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About Dirigible

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    Zep Head
  1. Both sets look like they're fun as hell to play; neither rack tom is mounted on the bass---nice that. My Ludwig set had a 24" bass too, bub72ck, lots of thump, easier to control.
  2. Thanks, huw! Exhibit A. Vis-à-vis Led Zeppelin and the blues, I prefer their rock music. As a musician I suppose I’m prejudiced in viewing blues as a tired cliché and steer clear of playing or listening to much of it. It’s fairly easy for musicians to throw a blues tune together on the spur of the moment; and musicians the caliber of Bonzo, Pagey and Jones with a vocalist like Plant can play a pretty damned mean blues when the spirit moves them. Their Willie Dixon stuff, ‘Since I’ve Been Loving You’ and ‘In My Time of Dying’ never fail to move me, but otherwise . . . no apologies. From a songwriting/compositional perspective to me it smacks of: “One more track finishes the album, lads, then it’s down the pub.” And ten minutes later beer is flowing and the band’s patting itself on the back.
  3. As far as I'm concerned, Bonzoghost, you've presented evidence that would stand up in a court of law. You've proven to me beyond all reasonable doubt that the Polar studios photo you posted is where John Henry played his parts on the New Yardbirds' final studio recording. The reason I visit this forum is to glean minutiae like that; I celebrate it, revel in it. Since this thread is about the drums of PRESENCE I should mention the album at least, but want to comment on IN THROUGH THE OUT DOOR first. IN THROUGH THE OUT DOOR took me years to appreciate the deepest depths and chiaroscuro musical layers, to finally 'hear' the collection of songs with a proper frame of reference. Zeppelin had, for the eighth time, advanced their music beyond where it had been before, higher up the mountain, if you will. I could appreciate the immediacy of 'In The Evening,' 'Hot Dog,' and 'Carouselambra' and immediately dismissed the obligatory blues track 'I'm Gonna Crawl,' but the other compositions took some time, 'Fool in the Rain' to name just one. The album disappointed me until I absorbed it over a two or three year period, then it made sense. From first listen I assigned the blame on John Paul Jones' synthesizer-heavy compositions. One review of the album nailed it by observing Jones functioned better behind Page instead of in front of him. I immediately loved PRESENCE however the first time I heard it, something that hadn't happened for me since their fourth album. It's a deliberate rock and roll record whereas IN THROUGH THE OUT DOOR is something removed from that. PRESENCE showcases the band's hardest edged studio music in a leaner back-to-basics format. PRESENCE has its own turgid blues on it too, but the rest of it rocks: 'Nobody's Fault But Mine,' 'Hots on for Nowhere,' 'Royal Orleans,' etc. Bonzo's aggressive syncopated approach is the main reason it rocks as hard as it does, he's got more sonic space. Why? PRESENCE is sans keyboards. Great rock bassists like John Paul Jones [and Geddy Lee] should stick to their knitting and veer far far away from keyboards, synthesized ones especially.
  4. As much as I'd like to say Bonham was the leader of the band I'm sure James Patrick would disagree.
  5. I hate to admit it but until about ten seconds ago I thought the other kit was silver sparkle, but it is indeed stainless steel. So as Ed McMahon used to say to Johnny: "You are correct, SIR!" What really convinced me was the cymbals around the set. I know Bonzo's gear well enough I ought to have seen it the first time I looked; that is indeed his cymbal configuration, and heights too (ride very close to the bass drum). I agree that that is the drum room for the IN THROUGH THE OUT DOOR sessions. Richard Cole said Jones and Percy recorded during the day, and the heroin-fueled Pagey and Bonzo played at night. Plant stated, "Jonesy and I wrote most of the tunes because we got to the studio ahead of everyone else." Sounds like everybody in the band's got their story straight. I would not agree the lack of a bass drum head meant 'absolutely nothing' to John, he was anal about that, and in every studio photo I've seen of him the front head is on, intact, without any circular mic cutouts. As a side note I saw Bonzo play his blonde wood kit in August 1969, "a" green one in August 1971, his Vistalites twice in May 1973 and that stainless steel kit in May 1977. All sounded great. Dave Pegg (Fairport Convention) would agree with me, I think. Peggy said he visited the Bonhams right after Bonzo had bought Jason a miniature kit. He asked Bonzo about the 9/8 time signature part in The Crunge. Bonzo demonstrated on Jason's little kit. Pegg was agog: "I forgot all about my question. Bonzo sounded just like the record on that toy set." Forgive the digression (and all quotes are paraphrased).
  6. Phrase plays Bonzo better than anyone I've ever heard, except the late John Henry himself. His band Led Astray is pretty good too:
  7. The green sparkle Ludwigs have always been a mystery to me. The kit was supposedly destroyed onstage during a riot in Milan in July 1971. I've seen photos of the aftermath and the bass drum looks like it survived but afterwards may not have been road-worthy or studio-worthy. Yet Bonzo played a green sparkle set onstage until the end of the March 1973 German tour. How many green kits did he have anyway? Safe to say at least two. I'm still unconvinced either drum set in the Polar brochure belonged to Bonham, especially the green one. In the studio he insisted upon having a front head on the bass drum, no mic holes---the green one in the photo has no front head, there looks to be a pillow stuffed in there too. But those tympani drums are definitely a clue. They look exactly like Bonzo's stage tympani, and the intro to 'In The Evening' keeps echoing in my head........ Sod it! =\
  8. The Boston Tea Party 1969 gigs that I've listened to were a mother. So were their Fillmore sets prior to that. Almost anything from 1970 is stellar. Same can be said about the second night in Berkeley 1971 (9-14-71 IIRC). Zep kicked ass in Oz in February 1972 and the California leg of the '72 USA run was likewise great. I've got half a dozen shows from the March 1973 sojourn and all of them are fantastic despite Plant's diminished vocals. Bonzo started hating Moby Dick early on and usually only played it in America where it was expected of him and he played a lot more call and response drums with Page's guitar during Dazed & Confused in March '73 to display those drum solo chops. D&C was the highlight of that tour as well as the rock and roll medley. The shows in May and July 1973 in the US are great too; 6-2-73 (the only June date) sounds like it was one of Zeppelin's best nights. I bet I've got a dozen soundboard recordings from 1975 (USA & UK) but can't get excited about any of them. They're accomplished performances, but 1977 is different! The LA run in June '77 was inspired, of course, but Lanham 5-26-77 is hellafied too. Knebworth wasn't so hot, I prefer the Copenhagen warm-ups. 1980 found the band much better rehearsed, especially nice were Dortmund, Cologne and Mannheim, but Zurich is my personal favorite, the audience acted like they were enjoying it and Page, Plant, Jones & Bonham responded to the good vibe. The first concert I saw was Led Zeppelin; they're the best live rock act I've ever seen. Just before Sharon Tate (and others) were murdered I saw the band on August 4th, 1969. They opened with Train Kept A'Rollin' which segued into I Can't Quit You, Baby followed by a short 15-minute version of Dazed & Confused. I wondered who the big fat guy on the side of the stage was whispering heatedly in Percy's ear during the bow part. After Dazed & Confused Robert announced: "Even though Led Zeppelin is advertised as playing the [Lewisville] Pop Festival, we haven't even been asked yet!" Boos from the audience. At the end of the next song Plant announced (after another word with the fat man) that: "I'm glad to say we've just been asked to play the festival!" Cheers. The most well-received song that night was the yet-to-be released The Lemon Song because Plant sang a very funny and quite naughty dialogue in the middle with Page noodling along with him while Jones and Bonham laid out. This bit had little Robert Anthony stalking a young female, tying her to his bed and the last line was a long drawn out (several seconds between each word in fact): "...then...I...asked...her...to...squeeze...my..................lemon." The audience laughed like a comedian was onstage instead of a band. For an encore they played the longest version of Communication Breakdown I've ever heard. My dad wouldn't let me go to the pop festival so the second time I saw Led Zeppelin was two years later in Dallas, August 24, 1971. I sat on the fourth row but at an angle to the right side of the stage, Bonzo was completely obscured, I only saw the side of his green bass drum. Pity. The band was much better than the '69 show I'd seen but Plant's voice was shot, he said something about thinking he caught the flu. (A friend saw them two nights later in Houston. He claims he got backstage with a reporter he knew who told everyone he was his photographer and they met the band before the concert. There was some blotter acid circulating and my friend said he took one hit and tripped hard. Also he watched each member of Zeppelin ingest four hits apiece of it then go out and play. I wasn't there so this isn't an eyewitness account. Remembering his story years later I rehearsed in my band tripping once unbeknownst to my fellow bandmates and didn't have any problem playing. I asked the guitar player afterward if he noticed anything different about my drumming that night and he said no. I guess if I could handle it the mighty Led Zep could too.) May 18th and 19th, 1973 were the third and fourth time I saw the band perform in Dallas and Ft. Worth; I recall being pissed off they didn't play The Ocean. I was on a mental high for two weeks, those 1973 shows were the two best rock concerts I've ever seen. These were rivaled only by the last time I saw them on May 21, 1977. Fabulous from start to finish, they played a show that night as long as a Grateful Dead concert. I sat way up in the balcony of the Houston Summit but the band had Showco doing sound and every note was crystal clear and super loud at the back of the hall. Great versions of Nobody's Fault But Mine and In My Time of Dying and a far superior acoustic set than in 1971. The Battle of Evermore was unexpected and intense. I never got excited about Kashmir until I saw them play it live that night, gawd da-yum. Then Achilles Last Stand trampled me underfoot. I'd've given a testicle to see them in Zurich 1980.
  9. I'm a Seattle 7-17-73 man myself, had the audience tape since '76, but five years ago got the soundboard. The differences are vast. Jones sounds huge on the audience tape but less so on the board recording. Pagey and Bonzo played well that night in Seattle. Plant was in much better voice than he was in NYC. Percy lost some octaves after June 1972; till then he could sing a line such as "got no time to back my bags, my foot's outside the door" and hit the notes he hit on the album. But never after June 1972. I always thought he had a throat operation to remove nodes from his vocal cords between then and the October '72 Japanese tour, where he sounds hoarse, and different. Same thing with the December '72 through January '73 UK tour. By March '73 in Germany he sounded like he did during the US '73 shows, and sang in a lower register till 1980.
  10. Peter Grant destroyed the Silverdome footage, kdh? I, too, must ask: how do you know this?
  11. People who did not attend the Cleveland 1977 shows but say they were great is beyond me. "Destroyer" sounds as sterile as a medical operating theater; in person however the Houston concert was a visceral kick in the chest although the soundboard doesn't live up to being there. If bootlegs are any indication (and they're not, they're a 32-year-old barometer reading at best) I'd've rather seen the Landover gigs than NYC. Judging from recordings, the L.A. concerts were the apogee of that tour, basically performed at the end of the long '77 road grind when the band was on top of their game after getting a few dozen concerts under their belts to fine tune their presentation. When they returned to the stage in July for the third leg they seemed to have lost the edge they had at the end of the second.
  12. I, too, think Bonzo was stellar in March 1973. I don't often agree with Luis Rey, the author of the bootleg reference book LIVE, but his assessment that the drumming was so inventive and rocking during that German tour was because of the absence of Moby Dick from the setlist makes perfect sense (to me anyway). Apparently Bonham didn't much care about soloing for fifteen or twenty minutes at a whack, even though Moby Dick received the loudest and longest applause at many concerts. But it was back in the show for the American tour a month later. Had the topic been best studio drumming I think some of Bonzo's most inspired work is during the first minute of How Many More Times.
  13. The point I was trying to make about Moon was alcoholism is a disease that can ruin people's lives, or end them, as the premature deaths of Moon and Bonham emphasize. Whether Moon's appearance at the Badgeholders show amused people or depressed them, one thing is certain, that concert kicked ass because of Led Zeppelin, not cameo appearances by members of other bands.
  14. Poor Tom sounds like a New Orleans second line groove to me, or a stuttering cousin of it. Where a 22-year-old British kid picked that up, as well as the tricky Gallow's Pole, is anybody's guess. D'yer Mak'er I learned by singing the notes to myself. The last bombastic fill toward the end, the one that resolves with the stick striking the hi-hat as it opens and then quickly closing it again with the foot, may be the easiest drum part of the song to play; it's the fills Bonzo slipped in between lyrics that are the hippest (and hardest) to master.
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