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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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    Massachusetts

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  1. This sounds great! Please send me the link. Thank you.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Getting back to the topic of Jimmy Page's composing style, I think he came up with A, B and C sections for songs on his acoustic and put them on tape to be worked out later. If you listen to the bootlegs of his personal tapes where he was working on Ten Years Gone or Down By the Seaside or even the Rover you can hear that approach being used. Jimmy would record any idea that he thought could be used in a song somewhere down the line and he kept his library of riffs and parts handy for when it came time to record. He had the different sections of Stairway recorded like that and later on pieced them all together and refined them. Jimmy wrote most of the first album. The blues songs were covers so composition doesn't really come into the equation, but songs like Communication Breakdown and Good Times Bad Times required real composition. CB is an A, B song with two parts while GTBT is A, B and C. Jimmy wrote the lyrics and understood how a song was put together after working in the studio for 3 years. Jimmy also understood the song writing in an intuitive way. I remember reading about recording D'yer Maker. He realized at the end of each verse (on the F and G chords) there was an opportunity for "a moment" as he put it. He understood that songs needed "a moment" or some "moments." I don't think we can call all such "moments" hooks because the example from Dyer Maker is certainly not a hook. It's that buildup of reverse arpeggios over the F and G chords ("Oh! Baby I love you") that creates his "moment", as he puts it. I think this would come out during the recording and production phase of a song rather than in its initial conception. Another technique Jimmy used to compose was to hide his sources. In other words, use a song that you love as a framework and fill in the details with your own musical character and ability. This can be done to a greater or lesser extent. If we look at Since I've Been Loving you and compare it to Moby Grape's "Never" We can see that the feel of the song was taken as inspiration. "Hey, let's write a song like this and capture this mood our own way." We know all the haters never stop calling Zeppelin ripp-off artists, but let's remember we are talking about Jimmy Page's composing style here, and part of his style was to basically remake what he liked into his own tune. Some songs were too close to the original and they got sued, while others are less obvious. Jimmy would take the original tunes and change them just enough to be original. He would know where to add the required "moments" that make the song exiting and memorable. He would leave room for the other members of the band to function according to their own tastes but inside this song framework. Allowing them to do that made the songs further removed from their original sources and allowed the musicians to breathe their own life, style and signature characteristics into the songs, making the Zeppelin Songs. We also know that Jimmy liked to go out in the woods and spend time in nature, removed from the hustle and bustle, bringing his acoustic guitar along. He would develop nice ideas and share them with Plant who would then come up with a melody and some lyrics. Perhaps Jimmy already had melodies incorporated into some of his ideas though and Plant would just come up with lyrics or make suggestions about going to different parts. Another thing Jimmy did, and I think this was a little bit later on in Zeppelin, was to simply go into the studio and start laying down guitar tracks. Then he would build on those tracks by overdubbing harmonies or other parts and just let his creative juices run. Eventually, these riffs and layers of guitar would shape themselves into songs and I think this is how most of Presence was written. Something else to consider is Jimmy's overall perspective on the music scene at the time. When he was touring in the States with the Yardbirds, he paid close attention to what the underground scene wanted and how it was developing and which way it was trending. I read in his biography where he talked about his experience listening to FM radio in America and how it was different than in England. He talked about how the kids really liked the rave-up sections of the Yardbird's tunes and how the FM stations were really progressive. He got the distinct notion from these observations that he knew exactly what the next big thing was going to be, and he wanted to deliver it ahead of the trend so he could be there first. This is why he wanted total artistic control of the recording and production and why Peter Grant had to negotiate that into the deal. Page had real insight into where the underground scene was headed and wrote music to satisfy what he felt would be the demand. He was right! His vision for what American audiences were soon to demand was right on the money. They wanted something faster, edgier, dramatic, exciting and different. It was time for a change. All of this also informed Jimmy's composing style because he wrote what he thought the people wanted to hear. He said, "I think music is going to go in this direction, so let's write songs that anticipate that trend" and he did that. Let's bear in mind the distinction between composing a song and producing one. To compose a song you need a few parts and a melody with some lyrics. To produce it, you need to decide how it will be arranged, which instruments to use, how to mix it, how to add "moments" and so on, until it is polished and ready for the radio. Jimmy excelled in that department but it's a little different than composing.
  11. I think Jimmy's slop and weird tone from 75 onward is because of a few things, but his finger injuries aren't in the mix. For one, you can't be both a guitar hero and a junky. The next issue is that Jimmy was pursuing a cleaner tone. He wanted to hear more of the actual note, the actual tone, than the distortion or overdrive. So he modded the amp to get much more head room. However, playing with less overdrive tends to highlight the mistakes one makes. It really highlights any slop. This also made the tone suspect for songs like black dog which just didn't sound quite right. Another issue is Jimmy got lazy. He was having too much fun living like a rich man, traveling, buying art and, of course, doing heroin, to practice his guitar. He basically only played on tour plus the rehearsals before the tour. When he was younger he was attached to his guitar at the hip. He wouldn't put it down. He was obsessed with it. That youthful enthusiasm tends to fade and when you combine in other factors that led him to distraction, it's clear that he was severely rusty from 75 onward, but especially in 1980.
  12. Thanks for this insight. I heard Bert Jansch's Black Waterside and it's definitely the original Black Mountain Side. One thing that I find curious about your comment is the inclusion of Four Sticks. I don't see how that fits. Could you expand on that some?
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