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Jimmy Page: Whole lotta talent

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Jimmy Page: whole lotta talent

As new film It Might Get Loud celebrates three great guitarists, Neil McCormick meets Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, whose technical mastery redefined rock.

By Neil McCormick

Published: 1:51PM GMT 30 Dec 2009

"I'm not a guitar hero,” insists Jimmy Page, modestly. Sitting in Gibson’s London offices, surrounded by gleaming, freshly minted, six-stringed instruments, the 65-year old, white haired musician nominates late Gibson founder, inventor and electric musical pioneer Les Paul in that role.

“I can’t think of a greater guitar icon than someone who has the musical intellect to change what was there before, and take music in another direction. That’s a guitar hero for me.”

Which is presumably not to be confused with the computer game of the same name, which has made the phrase Guitar Hero synonymous with a kind of gunslinging avatar based on Slash from 1980s metal band Guns 'N Roses.

“That’s all about image,” snorts Page, derisively. “If you want to waste your time playing a plastic instrument and looking at somebody in a top hat, then good luck. That’s not my idea of moving music forward.”

Whatever his own assessment of his place in the pantheon, to most popular music fans Page is not just a guitar hero, he is perhaps only superseded by Jimi Hendrix as the pre-eminent guitarist in the history of rock.

Indeed, Page is the star turn in It Might Get Loud, a documentary about a meeting between three iconic guitarists of different rock generations: Page, U2’s professorial effects master The Edge and garage-blues primitivist Jack White of The White Stripes. The film traces autobiographical journeys before bringing them together to swap secrets.

If you want a graphic demonstration of Page’s legendary status, try the look of giddy delight that appears on the faces of Edge and White as Page demonstrates the riff to ’Whole Lotta Love’. For a moment, professional reserve collapses into goofy fandom at the foot of the master. Which, it turns out, is another notion that troubles Page.

“I’ve never mastered the guitar,” he insists. “Either I was playing it or it was playing me, it depends how you look at it. As a kid, the only things I had to do was go to school, do my homework, and play guitar. I play maybe every other day, now. But I don’t think of it as practise. I want to see if there is a new shape, a new pattern of chords, a new riff. I’m always looking for the creative spark. Always.”

Page was a young session prodigy on the London sixties scene (he played on recordings by The Kinks, The Who and The Rolling Stones amongst hundreds of others) who joined The Yardbirds, then formed Led Zeppelin with bassist John Paul Jones, drummer John Bonham and singer Robert Plant. As their main writer, producer and lead instrumentalist, Page led his group on a musical journey through the blues, folk and symphonically ambitious rock that changed popular music forever.

“It was a group personality,” says Page. “I knew from what I’d learned being a session musician that the key was to capture the performance while there’s a mass enthusiasm going on, it becomes totally passionate, you feel the music. A lot of music today, they work electronically, tidying everything up, but that living energy has become sanitised. In Led Zeppelin we managed to do some of those major albums in three weeks. People today can’t understand that. It’s beyond them.”

As fluid, free-flowing and technically audacious as Page’s playing always was, there was a great deal more to Zeppelin than ripping solos. Indeed, it’s interesting how much Page has in common with The Edge, generally considered a more cerebral and effects-oriented guitarist.

“Everybody assumed that what was important was improvising,” says the Edge, calling from his home in LA. “But it turns out it was always about composition, about ideas and themes and stuff you actually had to write. I think Jimmy’s guitar playing was a lot more composed than others of that era and much better for that. It’s the discipline of the work. Its really sharp, hard, not fuzzy. Meeting the man, I realised we were almost brothers in arms in terms of musical philosophy.”

Page is in enthusiastic agreement. “I was always trying to push the technology, what was going on with the sound and production techniques. I had the first fuzz box, the first real controlled distortion unit made up. In Led Zeppelin, I was tracking all these guitars to orchestrate it, to give more colours and light and shade. Then the art of it was to translate that to one guitar live. Which you should be able to do.

“I’ve got a lot of time for the power trio cause you can get so much out of just bass, guitar and drums. If I was putting a band together now, I don’t think I would be bringing in a second guitar player. I’m constantly trying to put new light on what I’m doing for myself, so there might be a very subtle change in your riff, and if you have got somebody else doing the riff too it’s not going to be heard.”

Page plans to release new music in 2010, but it is unlikely to be with any incarnation of Led Zeppelin, despite having spent a considerable amount of time and energy this year trying to follow up their 2008 reunion.

“You’d better ask Robert Plant what the future of Led Zeppelin is,” he says, rather pointedly. “Musicians can always play together but I don’t think you can go out with a band called Led Zeppelin if you haven’t got the original vocalist.”

Page’s disappointment in the way things have turned out is tangible, but whether with his most legendary band or not, he continues to find creative expression in his chosen instrument.

“Its such a tactile instrument, it moulds into your personality,” says Page. “Give three guitarists the same guitar and ask them to play the same song, it’ll come out different. Even people who have only been playing for a short time, untrained musicians, you can recognise their character in their playing.

“If I’m going to put time into the guitar, I’m interested in moving it on from wherever I am at this point in time. My whole approach, in retrospect, was trying to break through to the other side without actually smashing up guitars, I didn’t see any sense in that. The guitar was to be encouraged into new territories, whether it wanted to go there or not.”

Page laughs, as if cautious of sounding too precious or pretentious. “I’m making it up as I go along,” he declares, cheerfully, “but that’s how I play!”

* It Might Get Loud opens on Jan 5.

source: telegraph

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“Everybody assumed that what was important was improvising,” says the Edge, calling from his home in LA. “But it turns out it was always about composition, about ideas and themes and stuff you actually had to write. I think Jimmy’s guitar playing was a lot more composed than others of that era and much better for that. It’s the discipline of the work. Its really sharp, hard, not fuzzy. Meeting the man, I realised we were almost brothers in arms in terms of musical philosophy.”

Interesting thoughts by The Edge. Kind of goes along with Jimmy's past comments of knowing what not to play....when to stop the process of making a record. The structure of their overdubs are very similar in that regard.

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“You’d better ask Robert Plant what the future of Led Zeppelin is,” he says, rather pointedly. “Musicians can always play together but I don’t think you can go out with a band called Led Zeppelin if you haven’t got the original vocalist.”

I love o'l Pagey, but I have a feeling if Robert was asked that question he would say you can't go out with a band called Led Zeppelin if you haven't got the original drummer.

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“You’d better ask Robert Plant what the future of Led Zeppelin is,” he says, rather pointedly. “Musicians can always play together but I don’t think you can go out with a band called Led Zeppelin if you haven’t got the original vocalist.”

I love o'l Pagey, but I have a feeling if Robert was asked that question he would say you can't go out with a band called Led Zeppelin if you haven't got the original drummer.

Agreed.

And he has already made it clear enough.

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Once again, Jimmy talks to an interviewer but actually says nothing.

Do you mean he's said nothing that he hasn't already said?

Or do you mean that his words were twisted?

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Once again, Jimmy talks to an interviewer but actually says nothing.

What an odd thing to say! I thought this was rather more communicative than usual...?

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“That’s all about image,” snorts Page, derisively. “If you want to waste your time playing a plastic instrument and looking at somebody in a top hat, then good luck. That’s not my idea of moving music forward.”

love it!

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I know exactly what you mean Steve. He is very good at being close to the vest and not really giving away real information. Hopefully he is honest about doing a tour and releasing new music.

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Do you mean he's said nothing that he hasn't already said?

Or do you mean that his words were twisted?

Allow me to do some color commentary:

Jimmy Page: whole lotta talent

As new film It Might Get Loud celebrates three great guitarists, Neil McCormick meets Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, whose technical mastery redefined rock.

New film? Arguable at this point. Jimmy's playing is noteworthy for it's emotive qualities moreso than his technique.

By Neil McCormick

Published: 1:51PM GMT 30 Dec 2009

"I'm not a guitar hero,” insists Jimmy Page, modestly. Sitting in Gibson’s London offices, surrounded by gleaming, freshly minted, six-stringed instruments, the 65-year old, white haired musician nominates late Gibson founder, inventor and electric musical pioneer Les Paul in that role.

Ok...

“I can’t think of a greater guitar icon than someone who has the musical intellect to change what was there before, and take music in another direction. That’s a guitar hero for me.”

Uh-huh...

Which is presumably not to be confused with the computer game of the same name, which has made the phrase Guitar Hero synonymous with a kind of gunslinging avatar based on Slash from 1980s metal band Guns 'N Roses.

“That’s all about image,” snorts Page, derisively. “If you want to waste your time playing a plastic instrument and looking at somebody in a top hat, then good luck. That’s not my idea of moving music forward.”

His disdain for Guitar Hero has been conveyed numerous times before but he doesn't elaborate further on it here.

Whatever his own assessment of his place in the pantheon, to most popular music fans Page is not just a guitar hero, he is perhaps only superseded by Jimi Hendrix as the pre-eminent guitarist in the history of rock.

Indeed, Page is the star turn in It Might Get Loud, a documentary about a meeting between three iconic guitarists of different rock generations: Page, U2’s professorial effects master The Edge and garage-blues primitivist Jack White of The White Stripes. The film traces autobiographical journeys before bringing them together to swap secrets.

If you want a graphic demonstration of Page’s legendary status, try the look of giddy delight that appears on the faces of Edge and White as Page demonstrates the riff to ’Whole Lotta Love’. For a moment, professional reserve collapses into goofy fandom at the foot of the master. Which, it turns out, is another notion that troubles Page.

“I’ve never mastered the guitar,” he insists. “Either I was playing it or it was playing me, it depends how you look at it. As a kid, the only things I had to do was go to school, do my homework, and play guitar. I play maybe every other day, now. But I don’t think of it as practise. I want to see if there is a new shape, a new pattern of chords, a new riff. I’m always looking for the creative spark. Always.”

Reveals how much he is playing of late, but does not reveal if it has amounted to anything.

Page was a young session prodigy on the London sixties scene (he played on recordings by The Kinks, The Who and The Rolling Stones amongst hundreds of others) who joined The Yardbirds, then formed Led Zeppelin with bassist John Paul Jones, drummer John Bonham and singer Robert Plant. As their main writer, producer and lead instrumentalist, Page led his group on a musical journey through the blues, folk and symphonically ambitious rock that changed popular music forever.

“It was a group personality,” says Page. “I knew from what I’d learned being a session musician that the key was to capture the performance while there’s a mass enthusiasm going on, it becomes totally passionate, you feel the music. A lot of music today, they work electronically, tidying everything up, but that living energy has become sanitised. In Led Zeppelin we managed to do some of those major albums in three weeks. People today can’t understand that. It’s beyond them.”

Uh-huh...since we're discussing a film, and given what he just said, I'd have prodded here for Jimmy's elaboration on the amount of editing done to the soundtrack for TSRTS, specifically why the solo in No Quarter was edited out.

As fluid, free-flowing and technically audacious as Page’s playing always was, there was a great deal more to Zeppelin than ripping solos. Indeed, it’s interesting how much Page has in common with The Edge, generally considered a more cerebral and effects-oriented guitarist.

“Everybody assumed that what was important was improvising,” says the Edge, calling from his home in LA. “But it turns out it was always about composition, about ideas and themes and stuff you actually had to write. I think Jimmy’s guitar playing was a lot more composed than others of that era and much better for that. It’s the discipline of the work. Its really sharp, hard, not fuzzy. Meeting the man, I realised we were almost brothers in arms in terms of musical philosophy.”

Uh-huh...no kidding...

Page is in enthusiastic agreement. “I was always trying to push the technology, what was going on with the sound and production techniques. I had the first fuzz box, the first real controlled distortion unit made up. In Led Zeppelin, I was tracking all these guitars to orchestrate it, to give more colours and light and shade. Then the art of it was to translate that to one guitar live. Which you should be able to do.

Uh-huh...

“I’ve got a lot of time for the power trio cause you can get so much out of just bass, guitar and drums. If I was putting a band together now, I don’t think I would be bringing in a second guitar player. I’m constantly trying to put new light on what I’m doing for myself, so there might be a very subtle change in your riff, and if you have got somebody else doing the riff too it’s not going to be heard.”

Essentially confirms he is not putting a band together and that I am correct in what I've been saying about unwillingness to take on the daunting task of assembling a band outside of Jones and Bonham (father or son) with or without Plant.

Page plans to release new music in 2010, but it is unlikely to be with any incarnation of Led Zeppelin, despite having spent a considerable amount of time and energy this year trying to follow up their 2008 reunion.

Details revealed here: Zero. Zilch. Nada.

“You’d better ask Robert Plant what the future of Led Zeppelin is,” he says, rather pointedly. “Musicians can always play together but I don’t think you can go out with a band called Led Zeppelin if you haven’t got the original vocalist.”

...sounds as if he is still unwilling to fully accept it's over...fine, that's understandable

Page’s disappointment in the way things have turned out is tangible, but whether with his most legendary band or not, he continues to find creative expression in his chosen instrument.

“Its such a tactile instrument, it moulds into your personality,” says Page. “Give three guitarists the same guitar and ask them to play the same song, it’ll come out different. Even people who have only been playing for a short time, untrained musicians, you can recognise their character in their playing.

Uh-huh...

“If I’m going to put time into the guitar, I’m interested in moving it on from wherever I am at this point in time. My whole approach, in retrospect, was trying to break through to the other side without actually smashing up guitars, I didn’t see any sense in that. The guitar was to be encouraged into new territories, whether it wanted to go there or not.”

Another if...followed by a vague, retrospective generalization...that's fine

Page laughs, as if cautious of sounding too precious or pretentious. “I’m making it up as I go along,” he declares, cheerfully, “but that’s how I play!”

Always has...

* It Might Get Loud opens on Jan 5.

And the article ends. It is what it is - just a bit of promotion for a new film, nothing more, nothing less.

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Allow me to do some color commentary:

Jimmy Page: whole lotta talent

As new film It Might Get Loud celebrates three great guitarists, Neil McCormick meets Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, whose technical mastery redefined rock.

New film? Arguable at this point. Jimmy's playing is noteworthy for it's emotive qualities moreso than his technique.

By Neil McCormick

Published: 1:51PM GMT 30 Dec 2009

"I'm not a guitar hero,” insists Jimmy Page, modestly. Sitting in Gibson’s London offices, surrounded by gleaming, freshly minted, six-stringed instruments, the 65-year old, white haired musician nominates late Gibson founder, inventor and electric musical pioneer Les Paul in that role.

Ok...

“I can’t think of a greater guitar icon than someone who has the musical intellect to change what was there before, and take music in another direction. That’s a guitar hero for me.”

Uh-huh...

Which is presumably not to be confused with the computer game of the same name, which has made the phrase Guitar Hero synonymous with a kind of gunslinging avatar based on Slash from 1980s metal band Guns 'N Roses.

“That’s all about image,” snorts Page, derisively. “If you want to waste your time playing a plastic instrument and looking at somebody in a top hat, then good luck. That’s not my idea of moving music forward.”

His disdain for Guitar Hero has been conveyed numerous times before but he doesn't elaborate further on it here.

Whatever his own assessment of his place in the pantheon, to most popular music fans Page is not just a guitar hero, he is perhaps only superseded by Jimi Hendrix as the pre-eminent guitarist in the history of rock.

Indeed, Page is the star turn in It Might Get Loud, a documentary about a meeting between three iconic guitarists of different rock generations: Page, U2’s professorial effects master The Edge and garage-blues primitivist Jack White of The White Stripes. The film traces autobiographical journeys before bringing them together to swap secrets.

If you want a graphic demonstration of Page’s legendary status, try the look of giddy delight that appears on the faces of Edge and White as Page demonstrates the riff to ’Whole Lotta Love’. For a moment, professional reserve collapses into goofy fandom at the foot of the master. Which, it turns out, is another notion that troubles Page.

“I’ve never mastered the guitar,” he insists. “Either I was playing it or it was playing me, it depends how you look at it. As a kid, the only things I had to do was go to school, do my homework, and play guitar. I play maybe every other day, now. But I don’t think of it as practise. I want to see if there is a new shape, a new pattern of chords, a new riff. I’m always looking for the creative spark. Always.”

Reveals how much he is playing of late, but does not reveal if it has amounted to anything.

Page was a young session prodigy on the London sixties scene (he played on recordings by The Kinks, The Who and The Rolling Stones amongst hundreds of others) who joined The Yardbirds, then formed Led Zeppelin with bassist John Paul Jones, drummer John Bonham and singer Robert Plant. As their main writer, producer and lead instrumentalist, Page led his group on a musical journey through the blues, folk and symphonically ambitious rock that changed popular music forever.

“It was a group personality,” says Page. “I knew from what I’d learned being a session musician that the key was to capture the performance while there’s a mass enthusiasm going on, it becomes totally passionate, you feel the music. A lot of music today, they work electronically, tidying everything up, but that living energy has become sanitised. In Led Zeppelin we managed to do some of those major albums in three weeks. People today can’t understand that. It’s beyond them.”

Uh-huh...since we're discussing a film, and given what he just said, I'd have prodded here for Jimmy's elaboration on the amount of editing done to the soundtrack for TSRTS, specifically why the solo in No Quarter was edited out.

As fluid, free-flowing and technically audacious as Page’s playing always was, there was a great deal more to Zeppelin than ripping solos. Indeed, it’s interesting how much Page has in common with The Edge, generally considered a more cerebral and effects-oriented guitarist.

“Everybody assumed that what was important was improvising,” says the Edge, calling from his home in LA. “But it turns out it was always about composition, about ideas and themes and stuff you actually had to write. I think Jimmy’s guitar playing was a lot more composed than others of that era and much better for that. It’s the discipline of the work. Its really sharp, hard, not fuzzy. Meeting the man, I realised we were almost brothers in arms in terms of musical philosophy.”

Uh-huh...no kidding...

Page is in enthusiastic agreement. “I was always trying to push the technology, what was going on with the sound and production techniques. I had the first fuzz box, the first real controlled distortion unit made up. In Led Zeppelin, I was tracking all these guitars to orchestrate it, to give more colours and light and shade. Then the art of it was to translate that to one guitar live. Which you should be able to do.

Uh-huh...

“I’ve got a lot of time for the power trio cause you can get so much out of just bass, guitar and drums. If I was putting a band together now, I don’t think I would be bringing in a second guitar player. I’m constantly trying to put new light on what I’m doing for myself, so there might be a very subtle change in your riff, and if you have got somebody else doing the riff too it’s not going to be heard.”

Essentially confirms he is not putting a band together and that I am correct in what I've been saying about unwillingness to take on the daunting task of assembling a band outside of Jones and Bonham (father or son) with or without Plant.

Page plans to release new music in 2010, but it is unlikely to be with any incarnation of Led Zeppelin, despite having spent a considerable amount of time and energy this year trying to follow up their 2008 reunion.

Details revealed here: Zero. Zilch. Nada.

“You’d better ask Robert Plant what the future of Led Zeppelin is,” he says, rather pointedly. “Musicians can always play together but I don’t think you can go out with a band called Led Zeppelin if you haven’t got the original vocalist.”

...sounds as if he is still unwilling to fully accept it's over...fine, that's understandable

Page’s disappointment in the way things have turned out is tangible, but whether with his most legendary band or not, he continues to find creative expression in his chosen instrument.

“Its such a tactile instrument, it moulds into your personality,” says Page. “Give three guitarists the same guitar and ask them to play the same song, it’ll come out different. Even people who have only been playing for a short time, untrained musicians, you can recognise their character in their playing.

Uh-huh...

“If I’m going to put time into the guitar, I’m interested in moving it on from wherever I am at this point in time. My whole approach, in retrospect, was trying to break through to the other side without actually smashing up guitars, I didn’t see any sense in that. The guitar was to be encouraged into new territories, whether it wanted to go there or not.”

Another if...followed by a vague, retrospective generalization...that's fine

Page laughs, as if cautious of sounding too precious or pretentious. “I’m making it up as I go along,” he declares, cheerfully, “but that’s how I play!”

Always has...

* It Might Get Loud opens on Jan 5.

And the article ends. It is what it is - just a bit of promotion for a new film, nothing more, nothing less.

Granted you're looking at this interview through the eyes of an obsessive Page fan (I'm not knocking that either). I mean do you really expect this interviewer to ask about the edited No Quarter solo? Come on Steve!

Take home points for me:



  1. He's playing pretty regularly.
  2. He once again confirms new music on the horizon.

And I liked the comments about Les Paul too.

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I know exactly what you mean Steve. He is very good at being close to the vest and not really giving away real information. Hopefully he is honest about doing a tour and releasing new music.

That is my same hope.

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He said "If I was putting a band together".

I had hoped he would have said I am putting a band together.

But yes, it is good to hear that he is playing regularly. Only wish

we could hear some of it...before April.

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He said "If I was putting a band together".

I had hoped he would have said I am putting a band together.

But yes, it is good to hear that he is playing regularly. Only wish

we could hear some of it...before April.

Hearing the O2 Zeppelin reunion tour was an unexpected surprise. I did not even fathom the band sounding as good as they did...and afterwards we all craved for more. I, like many others, was looking forward to seeing Led Zeppelin in 1980 (with luck based on a drawing for the Chicago concert--it would have been a nice birthday present). Now we are older and the dream of seeing the band in most of it's entirety is fading. We are getting older...and so are the band members. I am also feeling that time is running short to see Jimmy -and/or- the rest of the band playing anywhere near their peak form of times past. The O2 gave us hope...but it has been two years now and I do not sense any urgency from the individual band members to make a go of it together. The interview would have given us more hope if Jimmy said he was playing everyday and feeling that level of inspiration that would create the catalyst to get things moving in 2010. Not sure it is there........time is no longer a luxury for many of the physical abilities necessary to create the range of music that Jimmy can conjur in his mind. Hopefully we will be pleasantly surprised in 2010!

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In my humble opinion, Page handled the interview very well. Very spirited, honest warm responses about his art. Maybe he's not ready to give minute details yet. :beer:

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This was in The Independent 1/1/2010 issue.

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/features/jimmy-page--its-been-a-long-time-since-he-rocknrolled-1854570.html

This quote by Jimmy is so true.

"It's unfortunate that anything that I might want to do gets linked into whatever Robert Plant and John Paul Jones are doing," says Page, a little testily. "I intend to be making music next year and I've got lots of new music to present, okay? The only thing to say is that I should have started it a year ago. So I'm a year behind with what I'm doing – that's not too bad, is it? Some of these business things can get rather complicated, but I've managed to work my way through all that and see a way of getting on with it, thank God."

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The only thing to say is that I should have started it a year ago. So I'm a year behind with what I'm doing – that's not too bad, is it? - Jimmy Page, 2009

"There is a lot I can and should be doing" - Jimmy Page, 2008

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I finally got the IMGL DVD and watched the extras. I have to say, I was smiling throughout his new acoustic piece. If that's an example of where his head is at I can't wait to hear his new stuff, whenever it finally sees the light of day!

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I finally got the IMGL DVD and watched the extras. I have to say, I was smiling throughout his new acoustic piece. If that's an example of where his head is at I can't wait to hear his new stuff, whenever it finally sees the light of day!

I was smiling too, big time :D. Just Jimmy, his guitar and a chair, I could listen all day :)... also love the guitar/harmonica tune that plays during the DVD menu selection. Not sure if that's Jimmy playing or Edge or Jack White or whoever, but it's really good as well.

I thought the interview-articles posted here were awesome too, thanks Glicine and Kiss of Fire!

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I was smiling too, big time :D. Just Jimmy, his guitar and a chair, I could listen all day :)... also love the guitar/harmonica tune that plays during the DVD menu selection. Not sure if that's Jimmy playing or Edge or Jack White or whoever, but it's really good as well.

I thought the interview-articles posted here were awesome too, thanks Glicine and Kiss of Fire!

Agreed on the menu music, I'd love to know who's playing on that...

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I got the DVD yesterday - I really liked everything overall. Loved seeing old footage, subtly of their interactions.

Just read a review and felt twinge of sadness & hope at same time on this quote

The most poignant scene in Guggenheim's documentary comes when Page returns, almost certainly for the last time, to Headley Grange in Hampshire, the 18th-century building where Led Zeppelin wrote and recorded "Stairway to Heaven". Gaining access was a coup, the house's current owners being understandably wary of the kind of blindly zealous Zeppelin fans who, in 2007, stole a front gate installed years after the band's last tenancy.

Wandering Headley's hallowed halls and playing the mandolin part for Led Zeppelin IV's "The Battle of Evermore" seems to open up something in Page, and he muses aloud about the time when he will become too infirm to pick up a guitar. "You just try to keep that day far, far away and out of sight," he says quietly

the Indepent

Edited by MJC455

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