Tuesday, July 30, 2002

Live Led Zeppelin DVD may be out by end of 2002

This news originally appeared in an edition of the newsletter "On This Day In Led Zeppelin History."

Earlier this month, Robert Plant gave Billboard magazine some intriguing news from the Jimmy Page camp. Plant reported:
"He's found huge archives of really rare old Zeppelin stuff -- live stuff from the States from 1969 -- and he's sifting through it with a view to putting it on DVD."
Inside sources indicate that a live Led Zeppelin DVD may be available in time for this holiday shopping season.

Friday, July 26, 2002

Interview with Tony Franklin, bass player with Jimmy Page and Roy Harper, later The Firm

This interview originally appeared in an edition of the newsletter "On This Day In Led Zeppelin History."

Fretless bass player Tony Franklin speaks with Lemon Squeezings about his involvement with Roy Harper and Jimmy Page in 1984.

SS: What can you tell us about Roy Harper and Jimmy Page?

TF: I can quite easily say that Roy Harper and Jimmy Page were, and are, two of my biggest musical influences. I had a good grounding in music before playing with those guys, but they showed me "the cracks between the musical pavestones". They are two of the best at what they do.

Lyrically, Roy is a masterful poet, going from the romantic, to the poignant, the political and the comical, seamlessly. His music supported his lyrics and melody perfectly. His music would twist and turn with little regard for what is "right" or "proper". He generally played the acoustic guitar, so his style acquired the "folk" label. But I think this is somewhat limiting. Roy is really something all of his own, in my opinion.

Jimmy Page did the same thing musically. But he worked mostly on the electric guitar, so it came out in more of a "rock" way. But once again, it's too limiting to say that Led Zeppelin was just a rock band, and that Jimmy Page just a rock guitarist. Their "folk" influence is quite evident, as well as numerous other styles.

SS: When did you first start playing with Roy Harper?

TF: Through "chance" connections and meetings, I did a recording session with Roy in 1982. This finally led to the recording of the Work of Heart album and tour. I've since done six(?) more albums with Roy.

SS: Did you ever expect that Jimmy Page would pop up in the studio to record a whole album with Roy?

TF: It's not something I really thought about. But when it came about I thought it was great. It was nice to see the two of them together. Their influence upon each other and respect was quite apparent. They've actually done a lot of music together. I'm sure you know that Jimmy used to appear on Roy's albums under a pseudonym? Jimmy didn't want to draw too much attention to himself. He wanted the focus to be Roy and his music.

SS: What was it like playing with Roy and Jimmy in the studio? Did you take part in or witness any of the songwriting process?

TF: It was very relaxed, fun and quite casual. We got a lot done. It didn't really feel like we were making an album. We took breaks and went down the "Promenade" at Blackpool. I have a fond memory of me, Pagey, Roy and Nik Green (the engineer and keyboard player) going on a roller coaster. I think we were all a little "happy" at the time. I remember all the loose change falling out of our pockets when we went upside down, and laughing a lot! (Nik Green actually has some comprehensive, insightful and humourous documentation of those days. You can see him at www.theawayteam.com He's a talented writer, as well as a great keyboard player and person!).

I wasn't involved in the writing process. All of that was done before I got there. I did have some ideas during the recording process though.

SS: What did you like best about the album? worst?

TF: It's a great album. It's a very special moment in time for me, like an excerpt from my diary. I cannot really be objective about it. Each song has its own memories and feelings attached to it.

SS: What was the folk festival scene like? Were you ready to rock???

TF: It was all pretty trippy. Here were these two rock legends, amidst a bunch of far-out happy people, who were basically there to get stoned, enjoy the sunshine and listen to some cool music. It was laid-back, kind of loose, and everyone just went with the flow of it all. And there was me, in the middle of this whole thing, having a great time.

It was, and still is about the music for me. I'm blessed and thankful to have played with some amazing people in a wide variety of situations. And I still continue to be enchanted by the whole musical process. I want it to always be that way.

We were probably the heaviest act there, but we weren't specifically wanting to rock out or blow people away. We just wanted to do our thing, do a good job and have fun with it, which I think we did.

SS: Finally, you must have gotten along well with Jimmy Page; you were the only person from that lineup he took with him onto his next project. What was it like being selected?

TF: Yes, Jimmy and myself clicked well. It just felt very comfortable and natural. And that truly was the foundation that lead me to The Firm. From the outside, it probably seems like the whole process happened very quickly. Actually in the big picture, it did happen quickly. At the time, the whole process took a good few months of playing, working hard, having fun, bonding, and for me, playing with everything I had. And then suddenly, I was a member of The Firm! I think that life is a little bit like that. We seem to scramble around, plan, work, wait, focus, refocus, ride the ups and downs, adjust, work, plan, and on and on ... and then suddenly we "arrive", and it's all worth it. The key is to enjoy the process, the journey. Because most of it IS the journey! I'm still on my journey, and in many ways it feels like it's only just begun. I love music, I love to share my music. It's a privilege and a blessing.

Wednesday, July 17, 2002

Robert Plant songs online for streaming

This news originally appeared in an edition of the newsletter "On This Day In Led Zeppelin History."

Some have written in to say that Robert Plant's Online Jukebox at (Web content no longer available) was not working. It may not have been before, but it is now! For those of you on the fringe about whether to buy Plant's new CD, enjoy hearing these four full-lengths songs to help you decide.

Tuesday, July 16, 2002

Robert Plant releases Dreamland album; U.K. edition has bonus track

This news originally appeared in an edition of the newsletter "On This Day In Led Zeppelin History."

Robert Plant's seventh solo album, Dreamland, was released today in the United States.

I've written enough about this album recently! Now you can hear it for yourself and tell me what you think. Import copies with the bonus track "Dirt in the Hole" are available, too.

If you're not yet ready to buy the whole CD, you can check out some of it online at the Robert Plant Jukebox. Tune in at (Web content no longer available).

Monday, July 15, 2002

Robert Plant 'Storytellers' debuts on VH1

This news originally appeared in an edition of the newsletter "On This Day In Led Zeppelin History."

Robert Plant's edition of the TV show "Storytellers" has just made its premiere on VH1. His new album will be out tomorrow in the United States.

Sunday, July 14, 2002

Robert Plant 'Storytellers to debut on VH1

This news originally appeared in an edition of the newsletter "On This Day In Led Zeppelin History."

Robert Plant and the Strange Sensation will appear on "VH1 Storytellers" today at 11 p.m. Eastern. And remember, it's not too late to join Robert Plant's Official Online Team: You can do so at (Web content no longer available).

Sunday, July 7, 2002

Collectible lithograph offer: Photographer captured first Led Zeppelin concert

This news originally appeared in an edition of the newsletter "On This Day In Led Zeppelin History."

Before Led Zeppelin was known by that name, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham perpetuated the Yardbirds' name for about a month, performing first in Scandinavia. It would have been hard to predict how famous that particular quartet would end up becoming, and those who showed any interest whatsoever at the time are hard to come by.

One particular name jumps out: that of a kid who took a camera to concerts to capture snapshots of the mugs of musicians like Jimmy Page. In doing so, Jorgen Angel became the only person to photograph the first live performance by the four members of Led Zeppelin.

Jorgen has offered his photographs through his Web site as prints in the past, but as of today he is publishing a limited edition lithograph of "The First Performance." This edition is limited to only 750 copies worldwide and 50 artist's proofs. When the edition is sold out, it will never be reprinted. Each art print will be signed and numbered by Jorgen Angel and comes with an original certificate of authenticity.

It has been Jorgen's wish for some time to present the best shots from this evening in a way that would take the Zep fan back to that special night. For many months, the photographer worked with designers and a visual artist to produce a simple, yet elegant artwork, designed to encapsulate the show as the photographer saw it -- presenting those magic moments in 26 frames. In the innocence of those early days, it was possible (for a schoolboy with his mother's camera) to get very close to the rock stars, actually on stage at times, as it shows in the intimate images on the lithograph.

Please see http://www.angel.dk/ for more information on the lithograph, how to order and for a special limited-time offer. You will also be able to see with great detail what the product looks like. When ordering your numbered lithograph, please be sure to tell Jorgen that Steve "The Lemon" sent you!