Thursday, December 24, 2009

Jimmy Page's new projects all coming to fruition

Remember only four months ago, when Jimmy Page told Billboard magazine he had been working on several projects?

"This year I've had quite a lot of things going on," he said at the time, "sort of things relative to preparing for projects."

He even hinted at the timeline of releasing them: "There's a lot of groundwork that's been going into that so that I can be getting on with things next year. ... If you've got ambitious projects, they take time to put together if you're going to do them properly."

And there was an early version of his more recent promise to come out with guns blazing in 2010 and perform some new material live. He said at the time, "I really intend to be doing some playing and ... be seen, if you like."

Well, now as the year is ending, some of those projects are already out, and what others will be is emerging.

Custom guitar
Gibson released this week a limited edition Gibson Custom Jimmy Page Number Two Les Paul guitar modified by Page himself. Produced with two levels of aging, this guitar captures the look, feel, sound, and versatility of one of the greatest artist-owned Les Pauls of all time, and it is likely to disappear from authorized Gibson dealers in record time. This "Number Two" Les Paul was recreated with intense, inch-by-inch, inside-out examination of Page's own guitar, purchased in 1973. The process of getting it right involved the production of a number of hand-built prototypes, each of which was checked and critiqued in detail by Page himself. Approval of the final iteration was only offered after the legendary artist had intricately examined and extensively played this last prototype in his London home. Only 325 examples will be produced in total: The first 25 instruments are to be aged by vintage-reproduction master Tom Murphy, then inspected, played and hand signed and numbered by Page personally. An additional 100 guitars will be given the extensive aging treatment and 200 will be finished to Gibson's VOS specs.

'BBC Sessions' radio show
Debuting in two one-hour parts on BBC Radio 6 Music tomorrow is a new radio special, "Jimmy Page and the BBC Sessions." Featuring Page's help and the points of view from several people with the BBC, this special tells the story of how Led Zeppelin came to be featured on the airwaves back in 1969 and again in 1971. The special is to include music that wasn't included on the 2-CD set BBC Sessions with Page explaining why that was the case.

'It Might Get Loud' on DVD and Blu-Ray
In North America, It Might Get Loud was released on DVD and Blu-Ray this Tuesday. It earned another round of press coverage, although no reports have really hit on the previously unreleased bonus content on these editions that was not even included on the iTunes Extra version released two weeks earlier. In these new editions, Page can be seen trudging through parts of "Kashmir" with Jack White and The Edge. They also run through White's "Seven Nation Army." Edge plays "Stairway to Heaven." Page plays "Four Sticks." He also plays an untitled piece on acoustic guitar.

It does appear Page will have an autobiography in the new year, which photographer Ross Halfin is calling "the biggest book Genesis Books have ever done." He says some details are to appear in the January issue of Mojo magazine.

Live appearances
Page told Sky News last week, "Next year, I have every intention of playing music live and making it -- manifesting it." There are already reports that Page has been confirmed to perform at a Show of Peace concert to be held April 17 in Beijing. The concert's Web site has posted two such reports, by and, although has so far been unable to obtain confirmation from Page's camp. A press conference about the concert is scheduled for Jan. 13.

New material
Page said he will be performing new material next year: "I've got it. I've got it there. I've got the music waiting. It just needs to be done. So that's it. That's what I'll be doing." Whether this means he will have an album out in time for the tour, or perhaps will seek another route to release some songs, is unclear.

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