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zeppelincheetah

wtf @ "Hammer of the Gods" by Stephen Davis

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*Sigh*, here we go again. I'm one of the few long-time, and I'd like to think knowledgeable, Zep fans on the board who will defend this book. I've read it many times, and always enjoyed it a lot. I think it's a great mix of sensational crazy stories, and a focus on the music. It delves a lot into the recording sessions and the live shows, and really gives a great idea of the power and mystique that Zeppelin wielded. As far as the stories in there, I personally never thought any less of the boys for them, I only ever thought it sounded like a lot of fun, and nothing worse than anything that anyone would do in their situation. I never felt they had anything to be ashamed of from that book. I think the book really went a long way to helping keep their legend alive in the 80's and 90's, and really drew in kids like me, who first read the book at 17 and it only made them more fascinating to me. Is some of possibly untrue or blown out of proportion? Perhaps. But I'd venture to say more of it is true than many want to admit. I mean, if you're writing a book about a band, and you get a good portion of your info from that band's road manager, I'd say you're not just relying on some fringe person's memories, you're getting the goods from someone who was right there. Good enough for me. Aside from a true autobiography by a member of the band, it's probably as good as it gets.

Yes, there are more serious books that focus more on the music, and I'm reading Keith Shadwick's book now. It's good so far, but it reads like a history book, a lot of facts, not a lot of fun. To me, Hammer Of The Gods is a great mix of music, stories, and it conveys the power, mystery, and mystique of Led Zeppelin that captivated so many young fans.

I agree I read the book as soon as it came out and while it may not be 100% factual I think its more truth than fiction otherwise the band would of taken legal action over it. I found it to be an amusing read about a rock band that had a lot of fun back in the day before drugs and personal bs started driving them nutz.

I can completely understand why the band does not like the book cause its not too flattering at times and they did get away with alot of things that would send CNN into OJ mode these dayz and they all have families that can read so ........ if it was your story .........

Richard Cole was responsible for much of the mayhem as he admits and as well as the main source of the book and admittedly a heroin addict at the time so you know he did it for the $$$

I think the book did the band alot of good and in some small way started the healing process for the band, they had to come to grips with their history instead of hiding from it.

RjK

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Doesn't every Zeppelin fan know this? Page's heroin addiction from 76 to about 83 is well known, I thought. I mean his apperance and playing in Zeppelin shows from '77 onwards make it pretty obvious that something was going on.
I think that Jimmy must have cleaned his act up by 1984, as i was lucky to have witnessed a gig by him and Roy Harper in the tiny lounge of The St. Ives Hotel in Lytham St. Annes ( i live in Preston, and it's only down the road! ). Roy had moved back to live in Lancashire, and he became a director of the hotel, and he also built The Boilerhouse studio in the basement. As far as i'm aware, "Whatever Happened To Jugula" was recorded there. To cut a long story shortish, Roy did a very poor gig at The Bierkeller, Blackpool, ( the new equipment kept breaking down! ), and he gave out tix for a future gig to anyone who wanted one. We turned up at The St. Ives a month or two later, and i looked through the front window and saw Jimmy and Roy rehearsing on the small lounge stage. I was really excited, as i never thought that Jimmy would be there as well as Roy. Apparently, they'd been camping in The Lake District, and they were very tired, and Roy was taking the mickey out of Jimmy, going on about sharing a tent with "Lurtch" as he called him. Roy played the first half solo, then after a break, he said "Welcome James McGregor", and Jimmy strolled out carrying a white Telecaster. They played songs from the new album, and it turned out to be a wonderful evening. The point i am trying to make is that there was no way that a man addicted to heroin could have conducted himself, and played so well, as Jimmy did that evening. He was spot-on, in great humour, and looked as healthy as anyone else in the room did. Roy did mention going for a smoke after the gig, but that isn't in the same league as smack!?

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and...

...all I know is that I'd have given my left tit to have experienced that scene

Donations taken here !

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and

I totally agree. The 70s strike me as an exploratory period where no-one knew or cared where the boundaries were - in many ways, the boundaries weren't set until later on. Any rock star basking in unlimited wealth and the personal power that came with it would be tempted to live like a Roman Emperor. Probably not all the time, but some of it. And inevitably, there'd be unpleasant stuff going on alongside the exhilarating stuff. When you've got 20,000 people worshipping at your feet night after night, you're going to find it pretty hard to come back down to earth.

I was a young child in the 70s so forgive me if I don't know what I'm talking about, but all I know is that I'd have given my left tit to have experienced that scene, for good or ill.

Off out now so Happy New Year to everyone - hopefully lots of Zep goodies to come in 2008!

Excellent post, BvZ. I think that you have described the spirit of that time quite well. The exploration, the lack of boundaries, the comparison to Roman Emperors (Caligula comes to mind), even the fact that there were both unpleasant and exhilarating things happening simultaneously. I haven't spent the last 30+ years thinking about it; my daring to look back only started within the past year and, as you wisely note, for better or worse, good or ill, I am glad to have been a part of it.

Please don't sacrifice any body parts! I was a kid during the late 60's and desperately wanted to be at Monterey Pop and Woodstock and to hang around the Haight with Jerry but it was not to be. So, when the 70's rolled around, I hurled myself headlong into the madness. In hindsight, I am glad I did.

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Thanks for a great thread, everyone. Turning a bit more serious...

Roy did mention going for a smoke after the gig, but that isn't in the same league as smack!?

It is if you consider how addictive the two substances can be. It's been said it's as hard or even harder to quit smoking than to quit heroin.

Heroin is a central nervous system depressant, while nicotine sharpens the mind and elevates the mood. People keep on very precise doses of nicotine by regular smoking throughout every day and during all sorts of activities - although less so nowadays, since it's been outlawed in many settings (rightfully - smoking and alcohol kill more people than heroin does). Heroin is not used in the same manner, usually.

Socially, it's easier to function in daily life as a smoker... but certain people - say, musicians - function quite well on opiates, and it can serve to enhance their creativity. NOT that I'm advocating it's use! (!) But, the "reefer madness" style propaganda that's been around since Prohibition hides the truth. Worse still, it tars users with a nasty brush, calling in to question to their morality, self-control, and worth. There's an excellent, eye-opening article here:

"The Surprising Truth about heroin and addiction"

http://www.reason.com/news/show/28809.html

As relates to Mr. Page, I found this interesting:

"...Charles Winick concluded that narcotic addicts tend to "mature out" of the habit in their 30s. He suggested that 'addiction may be a self limiting process for perhaps two-thirds of addicts.' "

This seems to be just what happened to Page (thank goodness).

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I thoroughly enjoyed Hammer Of The Gods. But, I enjoy ALL the mythology that is Zeppelin.

I like my reality with a twist of epic fantasy, I guess. ;)

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I just finished reading Led Zeppelin: 1968-1980 by Keith Shadwick. Pretty good book, I thought, with the focus more on the music career instead of the drug and alcohol addictions.

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I thought Hammer of the Gods was funny, too. I tried reading Fallen Angel. It just irritated me making Zep sound satantic. I might finish it sometime. I can't wait for Mick Wall's biography to come out and this new book on Robert this year. I'm afraid only Jimmy, Robert and Jonesy could tell it. I hope Jimmy will write his book one day.

Edited by aen27

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I just finished reading Led Zeppelin: 1968-1980 by Keith Shadwick. Pretty good book, I thought, with the focus more on the music career instead of the drug and alcohol addictions.

The Shadwick book and the old Ritchie Yorke biography are my favorite books for learning about the history of the band and their music. Because some people, who were not around at the time, will want to know what the "scene" was like back then, I think there will always be a market for (the sensationalized and not very well written) HOTG and STH.

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I thought Hammer of the Gods was funny, too. I tried reading Fallen Angel. It just irritated me making Zep sound satantic. I might finish it sometime. I can't wait for Mick Wall's biography to come out and this new book on Robert this year. I'm afraid only Jimmy, Robert and Jonesy could tell it. I hope Jimmy will write his book one day.

I wouldn't bother finishing "Fallen Angel", as it is very repetitive. I don't know how I had the stamina, but I was younger then.

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Please don't sacrifice any body parts! I was a kid during the late 60's and desperately wanted to be at Monterey Pop and Woodstock and to hang around the Haight with Jerry but it was not to be. So, when the 70's rolled around, I hurled myself headlong into the madness. In hindsight, I am glad I did.

You're right. Everyone has a 'time' and there's no point hankering after what's gone as you could be missing the great stuff right in front of you. :) I had some mad times in the late 80s and early 90s even though the scene I was involved in was different in some ways. It doesn't seem as big as the Zeppelin thing now but at the time it felt just as significant to the participants, myself included, as the Zeppelin thing no doubt felt to the participants in that particular scene.

*I still wish I'd been born 15-20 years earlier though sometimes, hehe*

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I just finished reading Led Zeppelin: 1968-1980 by Keith Shadwick. Pretty good book, I thought, with the focus more on the music career instead of the drug and alcohol addictions.

What I like about the Keith Shadwick book is the author's impartiality and fairness. He gives credit without spinning into over-the-top fanboy mode, and refrains from drawing on the mythos or the personalities when making criticisms. Even though he's obviously familiar with the music side of things (as a musicologist of sorts), he had no prior direct connection to Led Zeppelin and I think this helped the book in some ways - there was no risk of his judgement being compromised by exposure to personalities within the band. A lesser writer might be tempted to fill this kind of gap with conjecture or sensationalism and I commend Shadwick for resisting this temptation.

That said, I'm looking forward to the Mick Wall book, which promises to be a well-rounded study of the music and the personalities that produced it.

Edited by The Baroness Von Zeppelin

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You're right. Everyone has a 'time' and there's no point hankering after what's gone as you could be missing the great stuff right in front of you. :) I had some mad times in the late 80s and early 90s even though the scene I was involved in was different in some ways. It doesn't seem as big as the Zeppelin thing now but at the time it felt just as significant to the participants, myself included, as the Zeppelin thing no doubt felt to the participants in that particular scene.

*I still wish I'd been born 15-20 years earlier though sometimes, hehe*

That's great that you had your share of mad times in the late 80s and early 90s. We all need those youthful times of madness.

Back in the early days, the Zeppelin thing was nowhere near as big as it was to become in the latter Zep days and I don't think that any of us could have dreamed that it would become what it is today. I certainly never would have imagined it and, at the time, honestly I never thought about the future. It was that much of an intense, live in the moment, sort of atmosphere. I will remember it, with fondness, for the rest of my life.

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That's great that you had your share of mad times in the late 80s and early 90s. We all need those youthful times of madness.

Back in the early days, the Zeppelin thing was nowhere near as big as it was to become in the latter Zep days and I don't think that any of us could have dreamed that it would become what it is today. I certainly never would have imagined it and, at the time, honestly I never thought about the future. It was that much of an intense, live in the moment, sort of atmosphere. I will remember it, with fondness, for the rest of my life.

So will I. Glad I didn't lose any body parts though. At least none that I can remember. I still try to live for the moment..... just not as reckless. Come to think about it.... maybe our parents weren't so SQUARE after all

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So will I. Glad I didn't lose any body parts though. At least none that I can remember. I still try to live for the moment..... just not as reckless. Come to think about it.... maybe our parents weren't so SQUARE after all

Other than a few brain cells that have gone missing, I can't say that I've lost any body parts either.

Same here. Life's too short to live it any other way. :beer:

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You'll just have to take my word for it. :D

No problem.. I'd take your word over Stephen Davis' for that matter.

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