Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Led Zeppelin takes heat over inaccurate tour rumors

OK, let's set the record straight. There will be no Led Zeppelin tour without Robert Plant. And if you've heard otherwise, you've been misinformed.
  • It's true that Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones are hoping to start up a musical project with Jason Bonham on drums. No plans are firm yet, but they want to go into the studio and record some new material and then take it on the road.
  • There have been statements to this effect from Jones directly and from a representative for Page's management. Bonham even commented back in August, when he was ending his commitments with Foreigner, that he was freeing up his time so that he would be well rested if the call of duty ever came from Page and Jones.
But nobody has confirmed that the tour will be under the Led Zeppelin name.
  • In fact, Page said in September that Led Zeppelin does not exist without all four people. He said that since the reunion concert, there had been jam sessions with Jones, Bonham and himself, but not with Plant. So, that was not Led Zeppelin.
  • Then came the comment from the representative for Page's management company, QPrime, to Rolling Stone, that whatever band is in the planning stages is not Led Zeppelin.
  • This was shortly followed by a new remark by Robert Plant, who in September had said he was not planning to tour or record with Led Zeppelin for at least a two-year period. Plant now added that he wishes his former bandmates well with their project that won't be called Led Zeppelin.
So, of course it should be fairly well established, at least to those who've been paying such close attention to the ongoing drama, that Led Zeppelin will not be touring anytime soon.

The only thing that could change that is Plant having a change of heart, followed by Page, Jones and Bonham welcoming him back with open arms.

But, given the plans that have already been announced to the press, there is no way that Page, Jones and Bonham are planning to replace Plant and go on the road as Led Zeppelin.

Yet that's exactly what Page, Jones and Bonham have been wrongly accused of considering.

Take a look at the words of Jeff Beck:
"I really don't think it's a good idea, not if Robert doesn't want to. I was there at the one-off show at the O2 Arena and it was fantastic. But I think they should just leave it there.
"They will have been offered loads of money and it'll be tempting but that's not a good enough reason to me.
"It would be different if they all wanted to do it and record new material but that's not the case."
Beck probably doesn't read LedZeppelinNews.com and would not have known Page's true motives. So, where did he get his misinformation from? Probably whoever interviewed him and copied down the words. Oh no, did the journalist responsible for this interview misinform Beck?

Paul McCartney attended Led Zeppelin's concert a year ago, and he praises Plant's performance at that show. And in a recent interview, he wonders aloud why he would not want to take it on the road with his more than capable bandmates: "What's happened to Planty? He was great at their gig. It's such a pity." That all makes sense.

But the same article begins with the premise that Led Zeppelin had decided "to reunite without frontman Robert Plant," which is untrue, and that "McCartney has expressed his disappointment at" the decision.

There's no supporting quotation from McCartney on that subject, although it says that the "former Beatle ... concedes it won't be the same without Plant." No need to worry, Paul! It won't exist without Plant!

How about Paul Weller?
"There's no point to it. I don't understand the need for nostalgia. I don't get it. I don't know where it's come from. Someone offered me a ticket to see Led Zep.
"I've no interest whatsoever to go and see people reform, you know. I'm happy with what they've done at the time and the records and your memories and that's it really."
How about forming a new band and recording new material with that new band? Weller has been doing that long since his first big band, the Jam, ended in 1982. But Weller seems to mean he doesn't want to see a Led Zeppelin victory lap, no matter who the singer is. That's just nostalgia, which he doesn't see the need for.

You know who else doesn't want something like that? John Paul Jones! While he was discussing his hopes for touring again with Page and Bonham with BBC Radio Devon, Jones said:
"It's gotta be right, you know. Just trying to recreate -- or just find another Robert, I mean, you could just pick somebody out of a tribute band. I mean, what's the point of that, you know? We don't want to be our own tribute band."
Someone ought to make those statements known to people like Paul Weller, Paul McCartney and Jeff Beck, and ask how they would feel about Page, Jones and Bonham starting a new band with which to record new material and tour.

Would they still feel it would be too much like a nostalgia act for one of the world's greatest guitar players and one of the world's greatest bassists to start a new band with the son of the world's greatest drummer just because they had all already played together in the world's greatest band?

And who can ever possibly take Jack Bruce of Cream seriously anymore?

Back in October, promoter Harvey Goldsmith advised against "a long, rambling tour ... as Led Zeppelin." He said he didn't think it would be right and that he didn't believe it would happen.

That was before the disclosure from the Page camp to Rolling Stone that a Led Zeppelin tour without Plant is not being considered. That disclosure, in effect, proves Goldsmith right.

The longer this drags on without any further announcement from Page, Jones and Bonham as to what their plans are (and aren't!) for recording and touring in 2009, the more Led Zeppelin's name is going to be dragged through the mud by people who don't know what they are talking about.

All the more reason for Page, Jones and Bonham to pick a singer and a new name and announce their new project to the world as soon as possible!


  1. Led Zep's 4 original members were such pivotal characters that if they didn't call it Led Zep back in 1994(Unledded album),it would be far-fetched to think they would this time around, without Robert and I think it was pretty obvious from the get go for well-informed folks. Add Robert,however, and with Jason as the drummer, no question they'd have the legitimacy to call thslves Led Zep.I saw Jason in a small venue back in '97 here in Quebec city, was 10 feet from the stage and I was blown away by his drumming,especially the bit on Nobody's Fault before the guitar solo.He also sang Stairway up to when the drum kicks in. Someone from the crowd shouted Moby Dick but he didn't want to do it.Keep up the great work Steve ,and can your 2001 interview with JPJ be found somewhere?This is my 3rd post as anon.I'll find a name for my next post.

  2. Well written.
    Every day there are a lot of useless articles about the reunion without Plant!!

  3. Hey, thanks to you both, Elisabeth and Anonymous in Quebec City.

    When I interviewed John Paul Jones in 2001, I was running the newsletter "On This Day In Led Zeppelin History," whose archives since March 2002 can be found today at www.OnThisDayLedZeppelinHistory.com. It was only in that newsletter that I periodically included quotes from the interview. It was never posted in long form, and there are no plans for that to happen.

  4. well, as for jack bruce's comments, they suffer from being true.

  5. Sure, Jack Bruce was right about a few things. Looking over his comments as originally transcribed at http://www.classicrockmagazine.com/news/the_dirt/led_zeppelin_you_re_crap/ he was correct that Cream played more reunion gigs than Led Zeppelin's one; I'm glad he evidently knows how to use an abacus. And he's also correct that Led Zeppelin played some of their songs in lower keys on Dec. 10, 2007.

    But everything else he stated was an opinion and therefore cannot be proven right or wrong.

    I can see a case being made for Cream and Jimi Hendrix having been predecessors for the Led Zeppelin sound, and I don't think anybody in Led Zeppelin would ever deny that. But by the time Led Zeppelin was putting out its third, fourth, fifth and sixth albums, they weren't following a Disraeli Gears or Electric Ladyland template anymore. Has Jack Bruce ever heard "For Your Life" -- either the studio version in 1976 or the live version they played on Dec. 10, 2007, at what he calls a "lame gig"?

    I can't understand Jack Bruce's assertion that it was a "lame gig." I mean, did he reach that conclusion based solely on the fact that some of the songs were in lower keys than previously performed? How does that in and of itself make the performance any less thrilling or commendable? That's what he left unexplained.

    But where he loses credibility to me is when he stops taking even himself seriously with his lame one-liners about the members of the group. Joking about Robert Plant's last name? Oh, how mature. What a way to get your point across. That turns me off as a fan.

    But it doesn't turn me off enough to throw out either volume of Live Cream on the Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs gold CDs again. I'll still be playing and enjoying those and Fresh Cream and Wheels of Fire and whatever else is in my collection no matter what he says. Good music is good music.


  6. Good post, Ive been saying the same thing. I think the three of them (Page mostly) will have to set the record straight once and for all as far as what they are actually doing with this project. These are the facts that have come direct from JP,JPJ and JB. They have been rehearsing extensivly over the past few months. They have used several vocalist (MK being the front runner of the lot) in these rehearsals. They even have said that some recorded material has been done. THATS IT.No statement that "Led Zeppelin will continue without Mr Plant!" In fact Jimmy Page has publicly said that without Plant, the project WILL NOT BE CALLED LED ZEPPELIN, period. This "Led Zeppelin tour -Plant" is a media generated story.

  7. Hey there, Zoso 666, why did you have to add "recorded material"? That's not something that's come from Page, Jones or Bonham. In fact, when it was reported, it too was a media invention. In September, Jimmy squelched that part of the rumor with a few scant words that barely got any ink because he seemingly trailed off and didn't elaborate: "We're not actually recording, so that's ..." That's good enough for me! He said this Sept. 6 at a Toronto press conference for the world premiere of "It Might Get Loud" -- see http://lemonsqueezings.blogspot.com/2008/09/jimmy-page-downplays-speculation-over.html .

  8. Steve,
    So, why not publish the the whole 2001 interview with John Paul Jones?

    He's not important enough?


  9. I was just explaining this to a friend of mine earlier today as my interview with Jones was seven years ago today. There was a time that all Dec. 10 meant in Led Zeppelin history was the low-key Led Zeppelin concert in 1975 with Plant on a stool and a guest on piano. Now, obviously, Dec. 10 means so much as we celebrate the first anniversary of the O2 show and I recall my four hours with Jonesy at the Grand Hyatt in Philadelphia. It can't be transcribed any more than it already has been because I didn't do a good job at all of recording it. I was 21 years old at the time and had never conducted any taped in-person interviews before. So I started out with my biggest interview to date and was unprepared! That's a mistake I won't ever repeat. But the best parts of the interview were transcribed and placed in my newsletter whenever relevant.

  10. Well said!
    I'm constantly amazed at the numbers of people who keep ignoring what Page, Jones and Plant have actually said and just make up their own versions. I hope they realise how stupid it makes them look.
    As for Jack Bruce - pfft! Jealousy's a curse Jack.

  11. Is'nt it amazing how things can change over the space of a year....in that time Robert has gone out of his way to distance himself from anything to do with JP/JPJ/JB. How loyal of him.

    He's said that Zeppelin has never been about the fans and this has been proven. I hope he leaves Alison to go back to her band next year and reforms Strange Sensation. I,and hopefully many others will certainly not bother to see that band again.

    A golden opportunity missed by the Golden,greying god.

  12. There was an interview with Robert, I believe last year around the time of the release of Raising Sand, which was Oct. 23, in which he said he wasn't hoping to turn Led Zeppelin fans onto bluegrass or anything by making this crossover collaboration with Alison Krauss. But many Led Zeppelin fans chose to support a singer they've long loved by buying that album, seeing that tour or both. Plant might not have expected that. He seemed just to be interested in making new fans. Rounder still continues to promote the album, and the fact that it is still selling well shows that it is earning new fans. Robert has already announced he and Alison are attempting to make a second record together, and even if he has alienated every last person who hoped for a Led Zeppelin reunion instead, that second Plant-Krauss album would have the crossover appeal that transcends "baby, baby, baby." So, just because you don't want to hear it doesn't mean it won't sell.

  13. I never understand these comments about Robert Plant. Its clear to me that Led Zeppelin reforming and trying to go on some huge tour would be a mistake. I agree with Paul Weller that there is no point in trying to recreate the past - best to appreciate the music as it was and try and go forward.

    It appears that Robert recognises this, but his remarks deliberatley get taken out of context by those who want to see Led Zep tour, come what may. Seeing some pensionable rockers trying to live up to the past could well destroy our memories. Best to get together for the occasional concert as a reminder of past times and the great music.

    As for Page, Jones, Bonham getting together to do another project. Great! (and Robert has given his blessing)... but this can only be judged when we see the end-product. I dont understand the clamour and speculation that they should "declare themselves". Just accept what arrives when it arrives...

  14. As long as Jimmy, John and Jason are auditioning new singers, I only have one thing to say:
    Check out Cedric Bixler-Zavala from Mars Volta.

    Let the voice match the power and the energy of the music . . . . . new and old.


  15. All right, which of you made death threats against Jack Bruce?



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