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Back in Business - Two of rock music's living legends aren't ready to pack it in just yet


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Back in Business - Two of rock music's living legends aren't ready to pack it in just yet

The Valley Independent, Monessen, Pennsylvania

JUNE 25 1998


The song doesn't remain the same for Jimmy Page & Robert Plant. Having helped change the face of

rock'n' roll as the creative forces of Led Zeppelin — former Yardbird Page with his innovative

guitar and Plant with his riveting vocal dynamics — the Brits continue to explore new ways to make fresh statements with their music, adamantly refusing to live in the past. With a determined consistency, now approaching 20 years, they have not wavered in turning their backs on the easy temptation and megabucks of "The Supergroup Reunion." If you're expecting a Led Zeppelin reunion in your lifetime, you might as well try climbing that stairway and seeing whether it does, indeed, lead to heaven. Even after induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995, and selling 63.8 million albums in the United States through December, these honest -to- goodness legends say they still have more to prove — if to no one else but themselves.

To be sure, rock's youthful spirit still burns brightly in Page, 54, and Plant who turns 50 in August. Exhibit A — "Walking Into Clarksdale." their new album.

Perhaps surprising to some, it is their first collection together of all-new material since the

Led Zeppelin days — the group's last studio album, "In Through The Out Door," in 1979.

It follows their successful 1995 world tour, the catalyst for which was their 1994 reunion for the

live MTV "Unledded" special and the resulting live "No Quarter" album. It was their first full-scale

project together since Led Zeppelin dissolved in 1980 after drummer John Bonham's death.

Their new appreciation for each other as friends and artists after 14 years apart seems to have

fueled a creative union that can continue as long as they wish. Page and Plant offer this update, in a

rare double interview, looking to the future with a nod to the past.

> The new album feels good.

Page: 'It does, doesn't it It's quite a journey y.ith really high peaks and a low, misty valley and

caves. It's all there. Robert is saying this is like film music for a B movie that hasn't been made.

And Harry B. Stanton should definitely be in it."

> What were your goals for "Clarksdale"?

Plant "We just want to write songs, our forte. We hadn't written songs together for a while. We

just wanted to do like we used to do. It surpassed our hopes."

Page: "We wanted to get exactly what we managed to do. We wanted to write songs we could

feel really good with and confident with, and set various moods for each song. The whole album is

a journey within itself. I'm really proud we arrived at this very quickly."

> Where do you see this album fitting into the current music scene?

Plant "If s got depth, intensity, dynamics, some integrity, some flippancy and a sense of humor in

the middle of all the different character plays."

Page: "I don't think it does fit in at all, but it doesn't matter. It does seem bands are coming

back to basically what I've always done: the concepts of guitar-bass-and-drums, how I used it in

the past So, in that way, we have come full circle and may fit into the current music situation — not

the fashionable music situation. It doesn't fit in as far as the aesthetics of that goes."

> When it gets right down to it, what does your music mean to you?

Plant "It's the savior. It helps me start my days."

Page: "I'm really passionate about music, and what it is to be able to communicate that passion

onstage or by record. It's probably easier in a live situation. Maybe they can see where you're going.

It's like I am improvising every night, trying to find new ways to express myself."

> Musician Steve Miller said after he turned 50, he began to be more concerned about doing

something that mattered, being more selective in what he did artistically. Does—did—that age serve as any kind of artistic touchstone for you?

Plant 'It's always mattered, the reason and the matter is more important than the success.'"

Page: "I don't think it is the age. The thing is, I'm fully aware. We are mutually aware of the past

and the legacy of the past The important thing is to make musical statements so you're not just

doing what you did in the past, so what we are doing is currently considered. We proved that

with Unledded.' We're still alive in our minds, and we have minds to show that we're not copies

of what we did 30 years ago. It's like it or leave it."

> What is your source of creativity?

Plant "There is a sense of irony and definitely a sense of humor amongst all the reflections. I've got

quite a vivid window on the world that is nice and clean. You can see straight through it."

> Do you think you've been pioneers?

Plant "No, I don't think so. A lot of different forms of music come through me. Maybe I'm just

an efficient blender."

Page: "Without any doubt, no doubt about it. As far as the approach to the guitar and songwriting

and recording as well.

> What are you proudest of?

Page: "The fact that I'm still here. And I can still make good music, which is a serious contender as

a statement. And I feel very fortunate to be in that situation."

Plant "The fact I can still talk to you after being out until 5 in the morning."

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