Monday, October 18, 2010

Robert Plant hits Europe; Jason Bonham pro-shot video appears online; Sons of Albion tours New York clubs

Just some quick hits for the beginning of this work week.

Robert Plant hits Europe

First, Robert Plant and the Band of Joy are back in the United Kingdom again, having just hit Sweden and Norway for a pair of shows and this illuminating TV interview in which Plant discussed a lot about Led Zeppelin -- both in the old days of seeing Stockholm with ABBA in the days of recording In Through the Out Door and, more recently, reuniting the band in 2007.

Said Plant: "The guys in Led Zeppelin were spectacular players, and we lost John, but Jimmy and John Paul are still magnificent. And, really, it was a serendip-- it was an amazing phenomenon that we got together and did what we did, honestly, for honesty's sake, not for money's sake or for kudos ..."

Plant and the Band of Joy play in Edinboro, Scotland, tonight. Shows the rest of this month include the Electric Proms in London on Oct. 29, where the band is to be backed by the London Oriana Choir. It will be Plant's second performance with the 72-piece singing ensemble this year: the choir backed him at the Sound & Vision charity concert on Feb. 25.

Jason Bonham pro-shot video appears online

Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience has finished its first seven-show pass through Canada. Now the band prepares to hit Minneapolis for the first of three U.S. shows. That concert is tomorrow, followed by Milwaukee on Wednesday and Merrilville, Ind., on Thursday.

As of only a few hours ago, some professionally shot multi-camera footage from the Oct. 14 show in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, appears online. In it, the band performs "Good Times Bad Times" in an arrangement similar to the first song of the 2007 Led Zeppelin reunion concert. There are three other full songs as well: "Since I've Been Loving You," "Black Dog" and "Kashmir." Does this mean a DVD release of Bonham's tribute concert may be in the works? Lemon Squeezings will let you know.

Few fan-shot videos of the group online capture full songs, but there are several from the Oct. 17 show in Winnipeg. Check out "I Can't Quit You Baby," "Dazed and Confused" and "Stairway to Heaven."

Sons of Albion tours New York clubs

Another band with a genetic link to Led Zeppelin hit the United States recently for a slew of shows in Manhattan. Katie Higgins, a fan who saw Sons of Albion multiple times, writes her account in the following summary:
Sons of Albion recently wrapped up a two week stint in NYC. I was lucky enough to catch a few of their shows, the last of which was Thursday night at Fontana's in the Lower East Side. Yhey did not disappoint. They played some familiar songs which they've already released, "Take a Look," "I Feel You" and their most recent, "Blackened Heart." Download them from iTunes if you haven't! There were a couple of newer songs which they've hinted about -- "Killing the Machine" and "Primal Scream," as well as a heartfelt softer ballad sung beautifully by Logan -- this is my new favorite.
The band played with a massive amount of energy which grew stronger every night, as did the crowds. Francisco's drumming was amazing, pounding so hard on the drums, his finger bled. Gones (bass) and Nuno (guitar) seemed to escape into worlds of their own while playing with a tremendous passion, creating a sound which is unmistakably their own. Logan sounded great and was at home on the stage; however, the stage was much too small for them and at times he seemed a little like a caged animal looking to break free. He will ... they all will ...
New York-based DJ Carol Miller, host of the nationally syndicated "Get the Led Out" for which I consult, mentions Sons of Albion in her latest blog entry at She writes:
The band has been making some new music produced by Paul Logus, who is a contributing producer for GTLO, so it's "all in the family"!
So happy with the level of support Sons of Albion have been getting here in New York... All I can say is look out for big things! More to come on this...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Verdict on Jealous Butcher's new Zep tribute album? It's a generational thing

The date is Nov. 12, 1955, and an aspiring young guitarist calling himself Calvin Klein finds himself playing at the high school's "Enchantment Under the Sea" dance in Hill Valley, Calif. Things are going well for him, so he busts out an impromptu rendition of "Johnny B. Goode" three years ahead of its time.

He is able to do so only because he is a visitor from the future, one with the benefit of seeing MTV as the cultural mainstay in the presentation of music to his generation.

While still within the context of the Chuck Berry song, the guitarist then unleashes a solo that would have exposed him as the unhinged Eddie Van Halen devotee he really is, if only these residents of the 1950s had ever heard of Eddie Van Halen. As Calvin slides on his knees in the middle of a lightning-fast guitar run, his backing band stops playing, the dancers stand staring and motionless, and he realizes he's lost everyone.

Retaining his composure, dusting himself off, and taking his place at the microphone again, he announces, "I guess you guys aren't ready for that, yet. But your kids are gonna love it."

The pertinent lesson this scene from Back to the Future illustrates is that music is a generational thing. Some of today's youth might think it's great to go through a vinyl collection and find something like Led Zeppelin, or they're downloading Mothership onto their iPods and discovering the music that way.

More rebellious youths might think that because Led Zeppelin T-shirts are all the rage, or because it's their parents' music, Led Zeppelin is a band is to be shunned and avoided at all cost. It's probably those kids who will be the prime audience for the 2-CD compilation being released Tuesday on the Jealous Butcher label out of Portland, Ore.

From the Land of Ice and Snow: The Songs of Led Zeppelin is something that may expose some Millennials, for the first time willingly at least, to songs credited to John Bonham, John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant. That's because this is such an alternative set that it won't appeal to a broad audience.

If you were a fan of Led Zeppelin in the '70s, this set is not for you -- unless you find yourself scouring your children's MP3 players for modern diamonds in the rough. Only if you've already latched onto and embraced several of the forms of today's indie rock will you find any of this worth listening to. Otherwise, the only reason you should continue reading this is if you're thinking about gifting a copy to your kids.

Your kids are gonna love it. Maybe.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Solomon Burke, influence on Led Zeppelin, dies at 70

Solomon Burke, the influential soul singer who performed at an after-party for the members of Led Zeppelin following their 2007 reunion concert, has died. Reports say he was aboard a flight today at the time of death. He was 70.

Burke is known for a body of work that includes the song "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love," which was a regular part of the stage act for Wilson Pickett, the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and the Blues Brothers.

Wilson Pickett dedicates this lively rendition of "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love" to Solomon Burke, one of the song's co-writers.

The members of Led Zeppelin cover "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love" at Southampton University in 1973.

But some of Burke's more intense moments are tearful songs like "Goodbye Baby (Baby Goodbye)," one of a few songs that influenced Led Zeppelin.

Here, the Deep River Quartet performs "Goodbye Baby (Baby Goodbye)," a song made famous by Solomon Burke.

Led Zeppelin's "Baby Come On Home" was recorded during 1968 sessions for the band's first album but not released until 1993, when it was included on both Box Set 2 and The Complete Studio Recordings. On that track, Led Zeppelin gives a partial writing credit to the late Bert Berns, who was producer and songwriter for Solomon Burke, because their song is partially based on another "Baby Come On Home" from earlier in 1968, recorded by Burke and crediting Berns as songwriter.

Here, Solomon Burke sings the original "Baby Come On Home," originally released in 1968 and available on The Platinum Collection from Rhino/Atlantic.

Update: One of my favorite blogs, NMissCommentor, has published a blog entry as a tribute to Solomon Burke featuring several stirring videos of him performing.

Update 2: It's been pointed out to me (thanks, Scott) that Led Zeppelin's "Baby Come On Home" may be even more influenced by the first recorded version of the song, by Hoagy Lands in 1964. A clip follows:

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Jason Bonham pleased as Led Zeppelin Experience tour kicks off in Canada

Photo by Glenn Francis,
Concertgoers at the Encana Events Centre in Dawson Creek, B.C., Canada, last night witnessed the first showing from the multimedia tour Jason Bonham has spent the last few months publicizing.

So far, the few firsthand accounts from inside the concert venue could not be more positive. Most of what's been said, however, comes from the band members themselves!

About six hours before his second show, Bonham took to the Internet to post his thoughts on the Friday night debut: "This was the opening night of the tour and all I can say is , Thank you for making it one of the best gigs of my life !!!!!!! xoxo."

Update: In another message, Bonham gives away much of the set list. Be forewarned of a possible spoiler alert before clicking here.

Some of his bandmates were also communicating online after the show thanks to the complimentary Wi-Fi on their tour bus. Their bass player, who shall remain nameless unless you click here, granted an e-mail interview to Lemon Squeezings.

"Jason was in heaven from where I was standing," the bass player writes. "It's safe to say he loved every minute of the first show and it was really fantastic to be a part of it with him and the rest of the boys."

Clips of "Since I've Been Loving You" and "When the Levee Breaks" from the opening show in Dawson Creek have made it online.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Just ahead of Jason Bonham's tour, supergroup offers pour in

Jason Bonham is ready to rock as the offers pour in.
Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience multimedia tour is set to begin Friday tomorrow night in British Columbia, and he has still managed to keep his onstage lineup of musicians from being publicly revealed. (my mistake)

Meanwhile, just after the self-titled album from Black Country Communion hit the streets with Bonham on board, the drummer has now received a namecheck from guitarist Joe Satriani mentioning him as a possible touring member of Chickenfoot next year.

Joe Bosso of MusicRadar spoke with Satriani on the occasion of his new solo album, Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards, being released. When the subject of Chickenfoot came up in the interview, Satriani mentioned Bonham and two other drummers who might be good additions to the band, which also features Sammy Hagar on vocals and Michael Anthony on bass.

Satriani says current drummer, Chad Smith, is likely available to record their second album early next year. But after that, Smith might be back with his previous band, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, meaning somebody would have to fill in on any Chickenfoot live dates.

Satriani mentioned the "really outrageous" Tommy Lee as one possibility. "He's a great drummer, a lot of fun and a crazy personality," he said.

"We've had some guys sit in from time to time. Some names that have been thrown around are Abe Laboriel Jr. and Jason Bonham -- they'd be really great."

Laboriel, who plays for Sir Paul McCartney, recently participated with Bonham at the Los Angeles concert tribute to John Bonham on Sept. 25, the 30th anniversary of the late Led Zeppelin drummer's death. A full summary of the show has since been provided by Steve Krugman with photos by Alex Kluft.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Possibly unique copy of 'Physical Graffiti' LP for sale

When Swan Song Records manufactured the initial run of Led Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti around the beginning of 1975, it seems that at least one radio station may have gotten the royal treatment.

And then it was promptly forgotten about by everyone concerned.

That is, until earlier this year, according to record industry veteran Jeff Gold, who says he was going through the massive vinyl collection that belonged to Ken Barnes when one of the Led Zeppelin LPs popped out at him.

"I've known Ken since the mid '70s, and his knowledge of records is truly unsurpassed," says Gold. "I don't know anyone who knows half of what Ken knows about records, and I've met a lot of collectors in the 39 years I've been in the game."

This is believed to be a unique pressing of Led Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti dedicated to a now-defunct Chicago radio station, WMET 95 1/2 FM.

Current Led Zeppelin reunion rumor unfounded; Robert Plant hasn't really changed his mind

Twitter user @LedZeppelinNews went on a tirade this morning after waking up to find an unfounded rumor continuing to spread into a second day. (Yes, I just referred to myself in the third person.)

Here is that tweetirade in full:
The increasingly popular rumor that Robert Plant is leaning toward a Led Zeppelin reunion is unfounded. First, the interview was on July 29.
Second, the out-of-context line people think means he'll be talking w/ other Zep members about reuniting actually means THEY AREN'T TALKING!
The Led Zeppelin members haven't been talking, much less playing. Why so hopeful based on a loose interpretation of a 2-month-old remark?
Hasn't Robert Plant given enough interviews over the last few months to give anyone a good idea of his thoughts on reuniting Led Zeppelin?
Now going into The Daily Show mode. Adding to the list of extreme voices today: the sites Antimusic and @Guitarless. Let's restore sanity!
The big offenders here: @Contactmusic (, @SPINmagazine ( and @gibsonguitar (
Seriously, read @The_AV_Club interview of Robert Plant from July 29, published Sept. 30: & prepare to be enlightened
But if you get a hold of the interview tape from @The_AV_Club and play Robert Plant's voice backward, he does say Led Zeppelin will reunite.
[I was wrong when I said the AV Club's interview was published Sept. 30. It was actually published Sept. 28. It only seemed like it was published Sept. 30 because it took two days for idiotic Web editors to start misreporting anything about it.]

Coincidentally, the second anniversary of a statement from Robert Plant passed on Wednesday. It is the statement posted on his official website in 2008 that said, in part, "Robert Plant will not be touring or recording with Led Zeppelin. Anyone buying tickets online to any such event will be buying bogus tickets."

Mention of this appeared in the top right-hand corner of for the entire day Thursday while the rumor was starting to pick up steam. It said, "On this day in 2008, a month rampant with Zep reunion speculation ended, Robert Plant having just stated they weren't getting back together."

And yes, I fully admit that a rumor I inspired less than a year ago went viral and created a widely held belief that Jimmy Page was joining a supergroup with Eric Clapton and Aerosmith. It got me a lot of hits on my website for a few days (not that my bank account noticed), but as soon as the truth of the matter was clarified to me and I realized how erroneous it all was, I retracted the inaccuracies of my original story because I felt remorse passing off inaccurate information.

Will Spin, Contactmusic, Gibson, Antimusic, Guitarless and everybody else feel any remorse and make a retraction in this case? Or, on the other hand, do they prefer passing off popular rumors that distort the truth? Let's see.

Update, 7:30 p.m.: I've authenticated the comment below from Gerry Hayes at Guitarless, who says a correction is on the way and encourages me to "continue to harangue lazy, non-fact-checkers like me."

Update, Oct. 6, 11:35 a.m.: Robert Plant has now quashed the rumor too.