Monday, September 22, 2008

Robert Plant's not the only singer in the world

Back in the Led Zeppelin days, the whole band contributed some harmonies from time to time. And at December's reunion show, drummer Jason Bonham displayed an unexpectedly powerful set of pipes when he backed Robert Plant and took his late father's place on the skins.

Bonham tells us since that show, he has sometimes jammed on new material with original Led Zeppelin musicians Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones. No doubt there were three expert instrumentalists in the room, but which of them stepped up to carry a tune?

Was it Bonham himself, whom Plant encouraged to belt out the opening line of "I Can't Quit You Baby" between songs at the Zeppelin performance?

Was it John Paul Jones, who sang on two of his own solo albums in 17 years apart, and even took to singing "That's the Way" onstage on his last solo tour?

Or have the seldom-heard melodic tones of Jimmy Page's voicebox received a much-needed jolt?

Last week's suggestion that a fourth man has been introduced into the fold seems logical. If there is singing at all, it would make sense to have a singer there so that vocal cues can be heard without unnecessarily diverting one of the non-singers' attention from his instrument.

If they're planning for a Led Zeppelin tour with Robert Plant next year, and if he's temporarily unavailable at this stage in the rehearsals due to touring commitments with Alison Krauss, then it makes sense to have someone sit in who can at least muddle through the old songs.

Anyone who's been listening to Zep's back catalog for a few years could fit that bill. Ahem; I could do it!

The article in U.K. tabloid The Sun hints that the new vocalist is a decent singer who would be capable of serving as Plant's understudy should the original frontman singularly decide a Led Zeppelin tour in 2009 is not in his future.

Too much paperwork seems a fine excuse to sit it out. I mean, with all the various contracts Plant would have to sign if he were to consent to a tour, we don't want the poor dear to come down with carpal tunnel, do we? (Maybe he should take a cue from Jimmy Page and save his ink for those tour plans.)

This reported new singer, who The Sun's informant does not name but says is American, is assumedly a little better than the average guy who stumbles through "Stairway to Heaven" at the karaoke bar after midnight on weekends.

With the Foo Fighters on hiatus, it could be a great opportunity for the two members who sang Zeppelin songs onstage with Page and Jones at London's Wembley Stadium this June. Taylor Hawkins, who sang "Rock and Roll" while Dave Grohl rocked the drums, was the more mellifluous of the pair, but Grohl's energetic command of "Ramble On" -- not to mention his chumming around with the Zeppelin quartet earlier this month -- may have led MusicRadar to its guess that Grohl is already working as Plant's stand-in.

Since getting a singer is being reported as an audition situation, perhaps they've already rehearsed and rejected some candidates. If so, maybe that's why Page was reportedly so eager to get Motörhead singer Lemmy's phone number when the two met up back in June. And maybe they even considered Leona Lewis in a reprisal of her role leading Jimmy Page through a rendition of "Whole Lotta Love" at the Olympics last month.

Now suppose the direction of these Bonham-Jones-Page jam sessions is not to retread the beaten-down path and revive Led Zeppelin onstage with half of its original members. Suppose, instead, there's new territory to explore. What if a singer other than Robert Plant translates to a resulting band other than Led Zeppelin (or the definitive Led Zeppelin tribute act)?

After all, when three of the ex-members of Creed regrouped without frontman Scott Stapp and introduced a new singer, they called it not Creed but Alter Bridge. With a lineup completed by Myles Kennedy of Spokane, Wash., Alter Bridge was a new group altogether.

Could Page, Jones and Bonham likewise blend with a new vocalist to generate something genuine and entire of itself? We may find out someday.

As for now, the latest comment from Page is that the recent reports of Led Zeppelin recording sessions were off the mark. His comment would be correct even if he, Jones and Bonham have been recording an album of fresh material as members of a new band that will dominate their 2009 calendars.


  1. you been reading too much of that fbo i think

  2. Too much FBO and not enough of something else maybe? Is there another theory that deserves the time of day?

  3. If Plant really doesn’t want to do it, then it will definitely diminish the excitement of a show/tour. and If that's the case, well then P’ on him.

    He really seems to have a disdain for his fans by saying that “Led Zeppelin didn’t really care about the fans” that I read last week. That might be the case for him, but probably not everybody else.

    I am just hoping that this is just another rumor to keep their name in the news, and the interest up.

    Also, the thing with "working in the studio" I was thinking is a "rehearsal studio", where the three are working on some new material to entice Plant to participate, then record, then tour with.

    Jimmy has said in the past that he has been working on some new stuff for his solo album that could be "easily converted to some new Zep material".

    Wouldn't a new album be "a really, really good reason to play again"?

    Nuvo 911

  4. My theory is that Jimmy has some really good new songs ready to record but knows that if it's released as anything other than LZ (with Robert)no one will pay attention to it. In essense the sum is certainly greater than the parts.

  5. "In essense the sum is certainly greater than the parts".

    Glen, I believe you are correct with that statement. That would explain "Walking into Clarksdale".

    Together we stand, devided we fall.


  6. Funny you should mention Miles Kennedy, for his name has come up at different sites in threads discussing the article in The Sun.
    That wouldn't hurt my feelings at all.

  7. "Disdain"? There's that word again! It's a politically charged presidential election year here in the United States, and still the only times I have seen or heard the word "disdain" used at all in 2008 (and I've been living in the nation's capital this whole time) have been in connection with Robert Plant and his so-called disdain for his fans! Nuvo, don't you think that's a strong word and a bit of an exaggeration?

    I haven't gotten a copy of the full Plant interview in GQ from which the quote Nuvo's referencing is drawn. Without that, I can't know the whole context of what Plant said. But in my estimation, Plant's right that Led Zeppelin has never been about the fans if he means something along the lines of placating fans and giving them what they want and/or expect. After all, this is the group that resisted making "Whole Lotta Love" into a formula for guaranteed success on the pop charts, and instead spread their wings and responded with Led Zeppelin III, which went off in altogether different directions. I took Plant's comment as an accurate observation on the band's intentions from someone who should know best what those intentions were, and I certainly didn't think it meant he is harboring any disdain for fans.

    As for mentioning Myles Kennedy in this blog post, yeah, it may have been a bit intentional on my part. I've read he turned down the position of singing for Velvet Revolver, which was at the time made up of a trio of ex-Guns and Roses musicians but no singer. Interesting!

    I love that the link where I mention Kennedy's name goes to a bio page explaining the tremendous influence Jimmy Page had on Kennedy when he was using a tennis racket as a substitute for a guitar he didn't own!

  8. Aw Steve, how sweet.
    It is so nice to know that you still remember me, my old friend. I cannot help, but be touched. (the wrath of Khan)

    You act like “Disdain” is such a bad word. It really isn’t that bad of a word. Words don’t really hurt either. Let just take a look at the definition: “Disdain: a feeling of contempt for someone or something regarded as unworthy or inferior”.

    Now is that so bad?

    I think it perfectly describes the feeling Robert has for his Led Zep fans, not “his” fans (which by the way, are the same).

    Since Robert likes to use big words in his interviews, I thought it would only be appropriate to use a big word too. But alas, it is plain to see that I am not as well versed or educated as he, or you. I’m just a poor, fool of a fan, and you are a mighty journalist who is scared who is scared to death of the word disdain.

    Why should Robert do something for the fans? What have those fans done for him?

    How about mad him rich beyond compare, and given him the ability to do what he wants, say what he wants and insult who he wants, while thumbing his nose at the fans that gave him those luxuries.

    He hasn’t changed his stance on this since the last time we had this discussion, so it bewilders me why you stick up for him all the time. Are you on the payroll?

    That would explain a lot.

    Now, (as you kids say today) I am not hating on anybody. I’m just calling it as I see it.

    On a better note, you still have the best and most current website around for any info on Led Zeppelin, and it is nice to have these “discussions” with you. I’m just surprised that nobody else ever chimes in.


  9. Nuvo, thanks for being one of the voices in the wilderness so to speak! I'm glad whenever people chime in on my site, but I too am surprised it's so few individuals. I'm glad your point of view is so divergent from mine so as to attract comments. I don't want to be a dictator or anything here! And thanks for the compliment on the site. I have some good stuff coming up at, so wake the kids and phone the neighbors!

    ...or, is it phone the kids and wake the neighbors?

  10. Hey Steve,
    Thanks for the tip. I check your websites every day.

    I am also a member of On this day in LZ History…..
    And have been for a very long time (way before this website went up).

    Keep up the good work.


  11. I've done the comparisons on YouTube with Alter Bridge doing live covers of Led Zeppelin and Led Zeppelin live in concert and it's almost...No... It is EERIE. I say there should be no question if he should (and really, if he has the right to) do the "Zeppelin Thing". It is just like Dee Snider said, he “can sing the SHIT out of Zeppelin”. No, he is not "THE MAN, THE LEDGEND" Robert Plant, But... He is so friggin’ close it's scary!!! So, if you do check out the comparisons, remember to see the live versions for a truly fair comparison; unless, of course they (Zeppelin with Kennedy) do covers of old songs in a studio.


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