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I just finished reading Hammer Of The Gods...


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Are there any accurate Led Zeppelin books?

Yes, but they are all boring.

What there needs to be is a proper authorized biography with new interviews, or an autobiography from one of the band. That is the only way we will ever find out too much new stuff about the band......

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Hammer of the Gods is good bathroom material (wipe wipe). LZ a Celebration by Dave Lewis is a factual book and a very good read, also is a excellent reference book. Same as LZ The story of a Band and their Music 1968-1980 By Keith Shadwick. It's coffee table sized and has loads of pictures. Another Book on Jimmy Page Magus Musician Man By George Case seems good, however I have found alot of quotes from HOTG in it so I'm not sure how true it is. You can count on the first two for sure!!

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Next on your list will be Richard Cole's "Stairway To Heaven", which the members of Led Zeppelin despise even more than "Hammer Of The Gods".

Haha, I'm reading that book right now, and it's definetily not accurate. Plus Cole is always focusing on all the alcohol and drugs that they took, rather than the music.

It's funny really, because Richard Cole was their tour manager, which means he was with them on every single tour they did. Plus he was a close friend to the band, which raises questions why it's so inaccurate <_<

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Haha, I'm reading that book right now, and it's definetily not accurate. Plus Cole is always focusing on all the alcohol and drugs that they took, rather than the music.

It's funny really, because Richard Cole was their tour manager, which means he was with them on every single tour they did. Plus he was a close friend to the band, which raises questions why it's so inaccurate <_<

He does get some dates and songs mixed up. but what can you expect from someone who was attending the show, but to busy to really 'attend'....

It's his story, he was with the band from the first US tour, all the way until he got busted in Italy and had to miss the 80 European tour...

I do take alott of what he say's to heart. (it can't all be lies)

he did truely love Bonzo. and his stories about him still have me laughing to this day. :D

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Never read "Hammer" but did read "Stairway" a few years back. It was entertaining, even if it was exaggerated for reader appeal.

Truth: If the boys say they can't remember most of what went on, its very unlikely Richard Cole's memory survived the extreme excess he put it through.

Although, at the same time, alot of what was said probably did happen in one aspect or another and at this point, for egos or to add to the lore of Zeppelin, why admit to any of it?

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I've started "Led Zeppelin" by Ritchie Yorke. It seems quite good and he was one of the only reporters to get close to the boys as he loved them from their first album....which strangely is rare; the press hated them until they couldn't deny that Led Zeppelin was the biggest band in the world.

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Yes, but they are all boring.

What there needs to be is a proper authorized biography with new interviews, or an autobiography from one of the band. That is the only way we will ever find out too much new stuff about the band......

:lol: I agree. But then again, since they say they "don't remember" we may question even them!

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Never read "Hammer" but did read "Stairway" a few years back. It was entertaining, even if it was exaggerated for reader appeal.

Truth: If the boys say they can't remember most of what went on, its very unlikely Richard Cole's memory survived the extreme excess he put it through.

Although, at the same time, alot of what was said probably did happen in one aspect or another and at this point, for egos or to add to the lore of Zeppelin, why admit to any of it?

Good point. There are people who were around the scene back then and they say that many of the things that Cole reported on in his book did take place. What people question is his supposed ability to remember conversations verbatim as well as his embellishing of the truth to make things seem more exciting, salacious, or dangerous than they actually were. That was all a lifetime ago and people have moved on to live completely different lives - as you say, why admit to any of it?

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Out of curiosity, is there any book the Hardcore Zeppelin fans would recommend?

The celebration/ tight b/loose books seem to be quite good to me

" Peter Grant the man who Led zeppelin" is great. HOTG was crap it was all about the myth and very little about reality in my humble opinion. also Led Zeppelin the definitive biography is great

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It's been a few years since I read it, but I don't remember reading any really wild stories(mudshark, underage groupies etc etc) that I hadn't heard before about the Zep. I would tend to believe him more than the Zep boys, since they are so protective of their legacy.

I like how it talks about their personal lives, since they were such a private band. The studio stories and stuff like that were cool as well.

I woulda liked it to get a bit more into the music, but there are a billion other places to read about that. Hell, a couple times a year with my subscription to guitar world, and usally straight from the horses mouth.

Overall, HotG could be tightened up, and about 100 pages shorter, but the info isn't as bad as people want it to be. Just a bit too gossipy.

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Hammer Of The Gods was an awful book, simply from a literary point of view. It was so badly written and had an awful narrative. I had to stop reading it, because at the time I was also reading Chris Welch's The Man Who Led Zeppelin, which was a far better book, and written from an emotional distance, whereas HOFG was gossipy and contentious, and not in an endearing way like Andrew Loog-Oldham and Tony Caulder's biography on ABBA.

I'd love to see John Baxter write a biography on Led Zep, as he has written some excellent biographies on Stanely Kubrick and Woody Allen. But John Baxter's has only written cinema-related biographies, I'm not sure if he would consider a jump into music.

A Led Zep anthology project, similar to The Beatles' one would also be excellent as, instead of being gossipy or being a sweet puff-piece, it would allow the three of them (and maybe contributions from Bonzo's wife) to tell the story from their own individual viewpoint on the band and on each other. It was the definitive inside book for The Beatles, everything discussed in great detail and quite candidly, especially about each other, and I think it could have the same result for Led Zep.

And just purely off on another tack, if you like books, and are interested in the late 60's, I seriously seriously recommend Derek Taylor's book "It Was Twenty Years Ago Today" (if you can find it). It's a book written by Taylor, who used to be The Beatles publicist, as well as publicist for A&M records in L.A. in the late 60's, as well as co-organiser of the Monterrey Pop Festival, and the book is simply about the year 1967, but it's the best book you'll ever read about 1967. Taylor is a fabulous writer, amusing, witty and offbeat, but he covers in great entertaining depth about the explosion of the psychedlic culture in 1967, the music, the shops, the attitudes, the underground music scene versus the clean-cut straight music scene, the outrage of the press, the merry pranksters, the diggers, you can almost smell the Haight-Ashbury. But he also describes how this new culture co-existed with the old culture and you get an incredible sense of bell-wearing hippies high on acid, standing in the record shop next to kids who love The Monkees and go home to watch episodes of I Dream Of Jeanie...Brilliant book, 'a wonderful love letter to the year 1967' I would say if I were a book critic

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He does get some dates and songs mixed up. but what can you expect from someone who was attending the show, but to busy to really 'attend'....

It's his story, he was with the band from the first US tour, all the way until he got busted in Italy and had to miss the 80 European tour...

I do take alott of what he say's to heart. (it can't all be lies)

he did truely love Bonzo. and his stories about him still have me laughing to this day. :D

The art gallery incident is one of my favourites :D

One thing I can't get my head round is the stories of John with other girls. Yes, I know the band were dripping in groupies wherever they went but I've always had this foremost image of Bonzo the family man who dearly loved Pat. I find it hard to accept that he was unfaithful to her. Maybe it's just the romantic in me ^_^

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I just finished reading Hammer Of The Gods the books by Stephen Davis about Led Zeppelin and it was great. I first read his book about Jim Morrison and it was great too so i decided to pick up HOTG. I wondering if anyone else on here read it and if you thought it was good and if it was accurate. I am only 19 so between your guys stories and what i have read is the only thing i know about Zep since I wanst there in the time they call the 70s. I wish I would have been...

I wrote this over on the Doors Message Boards, after someone spoke so highly of Stephen Sensationalistic Davis. This is not a slam on anyone here, but I just wanted to point out a bit about Davis's M.O. when it comes to his writings and more importantly his "research" (or lack thereof):

Within the music industry, Stephen Davis has been long known as the most sensationalistic/tabloid-styled biographer the music biz has ever known.

For "Hammer Of The Gods," it’s widely known that he relied almost extensively on the band’s former road manager Richard Cole, who was in prison (or just released) and very bitter about being fired by the band because of his own heroin habit.

Like all of Davis’s books, he focuses almost solely on the sensationalistic stuff; blowing incidents totally out of proportion, rarely attributes quotes from original sources (so it looks as though he interviewed more people than he actually did), and ties together previous research by other authors and other sources in ways that are just not accurate or truthful.

I’ve spoken with Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones, who said "Hammer Of The Gods" was a tabloid joke and that he couldn’t even recognize the people in Zeppelin, basically it was a "hit piece" (I’ve heard that Page and Plant have said the same).

Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones told me something very similar about Davis’s Stones book, "Old Gods Almost Dead"……

Oh yeah, also had a few conversations with Mick Fleetwood about his book that was co-written with Davis. He didn’t hesitate to note how Davis kept pushing him to play up the lurid and sex side of rock & roll in order to hit "best-seller" status.....Do you see a pattern here?

As for the Morrison tome, I know for a fact that people who are quoted numerous times in his book were never contacted or even interviewed by Davis. He relies extensively on information compiled by others and proceeds to tie it together in a way that is not only misleading in some cases, but journalistically irresponsible in others.

He even uses Morrison quotes from different timeframes to present a certain state of mind at a given time, like using a quote from Jim in "The Doors Are Open" in 1968 and saying that it was from the Critique Show interview a year later, and combining quotes from different years together to create a single quote that he can then use to back-up a thesis of his own. Not a "mistake"

In just browsing the book briefly right now, he also puts the Howard Smith interview on August 5, 1970, when it occurred a full year earlier in 1969. Proof? If you actually listen to the interview, you’d hear:

1) Jim talk of his trip to New Orleans "two months ago" (this trip with Frank Lisiciandro was to the Atlanta Film Festival and a road-trip to New Orleans that took place in the summer of ’69).

2) Jim tells Smith that the only concert dates they have lined up are "two nights, four shows in Madison Square Garden [within the Felt Forum venue] on January 17 and 18" and as we know those shows occurred on those dates in January, 1970, meaning the interview took place in the Fall of 1969; not the Fall of 1970.

Davis also lists Jim’s "astrology rap" as taking place at the Felt Forum gigs…..um, wrong again, it was the Boston gigs that you can hear for yourself on the recently released CD, if you don’t have the bootlegs.

Davis also has Jim arriving in Paris in June…..huh? how about in March, maybe?

Okay, so now you're just gonna say: "That's all ya got? Some wrong dates, wrong places, etc"....

But it’s really a combination of all these things—sloppy research, unattributed quotes, unsubstantiated "facts"—that adds up to little more than a tabloid farce; hardly a fact-based history.

The big selling point on the flap AND the back cover is that Jim was a "bisexual omnivore"….and yet, the so-called "evidence" he supplies to back up that fact is to point to another author’s book (a book which, incidentally, removed that little juicy nugget from future printings under threat of a lawsuit).

I will say this for Davis, he can spin a good yarn but he doesn’t do much original research in his books, usually relying on the most controversial people in order to get the most sensationalistic take on things.

And, in the case, of the Morrison book he went out of his way to ignore those people who were closest to Jim because their versions wouldn’t fit with what he wanted his book to say…..Hardly an honest journalistic exercise, but rather having an outline of the "story" and then twisting things to fit that tale and eliminating anything that doesn't.

Nearly every quote in Davis’s book is from other sources; not interviews he actually conducted. Hell, some of Ray’s quotes are from the 1983 "No One Here Gets Out Alive" documentary. And the less said about "quotes" of private conversations between Jim and others (many of whom are also dead) is sensationalism at its worst.

Davis bases much of his book on the house of cards that is "No One Here Gets Out Alive" (or as Jim's closest friends call it, "Nothing Here But Lots Of Lies"), which should prove to anyone with half-of-an-open-mind just how shaky the very foundation that Davis decided to build HIS story upon really is.

I haven't read the book since reading the whole thing in one 24-hour period the day it first came out….but I do know that using quotes out of context to achieve a desired "story" is not journalism at its finest. It’s manipulating actual events to create a story that will sell. Good marketing, shitty journalism.

Davis is a fine writer, no argument there…..HOWEVER, writing style and research have absolutely NOTHING to do with each other.

Look at the flap of the book itself, "his epic alcohol and drug binges, and desperate, tumultuous sexual affairs (with both women and men)"……and without a shred of verifiable evidence of the bisexual claim in the book. And anyone who actually knew Jim laughs at this…..but, according to some people, if Davis writes it, it’s true…….

And unless you have actually listened to various interviews of Jim, in their entirety, you are not getting the whole picture of Jim Morrison. Writers like Davis prey upon people who do not know enough to question his analysis or even have the desire to discover some truth on your own.

I suggest that you actually listen to the various tapes of Jim’s interviews and you’ll get some information and a side of Jim that sensationalistic authors never seem to include in their attempt to portray the one-dimensional rock god, anti-establishment hero.

You can hear Jim’s humor in his interviews, laughing at some of his statements or the elaborations that are cut out of quotes or completely eliminated by biographers like Davis, because they show a different side of Jim, rather than the leather-clad hellion.

Here's a few such examples:

"How’d you like to wake up one day and you’ve said something off the top of your head and have to read about it the next day, like that is supposed to be where you’re at."

L.A. Free Press, 1968

about his image:

"It’s all done tongue-in-cheek. I don’t think people realize that. It’s not to be taken seriously. It’s like if you play the villain in a Western it doesn’t mean that that’s you. That’s just an aspect that you keep for show. I don’t really take that seriously."

L.A. Free Press, 1971

about the phrase "erotic politicians"

"I’ve been aware of the national media while growing up. So I became aware gradually, just by osmosis, of their style, their approach to reality. They look for catchy phrases and quotes they can use as captions, something to base an article on to give it an immediate response…..I don’t know if it’s easy, because it can turn on you. But, well, that was just one reporter, y’see. Since then a lot of people have picked up on it—that phrase—and have made it pretty heavy, but…..I knew the guy would use it. I knew that a few key phrases is all anyone ever retains from an article. So I wanted a phrase that would stick in the mind."

Rolling Stone, 1969

Or people can continue relying on the edited words and translations of others like Davis (who, by the way, never met Jim Morrison)……I suppose it is easier to just digest shit and regurgitate that same crap into their own version of the "truth"…..

In other words, people take second-hand or even third-hand stories, rumors and innuendos, then warp them through their own personal vortex of wisdom and spew out a now-third-and-fourth-hand version all over these boards and maintaining that whatever they say is the actual facts…..It’s really quite humorous actually……

Just my two cents....(and you know what that's worth these days!) :D

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Just a couple of thoughts--

Within the music industry, Stephen Davis has been long known as the most sensationalistic/tabloid-styled biographer the music biz has ever known.

Check some of the Elvis bios. Or anything by Kitty Kelly. Though in no way is this to be construed as support of Davis! Because--

Davis is a fine writer, no argument there He's a bloody horrible writer!

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I wrote this over on the Doors Message Boards, after someone spoke so highly of Stephen Sensationalistic Davis. This is not a slam on anyone here, but I just wanted to point out a bit about Davis's M.O. when it comes to his writings and more importantly his "research" (or lack thereof):

Within the music industry, Stephen Davis has been long known as the most sensationalistic/tabloid-styled biographer the music biz has ever known.

For "Hammer Of The Gods," it’s widely known that he relied almost extensively on the band’s former road manager Richard Cole, who was in prison (or just released) and very bitter about being fired by the band because of his own heroin habit.

Like all of Davis’s books, he focuses almost solely on the sensationalistic stuff; blowing incidents totally out of proportion, rarely attributes quotes from original sources (so it looks as though he interviewed more people than he actually did), and ties together previous research by other authors and other sources in ways that are just not accurate or truthful.

I’ve spoken with Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones, who said "Hammer Of The Gods" was a tabloid joke and that he couldn’t even recognize the people in Zeppelin, basically it was a "hit piece" (I’ve heard that Page and Plant have said the same).

Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones told me something very similar about Davis’s Stones book, "Old Gods Almost Dead"……

Oh yeah, also had a few conversations with Mick Fleetwood about his book that was co-written with Davis. He didn’t hesitate to note how Davis kept pushing him to play up the lurid and sex side of rock & roll in order to hit "best-seller" status.....Do you see a pattern here?

As for the Morrison tome, I know for a fact that people who are quoted numerous times in his book were never contacted or even interviewed by Davis. He relies extensively on information compiled by others and proceeds to tie it together in a way that is not only misleading in some cases, but journalistically irresponsible in others.

He even uses Morrison quotes from different timeframes to present a certain state of mind at a given time, like using a quote from Jim in "The Doors Are Open" in 1968 and saying that it was from the Critique Show interview a year later, and combining quotes from different years together to create a single quote that he can then use to back-up a thesis of his own. Not a "mistake"

In just browsing the book briefly right now, he also puts the Howard Smith interview on August 5, 1970, when it occurred a full year earlier in 1969. Proof? If you actually listen to the interview, you’d hear:

1) Jim talk of his trip to New Orleans "two months ago" (this trip with Frank Lisiciandro was to the Atlanta Film Festival and a road-trip to New Orleans that took place in the summer of ’69).

2) Jim tells Smith that the only concert dates they have lined up are "two nights, four shows in Madison Square Garden [within the Felt Forum venue] on January 17 and 18" and as we know those shows occurred on those dates in January, 1970, meaning the interview took place in the Fall of 1969; not the Fall of 1970.

Davis also lists Jim’s "astrology rap" as taking place at the Felt Forum gigs…..um, wrong again, it was the Boston gigs that you can hear for yourself on the recently released CD, if you don’t have the bootlegs.

Davis also has Jim arriving in Paris in June…..huh? how about in March, maybe?

Okay, so now you're just gonna say: "That's all ya got? Some wrong dates, wrong places, etc"....

But it’s really a combination of all these things—sloppy research, unattributed quotes, unsubstantiated "facts"—that adds up to little more than a tabloid farce; hardly a fact-based history.

The big selling point on the flap AND the back cover is that Jim was a "bisexual omnivore"….and yet, the so-called "evidence" he supplies to back up that fact is to point to another author’s book (a book which, incidentally, removed that little juicy nugget from future printings under threat of a lawsuit).

I will say this for Davis, he can spin a good yarn but he doesn’t do much original research in his books, usually relying on the most controversial people in order to get the most sensationalistic take on things.

And, in the case, of the Morrison book he went out of his way to ignore those people who were closest to Jim because their versions wouldn’t fit with what he wanted his book to say…..Hardly an honest journalistic exercise, but rather having an outline of the "story" and then twisting things to fit that tale and eliminating anything that doesn't.

Nearly every quote in Davis’s book is from other sources; not interviews he actually conducted. Hell, some of Ray’s quotes are from the 1983 "No One Here Gets Out Alive" documentary. And the less said about "quotes" of private conversations between Jim and others (many of whom are also dead) is sensationalism at its worst.

Davis bases much of his book on the house of cards that is "No One Here Gets Out Alive" (or as Jim's closest friends call it, "Nothing Here But Lots Of Lies"), which should prove to anyone with half-of-an-open-mind just how shaky the very foundation that Davis decided to build HIS story upon really is.

I haven't read the book since reading the whole thing in one 24-hour period the day it first came out….but I do know that using quotes out of context to achieve a desired "story" is not journalism at its finest. It’s manipulating actual events to create a story that will sell. Good marketing, shitty journalism.

Davis is a fine writer, no argument there…..HOWEVER, writing style and research have absolutely NOTHING to do with each other.

Look at the flap of the book itself, "his epic alcohol and drug binges, and desperate, tumultuous sexual affairs (with both women and men)"……and without a shred of verifiable evidence of the bisexual claim in the book. And anyone who actually knew Jim laughs at this…..but, according to some people, if Davis writes it, it’s true…….

And unless you have actually listened to various interviews of Jim, in their entirety, you are not getting the whole picture of Jim Morrison. Writers like Davis prey upon people who do not know enough to question his analysis or even have the desire to discover some truth on your own.

I suggest that you actually listen to the various tapes of Jim’s interviews and you’ll get some information and a side of Jim that sensationalistic authors never seem to include in their attempt to portray the one-dimensional rock god, anti-establishment hero.

You can hear Jim’s humor in his interviews, laughing at some of his statements or the elaborations that are cut out of quotes or completely eliminated by biographers like Davis, because they show a different side of Jim, rather than the leather-clad hellion.

Here's a few such examples:

"How’d you like to wake up one day and you’ve said something off the top of your head and have to read about it the next day, like that is supposed to be where you’re at."

L.A. Free Press, 1968

about his image:

"It’s all done tongue-in-cheek. I don’t think people realize that. It’s not to be taken seriously. It’s like if you play the villain in a Western it doesn’t mean that that’s you. That’s just an aspect that you keep for show. I don’t really take that seriously."

L.A. Free Press, 1971

about the phrase "erotic politicians"

"I’ve been aware of the national media while growing up. So I became aware gradually, just by osmosis, of their style, their approach to reality. They look for catchy phrases and quotes they can use as captions, something to base an article on to give it an immediate response…..I don’t know if it’s easy, because it can turn on you. But, well, that was just one reporter, y’see. Since then a lot of people have picked up on it—that phrase—and have made it pretty heavy, but…..I knew the guy would use it. I knew that a few key phrases is all anyone ever retains from an article. So I wanted a phrase that would stick in the mind."

Rolling Stone, 1969

Or people can continue relying on the edited words and translations of others like Davis (who, by the way, never met Jim Morrison)……I suppose it is easier to just digest shit and regurgitate that same crap into their own version of the "truth"…..

In other words, people take second-hand or even third-hand stories, rumors and innuendos, then warp them through their own personal vortex of wisdom and spew out a now-third-and-fourth-hand version all over these boards and maintaining that whatever they say is the actual facts…..It’s really quite humorous actually……

Just my two cents....(and you know what that's worth these days!) :D

I quoted your entire post because it is so interesting. Thanks for sharing that information with us. My husband and I have been Doors fans since the late 60's and found what you shared helpful in that it cleared up some misinformation/misperceptions. Thanks. :)

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I quoted your entire post because it is so interesting. Thanks for sharing that information with us. My husband and I have been Doors fans since the late 60's and found what you shared helpful in that it cleared up some misinformation/misperceptions. Thanks. :)

Thanks for the kind words.....

I know this is a Zeppelin Board, but being Doors and Morrison fans, I encourage you and your husband to take a few hours and read my LENGTHY interview with Jim's close friend, Frank Lisciandro, which I called "The Calm Calculus Of Reason" (and it even features a slew of Frank's photos of Jim)

If you're interested in getting past the myths about Jim Morrison, Click Here

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Thanks for the kind words.....

I know this is a Zeppelin Board, but being Doors and Morrison fans, I encourage you and your husband to take a few hours and read my LENGTHY interview with Jim's close friend, Frank Lisciandro, which I called "The Calm Calculus Of Reason" (and it even features a slew of Frank's photos of Jim)

If you're interested in getting past the myths about Jim Morrison, Click Here

You're most welcome. Thank you so much for the link. It looks like an excellent, in-depth interview. :)

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  • 8 years later...

This was the first book I bought and owned, of many on LZ.  It was surprising stuff, probably alot of it exaggerated and clouded by memory issues.  Certainly some of it is possible, as there have been many sources outside of the book from people who wouldn't have been as drunk or on some other medicine that Cole might have been on when he shared this information.  Quite frankly, I am praying that Page keeps his word and works on, or is working on, a tell all autobiography, one which he said he would want released posthumously so he couldn't be sued.  I would love to hear him tell it like it is (or was), and hopefully I would be around to read it, it would be a best seller I'm sure.

 

When you partied as they did and had such popularity and followers there are going to be crazy incidents.  It's happening today with far less gigantic global bands, so it certainly would have happened in the 1970s.  Ironically, I was far less interested in these sordid stories as they were often unflattering, but far more interested in the analysis and discussion of the albums and songs. 

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On 4/15/2008 at 9:57 AM, rokritr said:

 

I wrote this over on the Doors Message Boards, after someone spoke so highly of Stephen Sensationalistic Davis. This is not a slam on anyone here, but I just wanted to point out a bit about Davis's M.O. when it comes to his writings and more importantly his "research" (or lack thereof):

 

Within the music industry, Stephen Davis has been long known as the most sensationalistic/tabloid-styled biographer the music biz has ever known.

 

For "Hammer Of The Gods," it’s widely known that he relied almost extensively on the band’s former road manager Richard Cole, who was in prison (or just released) and very bitter about being fired by the band because of his own heroin habit.

 

Like all of Davis’s books, he focuses almost solely on the sensationalistic stuff; blowing incidents totally out of proportion, rarely attributes quotes from original sources (so it looks as though he interviewed more people than he actually did), and ties together previous research by other authors and other sources in ways that are just not accurate or truthful.

 

I’ve spoken with Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones, who said "Hammer Of The Gods" was a tabloid joke and that he couldn’t even recognize the people in Zeppelin, basically it was a "hit piece" (I’ve heard that Page and Plant have said the same).

 

Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones told me something very similar about Davis’s Stones book, "Old Gods Almost Dead"……

 

Oh yeah, also had a few conversations with Mick Fleetwood about his book that was co-written with Davis. He didn’t hesitate to note how Davis kept pushing him to play up the lurid and sex side of rock & roll in order to hit "best-seller" status.....Do you see a pattern here?

 

As for the Morrison tome, I know for a fact that people who are quoted numerous times in his book were never contacted or even interviewed by Davis. He relies extensively on information compiled by others and proceeds to tie it together in a way that is not only misleading in some cases, but journalistically irresponsible in others.

 

He even uses Morrison quotes from different timeframes to present a certain state of mind at a given time, like using a quote from Jim in "The Doors Are Open" in 1968 and saying that it was from the Critique Show interview a year later, and combining quotes from different years together to create a single quote that he can then use to back-up a thesis of his own. Not a "mistake"

 

In just browsing the book briefly right now, he also puts the Howard Smith interview on August 5, 1970, when it occurred a full year earlier in 1969. Proof? If you actually listen to the interview, you’d hear:

 

1) Jim talk of his trip to New Orleans "two months ago" (this trip with Frank Lisiciandro was to the Atlanta Film Festival and a road-trip to New Orleans that took place in the summer of ’69).

 

2) Jim tells Smith that the only concert dates they have lined up are "two nights, four shows in Madison Square Garden [within the Felt Forum venue] on January 17 and 18" and as we know those shows occurred on those dates in January, 1970, meaning the interview took place in the Fall of 1969; not the Fall of 1970.

 

Davis also lists Jim’s "astrology rap" as taking place at the Felt Forum gigs…..um, wrong again, it was the Boston gigs that you can hear for yourself on the recently released CD, if you don’t have the bootlegs.

 

Davis also has Jim arriving in Paris in June…..huh? how about in March, maybe?

 

Okay, so now you're just gonna say: "That's all ya got? Some wrong dates, wrong places, etc"....

 

But it’s really a combination of all these things—sloppy research, unattributed quotes, unsubstantiated "facts"—that adds up to little more than a tabloid farce; hardly a fact-based history.

 

The big selling point on the flap AND the back cover is that Jim was a "bisexual omnivore"….and yet, the so-called "evidence" he supplies to back up that fact is to point to another author’s book (a book which, incidentally, removed that little juicy nugget from future printings under threat of a lawsuit).

 

I will say this for Davis, he can spin a good yarn but he doesn’t do much original research in his books, usually relying on the most controversial people in order to get the most sensationalistic take on things.

 

And, in the case, of the Morrison book he went out of his way to ignore those people who were closest to Jim because their versions wouldn’t fit with what he wanted his book to say…..Hardly an honest journalistic exercise, but rather having an outline of the "story" and then twisting things to fit that tale and eliminating anything that doesn't.

 

Nearly every quote in Davis’s book is from other sources; not interviews he actually conducted. Hell, some of Ray’s quotes are from the 1983 "No One Here Gets Out Alive" documentary. And the less said about "quotes" of private conversations between Jim and others (many of whom are also dead) is sensationalism at its worst.

 

Davis bases much of his book on the house of cards that is "No One Here Gets Out Alive" (or as Jim's closest friends call it, "Nothing Here But Lots Of Lies"), which should prove to anyone with half-of-an-open-mind just how shaky the very foundation that Davis decided to build HIS story upon really is.

 

I haven't read the book since reading the whole thing in one 24-hour period the day it first came out….but I do know that using quotes out of context to achieve a desired "story" is not journalism at its finest. It’s manipulating actual events to create a story that will sell. Good marketing, shitty journalism.

 

Davis is a fine writer, no argument there…..HOWEVER, writing style and research have absolutely NOTHING to do with each other.

 

Look at the flap of the book itself, "his epic alcohol and drug binges, and desperate, tumultuous sexual affairs (with both women and men)"……and without a shred of verifiable evidence of the bisexual claim in the book. And anyone who actually knew Jim laughs at this…..but, according to some people, if Davis writes it, it’s true…….

 

And unless you have actually listened to various interviews of Jim, in their entirety, you are not getting the whole picture of Jim Morrison. Writers like Davis prey upon people who do not know enough to question his analysis or even have the desire to discover some truth on your own.

 

I suggest that you actually listen to the various tapes of Jim’s interviews and you’ll get some information and a side of Jim that sensationalistic authors never seem to include in their attempt to portray the one-dimensional rock god, anti-establishment hero.

 

You can hear Jim’s humor in his interviews, laughing at some of his statements or the elaborations that are cut out of quotes or completely eliminated by biographers like Davis, because they show a different side of Jim, rather than the leather-clad hellion.

 

Here's a few such examples:

 

"How’d you like to wake up one day and you’ve said something off the top of your head and have to read about it the next day, like that is supposed to be where you’re at."

L.A. Free Press, 1968

 

about his image:

"It’s all done tongue-in-cheek. I don’t think people realize that. It’s not to be taken seriously. It’s like if you play the villain in a Western it doesn’t mean that that’s you. That’s just an aspect that you keep for show. I don’t really take that seriously."

L.A. Free Press, 1971

 

about the phrase "erotic politicians"

"I’ve been aware of the national media while growing up. So I became aware gradually, just by osmosis, of their style, their approach to reality. They look for catchy phrases and quotes they can use as captions, something to base an article on to give it an immediate response…..I don’t know if it’s easy, because it can turn on you. But, well, that was just one reporter, y’see. Since then a lot of people have picked up on it—that phrase—and have made it pretty heavy, but…..I knew the guy would use it. I knew that a few key phrases is all anyone ever retains from an article. So I wanted a phrase that would stick in the mind."

Rolling Stone, 1969

 

 

Or people can continue relying on the edited words and translations of others like Davis (who, by the way, never met Jim Morrison)……I suppose it is easier to just digest shit and regurgitate that same crap into their own version of the "truth"…..

 

In other words, people take second-hand or even third-hand stories, rumors and innuendos, then warp them through their own personal vortex of wisdom and spew out a now-third-and-fourth-hand version all over these boards and maintaining that whatever they say is the actual facts…..It’s really quite humorous actually……

 

Just my two cents....(and you know what that's worth these days!) :D

Actually, you are too kind to Stephen Davis. I don't think he is that fine a writer at all. 

I couldn't even finish his books on Morrison and the Stones (one of the worst book titles in history).

Being a Led Zeppelin fan, I pushed myself to finish "Hammer of the Gods", but my eyes were rolling half the time and it was exasperating how the music constantly took a back seat to the lurid gossip.

Now, I'm no prude and the Mudshark and Lori Mattox and heroin and "boys on the road" legends were already common knowledge to a lot of us fans even before the book was published. A little colour is to be expected to spice up a rock biography. But Stephen Davis went too far in that direction...it was the Kitty Kelly/National Inquirer/Weekly World News school of biography.

My doubts about Stephen Davis also arose from the fact that I did not have any recollection of reading anything by him in the 1970s. This was a guy who says he was assigned to write about Led Zeppelin on tour yet I didn't recognize his name. Lester Bangs, Lisa Robinson, Cameron Crowe, Robert Hilburn, Jim Miller, Jaan Ulhelski, Susan Whitall, Ben Fong-Torres, Lenny Kaye, Nick Kent, Roy Hollingsworth, Ritchie Yorke, Chris Welch, Charles Shaar Murray, John Rockwell, Jon Parales, Steven Holden, Dave Marsh, Dave DiMartino...these are writers I remember writing about Led Zeppelin in the 1970s in Creem, N.M.E., Melody Maker, L.A. Times, N.Y. Times, Circus, even Rolling Stone.

Stephen Davis meant nothing to me. Maybe his articles only appeared in the gossip rags...which would certainly explain his TMZ approach to writing.

His 2010 book on Zeppelin's 1975 tour is even worse...and not worth me wasting further time on it. I've already expounded on its failings elsewhere on this forum.

The strange, ironic twist to the "Hammer of the Gods" book is that as bad and inaccurate as it was, it played a major part in Led Zeppelin's resurgence amongst kids in the 1980s. When the Beastie Boys raved about it in interviews and said it was their Bible on the road, that resonated with the youth at that time and gave Led Zeppelin further outlaw street-cred.

"Hammer of the Gods" helped build the Led Zeppelin myth because, in a way, a lot of people wanted to believe all those outlandish tales of drugs and dragons and sex and sorcery. In an age of "safe sex" and "just say no" and cuddly rock stars, where even the Rolling Stones were family-friendly, people were ready to read about a band who said yes to everything and made rock and roll seem dangerous again.

Whether it was true or not didn't matter. Just as long as they could experience some rock and roll debauchery vicariously.

People always wanted to believe the worst about Led Zeppelin anyway...all those idiots with their "sold their souls to the devil" fantasies. Stephen Davis was one of those idiots.

There will never be a perfect accurate book about Led Zeppelin. Because the magic of Led Zeppelin can never be captured with words. It only exists in the grooves of their records and the head of each listener.

 

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On 13/01/2017 at 9:18 AM, Strider said:

There will never be a perfect accurate book about Led Zeppelin. Because the magic of Led Zeppelin can never be captured with words. It only exists in the grooves of their records and the head of each listener.

Too right, but also "the magic of Led Zeppelin" only exists in that specific time. The magic of the 70's before so much changed socially and technologically. It is a vastly different world in EVERY way now. The existence back then for these guys might as well be like looking at an alien civilization for those that were not there. And even those that are old enough, time tempers the memories and perceptions of past to some extent.

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Rather old thread, however I see few people  bumped it,  so I'm going to add some chatter to it.

What is this talk regarding  Jimmy releasing a book posthumously because of  the possibility of
being sued.   I often read that concern,  so I have to ask who  and why  would somebody do this.     

Yes I get it.  He is extremely wealthy and some people will go to a lot of trouble to extract
money  via dishonest ways,   but I am talking about a realistic case.  Not some weirdo  who
wants  to  "save or heal"  underage  groupies from the 1970s,   or those who believed Page was
equal to Jim Jones.   Some fool claiming to suffer mentally/physically  over who Page was banging
in his hotel room  40+ years ago,  or the fact he had curiosity with  Crowley.   There are no cases
to be won with those things.   

Seriously though.   I would assume any living or deceased person mentioned would have his
permission.  (John's wife and kids I'm sure would be fine with it)  I don't expect Page to slander
his band mates by sharing who was stepping out on their wife while on tour in the USA,    or
endless  stories of the other band members drug use.   Those are not his stories to share.  I
guess some could say the groupies could sue,  but then we can  all start laughing at how
ridiculous that sounds seeing how many of them  have told their  stories  or  wrote little
memoirs  themselves.    So I ask again who actually would have legitimate reason to sue Page.    
Maybe I'm missing something.  Other musicians,  studio engineers,  road crew etc ? 

On a side note.   I don't ever see any member ever doing a book about their time in Zeppelin.  
They have since day one exhibited a locked door on a majority of the stuff that took place on
the road.  The book would end up strictly being about music.  Which kind of defeats the whole
idea of this tell-all book.   Being private is not a bad thing. 

 

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