I would say about Rolling Stone.



Thanks for posting P! 

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On 4/7/2016 at 6:56 PM, Ddladner said:

And there you have it.  Too much thinking as an adult these days.  Too bad the kid inside Jimmy is being suppressed by the adult.  It's always best to follow your heart, but that darn head sometimes gets in the way.  Much love to you, Jimmy.

Thanks for sharing, Kiwi. :) 


23 hours ago, The Old Hermit said:

A million thanks for posting the full CR interview, Kiwi, you're a gem.

You're very welcome! The pleasure was all mine! :D 

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21 hours ago, Sathington Willoughby said:

Do you remember Rolling Stone’s review of Bob Dylan’s 1970 album Self Portrait? It began, famously, with the question: “What is this shit?”

Yeah, well that’s what I would say about Rolling Stone.



Thanks for posting P! 

Good golly! :hysterical: That really made me laugh, Morgan! Not that I didn't notice it before or anything, but it's even funnier when you highlight it, in that fashion! :P 

I think I'll cut and paste that lovely little quote by Jimmy on his opinion of RS, and post it to all those threads that contain lists compiled by RS , pertaining to (for instance) the 100 best drummers of all time or 100 best guitarists of all time! That quote will certainly make for interesting reading, much more interesting than the lists themselves! :shifty:;) 

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2 hours ago, Kiwi_Zep_Fan87 said:

Good golly! :hysterical: That really made me laugh, Morgan! Not that I didn't notice it before or anything, but it's even funnier when you highlight it, in that fashion! :P 

I think I'll cut and paste that lovely little quote by Jimmy on his opinion of RS, and post it to all those threads that contain lists compiled by RS , pertaining to (for instance) the 100 best drummers of all time or 100 best guitarists of all time! That quote will certainly make for interesting reading, much more interesting than the lists themselves! :shifty:;) 

lol yea that was a superb burn by Jimmy! ;)

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A conversation between three of the patrons of the Outside Edge Theatre Company: Jimmy Page, Simon Woodroffe and David Charkham.

The discussion covers how they got involved in this charity, their own theatrical experiences and the value of the work for people who are recovering from addiction.

This video was shot by Laurentiu Calciu, produced by Rupert Wolfe Murray and it was shot during the UKESAD conference on addiction treatment in London, May 2016.



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That interview was more interesting and revealing than any of the interviews he did for the remasters promotions. Especially with regard to his approach to stage fright.

Thanks for posting.

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Below is an excerpt from Marc Myers’ new book “Anatomy of a Song: The Oral History of 45 Iconic Hits That Changed Rock, R&B, and Pop” (Grove Press), which you can buy on Amazon. In it, Myers talks to Led Zeppelin member Jimmy Page and collaborators about the making of one of the band’s hits that changed rock history, “Whole Lotta Love.” Released in November 1969, the song helped kick off a wave of more experimental rock on radio.

In 1968, record companies were becoming more comfortable letting unproven rock bands experiment on albums. In prior years, only seasoned musicians and proven moneymakers like the Beatles, the Beach Boys, the Rolling Stones, and Bob Dylan had that opportunity. The rest had to focus on tightly controlled singles, with albums functioning merely as collections of those short records. Starting in 1968, the album began to be viewed by a growing number of labels as a separate creative platform for rock bands, particularly those with electric guitarists who could wail on longer solos. There were two reasons for the abrupt shift. First, the rising sales of stereo systems were creating an appetite for rock albums. Second, a growing number of stereo FM radio stations were promoting rock albums as a more sophisticated and better-sounding format than pop singles.

Unveiled in the early 1930s, FM radio didn’t catch on until the early 1960s. Up till then, most U.S. radio manufacturers didn’t bother adding the FM band on their units, since consumers were perfectly content with AM radio. But when car companies began offering the FM band on the radios of new models in the early 1960s, AM stations started investing in FM operations. As FM activity picked up, the Federal Communications Commission insisted in 1964 that FM stations be devoted to original programming, not the duplication of AM broadcasts. The turning point for FM radio came in the late 1960s, when Japan began exporting inexpensive stereo components to the U.S. Among the electronics arriving in stores were solid-state integrated stereo receivers that featured both AM and FM radio bands. The availability of FM radio on many new stereo systems led to the rise of stereo stores and the proliferation of FM radio stations, particularly near college campuses. But since FM radio was so new in 1968, stations had trouble attracting advertisers, leaving a glut of airtime to fill. Many stations allowed program hosts to play whatever they wished, including long album tracks and even entire sides.

By 1969, with the consumer market for rock and soul albums expanding rapidly, record companies invested in bands that could fill the longer format imaginatively. One group that benefited from the shift was Led Zeppelin. After signing a major deal with Atlantic Records, the British band toured the U.S. in late 1968 and early ’69 before releasing Led Zeppelin, its first album. The band then embarked on two more arduous North American tours in 1969, releasing Led Zeppelin II in October. The album opened with “Whole Lotta Love,” a song that revolutionised the sound of the rock vocal and electric guitar. The album went to No. 1 on the Billboard pop chart for seven weeks. After “Whole Lotta Love” was released as a single in November 1969, it reached No. 4 on Billboard’s pop chart, and in 2007 it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Interviews with JIMMY PAGE (Led Zeppelin guitarist and cowriter), GEORGE CHKIANTZ (recording engineer), and EDDIE KRAMER (final-mix engineer)

JIMMY PAGE: I came up with the guitar riff for “Whole Lotta Love” in the summer of 1968, on my houseboat along the Thames in Pangbourne, England. I suppose my early love for big intros by rockabilly guitarists was an inspiration, but as soon as I developed the riff, I knew it was strong enough to drive the entire song, not just open it. When I played the riff for the band in my living room several weeks later during rehearsals for our first album, the excitement was immediate and collective. We felt the riff was addictive, like a forbidden thing.

By January 1969, we cracked America wide open with the release of our first album and our first U.S. tour. I had this avant-garde master plan for “Whole Lotta Love” and could hear the construction coming together in my head. From the start, I didn’t want “Whole Lotta Love” — or any of our songs — to be a single. I had been a session musician since the early 1960s, as had [bassist] John Paul Jones. We had recorded on hundreds of singles and hated the abbreviated, canned format. I also knew that stereo FM radio was emerging in America and playing albums. I wanted to develop our songs emotionally, beyond just lengthy solos.

Our label, Atlantic Records, got it, but there was really very little risk on their end. John Paul and I knew our way around a recording studio, so we weren’t going to waste studio time or produce something that wasn’t cohesive. More important, I wanted to expand our approach to ensure that our album wouldn’t be chopped up into singles for AM radio. To make sure that didn’t happen, I produced “Whole Lotta Love” — and our entire second album — as an uneditable expression, a work that had to be aired on stereo FM to make sense.

During the band’s rehearsals in early ’69 for our second album, “Whole Lotta Love” sounded strong enough to open it, so I wanted to record the song first. In April, we went into London’s Olympic Studios and cut “Whole Lotta Love” with engineer George Chkiantz, who had recorded Jimi Hendrix there.

GEORGE CHKIANTZ: There were two studios at Olympic — one large and one small. Management had installed our sixteen-track recorder in the small one with hopes of luring rock bands in there and away from the larger sixty-by-forty-foot space with twenty-eight-foot ceilings, where we recorded mostly classical works and film scores. But Jimmy chose the larger one — even though it had only an eight-track recorder. He wanted the extra space so the drums could be miked properly for stereo.

I was a relative novice then, and what Jimmy wanted was a stretch, given Olympic’s traditional way of miking drums. So I invented a new way. I didn’t mike the snare, since that would have reduced the size and space of the drum sound. Instead, I used a stereo mike on an eight-foot boom above the drums, along with two distant side mikes to give the tom-toms edge, and a huge AKG D30 mike positioned about two feet from the bass drum. Jimmy knew that high-end mikes didn’t have to be up against an instrument to maximise the sound.

PAGE: For the song to work as this panoramic audio experience, I needed Bonzo [drummer John Bonham] to really stand out, so that every stick stroke sounded clear and you could really feel them. If the drums were recorded just right, we could lay in everything else.

CHKIANTZ: To make the drums sound impressive, I placed them on a platform about one and a half feet off the floor. The floor at Olympic was made of wood, not cement, which meant I needed to keep any drum movement from transmitting rumble across the wood floor to other microphones. When we began taping, [lead singer] Robert Plant sang in the studio, but eventually he moved to the vocal booth to better isolate his voice. At one point, Jimmy began fooling around with a theremin [an electronic instrument] that he brought to the studio. We worked it in when the song shifted into a weird, free form.

PAGE: The theremin’s eerie sound begged for more experimentation. To get my guitar to sound surreal, I detuned it and pulled on the strings for a far-out effect. I was playing a Sunburst 1958 Les Paul Standard guitar I had bought from [James Gang guitarist] Joe Walsh in San Francisco when we were out there on tour. The Standard had this tonal versatility, allowing me to get a blistering high pitch. Robert’s vocal was just as extreme. He kept gaining confi-

dence during the session and gave it everything he had. His vocals, like my solos, were about performance. He was pushing to see what he could get out of himself. We were performing for each other, almost competitively.

When we toured the U.S. again in May and June, we took the rough-mix tapes along with us in a large trunk. In Los Angeles, we’d work at studios like Mirror, Mystic, and A&M to overdub material. In New York, we worked at Mayfair, Groove, and Juggy studios. Today, digital files are e-mailed all over the place, but back then you actually had to take your tapes if you wanted to work on the road.

When we were ready to mix all the songs for the album, I wanted Eddie Kramer to do it. Eddie had engineered several of the album’s songs from scratch in London, and he had worked with us in the American studios. He also had engineered Jimi Hendrix’s albums. But by the summer Eddie had relocated to the States, so when we were in New York in August, we called him. “Whole Lotta Love” was all there on tape, but it needed a big, polished mix for the album.

EDDIE KRAMER: The first time I heard “Whole Lotta Love” was in August ’69, when Jimmy and I started working on the album’s final mix at New York’s A&R Recording. Jimmy and I had first met in 1964, when he was playing on the Kinks’ first album [Kinks] at Pye Studios and I was the assistant engineer. I also had heard Led Zeppelin early on in ’68, when John Paul Jones played me an acetate of Led Zeppelin’s first album, before it was released. I was blown away — it sounded so hard and heavy.

In New York, the recording console at A&R was fairly primitive. It had only twelve channels, with old-fashioned rotary dials to control track levels instead of sliding faders, and there were just two pan pots [control knobs] to send the sound from left to right channels. But as Jimmy and I listened to the mix, something unexpected came up.

At the point where the song breaks and Robert slowly wails, “Way down inside . . . woman . . . you need . . . love,” Jimmy and I heard this faint voice singing the lyric before Robert did on the master vocal track. Apparently Robert had done two different vocals, recording them on two different tracks. Even when I turned the volume down all the way on the track that we didn’t want, his powerful voice was bleeding through the console and onto the master.

Some people today still think the faint voice was a pre-echo, that we added it on purpose for effect. It wasn’t — it was an accident. Once Jimmy and I realised we had to live with it on the master, I looked at Jimmy, he looked at me, and we both reached for the reverb knob at the same time and cracked up laughing. Our instincts were the same — to douse the faint, intruding voice in reverb so it sounded part of the master plan.

PAGE: I hadn’t heard anything like that before, and loved it. I was always looking for things like that when I recorded. That’s the beauty of old recording equipment. Robert’s faraway voice sounded otherworldly, like a spirit anticipating the vocal he was about to deliver.

KRAMER: By adding reverb, we made his faint voice more dynamic, and it became part of rock history. I also used the pan pots on Jimmy’s guitar solo to fling it from side to side, so it would move from one speaker to another. I loved the sonic imagery, and I like to think of my mixes as stereophonic paintings.

On the break after the first chorus, where the song gets quiet and we hear Bonzo’s cymbals and percussion and Jimmy’s distortion, Jimmy and I went nuts on the knobs. We had eight dials controlling the levels on eight individual tracks, so we rehearsed the choreography of what we were going to do to create the far-out sounds. Then we did it and printed the result onto the master stereo reel. Because Jimmy was a studio brat, he really understood how we could push the limits. When you have limitations in the studio, you go for it and stretch your imagination.

PAGE: Some people said later that “Whole Lotta Love” was based on Willie Dixon’s “You Need Love” [recorded by Muddy Waters and released in 1962] and the Small Faces’ “You Need Loving” [released in 1966]. My riff — the basis for the entire song — sounds nothing like either of them. Robert had referenced the Dixon lyrics because with my riff, they felt right. This eventually forced us to give Dixon a cocredit on our song. But if you take Robert’s vocal out, there’s no musical reference to either song.

When we were done, “Whole Lotta Love” ran 5:33, which was great since at the time it was too long to edit for a single. So Atlantic released the album version as a single. We loved that. But soon after, Atlantic cut the single down to 3:12 to satisfy AM radio. Weeks before its release, they sent me an acetate of the edit. I played it once, hated it, and never listened to the short version again.

“ANATOMY OF A SONG: The Oral History of 45 Iconic Hits That Changed Rock, R&B, and Pop” © 2016 by Marc Myers. A version of this chapter first appeared in The Wall Street Journal as part of the column “Anatomy of a Song,” 2011 — 2016. Reprinted with the permission of the publisher, Grove Press, an imprint of Grove Atlantic, Inc. All rights reserved.


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