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SelfDevouringSnake

The Hypothetical New Lineup Reformation Scenario

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Imagine if you will Led Zeppelin in the present day (2011 A.D.). Imagine a reformed Led Zeppelin. It could happen, after all the three surviving members (vocalist Robert Plant, guitarist Jimmy Page, and bassist John Paul Jones) reunited for a one-off show in 2007 with drummer Jason Bonham filling in for his father, deceased original drummer John. Here's the twist: imagine Led Zeppelin without Plant, Page, Jones, or Bonham. For whatever stupendous reason, the four have decided not to participate in Led Zeppelin, and have granted you, an ambitious manager, control of Led Zeppelin's legal rights. Robert Plant is not interested in reforming the band, and is planning another solo album with his group Band of Joy. Jimmy Page, despite heavy thought over this decision, chooses to move on from Led Zeppelin and eventually agrees to the decision. John Paul Jones is intrigued, knowing that he can not participate due to his obligations with Them Crooked Vultures. Jason Bonham is slightly reluctant, but he is also working with a band (Black Country Communion), so he gives in to the decision. Now you are officially the manager of Led Zeppelin. The press is highly intrigued. The reformation is a huge deal; it makes headlines and is discussed on every talk show. There is outrage, support, bewilderment, and confusion from the highly divided fanbase. You don't have a band or any sort of plan yet, but it's your move. What do you do?

I'll give you my example for the hypothetical situation. I'm the manager. I'm psyched about the extreme hype the reformation is getting, but I'm also a little pissed. People are angry, and I'm the one they're blaming. I want to prove that this is going to be a worthy band, not the steaming pile of shit that everybody thinks it is going to be. My plan is pretty simple: get a new band together, make them write an album (which would almost certainly top the charts regardless of quality), and have them do a world tour. Here's my hypothetical band:

* Chris Cornell - vocalist. This would be assuming that he could be tempted from the recent Soundgarden reunion (who can know?)... In any case, Chris Cornell is a strong songwriter, and an even stronger singer (he has something like a four-octave range). I feel he would be one of few people who could do a decent job emulating Robert Plant live while bringing a completely different style to the table. He could also serve as a rhythm guitarist (as he did with Soundgarden). I'd be completely confident of his creative ability, that I can say for sure.

* Paul Gilbert - guitarist. Gilbert is a technically flawless shredder who has played in Racer X and Mr. Big. His solos can be flashy and tasty but are sometimes excessive, but he is never at a loss for them. The challenge here would be to see him utilize his talent in an outstanding, visceral way. Page wasn't much for the neoclassical style (not even as a prototype for it), but if Gilbert could bring something substantial then the approach would be irrelevant. Both Page and Gilbert use Marshall so there wouldn't be much of a conundrum in the live sound (the guitar has to be massive obviously).

* Stuart Hamm - bassist. A capable powerhouse on bass. He has worked with Satriani and Vai in the past. The question is whether he could bring anything noteworthy to the band as an arranger or a songwriter.

* Mike Portnoy - drummer. Recently left Dream Theater. Extremely technical player, but he could emulate a Bonham-esque groove if he wanted to. As with Cornell, Portnoy evidently has future projects (still in a prog metal vain), but let's assume he could be brought on board.

Now with Gilbert, Hamm, and Portnoy, it looks like a mere display for shredding and virtuosity. That's an asset because it means that the new Led Zeppelin is more skillful technically than the old one, but there needs to be an evocative, heavy feel. So much of this scenario would rely on chemistry (something I could never even approximate really). But anyways, I'd see how the album (tentatively titled The Return) would go, and I'd have them do a world tour hitting America, Canada, Britain, Japan, India, Continental Europe, and Brazil. I could reasonably expect this to make money even if the new music was terrible.

Nota bene: This thread is purely hypothetical. No disrespect is intended to the members of Led Zeppelin. Despite its semi-fictitious nature, it is posted in the Led Zeppelin Master Forum, because it is about Led Zeppelin. It is not about another band. If you only intend to complain about the folly of this thread, I implore you not to comment.

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This idea of a band replacing all of it's original members and carrying on isn't exactly new. In fact, a couple of years ago Gene Simmons of Kiss proposed something similar for Kiss when the time comes for he and Paul retire. As I recall he suggested bringing together four highly-talented unknowns. I'd be inclined to do the same with this project. Three to five years of aggressive touring would be essential as the only thing that would keep this afloat is a bond between the band members and their fans. God knows the industry and the press would be critical. I think the only viable alternative would be to bestow "official" status upon one of the Led Zeppelin tribute bands, however I don't see that working in the long run - they'd always be perceived as a cover band as opposed to a deliberate evolution of the original band.

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I think I'm going to be sick...

...not about the concept, but your choice of participants, Cornell aside. LZ was never about sterile virtuosity, which is what this would be.

I'd just keep it simple, and hire Salty Dog - if they're still alive:

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The first thing that I would do as the manager would be to hire Stevie Wonder as the band's limo / bus driver. If that didn't work, I'd promote Stevie Wonder to the pilot of the bands private jet, this would do the trick for sure. Of course, I would make sure that Stevie Wonder was wearing some sort of a miracle suit, so he would come out of it alive.

Edited by Daniel

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For me, Led Zeppelin died the day John Bonham died. The reunions were intriguing but anything short of the original lineup would not be Zep to me. Don't get me wrong. If Plant changed his mind and were to go out on the road with Jason, Page and JPJ, I would be in the front row, stage left.

An all new lineup would be a glorified tribute band.

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Yep. I could only see it working with KISS (since they have the kabuki makeup, which would keep the image/brand timeless).

Gene and Paul already have made it work with two replacement players (Eric Singer, who has been with the band on and off since the early 90s as well as Tommy Thayer, who has been working for the band in some manner since the mid-90's as well.) There is a guy named Spiro that works for the band and could easily play the role of the Demon. The most difficult person to replace in KISS would be Paul Stanley (for his vocal work and stage persona).

Led Zeppelin ended in 1980 (the one-offs were just that). Anything else by the surviving members is just a bonus.

R B)

Edited by reids

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Molly Hatchet currently tours with only one original member (guitarist Dave Hlubek) but I'm sure there's plenty of bands out there touring with no original members. In one interview a few years ago, Skynyrd guitarist Gary Rossington also said he envisioned something like Simmons mentioned for Skynyrd where a new band would play their songs. I hope that never happens. Same for Zeppelin.

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Ronnie Van Zant's widow actually stipulated that there needed to be a certain number of original members living for that band to tour as Lynyrd Skynyrd. I think Gary Rossington is the only original member still alive, so he could tour with a new band and perform Skynyrd songs, but they couldn't call themselves Lynyrd Skynyrd.

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No disrespect to the OP, as I understand that this is a "purely hypothetical" idea... but for the love of God man, is nothing sacred anymore? I haven't checked the OP's profile, so I've no idea how old he/she may be, but I would be willing to bet this is coming from someone under the age of 25... and no disrespect to the youth, but only someone who never witnessed the beauty and grace and magical power of Led Zeppelin... that being Page/Plant/Jones/Bonham... could come up w/ a scenario like this.

Zeppelin were not, and are not, like an old car that you can just change the battery in or reupholster the seats in... this was a band of four highly talented individuals who gave us some of the best and most timeless music in the history of music. Why is it so difficult to just let it go???

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Zeppelin were not, and are not, like an old car that you can just change the battery in or reupholster the seats in... this was a band of four highly talented individuals who gave us some of the best and most timeless music in the history of music. Why is it so difficult to just let it go???

EXACTLY. Well said

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This is ridiculous. Would never happen as Zeppelin were never sell outs.

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