Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Song Remains the Same

Yeah, I saw the Youtube clips of Led Zeppelin's reunion show. Yeah, they sounded pretty good. Even Jason Bonham was good (and I'm eating crow here)--certainly not on a par with his dad pounding away with a bellyfull of vodka--but rather good nevertheless.

Of course I only watched Kashmir, and only half of that. I mean, can anyone still listen to all of Kashmir?

So after these Youtube clips I was beset by rabid Zep-heads who assured me all weekend that Led Zeppelin were going to re-form and do a massive stadium tour.

Allow me to burst your bubble with the following interview of Robert Plant, which appeared in the December 6-12 (before the reunion show) issue of Paris Match, and which was translated from the French by yours truly. (Please bear with my rushed translation--I'm no pro!). Robert not only says he won't participate, but he slams his band mates a bit to boot:

Since the group separated in 1980, Led Zeppelin have never harkened to the sirens moaning for their reformation. This week, however, the three surviving members and Jason Bonham, the son of John, gave a concert at a London event paying hommage to Ahmet Ertegun, who founded Atlantic Records. For the 23,000 tickets sold, 23 million people participated in an online lottery in hopes of obtaining the precious seats. One of these tickets sold for 84,000 Euros. We spoke with the singer Robert Plant on this occasion.

PM: What pushed you to reform Led Zeppelin?
This is not a reformation! The widow of Ahmet Ertegun called me to ask if we would pay hommage to her husband. I have no interest in reforming Led Zeppelin, but I could not refuse her. And, for a long time, Jason has dreamed of playing in place of his father. This is a means of pleasing him, but also a way to end this history once and for all.

PM: Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones have already said they are ready to do a tour...
So great for them! I don't envy them. Jimmy and John have not had a real career since the end of the group. Me, I am very happy with my life, I've evolved musically, this gives me pleasure. I am not at all nostalgiac about this epoch. Do a long tour? What interest is there in that? Only a unique moment creates an event. I have no need for money.

PM: How did the rehearsals go?
Led Zeppelin is always a formidable machine. We started in June, in secret, to see if it would work. At the beginning, we could only play for 20 minutes. But Jason is so convincing that it became clear to us to give a concert. He's a stunning boy, he knows the career of the group better than us, and has prepared himself for this concert for 20 years!

PM: Rumor has it that your voice doesn't permit you to hit the high notes.
It's true, because I was warming up! Who can sing opera without training? For now, I cannot sing Immigrant Song which forces me to push my voice. But from this point on until the show, I will be ready.

PM: You took advantage of this reunion to do a duo album with Alison Krauss. Opportunism?
Absolutely not! I started with her at the turn of the year. This is a project which has taken me by the heart for several years. We have finally found the time to record an album. Frankly, this excites me much more than playing the old rock star who shouts "Mamma, mamma, mamma" in front of thousands of people.

How can Plant claim that the composer of that beautiful Death Wish III soundtrack has had no career since Led Zep disbanded?


fernie said...

I don't care about Zeplin but I'm impressed with your French translation!

Casey said...

You've certainly trumped me on the Zep posts with this one, sir.

II have an audio boot of the full show; it was definitely a million times better than I expected. I'd shell out to see them on tour. I doubt there will be a full-on campaign, though. But I do anticipate a small handful of shows.

PS: Let's not forget JPJ's album with Diamanda Galas and his production work for Butthole Surfers! Take that, Percy!!!

Nyarlathotep said...

Mr. Plant, when he's not insulting Page or Jones, does qualify his denial by saying he's not interested in a "long" tour.


Swanksalot said...

I'd rather see Alison Krauss and Plant than a lumbering nostalgic Zepp show. Sounds like Plant agrees, good for him.