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Christopher Lees

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About Christopher Lees

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    Zep Head
  • Birthday 01/25/1974

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    Male
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    Massachusetts

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  1. When I first got these two albums, I was a little disappointed with Presence and extremely disappointed with ITTOD. To me, Zeppelin was Black Dog, Stairway, Heartbreaker, Immigrant Song and the like. Plant's voice on Black Dog and the band's riffs were the most exciting thing I had ever heard in music, while the poignancy and imagery contained in songs like Stairway, Ramble On and Going to California were the other side of the coin for me. With Presence, I did not get my fill in either way with any of the songs. I did like Nobody's Fault right away and Achilles was good but too long for me. The rest of the songs were not quite as good as the ones mentioned previously, although I did kind of get stuck on For Your Life, but even that was too long. None of the solos on Presence really smacked of the Page lightning that had so captivated me in the early albums. The solos on Presence struck me as workmanlike. They were the product of a skilled, experience musician, but not the product of sheer inspired genius, which is how I thought of his solos on the early albums. ITTOD left me astonished in a bad way. "Sha-na-na-na, Sha-na-na-na" sounded like I was watching the movie Grease. I hated SBS with a passion, especially the cheesy vocal harmonies. Page played the same B.B. Box licks that he plays when he runs out of ideas. In the Evening struck me as very good, but the rest were way too 80s-cheesy-keyboard driven for me. Plant lost his early Zeppelin voice and Page lost his early Zeppelin riffs and solos. Hot Dog created massive cognitive dissonance in my mind. My favorite band playing this stuff? Horrible. Fast forward 30 years. I like both albums a whole lot more. ITTOD especially. In fact, I like ITTOD more than Presence because Presence gets a little long with all the songs sounding kind of the same. The guitar tone on Presence never really changes. Still, I now really like some songs I hated, like Candy Store Rock and Royal Orleans. ITTOD has some excellent Page solos, like I'm Gonna Crawl, which is his best playing in the studio since, in my view, Houses of the Holy. The structure of that solo is genius and it conveys so much feeling. SBS is actually one that I will play over and over again now. I saw a cover band play it once and they knocked it out of the park. I thought wow, this is a great song. It's happy and fun. Hot Dog, I think it's great. Fun story, crazy solo and overall good vibe. Carouselambra, I can still take it or leave it. Fool in the Rain, awesome and again, one of Page's most inventive solos. I give the nod to ITTOD.
  2. This is an awesome video. They all did an amazing job, but I think Eric Johnson's solo was probably the best.
  3. I've learned how to appreciate this album over the years. When I was a kid I was the biggest Zeppelin fanboy in the world, and ITTOD was the last album I got of theirs. It took me years to get all the albums and when I got ITTOD, I had to admit for the first time ever that I didn't absolutely love something Zeppelin did. Soon, I realized that I didn't really like this album and wondered how they could have put this out. Looking back now, I think I can name a few things that rubbed me the wrong way. 1. Cheesy keyboard sound. It was all over this album like way too much cheap perfume. 2. Cheesy vocal harmonies that sound like they were done with some kind of effect. Think the choruses to Southbound and Hot Dog for example. Hated it. 3. Hot Dog - boy did I hate this. I was never a country fan and back then, no one was listening to country that I knew. It sounded so corny. Horrible. Hated it. Plus Jimmy's super sloppy playing. 4. The lack of a hard rock, album defining, classic Zeppelin riff like Black Dog, Heartbreaker, Kashmir, Nobody's Fault, Immigrant Song, WLL, The Ocean. Where was the "Zeppelin" on this album? 5. Robert's new limited range and grating voicing that almost sounds off pitch in some songs. Where was the best-in-the-world Plant voice of WLL, Black Dog, Dazed and Confused? I became of fan of Led Zeppelin after being introduced to their early albums. It was the swaggering riffs, Plants unequaled rock vocals and range, Jimmy's enthusiastic, sharp, kick ass solos and the well placed hooks that make you listen to the songs over and over again. The early Zeppelin had great lyrics fully of imagery and mystery. It was the most perfect music I ever heard. I started with Zeppelin 4 and then got 2 and 1 soon after. I had just those tapes for about a year. Then I got HOTH and about 6 months later I got 3. This was Zeppelin to me. ITTOD had almost none of that! Now I realize it is a strong album none the less. ITE is a classic, rocking Zeppelin tune with a great riff, inventive solo and the intro has that mysterious quality that we've heard on earlier Zeppelin, like In The Light or even the bow solo in DAC or HMMT. Fool In The Rain has an outstanding guitar solo on it. No one can agree if it's just a sloppy mess of a flash of genius! I tilt toward the latter. I'm Gonna Crawl has the best Page solo since the HOTH album. Zeppelin fans know that Page lost his mojo by 1978. We know from listening to the live boots that Page never quite captured lightning in a bottle like he did between 71-73, but I'm Gonna Crawl just might do it. It's dripping with feel. That first bent note of the solo has more feel in it than 10 Clapton solos. The whole song captures a sophisticated feel and it's impressive. Hot Dog grew on me. It's a fun song and I like it. Why do I have to be so serious? Southbound has a great chorus and nice guitar riff there. Carouselambra still doesn't quite do it for me, but I can appreciate it as a sort of part 3 of a continuing epic: The Song Remains the Same ---> Achilles ---> Carouselambra. All My Love captures poignancy perfectly. Not easy to do. And it's proved to be one of Zep's most enduring and popular tunes. Fool In the Rain is still played on the radio and people love it, even regular folks who aren't Zeppelin fans. I think the album would have been better if they replaced Carouselambra with Ozone Baby and Darlene.
  4. I think Jimmy needs to put out his own autobiography. He's got either an excellent memory or took excellent notes on his early career going all the way back to his first gigs. He updates his Facebook page daily (sometimes Sharon does it for him) and has fascinating little stories about what he did on this day in 1964 or whatever year. He's got tons of pictures too. Really cool stuff. He digs deep into his studio career with interesting anecdotes galore. I'm sure he could reveal some insights about how he approached composition, his knowledge of music theory, his approach to production, how he practiced his guitar and so many other interesting things. Jimmy is at that age where you can go at any time. That's life. I hope he gets this stuff out soon. That goes for the other members too. I bet JPJ could have a 1500 page biography himself!
  5. This sounds great! Please send me the link. Thank you.
  6. I believe the tracks recorded for NQ at that time didn't sound very much like the final tracks used for the HOTH album. I think they were earlier versions of the song before it was properly developed. It's sounded like a weird and less convincing NQ. I could be wrong. It's been 15 years since I listened to them.
  7. For me, Zeppelin and the Stones can't be compared. I think the Stones are way overrated and I think you had to be there at the time to see the Stones as equal or better than Zep. I was born in 74 and there was still plenty of Stones being played on the radio as I was growing up, but to my ears it sounded, shall we say, "black and white" while Zeppelin sounded "in color", if you know what I mean. Zeppelin ushered in modernity itself in music, while the Stones were "last generation". It's like TV at the time. Shows from 64-67 were in black and white and today, they seem so old fashioned. They seem 100 years old. But the shows that came out in color in the early 70s, while just a few years newer (really they are in the same handful of years), seem so much more modern. A show like The Munsters seems so old while All in the Family just a few years later still seems modern in many respects. That's how Zeppelin comes across to me versus, say, the Beatles, Stones, Doors, Animals and the like. Yes, the Stones, Beatles, Doors - they seem to me like the first three Doctors on Doctor WHO, all of which were in black and white, while Zeppelin is the Fourth Doctor in color! Did I mention Mick Jagger can't sing? Not in my book. He gets by as a rock and roller, but he can't sing. While I'm on it, please let me trash The WHO for a moment. They are another overrated bunch of noise makers. I think if you grew up with the Stones and The Who and you were into it in school before Zeppelin came along, then okay, you might still carry that nostalgia around with you today and no one can take that away from you, but I think they are two of the most overrated bands ever. Zeppelin comes out ahead of them all by a mile.
  8. For this one I can see adding Ozone Baby and Darlene in place of Carouselambra. SIDE ONE: In The Evening South Bound Saurez Fool in the Rain Hot Dog SIDE TWO: Darlene All My Love Ozone Baby I'm Gonna Crawl I like putting Ozone Baby between All my Love and I'm Gonna Crawl for contrast. Something upbeat between the mellow tunes seems in the Zeppelin spirit. As far as Wearing and Tearing goes and Walter's Walk, meh, leave 'em on Coda! I was never a fan of either of those songs, especially Wearing and Tearing.
  9. I don't think this is an improvement, to be frank. I think The Rain Song belongs after TSRTS and that's how Jimmy first had them paired when TSRTS was still an instrumental. Boogie with Stu is not good after the Crunge and has a totally different vibe than the rest of the album. Bron-Yr-Aur isn't a bad choice in terms of mood, but I find it unnecessary and does not improve the album. Sometimes less is more. The thing about the HOTH album is that it's the first Zeppelin album to not feature blues based riff tunes and reworked blues numbers from the past (Okay, I guess The Ocean's main riff is kinda blues based pentatonic). There's nothing on the first four albums that sounds similar to TSRTS. We can't say that about the other four albums. For example, we could say that Heartbreaker, Black Dog and Good Times Bad Times are all kind of in the same "family", as it were. Same with the 12 bar type tunes like Rock n Roll, You Shook Me, Bring it On Home and so on. We could lump rockers like Misty Mountain Hop with Out On The Tiles and very bluesy tunes like Dazed and Since I've Been Loving your and I Can't Quit You together. But TSRTS has no precedent. It's a progressive piece of guitar driven music that was very cutting edge for the time. It has somewhat of an upbeat feel to it, sort of a happy tune, and a feel all its own. Much the same can be said of the Rain Song. There is nothing else similar to it on the first four albums. The chord progression is harmonically rich and sophisticated. It's much more than just another "strummer." The Crunge is unlike anything else they did and so is D'yer Maker (love it or hate it!). Dancing Days has that familiar Zeppeliny feel to it and it might have sat well on the fourth album, but to me, it's much to bright and cheery for the fourth album. The fourth album has a sort of autumn or even wintery feel to it in my mind. Houses of the Holy has a nice late spring early summer feel to it. I think Dancing Days is unlike most of the earlier Zeppelin material simply because of the fact that it is so summery and happy. Therefore, I don't think putting songs like 12 bar strummers "Boogie with Stu" would be a good mix for the feel of the album. "Houses of the Holy" seems like a good fit though, although I don't think it would improve the album. Some might argue that HOTH (the song) is better than D'yer Maker, and I think most Zeppelin fans would agree, but the world knows D'yer Maker (not just the Zeppelin fans) but they don't know HOTH. D'yer Maker is Zeppelin showing the world that they don't take themselves too seriously and that they can have a bit of fun. I think this adds another layer of light to the album and makes it a good choice despite fan criticism. I happen to think No Quarter adds just the right amount of darkness to provide that light and shade contrast that Zeppelin found so important. It serves its purpose. It too, by the way, is unprecedented in Zeppelin's music, even the guitar solo is unlike any previous Page solo. Over the Hills is similar to Bring it on Home and What is and What should Never be in the exaggerated use of dynamics. It's very quiet to start and very loud all of a sudden. I could see OTHAFA sitting comfortably on the fourth album or even the third so it's not as uniquely progressive (for zeppelin) as the other songs on this album, but it's a good fit none the less. It reminded the listener that yes, there is still quintessential Zep to be found on this album, the kind of Zep that we have all come to know and love through the first four albums. The Ocean is another along these lines. It's a bluesy riff based, blues rock solo type tune. It could have fit well on the third or even the second album - but again, it's got that very bright, happy, uplifting, summer kind of vibe that makes it a good fit for Houses.
  10. I can't see changing the fourth album at all. It is the very essence of perfection as it stands. I can't even think about rearranging the tunes (like I could for the third album) because I think the sequence is perfect too.
  11. I think he chose the songs he did because they were all recorded during the studio time allotted for the fourth album. Night Flight and those other tunes didn't make the cut on the fourth album so they stuck them on the PG double album. Plant's vocals on those tunes show him at his peak still, while the others like Kashmir, IMTOD, Trampled and the rest show his new, huskier voice.
  12. I don't think Zeppelin II can be re-sequenced and improved at the same time. It is perfect as is. But Zeppelin three, I could imagine putting Hey Hey What Can I Do after SIBLY at the end of side one, getting rid of Hats Off to Roy Harper and replacing it with OOTT end of side two. Side One: Immigrant Song Friends Celebration Day Since I've Been Loving You Hey Hey What Can I do Side Two: Gallow's Pole Tangerine That's The Way Bron-Y-aur Stomp Out On The Tiles I like having a heavy tune at the end of side two for a little more balance. It's kind of a reward for patiently sitting through the "acoustic set". I think Hats Off is a boring song and I love the blues. It's just that with all that effect on Plant's vocals it becomes a mess and for me it's hard to listen to. If they wanted to insist on playing some real blues, a good song they recorded at that time was an acoustic version of Key to the Highway. That would have been a better choice to my ears. However, I think Hey Hey What Can I Do has lasted the test of time. It's still popular and people love it. I think it's a much stronger choice than Hats Off for the third album. And for Zeppelin II, the only way I can see an improvement at all is to maybe replace Moby Dick with The Girl I Love She's Got Long Black Wavy Hair. I think that would have been pretty good.
  13. That's what everyone says. I have an old 70s Marshall that I crank up to stage volume and the overdrive is kind of pathetic to be honest. I have a Les Paul and I've been playing Zeppelin in bands for 30 years. To my ears, Jimmy must have been using some kind of reverb pedal because the natural hall reverb I get doesn't really do enough to keep the guitar tone from sounding very dry and flat. The sustain Jimmy is getting on his solos on TSRTS, say on SIBLY and Dazed is way different from what I get with my Marshall. I get a more accurate sounding Page tone when I use my little semi-digital amp modeler amp, which I mic and put through the PA. I add a little reverb, set the gain just to where I want it, select from a variety of amp models and it sounds killer. It's one of those little GDEC-30 amps that are no longer made. I used to use them for when I was giving guitar lessons because they amp had jam loops to play to. One day I took it to an audition and the guys were blown away by all the tone I was getting out of that little amp. It's really just a glorified digital effects unit really, but it's easy to use. However, it's starting to malfunction, so I might have to bite the bullet and start lugging that big old Marshall around. I am getting some pedals for it because I'll be damned if I can get a live zeppelin 72-73 tone from it bare bones. I do want to mention that I have not tried it with the echoplex in front of it. That's a big piece of the puzzle I guess. I aim to get one of those echoplex preamp pedals that I see so many good things written about.
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