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lzzoso

Led Zeppelin and "Drugs"

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I honestly can't understand why it is that people are always so stuck on Hammer of the Gods. I too read it shortly after it came out, and I'll admit it was interesting to read in some ways. But in terms of a real understanding of Led Zeppelin as a musical band it contributed nothing at all, and there is no good reason whatsoever to waste time on it now. It's not well written, it's whole perspective is needlessly sinister, it's derivative, it's inaccurate in many places and hence unreliable. There are several other books about the band that are much better in all these respects, and they don't try to hide the drugs and the problems either. Are they boring by comparison with HOTG? Not at all - if that's what you think, it only makes me wonder what it is you want in a book.... Horsedung? :unsure:

Good points Otto but I think it may all be falling on deaf ears.Through their tinted sunglasses, people will believe what they want because it fit's their impression of what the world was like at the time . For those of us that were there, no amount of UV protection can or will hide the truth

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It appears that the majority of rock bands do or did drugs, it's part of the lifestyle. The difference with Zeppelin is that unlike other bands drugs never affected their performance. The only dodgy performance I can think of is the '88 performance in which Jimmy supposedly drank too much before going on stage.

Whoa ! Sorry but this statement simply isn't true. The band died from substance use.Anyone who is being honest and was fortunate enough to see them in their prime, will tell you the same. Don't let anyone tell you different. If they do, they weren't there

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Literally, now that you mention it.

Truth be known, the band was on a downhill slide from 73 on. Anyone who saw them prior to that NA tour and was being honest, would most likely agree.

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False. There are other inaccuracies in that book, given the nature of the topic (concert chronology).

:yesnod: Noted. And looking into the matter further I have also noticed that just before Yorke recounts the story in question, about Jimmy flying in from Salt Lake, etc., he does give an indication I overlooked about the time frame (though not the date as such) and Planet Page was right after all: this will have happened on August 11th (or possibly 12th, but that's less likely). Then again, Yorke has not been proven inaccurate, which is what I wanted to look into in the first place, because I just found it highly unlikely that he would be wrong about it, given the nature of what happened. Jimmy must have traveled to NYC from LA via Salt Lake City.

Edited by Otto Masson

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Truth be known, the band was on a downhill slide from 73 on. Anyone who saw them prior to that NA tour and was being honest, would most likely agree.

I do think Steve is right to mention these other high points, Ally. To me it looks like they were already having problems by 1973, but overall the band was still too robust for these to affect them very badly. One thing I would like to add, that I have mentioned a few times before, is that the band, and Jimmy specifically, peaked early as a live band/performer, but was still going strong in the studio 2-3 years later. By the time ITTOD was recorded, however, even the studio work of the band was affected, and very obviously.

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As for HOTG, I am so NOT going to make a compilation of errors and/or inaccuracies. My point was that there is no need to, because there are better books around. Let's have a look at Danny Goldberg's Bumping Into Geniuses.

"Zeppelin played a three-hour set without an opening act, and at some point during the middle Peter [Grant] pointed to a window that overlooked a highway in which cars were speeding by. "Look at that," he said to me with childlike excitement. "In here people are screaming and jumping around and having the time of their life, and out there those people in these cars don't have the slightest idea what is going on." I later told of this moment to Stephen Davis, who used it in his best-seller about the band, Hammer of the Gods, but in Stephen's version Peter was making this observation to exhort me to make the band more famous. My actual interpretation was quite different. I felt that in the euphoria of the moment he was simply tripping out on the notion of parallel realities occurring so close to each other. Rock concerts at their best generated a tribal reality for the fans, in which they shared moments of all-consuming joy and later felt they had shared a secret that non-fans could never understand. It was a momentary break from Peter's fierce business identity to that of his inner hippie. I was totally into it." (Bumping Into Geniuses, pp. 68-69).

There is no insight whatsoever into Led Zeppelin as a musical band in HOTG, absolutely none. And it so happens that that is just what Led Zeppelin WAS - they were a musical band! Now, does HOTG contain insightful passages about personalities, similar to the passage quoted above? Not either! Davis is too busy proving a point - incidentally a point that sells - to start really thinking about the subject. It has to all look very sinister all the time. There are at least some attempts to cast light on the personalities in Cole's later Stairway to Heaven, but that book is also seriously flawed. It has an account of the beginning of the band - Robert at Pangbourne with Jimmy - that is completely wrong and made Jimmy furious when it appeared. Ev has already pointed out that HOTG relies on the older literature for the basic narrative, especially Yorke. So get Yorke's book, or indeed some of the other really useful books about different aspects of the band. In a situation like that it would be a ridiculous waste of time to start compiling a list errors for HOTG. A list of errors for The Concert File might be worth doing, precisely because the book is really good on the whole and very useful indeed. HOTG? what's the point? Just read a better book, that's all.

Edited by Otto Masson

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:D 'Kay...IMO, as far as HOTG goes, Mick Wall's recent Zep bio was merely an expanded, arguably better-written version of HOTG. Maybe not quite as sensationalistic, but when I read it I could swear that there were passages Wall literally copied verbatim from HOTG. As far as Zep bios go, Yorke's is the best...it really portrays our boys as regular guys, as it were. And he keeps the drug/groupie/occult talk to a bare minimum- unlike Davis and Cole. You want a good Zep book that mainly focuses on the music? Try Keith Shadwick's book, you can't go wrong there.

Back to the topic at hand...Zep and drugs, IMO Page's heroin addiction permanently damaged his playing. Period. His boozing and hand/finger injuries certainly didn't help but the fact that Jimmy was a junkie from about '75 onwards (till about 1983 or so- he quit using junk during the ARMS tour apparently) and his playing seemed to suffer from an ongoing case of fumble fingers (for the most part) is not a coincidence. Robert Plant claimed to have 'given up drugs' after Karac died (though I'm sure ol' Percy, perpetual Flower Child that he is probably still partakes in a toke every now and then). John Paul Jones has stated more than once that Bonham's death "could have happened to any one of us". Without doubt, Jonesy was the "straightest" out of all of them, though he enjoyed his pot, blow and booze as well from time to time. Bonzo...well we know what happened there, and almost thirty years later it's still a fucking tragedy.

The thing is, it was the seventies. In those days, rockers who weren't into drugs and booze were rare indeed. Rather the exception to the rule, as it were. Hell, it was that way throughout the music industry, never mind just the musicians -"A snort of cocaine began to be as common a greeting as a handshake" was a quote I remember reading once (a Stones bio, if memory serves.) Let's not forget that back in those days they didn't really have rehab; interventions were not commonplace, not like today. I always find it funny that, in 2009, we look at heavy substance abusers such as Amy Winehouse and say, "Holy shit; she looks rough- she needs help!"...I doubt back in the day Keith Richards or Jimmy Page got many comments like that; they almost made being permanently high the epitome of cool (it's not, of course- a junkie is a junkie whether you're a millionaire or a $20 whore- when you run out, you all jones the same way- not a pretty sight.) But it's amazing how much the culture has changed over the years.

Sure, in interviews, etc, Page may come across as unrepentant against his old ways, but I'm sure deep down there are times when he thinks, "Jesus, I fucked up bad." Hey, Jimmy ain't stupid, and with the benefit of hindsight I'm sure he's well aware of the damage his habits did to the band.

Edited by Nutrocker

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As well as he played before getting heavily into drugs? With respect, Eternal, we'll have to agree to disagree on that one...having said that, Jimmy is still my favourite guitarist, and "Presence" is still my favourite Zeppelin album. As a picker for some twenty odd years myself, his production and guitar layering abilities on that LP remain unsurpassed IMO. And, incredibly, that was at the beginning of Jimmy's affair with "The White Lady."

Again, IMO for Zeppelin onstage the magic really occurred when all four cylinders were firing...certainly from '77 onwards (arguably '75) that wasn't the case on most nights. And that comes down to Page (and, on occasion, Bonham). Why? Due to their vices. Mind you, as Jonesy said, "Even on a bad night we were still better than most." He's right of course. Christ knows I've heard enough Stones shows, for example, from back in the day where Keith or Jagger were so fucked up that, had I have been there, I probably would have walked out. That said, I'm sure even if I was in attendance at Tempe '77 or Greensboro '75 Zeppelin shows I would have been glued to my seat! :D

Edited by Nutrocker

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I think it may be more due to the passage of time. People still expect everyone in the band to be 21 years old, and in some ways they are, but not in every aspect. He should be allowed to breathe inbetween shows at this stage of the game even though the treadmill and whiplash call. Can he drive a forklift, too?

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What about Physical Graffiti? Earls Court 75? Presence?

I've said it before, in my opinion the slide started after they left Munich in Nov '75.

All great moments Steve but as a live act, which is what I responded to, there were too many nights where they lacked soul.

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I think it may be more due to the passage of time. People still expect everyone in the band to be 21 years old, and in some ways they are, but not in every aspect. He should be allowed to breathe inbetween shows at this stage of the game even though the treadmill and whiplash call. Can he drive a forklift, too?

I'd say you were right, but look at Jeff Beck - same age as Jimmy, yet seems to be getting better as he gets older. And JPJ - still very much active and holding his own with a band of musicians almost half his age. These two are perhaps the most persuasive reasons not to get into the hard stuff.

Hard stuff >>> lack of practice/activity >>>> loss of confidence and ultimately, chops.

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I'd say you were right, but look at Jeff Beck - same age as Jimmy, yet seems to be getting better as he gets older. And JPJ - still very much active and holding his own with a band of musicians almost half his age. These two are perhaps the most persuasive reasons not to get into the hard stuff.

Hard stuff >>> lack of practice/activity >>>> loss of confidence and ultimately, chops.

Ray Charles quit his heroin habit in 1959 and yet he continued on and on for years and years doing very well until the end. There was no lack of practice despite the habit, no loss of confidence, and ultimately he came out smiling as always.

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Personally, having played guitar for over 30 years myself, I can see in Page's way of having changed his picking and fingering style and approach, I believe he suffers from some tendonitis. He plays from the elbow now, not the wrist like he once did. Having suffered from tendonitis myself for some years, these are the same adaptations I too was forced to make. It's obvious when you know what to look for. His fingers and hands appear swollen. He cheats and slurs to hide his lacking articulation. He's stiff. Page was never one to warm up properly before a performance. Out of the limo and onto the stage, as it were. These things take their toll. One must properly stretch before a performance. This didn't appear to be Page's style. I don't think the physical damage to his hands, wrists, etc were necessarily drug related. Neglect related most certainly. He's admittedly spent many periods not picking up a guitar. To think he could just charge out there and play like he did in his 20s is shortsighted. A proper regimine of practice combined with physical therapy is critical. I hope sincerely that he does endeavor to train his body back into peak playing form, and kicks all our asses in the process. :beer:

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There are at least some attempts to cast light on the personalities in Cole's later Stairway to Heaven, but that book is also seriously flawed. It has an account of the beginning of the band - Robert at Pangbourne with Jimmy - that is completely wrong and made Jimmy furious when it appeared. Ev has already pointed out that HOTG relies on the older literature for the basic narrative, especially Yorke. So get Yorke's book, or indeed some of the other really useful books about different aspects of the band. In a situation like that it would be a ridiculous waste of time to start compiling a list errors for HOTG. A list of errors for The Concert File might be worth doing, precisely because the book is really good on the whole and very useful indeed. HOTG? what's the point? Just read a better book, that's all.

On the topic of this book, I saw a girl pick it up and go to buy it in a shop and I couldn't let her do it. I said to her "I wouldn't reccomend buying that if I were you, it's all just sensationalized rubbish." Needless to say, she put the book down and I recommended Keith Shadwick's excellent book.

Another really nice book is "Whole Lotta Led Zeppelin" it is so nicely put together and has various quotes from other famous musicians and actors all throughout the book. It also features reviews on every album. There are about five pages in the book that is just filled with various bootleg covers. Best part about it though is that I got it 75% off at a closing down sale!

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I worked in the legal field for many years, from the late 80s to just recently. Years ago an attorney told me this story: When he was first out of law school in the mid 70s, he worked for a large L.A. law firm in which some of the partners had music groups as their clients. (He mentioned some bands but did not mention Led Zeppelin.) Anyway, on his first day there he was setting up his office when a young secretary came into his office and asked him how he was settling in, was he feeling comfortable, etc. He told me he just answered politely that everything seemed to be okay. She closed the door, proceeded to walk up to his desk, lay down a mirror, and then lay out two lines of cocaine, at which point she said "Welcome!"

He told me he politely refused as didn't partake. There was no big scene or anything, no discussion of the illegality of the drug, no shock, no sermon. Cocaine just simply wasn't his cup of tea and he declined. She said okay and told him to let her know if he ever changed his mind. It was purely a social gesture, akin to offering a drink to someone who just came into your home. He came to find that while it was never openly discussed (for obvious reasons), some of his cohorts indulged, some didn't and some did it in their offices. Drug use was viewed as a personal matter, like your choice of car or whether you picked the Pittsburgh Steelers or the Dallas Cowboys to win the Superbowl.

Today, with drug testing and zero tolerance policies, this would probably not happen. I did work with attorneys in the early 90s who went to rehab and lost their jobs when they lost control over their drug use. Drug use was no longer looked at as a personal choice but as a major liability. But in the 70s, offering someone a line or a joint was just a friendly gesture and frankly, if you worked with creative types, always open to altering experiences and generally living outside of societal mores, drugs on the scene was pretty much a given.

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Why is "Drugs" in quotes?

I put Drugs in quotes because I have come to realize that some "topics" and "subjects" on this great website forum seem to bring out hostility in some. Not me. I just like to read what others may or may not know, feel or believe on certain subjects regarding the "Mighty Led Zeppelin". PURE curiousity on my part.

Back to the topic. I remember reading that when the great promoter, Jerry Weintraub, promoter of Elvis, first saw Led Zeppelin (in 1977, I believe), he asked Peter Grant, "Hey, is that guy gonna live"? He was referring to Jimmy Page. Now, if this a true and accurate quote, why would Mr. Weintraub ask such a question? I would assume that he saw Jimmy in such a "state" that he was really concerned with Jimmy's well-being.

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I put Drugs in quotes because I have come to realize that some "topics" and "subjects" on this great website forum seem to bring out hostility in some. Not me. I just like to read what others may or may not know, feel or believe on certain subjects regarding the "Mighty Led Zeppelin". PURE curiousity on my part.

Back to the topic. I remember reading that when the great promoter, Jerry Weintraub, promoter of Elvis, first saw Led Zeppelin (in 1977, I believe), he asked Peter Grant, "Hey, is that guy gonna live"? He was referring to Jimmy Page. Now, if this a true and accurate quote, why would Mr. Weintraub ask such a question? I would assume that he saw Jimmy in such a "state" that he was really concerned with Jimmy's well-being.

I think you answered your own question there. I'm sure it was out of concern and probably Jerry had seen the signs in other artists which prompted him to raise the question.

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I put Drugs in quotes because I have come to realize that some "topics" and "subjects" on this great website forum seem to bring out hostility in some. Not me. I just like to read what others may or may not know, feel or believe on certain subjects regarding the "Mighty Led Zeppelin". PURE curiousity on my part.

Back to the topic. I remember reading that when the great promoter, Jerry Weintraub, promoter of Elvis, first saw Led Zeppelin (in 1977, I believe), he asked Peter Grant, "Hey, is that guy gonna live"? He was referring to Jimmy Page. Now, if this a true and accurate quote, why would Mr. Weintraub ask such a question? I would assume that he saw Jimmy in such a "state" that he was really concerned with Jimmy's well-being.

During the latter years of Zeppelin Jimmy was wafer thin, due to a diet consisting of banana daiquiris, hard drugs and cigarettes. I can't find it, but theres a pic of him on the starship wearing the infamous 'nazi' hat that he wore during the one of the Chicago shows and he doesn't have a shirt on. Quite scary how thin he was.

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During the latter years of Zeppelin Jimmy was wafer thin, due to a diet consisting of banana daiquiris, hard drugs and cigarettes. I can't find it, but theres a pic of him on the starship wearing the infamous 'nazi' hat that he wore during the one of the Chicago shows and he doesn't have a shirt on. Quite scary how thin he was.

I also remember reading something about LZ being at a party with a bunch of other people (and possibly Ms. Pamela) and someone observed Jimmy crawling on his hands and knees to the other side of the room. Apparently, it took Jimmy about 20 minutes to crawl and make it to the other side. What he was crawling and falling all over himself to get there was a big bag filled with pills which he grabbed a handfull and gobbled up.

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I put Drugs in quotes because I have come to realize that some "topics" and "subjects" on this great website forum seem to bring out hostility in some. Not me. I just like to read what others may or may not know, feel or believe on certain subjects regarding the "Mighty Led Zeppelin". PURE curiousity on my part.

Back to the topic. I remember reading that when the great promoter, Jerry Weintraub, promoter of Elvis, first saw Led Zeppelin (in 1977, I believe), he asked Peter Grant, "Hey, is that guy gonna live"? He was referring to Jimmy Page. Now, if this a true and accurate quote, why would Mr. Weintraub ask such a question? I would assume that he saw Jimmy in such a "state" that he was really concerned with Jimmy's well-being.

You put lots of things in quotes (when you don't need to), which is probably what prompted the question, not the topic itself. ;)

P.S. The incident you referred to in your last post is in Miss Pamela's book.

Edited by Aquamarine

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You put lots of things in quotes (when you don't need to), which is probably what prompted the question, not the topic itself. ;)

P.S. The incident you referred to in your last post is in Miss Pamela's book.

You are right, I do use alot of quotes only because I feel that they either accentuate or demonsrate what or how I feel or what I am trying to convey. To me, the quotes are necessary.

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