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Magic Fills the Air

Jimmy Page Sunday Times Interview

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Jimmy was willing to do it. I commend him for that and always will. And so was JPJ and Jason of course You are going to be otomistic towards what? Go ahead and say it Deb. I felt that way a year ago. Its never happening. And its a shame that it wont. O2 was a tease. I will never understand it. They played a tribue to this guy, thats fine. Why not play a tribute to Peter grant and Bonzo too? Give us americans one last shot. And how about those that were too young to ever see them? They should be disapointed. Music is not sports. Look at the Rollkng Stones. Well, its a waste of breath and it only gets fights started. Because someone will come on here now and call me an idiot and say Robert's choices must be respected and all of that stufff I have heard over and over. At least I wont have to listen to that one so called fan that knows everything and everyone else is , what is that word he used? Oh yeah. Nimrods. What is a nimrod? Ha. Lets just pretend that tomorrow we get this monster news, Led Zeppelin has decided to play X amounts of dates at indoor venues. For instance MSG? How much do you think a ticket would cost? I dont mean scalp price. I mean legit prices at the window? I say $200 for the nose bleeds and "$500 for the floor?

Let it go already. Nothing was ever promised beyond the 02 show, just be grateful they did that and get on with your life.

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Let it go already. Nothing was ever promised beyond the 02 show, just be grateful they did that and get on with your life.

Well the problem is we all (at least most of us) still want something new from the boys or for them to get together and play/record or something.

By the way love the avatar, go old Johnny.

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Well the problem is we all (at least most of us) still want something new from the boys or for them to get together and play/record or something.

I am willing to accept that the 02 was it. That was all that was ever promised and they delivered. Still, that is not enough for some people. They want to rag on Plant and demand a tour for their own selfish purposes without taking into account the feelings of the surviving members. If their hearts were in it, it would be one thing but it's very clear that isn't the case here. Perhaps this will finally force Page to accept the fact that there is indeed life after Zeppelin. Jones and Plant haven't seemed to have any trouble with that, meanwhile Page wants to continue to recreate/live in the past.

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Jimmy doesn't have to be forced to do anything. How the hell do you know what Page's motivations are?

You haven't quoted anyone so I'm not sure who your comment is directed at but if it is indeed directed at me, I get all of my misinformation about Page from one Steve A. Jones. Just look at Page's track record post-Zep, it speaks for itself.

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You haven't quoted anyone so I'm not sure who your comment is directed at but if it is indeed directed at me, I get all of my misinformation about Page from one Steve A. Jones. Just look at Page's track record post-Zep, it speaks for itself.

I don't need an outside source to confirm my great enjoyment of several Page live performances since the Zeppelin split. He was truly outstanding at several of The Firm, Outrider, Page/Plant , and Black Crowes shows I was able to attend. Those shows spoke to me.

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I don't need an outside source to confirm my great enjoyment of several Page live performances since the Zeppelin split. He was truly outstanding at several of The Firm, Outrider, Page/Plant , and Black Crowes shows I was able to attend. Those shows spoke to me.

You're missing the point entirely, I'm referring to the fact that Page is the one that won't let Zeppelin go. Maybe, finally he will be able to move on with his next solo project and will at long put the past behind him.

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You're missing the point entirely, I'm referring to the fact that Page is the one that won't let Zeppelin go. Maybe, finally he will be able to move on with his next solo project and will at long put the past behind him.

Convoluted nonsense.

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Convoluted nonsense.

Exactly. Maybe if this solo record actually comes out there will be a tour to follow. I'm much more looking forward to new music from Page than dwelling on the prospects of a reunion they've already made good on.

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You're missing the point entirely, I'm referring to the fact that Page is the one that won't let Zeppelin go. Maybe, finally he will be able to move on with his next solo project and will at long put the past behind him.

You are aware that there are two other guys who wanted to tour in addition to Jimmy, right? Jones was excited about it. Jason is still dying to do it.

I understand your point about Jimmy needing to move on but let's not make it sound like he's the only old fuddy duddy who wanted to tour. On the contrary, there's only one guy who DIDN'T want to tour!

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You are aware that there are two other guys who wanted to tour in addition to Jimmy, right? Jones was excited about it. Jason is still dying to do it.

Evidently they tried working with other singers and for whatever reason, it didn't click. So, even without Plant they made an effort to continue on. I don't blame him one iota for not wanting to be a part of it. His heart just isn't in it, and for good reason. Do you want to pay through the nose to see a band going through the motions with a singer that doesn't even want to be there? I know I don't. If circumstances were different and Plant actually wanted to be a part of it that would be one thing but that's not the case. Leave that to the bands' who's prime motivation is cash. Lord knows, there's plenty of them out there along with plenty of clueless fans only too eager to fork over their hard earned cash to see some kind of approximation of the past. In the case of Led Zeppelin, I think it's best to let sleeping dogs lie. They did a reunion show that was clearly advertised as a "one-off" yet people still expect them to mount some sort of full scale tour that has never even been promised. They can't even get it together without Plant, what do you think it would be like with him onstage and he doesn't even want to be there? I'm not paying to see that. I've accepted that Led Zeppelin ended in 1980 and consider the few shows they've done together since then (especially the 02) to be the icing on the cake. They didn't have to play Live Aid, the Atlantic Records Anniversary gig or even the 02 concert but they did. I'm content with that. It's readily apparent that others aren't but to me that only means Zeppelin did their job.

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Evidently they tried working with other singers and for whatever reason, it didn't click. So, even without Plant they made an effort to continue on. I don't blame him one iota for not wanting to be a part of it. His heart just isn't in it, and for good reason. Do you want to pay through the nose to see a band going through the motions with a singer that doesn't even want to be there? I know I don't. If circumstances were different and Plant actually wanted to be a part of it that would be one thing but that's not the case. Leave that to the bands' who's prime motivation is cash. Lord knows, there's plenty of them out there along with plenty of clueless fans only too eager to fork over their hard earned cash to see some kind of approximation of the past. In the case of Led Zeppelin, I think it's best to let sleeping dogs lie. They did a reunion show that was clearly advertised as a "one-off" yet people still expect them to mount some sort of full scale tour that has never even been promised. They can't even get it together without Plant, what do you think it would be like with him onstage and he doesn't even want to be there? I'm not paying to see that. I've accepted that Led Zeppelin ended in 1980 and consider the few shows they've done together since then (especially the 02) to be the icing on the cake. They didn't have to play Live Aid, the Atlantic Records Anniversary gig or even the 02 concert but they did. I'm content with that. It's readily apparent that others aren't but to me that only means Zeppelin did their job.

I understand why Plant doesn't want to do it and he doesn't owe me anything. I just take exception to the idea that Jimmy is/was the only one who wanted to keep it going after the O2. The "Three J's" put in months of preparation, had a top notch stage presentation, and sounded fantastic. And by all accounts it wasn't "too heavy" for them, they enjoyed it. Why wouldn't they want to continue?!?

If they do another gig I'll try my hardest to be there, just like I tried to go to London 3 years ago. But frankly I'd just as soon hear new stuff from Jimmy without Robert. I like WIC but to me it didn't really feel like a Page statement to the extent that I thought it would. I kind of think Jimmy's music and Robert's current vocal style don't mesh as well together as they once did. I want to hear Jimmy unencumbered by a "character" vocalist to use a term that Jimmy used in a recent interview...

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'Oh my',

Don't worry someone will copy the newpaper version on to this site. As for the video, I'm sure it will be copied onto Youtube and then linked in a posting on this site. You won't miss out :)

Bumped to ask, "Um... do any of our friends in the UK have the inclination to scan and post this interview so those of us outside the UK can check it out?"

Thanks!

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Here is the text from the Sunday Times interview.

HITS AND MYTHS

The Sunday Times (London); Aug 22, 2010; Tony Barrell; p. 22 Full Text:

(Copyright © Times Newspapers Limited 2010)

Jimmy Page is telling me about his former life as a choirboy. In the mid-1950s, when he was about 12, he would dress up and sing sweetly at St Barnabas Church near his home in Epsom, Surrey. This comes as a bit of a shock - little Jimmy Page, singing his heart out to the Lord - given that a dozen years later he would metamorphose into the ultimate rock'n'roll superstar, seducing the world with his band Led Zeppelin, his raunchy guitar riffs and his ravenous libido.

Led Zeppelin not only produced some of the most exciting music ever played, but they set the standard for classic 1970s rock behaviour. The Herculean foursome of Page, Robert Plant, John Bonham and John Paul Jones worked incredibly hard - touring for months on end and playing gigs that could run for three or even four hours - but they played hard as well, partying like Dionysus, ingesting a pharmacopoeia of drugs, and giving a Whole Lotta Love to adoring groupies.

Thirty years after the Led Zep adventure ended - when their drummer, John Bonham, died after a mammoth drinking binge - they are far from forgotten. Two months ago, Led Zeppelin triumphed in a BBC television poll to determine the best-ever rock'n'roll band. On the same show, the musician Mark Ronson, famous for producing Amy Winehouse, confessed that Led Zeppelin had helped him with his sexual education. "Jimmy Page could get you laid," he explained, "because everything he wrote and played was drenched in a rhythmic swagger, filthier than sex, coupled with melodic pieces that could break the hearts of the iciest of prom queens. Even my crappy, third-rate - or maybe even lower - renditions of those songs got me to third base with 15-year-old girls in training bras and braces."

At the age of 12, Page seems to have had a pragmatic motive for pulling on a surplice and wailing The Lord's My Shepherd. "In those days it was difficult to access rock'n'roll music," he remembers now, "because after all the riots happened in the cinemas, when people heard Rock Around the Clock in the film Blackboard Jungle, the authorities tried to lock it all down. So you needed to tune in to the radio or go to places where you could hear it. It just so happened that in youth clubs they would play records and you'd get to hear Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis and Ricky Nelson - but you had to either go to church or be a member of the choir to go to the youth club."

Page, who is granting me a rare and exclusive audience, is being unusually expansive. One of the most expressive guitarists ever to plug into an amplifier - as Led Zeppelin songs as diverse as Stairway to Heaven and Over the Hills and Far Away confirm - his eloquence usually lies in his playing rather than in his conversation. He has long been notorious for his reticence and secrecy in interviews. Questions about his personal life have been greeted with silences and refusals to answer, and at times he has made JD Salinger and the elderly Howard Hughes seem like gossipy chatterboxes. But today he is excited, because he is unveiling a curious new album.

The album is called Jimmy Page, by Jimmy Page, so we know it's not a collection of songs by an impossibly reunited Led Zeppelin. In fact, this is a photographic album, charting his musical life in pictures. It is a luxurious tome featuring 650 photographs, many of them rarely, if ever, published before. It's effectively his autobiography - though, appropriately for such a guarded man, it's short on words. He points out that many books have been written about him and Led Zeppelin, none of them authorised. And in the absence of volunteered information, writers have sometimes fallen back on rumour and exaggeration. He was once so enraged by the lurid stories in one book, he says, that he threw it out of the window. He was living then in an old watermill, the Mill House in Clewer, Berkshire, and he says it went straight into the water.

"I've been approached on quite a number of occasions to do an autobiography, which I've never really wanted to do, because to sell a book, you can bet your life that it's stoked up in a sensational furnace," he says. "But, you know, I've had a substantial career, and I thought it would be interesting to do a photographic autobiography. I wanted to do a book that would show the career, rather than concentrate on lots of hearsay and people's colourful stories."

He is right about that "substantial career" - Led Zeppelin aside, he has collaborated with many other big names. But the "colourful stories" he mentions have swirled around the reputation of Page and Led Zeppelin for four decades, and they're not going to go away. They concern such taboo subjects as witchcraft and sadomasochistic sex, and they will also need to be discussed.

It's hard to believe that the Lord of the Riffs is 66. A silver ponytail now replaces the long, dark tresses of his 1970s heyday, and he is a grandfather - his daughter Scarlet having had a child, Martha, three years ago. He was born on January 9, 1944, in Heston, Middlesex, to James and Patricia Page - hence his full name, James Patrick Page. Dad was an industrial personnel manager and Mum was a doctor's secretary. The Pages moved shortly afterwards to Feltham, and then upped sticks again to escape the growing noise pollution of nearby Heathrow airport, ending up in Epsom.

Just as the heroic costume of Spider-Man conceals puny Peter Parker, there seems to be a geek, a nerdy loner, lurking beneath the surface of this guitar god. An only child, Page read books, studied postage stamps and, crucially, started devoting long stretches of time to mastering the guitar, having been excited by rock'n'roll tunes like Baby, Let's Play House, by Elvis Presley. "The choirmaster at St Barnabas remembered that I used to take my guitar to choir practice," he says, "and ask if I could tune it up to the organ." Page was soon playing with young friends in a skiffle group, and his indulgent parents allowed them to rehearse in their Epsom home. When the group appeared on a BBC young-talent show in the late 1950s, the adolescent Page told the broadcaster Huw Wheldon that he wanted to work in the rather solitary field of "biological research" when he grew up. In a sense, he eventually achieved that ambition, as a bevy of beautiful women could attest.

But in the 1960s, after his guitar skills got him noticed, Page began serving what he now calls his "apprenticeship" in British recording studios, playing on records by a who's who of '60s artists, including the Rolling Stones, the Who, the Kinks, Tom Jones, Dusty Springfield, Lulu, Petula Clark and Benny Hill. He says he would play about 15 sessions a week, and he wouldn't know who he was working with until he arrived at the studio.

One day in 1964 he walked into EMI studios in Abbey Road and found he was making incidental music for the Beatles' first film, A Hard Day's Night. "I turned up and, lo and behold, there was George Martin," he recalls, "and I recognised the music and realised what it was." He ended up contributing background guitar to Ringo's Theme, the instrumental of the song This Boy that accompanies a morose Ringo Starr as he wanders off by the River Thames.

Page's session experience wasn't limited to playing guitar. "I loved the blues so much that I learnt to play harmonica - pretty badly, but I did play on a few sessions; I did one for Cliff Richard and one for Billy Fury."

Page joined his friend Jeff Beck in the Yardbirds in 1966, and was soon able to afford his first house. It was a former boathouse in Pangbourne, Berkshire, which came with its own private boat, "a slipper stern". It was here that Page's loner tendencies came out again. "I lived at that house for a substantial period on my own," he tells me. "And I really enjoyed that bachelor existence - working and creating music, and going out on my boat at night on my own; switching off the engine and just coasting in the twilight. I liked all that." At another point, he lovingly tended his own tank of tropical fish - though he says now that "going on the road and having an aquarium don't mix".

After the Yardbirds folded in 1968 and Page cast around for musicians to play some powerful new material he was writing, he found Robert Plant and John Bonham, and the bass player John Paul Jones came on board. Page occasionally lapses into the third person when he talks about Led Zeppelin now, as if reading from a book of myths and legends: "There were four remarkable musicians here. They could play in a band like no others did," he declares. When you played those ridiculously long gigs, were you just showing off? "No," replies Page. "By the time of the third album, the set was growing and we simply didn't want to drop any of our numbers. By the time a song got to the stage, it had started to take on another character altogether as we expanded on it and augmented it, through soloing and new sections. So the sets started getting longer and longer. But nobody complained!" he laughs. Led Zep were "on fire, totally on fire, right to the very end", says Page. "There's no doubt about the fact that there was a musical... let's call it ESP, a synergy. There were so many times when the rest of the band came in together, and you're thinking, 'They haven't even heard it yet, but they're right on it.' "

As well as gathering new songs, Page was becoming a serious art collector. Even before Led Zeppelin started selling millions of albums (they have now sold somewhere between 200m and 300m), he was buying antiques and pictures, notably favouring the work of the Pre-Raphaelites. In 1978 he acquired a 24ft-long tapestry by Edward Burne-Jones, from a series called The Quest for the Holy Grail. A photograph exists of Page playing snooker in front of the tapestry, which shows Sir Galahad and a trio of angels. He tells me that Romantic and pre-Raphaelite aesthetics were also influencing the dandyish clothes he was wearing. Here is a description of Page in 1974, by his erstwhile American lover Bebe Buell: "Jimmy was wearing a pair of dainty black boots, crushed blue velvet pants, a beautifully ruffled Edwardian shirt, and a velvet jacket worthy of Beau Brummell. His pale, handsome face was framed by exquisite black ringlets. He looked like Sir Lancelot." To this day, Page likes to top off his outfit with a stylish scarf, and his collection of wispy scraps of fabric must rival the shoe hoard of Imelda Marcos.

Unusual period properties are another Page passion, and in 1972 he acquired one of his greatest prizes, the Tower House in Kensington, from the actor Richard Harris for a reported Pounds 350,000. This is the extravagant neo-Gothic home that the architect William Burges built for himself in the 1870s. It looks like the kind of place Shrek would live in, with its steeply pitched roofs, stained-glass windows and fairy-tale pointy-topped turret; the interiors are packed with fantasy decoration, including a chimneypiece resembling a gigantic medieval castle in the library. Page still owns the Tower House, though more recently he bought a grand country house designed by Edwin Lutyens in a small Berkshire village. With his overall worth put at Pounds 75m by The Sunday Times Rich List, he can certainly afford the upkeep of these national treasures.

In early interviews, Page mentioned his interest in the late magician and libertine Aleister Crowley. In the early 1970s he bought Boleskine House, Crowley's spooky mansion by Loch Ness, where the old wizard is said to have tried to summon angels and called up demons by mistake. Page also acquired an occult London bookshop called the Equinox. In case people didn't get the message, inscribed in the run-out grooves of Led Zeppelin's third LP in 1970 was the Crowleyinspired line "Do what thou wilt". Religious groups concluded that Page worshipped Satan, and people started playing Led Zeppelin records backwards to find diabolical messages. "I do not worship the Devil," he told one journalist, "but magic does intrigue me - magic of all kinds," leading some to conclude that he was a big Tommy Cooper fan as well. He had read a Crowley book, Magick in Theory and Practice, when he was about 11, but "it wasn't for some years that I understood what it was all about".

Page once said that he had been motivated by "Crowley's system of self-liberation", which teaches that "when you've discovered your true will, you should just forge ahead like a steam train. If you put all of your energies into it, there's no doubt you'll succeed because that's your true will". When I ask about his magical interests, Page replies: "I don't really want to go into it. It's not the time or place to discuss my interest in other areas, because I prefer to be weighed up purely by the communicative aspect of the music."

Cagey Page still refuses to discuss the meaning of the personal "Zoso" symbol he chose for himself on the cover of Led Zeppelin IV, though perceptive researchers have tracked it down in a 16th-century book on magic and alchemy. The mysterious rune may allude to Saturn, his ruling planet, and it may be a Rosebud-style reference to "Grazioso", the name of one of Page's earliest electric guitars. Robert Plant once quipped it was code for "frying tonight". Although the symbol is emblazoned on Page's new book, he isn't saying.

He's more forthcoming about another of his mystical interests - astrology - explaining that "I'm sun in Capricorn, Scorpio rising, and moon in Cancer," and noting that Robert Plant is a Leo, "which is perfect for a front man. I mean, Jagger's a Leo as well". His message to non-believers is that one can't simply dismiss the "scholarly work that's been done for thousands of years" by dedicated stargazers. If we indulge his zodiac beliefs for a moment, it's curious that there is a consensus among astrologers about people with Scorpio rising: they use words like "private", "secretive", "mystical" and "defensive".

He becomes very defensive indeed when I tackle the subject of flagellation. The former supergroupie Pamela Des Barres wrote that in 1969, during a passionate fling with the guitarist when Led Zeppelin were on the road in the US: "I saw Jimmy's whips curled up in his suitcase like they were taking a nap and pretended I didn't... He came up behind me and put his hands gently around my throat and said, 'Don't worry Miss P., I'll never use those on you, I'll never hurt you like that.' " She also remarked that she was "amazed at his sadistic tendencies; they're such a part of him that I doubt if he'll ever stop".

Did he really have whips in his suitcase?

"Have you never had any whips in your suitcase?" he replies, and suddenly wheezes with laughter. I suggest that he may have simply had a brief flirtation with S&M, and he replies: "I'm sure some of your readers might have flirted with S&M. Apart from that, there's no comment."

Then, suddenly, as if he can't help himself, he makes the extraordinary statement: "I have a voracious appetite for all things, worldly and unworldly." From the uneasy, silent stare that follows, I infer this is his final word on the subject.

Page has fathered a total of four children with three different women. Scarlet Page, now a 39-year-old photographer, is the daughter of the French model Charlotte Martin, whom Jimmy met in 1970. James Page Jr, 22, "who is just finishing university and wants to be a documentary-maker", is the son of the American model Patricia Ecker, whom Jimmy met in the 1980s. And Zofia-Jade and Ashen Josan are respectively the young daughter and son of Jimena Gomez-Paratcha, who was born to Argentine parents in the US, and did charity work with Page in Brazil after they met in the 1990s. Page reveals he is no longer with Jimena; he is single again. "But they're all really friendly - not just the children, but all the mothers too. So I feel a very fortunate man, under the circumstances."

Before Page has to leave, I ask if we will ever see Led Zeppelin play again. "Never say never," he shrugs. He tells me that after their one-off "reunion" show at the O2 in 2007 - at which the late drummer John Bonham was replaced by his son, Jason - Page did work on new material with John Paul Jones and Jason Bonham with a view to going on tour. Robert Plant was unavailable, duetting with Alison Krauss, so they considered finding a new singer. Page now says that the project foundered, from his viewpoint, because of early "pressure to bring in a vocalist", when he would have preferred to develop the music further before they did that. "The music always has to come first," he says. We shake hands, and he scolds me quaintly for asking some of those more uncomfortable questions. "You're cheeky, Tony, you are," he says.

And with that, the world's most enigmatic guitar hero is off - perhaps to compose some new riffs, cast some spells, or tend to his fish tank. We may never know.

The book Jimmy Page (Genesis Publications, Pounds 395) is published in September in a signed limited edition of 2,500. It is available, with free p&p, at The Sunday Times Bookshop. Tel: 0845 2712 135

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Thanks for posting, Kenog, good stuff!

He's still his old mysterious self, isn't he? And I did learn something new; I had no idea he played on the incidental music for A Hard Day's Night. I've seen that movie a million times!

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Here is the text from the Sunday Times interview.

HITS AND MYTHS

The Sunday Times (London); Aug 22, 2010; Tony Barrell; p. 22 Full Text:

(Copyright © Times Newspapers Limited 2010)

But today he is excited, because he is unveiling a curious new album.

The album is called Jimmy Page, by Jimmy Page, so we know it's not a collection of songs by an impossibly reunited Led Zeppelin. In fact, this is a photographic album, charting his musical life in pictures.

Anyone else get a lil nervous when reading this bit?

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The "Three J's" put in months of preparation, had a top notch stage presentation, and sounded fantastic. And by all accounts it wasn't "too heavy" for them, they enjoyed it.

Not being argumentative, genuine question--I'm sure this is true, but how do you know?

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No, I didn't. Why should I?

Ok, it's clear it's just referring to the book...but at first glance, when you see new album, and equate it to this book, it could seem as though...

Eh nevermind. It was just a thought.

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Not being argumentative, genuine question--I'm sure this is true, but how do you know?

Not sure what part you're asking about but let me clarify. When I said, "The Three J's put in months of preparation...," I was referring to the preparation they did to get ready for the O2. It's well documented that they wanted to keep going after the O2, and in fact did keep going for the better part of a year before it fell apart.

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Not sure what part you're asking about but let me clarify. When I said, "The Three J's put in months of preparation...," I was referring to the preparation they did to get ready for the O2. It's well documented that they wanted to keep going after the O2, and in fact did keep going for the better part of a year before it fell apart.

Oh I see. I thought you were referring to the time they spent on the project that never came to fruition after the O2 (probably because people kept talking about them as the three J's during that time). All clear now. :)

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Anyone else get a lil nervous when reading this bit?

I do! And then a bit disappointed after a few seconds. <_<

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Anyone else get a lil nervous when reading this bit?

I got excited reading the front page caption on the Sunday Times: 'Led Zepp's Secret New Album'. :o Then I opened the magazine and saw that it was referring to Jimmy's book. I'm sure a lot of readers were expecting something different.

Edited by Magic Fills the Air

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Here is the text from the Sunday Times interview.

HITS AND MYTHS

The Sunday Times (London); Aug 22, 2010; Tony Barrell; p. 22 Full Text:

(Copyright © Times Newspapers Limited 2010)

[The book Jimmy Page (Genesis Publications, Pounds 395) is published in September in a signed limited edition of 2,500. It is available, with free p&p, at The Sunday Times Bookshop. Tel: 0845 2712 135

Thank you so much kenog!

I'm happy to know that Jimmy is fine and looks happy.

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