Thursday, October 9, 2008

Disturbing silence: No official word on future plans of Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones

What are Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones up to? Would somebody please get an answer out of these two?

It's no secret that Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones have been keen on playing together since the one-off Led Zeppelin concert in December. In fact, that's about all either has said in regard to their working relationship. They got to work together onstage again in June when they ran through some of their own classic Led Zeppelin material at a Foo Fighters show.

That guest appearance was only the beginning of the Led Zeppelin story of 2008 unfolding and changing at a rate not matched since the band was last planning to travel the globe in 1980, a blast-off that mislaunched when John Bonham died.

The next plot twist this summer was when Bonham's son, Jason Bonham, revealed that he had been jamming with Page and Jones -- on new material, no less. Then came the rumors a tabloid printed that the three were planning a Led Zeppelin tour with or without Robert Plant as singer. That was quickly followed up with a source allegedly saying Plant was in, which Plant himself officially denied within days.

Concurrent to these developments, the name Myles Kennedy entered the mix. The singer-guitarist of Alter Bridge, Kennedy was mentioned semi-legitimately among Zeppelin fans as a possible new bandmate for Page, Jones and Bonham. Repeating that scenario this week was Dee Snider, singer of Twisted Sister, relating what he had heard as a music-business insider who shares the same management as Robert Plant. Snider explained that if Plant would turn down a lucrative offer to team up again with his former bandmates, then Page and Jones had someone hand-picked and ready to take the reins, and his name was Myles Kennedy.

All throughout this dramatic series of twists and turns, Jones especially has been the least vocal. As to what is truly happening behind all the rumors and suggestions, the most reliable answer would of course come from either him or Page. Page did comment once that all the popular speculation about Led Zeppelin recording an album was off-base, but he didn't have much to say about what the truth really was.

That was before any talk of Myles Kennedy entered the public discussion, and a lot has changed since then. If the rumors of Kennedy's association with Page, Jones and Bonham have been patently untrue, why haven't fans and reporters been alerted?

Even a more pressing question is this: If it is indeed true that this singer has been jamming with Page, Jones and Bonham, and has long-term plans with them, then why hasn't anybody involved spoken up officially to confirm it?

Is it possible that his involvement is merely a ploy by which Page and Jones are aiming to coerce a jealous Plant into working with them again? What an unfortunate a case it would be for Kennedy if his role in this is only that of a pawn: Bring him into the fold, rehearse with him and collaborate with him, tout his name to Plant, and then dump him if Plant reconsiders.

I don't like thinking up conspiracy theories, but I wouldn't have to do that if only we could hear something from either Jones or Page.

Jones is scheduled to participate in a question-and-answer session on Sunday, Oct. 26, in England. Two weeks from now, I really hope we won't still be asking the same questions that we are today. At that event, Jones is supposed to be talking about musical equipment and technology anyway: The two-day event is Manson's Guitar Show, to be held at the Riverside Leisure Centre, with tickets onsale here.

How embarrassing would it be for Jones if so many of people attending were Led Zeppelin fans who paid the meager ticket price of £8 for one day or £12 for both only so they could hound Jones with questions about his future plans? Imagine Jones wanting to discuss any of the instruments made for him by Mansons personnel, brothers Hugh and Andy Manson, only to face a ferocious throng of inquiring single-track minds hoping to be appeased.

Jones can keep this scenario from becoming reality by breaking his silence in the next two weeks. And he shouldn't wait until the day before so he can avoid having to say, "This is tomorrow-tomorrow-tomorrow-tomorrow ..."

Pardon me -- sidetracked: Also worthy of note is another of the guests scheduled to be there: "Big" Jim Sullivan, who shares the credit with Jimmy Page as being one of England's top two session guitarists in the 1960s. Jones was also one of the main studio musicians at that time, so those two would certainly have some old stories to enjoy sharing.

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