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curseddiamond

Is Jimmy 'not up to it'?

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Hi all, I was reading thorugh the piece on Classic Rock Magazine web site last night about Robert supposedly tearing up the Branson contract and there was a very interesting comment underneath. The poster was saying that it is common knowledge in the 'music biz' that the real reason there has been no reunion post 2007 is because Robert doesnt think Jimmy is up to playing to the necessary high standards. he also goes on to 'alledge' that Jimmy didnt break his finger falling in the garden at all before the gig and it was all a smoke screen while he got extra practice in so he didnt embarass himself and the Zep legacy.

Has anyone else heard this and/or do you think there could be some truth to it? I thought he played pretty bloody well for his age and lack of recent stage time.

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Don't have the quote handy but John Paul Jones said Jimmy was playing better than ever in rehearsals. Sounds like conspiracy theory stuff to me. Having said that, Jimmy was under an enormous amount of pressure for one show, he's said so himself.

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Of course Jimmy can deliver if he so chooses, Jimmy is always loaded for bear, don’t be ridiculous. He's not the front man holding the mic being brazen, who was born to be seen as a leader, he is a gentle soul, and I'm sure that these kind of things being said would upset him. I don't think Jimmy has ever failed to deliver.

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he also goes on to 'alledge' that Jimmy didnt break his finger falling in the garden at all before the gig and it was all a smoke screen while he got extra practice in so he didnt embarass himself and the Zep legacy.

Conspiracy theorists have made that allegation but never Robert Plant so far as I know.

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Being sort of a loony I am, let's make a joke about Chemtrails, for health of us all!

Why do some people think, chemtrails are real?! Because custard is too heavy! ;)

Edited by Matjaz1

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Don't have the quote handy but John Paul Jones said Jimmy was playing better than ever in rehearsals. Sounds like conspiracy theory stuff to me. Having said that, Jimmy was under an enormous amount of pressure for one show, he's said so himself.

This. I think the proof was in the pudding. O2 was a stellar show for Jimmy, but if there is any doubt about his ability, the rehearsal DVD version of SIBLY should remove any question as to whether he was up to it.

Edited by The Dark Lord

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O2 was 7 years ago.

We have no way of knowing what Jimmy's playing ability is now, because, to my knowledge, he has not been seen playing in public for 3 years.

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The 02 performance showed that Jimmy could still play well enough to play faithful to his younger Led Zeppelin self.

However, I wouldn't expect him to dust off Heartbreaker anytime soon. As well he played it 1998, you can see the struggle within his body it took for him to do it. And I think perhaps that's why unfortunately we did not get it in 2007.

Edited by zeppy668

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This. I think the proof was in the pudding. O2 was a stellar show for Jimmy, but if there is any doubt about his ability, the rehearsal DVD version of SIBLY should remove any question as to whether he was up to it.

On one hand (no pun intended) that rehearsal was about a month after his injury, on the other hand the fact he played so well then and on the night despite the injury is a testament to his preparation. For those who doubt the injury ever occurred, watch the show focused on the pinky finger of his left hand--he is clearly favoring it throughout.

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On one hand (no pun intended) that rehearsal was about a month after his injury, on the other hand the fact he played so well then and on the night despite the injury is a testament to his preparation. For those who doubt the injury ever occurred, watch the show focused on the pinky finger of his left hand--he is clearly favoring it throughout.

I agree, but my point was essentially this: if Page was really as out of shape as suggested, a few months of rehearsal would not have gotten him to the level that he was able to produce at the rehearsal, and at the O2 show. I get that he needed to bone up, but claims that he was not up to it were clearly inflammatory. He could easily have carried on post 02, IMHO.

Edited by The Dark Lord

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I agree, but my point was essentially this: if Page was really as out of shape as suggested, a few months of rehearsal would not have gotten him to the level that he was able to produce at the rehearsal, and at the O2 show. I get that he needed to bone up, but claims that he was not up to it were clearly inflammatory. He could easily have carried on post 02, IMHO.

No question. His head, heart & hands were ready to go. He'd have played every hockey arena in the world. Unfortunately it was not to be.

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No question. His head, heart & hands were ready to go. He'd have played every hockey arena in the world. Unfortunately it was not to be.

It still seems like it was yesterday. :(

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The O2 show was a long time ago now. Nobody but Jimmy knows what his current ability to play is. By his own recent admission he plays very infrequently. When I met him two weeks ago at the NY book signing I took a close look at his hands. I didn't see any sign of swelling in his fingers indicating severe arthritis, but you can have arthritis in your hands without swelling. I also saw no noticeable callouses on his fingers indicating that he isn't playing regularly. I do believe that if he cannot get himself to a place where he can satisfy his own high standards, he won't play at all. It could be that is why he hasn't been playing at all. I hope it isn't so, but I think we have to accept that it is a possibility. He is 70 and most people have some degree of arthritis in their hands by that age, even if they haven't overused the joints in their hands for years.

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The O2 show was a long time ago now. Nobody but Jimmy knows what his current ability to play is. By his own recent admission he plays very infrequently. When I met him two weeks ago at the NY book signing I took a close look at his hands. I didn't see any sign of swelling in his fingers indicating severe arthritis, but you can have arthritis in your hands without swelling. I also saw no noticeable callouses on his fingers indicating that he isn't playing regularly. I do believe that if he cannot get himself to a place where he can satisfy his own high standards, he won't play at all. It could be that is why he hasn't been playing at all. I hope it isn't so, but I think we have to accept that it is a possibility. He is 70 and most people have some degree of arthritis in their hands by that age, even if they haven't overused the joints in their hands for years.

Hans, the result of his impromptu attempt at Ramble On in Paris suggests to me he's at least four to six months from being "in shape". Some will say that isn't a fair gauge because he may not have been expecting it, but it seems to me being asked to perform a piece of music one not only wrote but performed a couple of thousand times over the past forty years shouldn't be that much of a challenge.

Edited by SteveAJones

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WoW! what a dick head for putting him on the spot like that! but on the other hand its not that unreasonable for a person to think that a respected guitar master could still play.

Jimmy looks like he's having fun with the offer of the first guitar but he can't wait to put it down. At the 14:10 mark take a look at his face when he see's the other guitar being brought up, its obvious he does not want to get involved. He gives it the ole college try but he knows he cannot 'play' effectively enough to go on and he ends it before he really cheeses it up.

I hate to say it but if Jimmy couldn't even bend one note and hold it during the end jam at jeff Beck's second induction the the R&RHOF back in 2012 I highly doubt he could play even one full song with a solo today or in the future.

He will be 71 in january give the guy a break for not dashing people's hopes of seeing him play live by not admitting he won't and also give him a break for trying to promote himself and the Zeppelin Legacy. You have to give him props because he knows how to keep the myth alive.

Edited by juxtiphi

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Hans, the result of his impromptu attempt at Ramble On in Paris suggests to me he's at least four to six months from being "in shape". Some will say that isn't a fair gauge because he may not have been expecting it, but it seems to me being asked to perform a piece of music one not only wrote but performed a couple of thousand times over the past forty years shouldn't be that much of a challenge.

Agreed. That was nothing short of brutal.

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I can't believe the negative conclusions people are drawing from that snippet of Ramble On. Then again I've been around here a long time so I guess I can believe it. Brutal?!? Sheesh.

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Re the Ramble On clip, he obviously wasn't expecting it and as the guitar wasn't one of his I doubt it was set up to how he likes his guitars to be. So combine lack of practice with a guitar he's not use to playing on and that's what you get.

To be honest though I do wonder how often Jimmy picks up a guitar these days. It seems whenever he's called upon to do something (eg The O2 show and It Might Get Loud) he delivers the goods and it's not something you lose the ability to do completely although I do wonder how rusty he gets in between doing things.

Edited by LesPaulPlayer

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On the French show, I thought he played just fine after he got the pick. The petrified look on his face when they brought out the "real guitar" was telling, however.

If nervousness about performing with diminished skills (however diminished they actually are) is truly a problem for him, I wish he'd realize that it's all -- or at least mostly -- about his vibe and presence anyway. Short of an actual inability to play anymore, everyone is going to forgive him for not playing solos at breakneck speed.

I think coping with diminished skills is quite far down on the list of why he isn't touring. His chomping at the bit to play with Zep says something about that, I think.

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Really? I don't think it is diminished skills at all!

His fear in the French interview is from being surprised with an unknown guitar! It is obviously a surprise to him!

Is it even in tune?

No telling what was running through his head, I would have been aggravated to be put on the spot like that!

Very few people and even one who is a master musician likes to put on the spot, it isn't fair.

People are expecting brilliance in an ambush! :rolleyes:

I thought he was very gracious about it, in even giving them a few chords.

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Ok, to tread respectfully here but still make a clear point, let's use some comparisons for perspective.

Rostropovich conducted his final performance in 2006 at the age of 79 (I don't know when his last cello performance was, though he may not have been well enough to play it since he passed away about a year later).

I saw Leonard Cohen in concert a couple of years ago, when he was 78. He performed for three hours.

Now, some may think that waving a baton around or singing within a range of four or five notes (if you want to go the snarky route) is a piece of cake, but I bring them up because these are musicians who were and are doing their thing live well past the age that Jimmy is now.

Also, I've mentioned this before, but it bears repeating that Horowitz played the Rach 3 at the age of 75.

For examples closer to Jimmy's age, well there is Itzhak Perlman who at 69 is still performing - brilliantly - and conducting, and teaching kids to play. A working musician.

Of course, there's also Jonesy, whose musical repertoire is ever expanding at 68.

In classical music performers are expected to get better with age in terms of technical mastery and mature emotional expression for complex pieces yet Jimmy can't be expected to play his own composition on the spot?

Plus if we're comapring level of difficulty, frankly, a few chords of a song Jimmy wrote and has played thousands of times should really not be something that people think is unfair to spring on him. If the guitar is out of tune or the gauge of the strings is not to his liking, I mean, we're not talking Flight of the Bumblebee here, come on, just work with it. To his credit, Jimmy was a sport about it, but we're talking about the impressions he made with his playing, which makes me think it's more to do with practice.

On his website, Itzhak Perlman answers various questions via video, and he advises students to not practice more than around 4 hours a day. He does not practice that much anymore because he's been playing the music consistently for decades. This even after a torn rotator cuff surgery to his bowing arm and subsequent physio. Back in top form. Put a violin in his hand and he'll do a bit of whatever. Same thing with the cello for Rostropovich or the piano for Horowitz or surprise-him-with-any-of-the-above-instruments-or-even-a-baton for Jonesy.

Horowitz said, "If I don't practice for a day, I know it. If I don't practice for two days, my wife knows it. If I don't practice for three days, the world knows it." Seems like it was at least three days for Jimmy.

Look it's not that big a deal, really. So unless there is an underlying medical issue we don't know about, Jimmy's not yet in race form, but I don't doubt he can be if, well...

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I can't believe the negative conclusions people are drawing from that snippet of Ramble On. Then again I've been around here a long time so I guess I can believe it. Brutal?!? Sheesh.

Sorry, but being a fan does not confer a duty on a person to sing the praises of something not worthy. That was a simple, simple piece to strum, and he should have been able to play it much better than that, especially with having played it hundreds of times in the past. And let's not forget that he was not asked to play that song. He chose it himself, presumably because he felt it would showcase his ability. Well it didn't, and it was far less than competent. That is not to say that Jimmy is not competent, but that his endeavor on that day certainly was not. I mean, shouldn't a professional guitarist be better than that? Its not like playing guitar is a hobby; its his career. Either way, a regimen of practice would be able to get Jimmy well back on track, but that clip clearly shows that he either had a bad night, or has let his bread and butter slide off the table. What I find surprising is people fawning over something that was so substandard.

Edited by The Dark Lord

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What was most embarrassing was Page demanding a pick like some frickin amateur. A guitar stud worth his salt doesn't have anything in his personal rep to sit down in his chair and play fingerstyle?

Then, again, he might have been distracted like what I was doing in those 15 minutes which was mentally undressing those hot french babes right behind the announcer so I forgive him.

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