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Meet Richard Cole Online (Led Zeppelin ) (May 7th)


SteveAJones
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Sagittarius Rising,

If I think back to the 'New Pope' thread, I am sure it was Rick (LedZepFan77) who said in that thread that he was a catholic.

To me, Cole, Bindon, Bonham and Grant got off much too lightly with the whole episode. This was no proportionate retaliation to the original incident. It was thuggery. Bindon was a troublemaker all his life. He was being watched by the Royal Protection police in the UK because he had got himself inveigled with Princess Margaret's group of friends on holiday on Mustique. While they may have found him amusing company to start with, he was a disaster waiting to happen.

Hey Kenog, yep, that is what I thought. Steve was making some very interesting posts on the New Pope thread and I thought he did mention he was a catholic but I may be mistaken. Sorry Steve if you are not a catholic. However, it is a real shame some people can get away with just about anything and still be considered blameless in the eyes of certain people. In a civilized society we do not randomly beat people up for no reason, hell even if there is a reason that is no excuse. You go through the proper channels, you do not take the law into your own hands...especially without the facts. Bindon, Cole, Grant = Guilty.

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Nirvana,

Agree with everything you are saying here. This was the one time when I could say that I was ashamed to be a LZ fan. In the Hoskyns' book on p,399, Ahmet Ertegun said, "I hated some of the tactics they used. They had a very, very embarrassing encounter with Bill Graham that was totally uncalled for, But they got away with their own success and power". I think the late, great Mr Ertegun's statement says it all.

Imagine how you would feel if the beaten security people were members of your family, or your friends?

Cole and Bindon had previously got together to beat up a drug dealer in London who had supplied dodgy goods. I recall the story was that Cole told Jimmy to get himself out the way.

Like Icarus, Richard was flying too close to the sun towards the end of the Seventies. And as I have said in a post above, Bindon's life came to a deeply unpleasant end.

In regards to the Oakland brawl...violence begets violence - all parties were wrong but esp. Binden, Bonham, Cole, and Grant.

Bonham, as a Band member, had the most to lose - but he was out of control and obviously didn't care. Binden was nothing

but a criminal and thug but under Cole's hire. Peter should have had final say and control of the situation but he just was so burnt

out that he was nothing but a bystander cheering his gorillas on.

Bill Graham was a victim too of their intimidation and crazed in-justice.

Sorry SAJ, there is no justification for animalistic behavior on anyone's part. Especially from a Band member with so much at stake.

Edited by kenog
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Hey Kenog, yep, that is what I thought. Steve was making some very interesting posts on the New Pope thread and I thought he did mention he was a catholic but I may be mistaken. Sorry Steve if you are not a catholic. However, it is a real shame some people can get away with just about anything and still be considered blameless in the eyes of certain people. In a civilized society we do not randomly beat people up for no reason, hell even if there is a reason that is no excuse. You go through the proper channels, you do not take the law into your own hands...especially without the facts. Bindon, Cole, Grant = Guilty.

I could be, but once you label me you negate me.

Bindon, Cole & Grant were found guilty. Fair enough, all I am saying is putting aggressive hands on someone else's child is always grounds for a beat down.

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Personally, I'm very partial to Cole's work as a tour manager up to and including 1979. 1977 was the biggest tour of any artist up to that point, and would've been bigger if the last 8 shows hadn't been canceled. Led Zeppelin at the JFK stadium... I wish that had happened.

Edited by Geezer
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what does cole do now? is he still in the music business and is he planning on writing another book about his experiences outside led zeppelin?

and if he had to guess who took the money in nyc,who would he guess?

Do you think Cole had anything to do with the incident? I don't think he did.
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I can see why one would choose both sides to this argument, but here is my two cents:

No matter what condition Cole was in during the 1977 tour, he sure wasn't the only one in "party mode". And, to manage the funds as he did, among his many other duties (even the perceived loss of $10,000 which was later found and confirmed by Grant to be an error), he did a GREAT job managing the money and protecting his mates (yes, more than employers)during the largest tour ever under taken by the band, at a time when the band was at its Zenith in popularity, along with an all time high in threats to members of the band. Oakland incident notwithstanding (and we don't know ALL the facts), Cole was excellent in his job in 1977!

If one were to base his behavior as a means to be fired, frankly, John Bonham should have been fired too.

Personally, I think Cole, Bonham, Grant and Bindon all should have done jail time for the Oakland incident. I like Zep's music and can overlook most of their off-stage shenanigans but not this one. They beat that poor man to within an inch of his life. However, I also recognize that Bonham would have been much harder for the band to replace than Cole. He was essential to their sound.

Edited by Disco Duck
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what does cole do now? is he still in the music business and is he planning on writing another book about his experiences outside led zeppelin?

and if he had to guess who took the money in nyc,who would he guess?

Richard is no longer directly involved in the music business and has no plans for another book at this time. When I asked him if he thought the robbery was an inside job by the hotel staff he said the case was never solved.

Do you think Cole had anything to do with the incident? I don't think he did.

I do not think he did either. As I understand it Grant & Cole were brought in for questioning and Cole passed a polygraph test.

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  • 2 months later...

Friday the 30th August will be the date for the final in a series of Question & Answer sessions with Richard. He has been more then fair in giving us this wonderful access to his memories! so this will be your last chance to ask him what ever it is that you want to know about working with the best Rock n Roll band on the planet or anything else to do with his long career.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/42640399682/ for more info.

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  • 1 month later...

Friday the 30th August will be the date for the final in a series of Question & Answer sessions with Richard. He has been more then fair in giving us this wonderful access to his memories! so this will be your last chance to ask him what ever it is that you want to know about working with the best Rock n Roll band on the planet or anything else to do with his long career.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/42640399682/ for more info

For those of us who choose not to use Facebook: What became of this, any good questions, dazedjeffy?

Edited by MLE
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  • 9 months later...
LED ZEPPELIN'S ROAD MANAGER IS STILL A BADASS

By John Liam Policastro Jun 24 2014

colezeppelin.jpg

Richard Cole (left) with Jimmy Page and Robert Plant. Photo courtesy of Cole

I'm standing outside a Tesco gas station in London's posh Notting Hill, waiting to meet Led Zeppelin and the Who’s legendary road manager, Richard Cole. He shows up right at 6 PM with the sharp punctuality only a road manager could have. We go to the local hardware store, and with a buoyant intensity that never breaks, he declares to the clerk, "It appears my scissors have run out of power." He slams the tape-wrapped scissors on the counter. Even though Cole doesn’t have the receipt and can only vaguely remember that he bought them in November, the clerk doesn’t hesitate to give him a new pair.

It all happens so fast that at first I thought he was actually stealing them. He shouts for me to hurry up as his crimson suede loafers peel back out onto the road. Cole never stops moving.

Cole grew up in postwar London and—like many other children of his time—became enamored with the rock 'n' roll music that had slowly seeped over the Atlantic in the late 50s.

In 1961, at age 15, he left school to begin working as a scaffolder in North London and immersing himself in the local mod scene. "We were the first and the best. We were the true mods, my mates and I," Cole says at dinner, once I finally get him to sit still.

In late 1963, on the cusp of the British Invasion, Cole became fascinated with the local music scene at the famed Marquee nightclub and the nearby nightlife at a bar called the Ship. It’s there that he had what was perhaps his first important revelation: "There was no pussy in the scaffolding business."

One night, while watching local group Herbie Goings and the Night-Timers break down their gear after a gig, he asked if they were looking for a manager.

"I badgered them to death,” Cole tells me, "and lied through my teeth about my knowledge of the business. Most importantly, I had my license—driving the band and gear was the most important task of the day." Cole got the job, and his teeth remained sunk in the jugular of rock 'n' roll for the next 40 years.

Having proven himself with the Night-Timers and on the search for the next gig, he was offered the position of road manager for two bands: Mersey Beat and the Who. In perhaps Cole’s best lapse in punctuality of all time, he asked for the Mersey Beat gig a few days late—the job had already been taken. So he accepted the gig with the Who. It was 1965, and Cole wasn’t even 20.

colewho.jpg

Cole in October, 1965, driving the Who around London

Cole fondly recalls his early days with the Who as they'd storm up and down the UK, playing five shows a week. "They were like nothing else on this earth. There still isn't anything like them, and there never will be. The music, the style, the presence—they had it all. All lovely boys, but being with Keith and John was a laugh a minute," he recalls with distant eyes and a wild smile. This was the golden age—before the hard drugs became prevalent. "It was all Purple Hearts [Dexamyl] and alcohol then."

Cole remained with the band for a year, noting their 1966 performance at the NME Pop Festival with the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and the Yardbirds was a landmark gig to witness. In fact, Cole only lost the job when he lost his license for speeding to one of the Who’s many gigs.

Inspired by a trip to America with the New Vaudeville Band in 1967, Cole moved to New York City and was managing Vanilla Fudge by 1968—a year he declares to be maybe the best time of his life. It was in America where he met some of his favorite people of all time—the wild groupies of NYC.

"They were these crazy chicks—crazy in the best way possible,” Cole tells me. “Fantastic girls! They would take care of the boys in every way imaginable. Most importantly, they would take them around the city to the top clubs, and do their laundry—most of the boring work I'd have to do, so they'd save me time, and I would get to hang out."

Shortly after managing the Jeff Beck Group, Cole began managing Beck's old band, the Yardbirds, for their last tour—now featuring a little known session player named Jimmy Page. Not long after the Yardbirds’ final show on a flatbed truck in 1968, Cole once again found himself in the right place at the right time—Page's new band, Led Zeppelin, was forming and was in need of a road manager.

Although he had only officially been in the music business for fewer than five years, it didn’t take long for Cole to realize that he was witnessing one of the greatest rock bands in the history of the world take shape. "About four shows into that first tour of 1968–1969, I realized Led Zeppelin was an exceptional band—simply brilliant musicians."

Cranking out one classic record after the next, the only thing that grew faster than the riotous crowds was the hedonistic excess that would come to define both the band and Cole. It has been said that much of the mayhem and madness surrounding the band in those days could be directly attributed to Cole—a claim he nonchalantly dismisses as he slices into a meatball with his fork. "I like to say that I never got into trouble. Rather, I would find myself in trouble. It was all so spontaneous then. Most importantly, it was all so much fun."

Led Zeppelin were bona fide rock gods by 1973, when they began one of the most successful (and controversial) tours of their career—a tour that later went on to partly inspire Cameron Crowe's movie Almost Famous.

After Zeppelin's performance at New York's Madison Square Garden, the night's box office receipts—totaling roughly $203,000—famously went missing from their hotel’s safe deposit box. Cole was the last man to hold the money and the only one in the entourage with the key.

Suspicion was quickly cast over Cole, though the band and their management stood firmly behind him. But Led Zeppelin's word was no good to the FBI, who swiftly arrived at the hotel, pounding on his door to question him. "I greeted them with a bottle of Dom Pérignon and offered them a glass, but of course they declined," Cole recalls with a chuckle. "They had me take a lie-detector test, which of course I passed. And that was that. Actually, they were really nice guys, given the circumstances. We ended up suing the hotel and got a lot more money back. Funny how that works."

Growing tired of hotels on tour, Cole decided it would be a great idea to rent a "dude ranch" for Zeppelin’s week off—but they would never get to stay that long. The ranch owner, he recalls, was looking at them with disgust the moment they arrived. "He had his old lady on the porch next to him and a fucking Bible in his lap, so I knew we weren't going to get on that well."

After a few days of nonstop partying and an endless stream of women, an argument finally boiled over between Led Zeppelin and the ranch owner. It reached a near-deadly climax when the rancher pulled a shotgun and trained it on Cole. "We were done with the dude ranch."

The band and their roadies piled into their cars to make their escape. Running out of precious time and not wanting to stick around to be fitted for handcuffs or a toe tag, Cole floored his car straight through the rickety ranch gates, and the band successfully escaped down a dirt road straight for the airport as the sheriff sped to the scene.

colebike.jpg

As Zeppelin continued to rage on throughout the 70s, so did their festering drug and alcohol habits—and Cole found himself in the iron grip of opiates. One of his first wake-up calls, he tells me, came on September 6, 1978.

That night, the Who's Keith Moon was invited as a guest of Paul and Linda McCartney's to a preview of the film The Buddy Holly Story. Cole also attended, and later they went out for dinner. Cole stresses that, at this point, Moon was trying to dry up and had been sober the entire evening. "It was actually quite a normal night, a real nice evening. Keith seemed fine—no drink or anything. In fact, it was I who left early to get my gear and fix.”

The next morning, Cole received news that Keith Moon had taken an accidental overdose of pills and died in the same flat Mama Cass had passed away in, four years prior. "Shock isn't even the right word,” he tells me. “There are no words still. My poor, sweet friend was gone forever."

The writing was on the wall for Cole, but it just wasn't legible enough for him to read. During what turned out to be Zeppelin's final European tour, in 1980, Cole was officially fired from the longest-running job he had ever held. In his first attempt to turn his life around, he headed to Italy for detox, but it didn’t exactly go as planned. The Red Brigades, an Italian left-wing terror group, bombed a railway station, and Cole was unbelievably mistaken as a member of the group and arrested.

"I'd been in Italy for only a little bit, but I had already gotten quite a nice tan and had a big beard—I fit the description." He spent the next six months in an Italian jail, though—as any working-class Londoner would do—he made the best of it. "The food was actually wonderful. I could even get roast lamb and baked potatoes by special order, because I had money."

While in jail, Cole received news that his longtime friend John Bonham had drunk himself to death. "It was all the more painful because I was stuck in jail… There was nothing I could do. I just had to sit there and take it the best I could. It was odd, because I remember thinking if it was going to be any of them dying, it would have been Page. He was quite thin and sickly-looking at that point, and he was also battling nasty demons himself." To further fuel his misery behind bars, Cole learned that his home had flooded, resulting in the loss of many valuables—including his entire record collection, which he estimates to have been roughly 2,500 records. "I don't even own any records now, nor anything to play them on. What's the fucking point?"

After his release, Cole returned to England, where he continued his nasty drug and alcohol problem. Down and out and in need of money, he amazingly returned to scaffolding—20 years after he had left that world for rock 'n' roll. But the straight job didn’t turn him straight. “I was still drinking and doping at that point. You could say I was high up on the beams and only getting higher."

I remark on what an ironic arc that is for a life, but Cole dismisses the idea. "I suppose it would have been, if I had died up there—but I wasn't dead yet. I certainly wasn't done with life."

In late 1985, Cole took his final drink in a pub. "I was not even halfway done with a pint when I heard this voice say, ‘All right, Richard, that's enough, isn't it?’” He placed the glass on the table and hasn’t had a drink since.

coletoday.jpg

The present-day Richard Cole. Photo by the author

The rock ‘n’ roll life came knocking again in 1986, when Black Sabbath found themselves in need of a manager. "They asked me if I was looking for a gig and if I could still throw a mean left hook. I said yes to both and was off again." He notes that Tony Iommi was the only original member of Black Sabbath at this point, and they were not doing as well as they had been. "What a fucking band they are. Just fucking monstrous. Geezer, Tony, and Bill were just an absolute powerhouse, but I really have to give credit to Ozzy for their success. He was an absolute natural. Sabbath wasn't making much money at that point. Ozzy was making a ton of money, but when you put them all together they make a fucking fortune!" Tours with Ozzy Osbourne, Eric Clapton, and Lita Ford carried him into the 1990s, where he settled down to live in Los Angeles.

Possibly to make amends with the ghosts of his past, Cole also became a licensed drug and alcohol counselor. Cole still sporadically returns to tour managing, working for acts like Fu Manchu, the Gypsy Kings, and even Crazytown. He’s almost surprised when I tell him I think that Crazytown is easily the worst band in the history of music. "Work is work," he shrugs.

The mention of John Entwistle, the Who’s bassist and Cole’s childhood friend, sends a pained look on Cole’s face before I can ask if he was surprised to hear of Entwistle’s cocaine-induced heart attack in 2002. "You're always surprised," he tells me. His eyes water briefly and he looks up to the ceiling. "He was a lovely guy, the Old Ox. I knew him since I was 18. We all lived at our mum's in those days. We'd go and pick each other up and have a riotous good time. You don't just make friends like that. I miss them all terribly."

Nearing 70 and with three stents in his chest and 50 years of memories—some of which will be captured in the book he's writing about his mod years—Cole doesn't have much room to care about current music.

"These bands today, they’re all people who have gone to university—posh boys who only seem to be into it for the money and not the fun. Back then, we were in it for the fun. There was no fucking money! For fuck's sake, Bonzo was a bricklayer when Zeppelin started! He was even apprehensive about leaving that job to go out with Zeppelin. What does that tell you abut the musicians of today? Those boys knew fuck-all about the business. They just worked their asses off until they had a hit record."

Though living a relatively quiet life, he still does manage to see his old friends—he had been out with Robert Plant the week before, and last spoke to Jimmy Page a few months ago as he put the finishing touches on the Led Zeppelin re-issues. He even excitedly tells me he is off to hang out with Steven Tyler the following day. We exchange stories about seeing the Rolling Stones on this most recent tour as well.

The restaurant at this point has come to a full hum with evening diners filing in to the point that we are almost shouting in each other’s faces. He has another appointment, and we prepare to say our goodbyes. Cole asks me if there is anything more that I would like to know. I don’t want this conversation to end—with his gray, slicked back hair, neatly trimmed beard, and khaki shorts, he reminds me of my own father. I lie and tell him I think that’s enough.

With that same affable energy and wide smile on his face, he shakes my hand. "All right, John, lovely to meet. Please keep in touch." He is ten feet away by the time he finishes the sentence—those crimson suede loafers are already peeling up the road.

http://www.vice.com/read/led-zeppelins-road-manager-is-still-a-badass

Edited by SteveAJones
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  • 2 years later...
57 minutes ago, Josephart said:

Regarding the Oakland brawl.  Does anyone know if the Bill Graham employe James (Jim) Matzorkis ever received a legal settlement from this incident?  Thank you. Joe

Three of Bill Graham's employees (including Jim Matzorkis) had filed a civil suit for two million dollars. After months of legal wrangling, Led Zeppelin offered to settle (I do not know how much the settlement was). In February 1978, Bonham, Bindon & Cole all received suspended sentences and fines (lawyer appeared on their behalf in court).

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Thanks for that post SAJ. Very interesting indeed!

Makes one think, a Zeppelin movie would just be too damn hard IMHO - but a movie about Mr Cole, wow! Easily could be a monster of a movie. It could really show what a different reality it was back then. and the journey as a whole. No question there is enough to "base on actual events" and not even have to stray too far! (maybe a bit of tweaking to protect the... um... still kicking. ;))

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16 minutes ago, rm2551 said:

Thanks for that post SAJ. Very interesting indeed!

Makes one think, a Zeppelin movie would just be too damn hard IMHO - but a movie about Mr Cole, wow! Easily could be a monster of a movie. It could really show what a different reality it was back then. and the journey as a whole. No question there is enough to "base on actual events" and not even have to stray too far! (maybe a bit of tweaking to protect the... um... still kicking. ;))

I agree that it's very difficult to produce a convincing film about a rock and roll group. I think Oliver Stone did an excellent job with The Doors, but few other examples come to mind. I had thought the James Brown film would be magnificent -- such a colorful life he led -- but I found it to be very unconvincing. The challenge is for these films not to come across as an obvious reenactment of events. I don't know if that could be ever achieved for a Richard Cole film. A straight forward interview may be the best approach, with pictures and film to compliment the narrative. Think less Oliver Stone The Doors and more Ken Burns Baseball.

.

Edited by SteveAJones
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