Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Slash ready for festival gig in Norway with Jason Bonham, guests

"I'm looking forward to the gig," Slash tweeted two days ago, referring to his headlining set today, June 30, at the Quart Festival in Norway. "It[']s been almost a year since I played a whole show," the former Guns N' Roses and Velvet Revolver guitarist noted, adding to his earlier comment, "Maybe it will help make up for the cancelled VR gig a while back."

Slash tweeted on Friday when rehearsals were to begin, adding one day later, "We've got a great set for Norway, but we're not playing any songs from my new cd." He has been in the studio this month, putting the finishing touches on a solo disc that will reportedly see guest vocal appearances from Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas and Ozzy Osbourne of Black Sabbath.

Both of those singers are to appear during the Slash and Friends set today. Slash has revealed the members of his Quart Festival band lineup: drummer Jason Bonham, bassist Chris Chaney from Jane's Addiction, guitarist John 5 of Marilyn Manson's band, singer-guitarist Franky Perez and keyboardist Teddy Andreadis. Guitarist Ron Wood, whose former bands include the Faces and the Rolling Stones, is also a confirmed guest.

As for what this lineup will be playing, Classic Rock magazine recently found him detailing a set of "mostly covers":
"Anything from 'Whole Lotta Love' to 'Use Me' to Fleetwood Mac’s 'Oh Well' or 'The Thrill Is Gone' – depends on who’s singing. I did 'Sweet Child o’ Mine' with Fergie – she’s got a great f---ing rock ’n’ roll voice, that girl. It’s a casual thing but at the same time now that you're talking about it it'll sound more serious than it is …"
Slash mentioned "Whole Lotta Love." Here's a version he played live last December with Chester Bennington on vocals.

A Saturday press release from the Quart Festival also provides further clues as to a possible set list. It repeats the claim of "Sweet Child o' Mine," so that one's probably in the bag. It adds "Crazy Train," which logic tells us would have Osbourne on vocals. Also hinted for an appearance during the set is "Black Dog."

As for Bonham, today's gig with Slash comes in the midst of some onstage activity reuniting him with his first professional band, Airrace. Their first reunion show took place June 19 in Milton Keynes, England, with further appearances set for July 4 and 5.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

As list of John Paul Jones collaborators builds, talk of Led Zeppelin reunion likely uninteresting

It was early last month that John Paul Jones was in Madrid, Spain, helping Takehisa Kosugi and the members of Sonic Youth create soundscapes backing up a dance troupe. It all started with a few performances in Brooklyn this April, preceded late last year by some getting-to-know-you rehearsal sessions.

Sonic Youth's drummer, Steve Shelley, has just spoken with the Detroit Free Press about his experience with the "Nearly Ninety" production, which celebrated choreographer Merce Cunningham's 90th birthday. In this interview, Shelley clarifies the extent to which their music was rehearsed versus improvised night in and night out:
That was a lot of fun; that was weird. We went and played music at this dance performance at B.A.M. [the Brooklyn Academy of Music]. We had written scores of music to play of various lengths -- a six-minute piece, a ten-minute piece -- and every night we performed, they would throw down the score in a different manner. Our music would be played in a different order each night, and so it didn't really go with the dancing in a traditional sense but in a more abstract sense.

We were also performing with John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin and Takehisa Kosugi, a longtime Merce Cunningham compatriot. We were sitting on this weird metal sculpture they had built for the show that looked like a spaceship or building scaffolding, and it was just a very odd but very fun event to be at.
Just before this whole undertaking went to performance mode is when Jones made a solitary offhand comment about having been "working on some other music, which is more rock based, with a couple of other people." Not willing to let the cat out of the bag, he has since kept his "secret" under wraps.

One account that appeared this weekend suggests Jones has been rehearsing with Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters and Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age.

Meanwhile, the blogosphere has been abuzz with a guessing game concentrating on a separately reported Homme recording project. The one person claiming to be in the know is Ipecac Records co-owner Greg Werckman; he tells Rock-a-Rolla magazine that his label's other co-owner -- former Faith No More singer Mike Patton -- has been approached about joining Homme on the project Werckman says is "top secret."

Werckman says his colleague isn't the only person Homme is trying to recruit now either. "He's trying to get a lot of people involved in it, too," Werckman says. Homme would be looking at an uphill battle if he has the Faith No More singer in mind. Werckman says Homme is "trying to convince Mike [Patton] to go out to the desert but Mike hates the desert."

The report on Jones, Grohl and Homme collaborating didn't say anything about the desert. In fact, it said they'd been making their music in a good, old-fashioned recording studio in Los Angeles.

L.A., meanwhile is the main stomping grounds for Sara Watkins, who recently completed a headlining tour in support of her debut solo album, which Jones produced. While in New York back in April around the time of his debut performances with Sonic Youth, Jones sat in with Watkins on a late night TV appearance.

Now, Watkins is focused on yet another recording project. Most of the same musicians who contributed to her solo album have returned for the first album under the name Works Progress Administration. From Toad the Wet Sprocket, Glen Phillips usually handles lead vocals. The lineup is actually a lot like the group Mutual Admiration Society that Jones toured with in 2004, except for mandolin player Chris Thile, who's been playing with the Punch Brothers since Nickel Creek split. But it does include drummer Pete Thomas, who played with Jones on two albums but whose major accolade was backing up Elvis Costello in the Attractions. Also, on keyboards, is Benmont Tench, an alumnus of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

<a href="http://wpamusic.bandcamp.com/track/always-have-my-love">Always Have My Love by Works Progress Administration</a>

As is typical for Watkins projects, the sometimes-fourpiece/sometimes-eightpiece Works Progress Administration has already played a few dates on the road, including last weekend at the Telluride Bluegrass festival in the mountains of Colorado. Ralph Jaccodine, band manager, says Jones didn't have anything to do with the album "but we do have an all star cast."

There's a pretty good chance that if Los Angeles is Jones's hangout anytime in the near future, he would sneak his way onto the stage with Watkins and her brother Sean once again. For instance, the siblings will be in the Little Room at Largo at the Coronet this Sunday night, June 28, and the Watkins Family Hour returns on Wednesday, July 8.

Between those gigs, Works Progress Administration is booked at Fitzgerald's in Berwyn, Ill., on July 4. The band hits the road for a little longer beginning Aug. 16 at the Philadelphia Folk Festival.

On a final note, it would be funny if Jones gets to work with Mike Patton of Faith No More. Grohl may have had his mind set on drumming for Jones for years, but it was Faith No More's other Mike -- Mike Bordin -- whose name was mentioned as the other half of a prospective rhythm section with Jones way back in 1991. Bordin was Robert Plant's suggestion in 1991 for a drummer if Led Zeppelin had reunited at that time.

Quoted in the press back then about a possible Led Zeppelin reunion, Jones said, "It wouldn't be a bad thing to do. I'm not at all opposed to it. ... I think Jimmy feels the same as I do about it." And yes, 1991 was ages ago. For the highly productive Jones, a healthily growing list of collaborations probably stands in the way of resuming any pointless talks about a Led Zeppelin reunion.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Bob Lefsetz thrilled with Jimmy Page's rendition of 'Ramble On' in new movie

The movie "It Might Get Loud" features Jimmy Page performing five songs alone.

Two are "Embryo No. 1" and "Embryo No. 2," which are pieces of new music perhaps destined for a "big project" Page says he has "had in mind for some time."

The three others are "The Battle of Evermore," "Whole Lotta Love" and "Ramble On."

The way he played "Ramble On" onscreen prompted Bob Lefsetz to revive his writing in "The Lefsetz Letter" for the first time in 10 days. He viewed the film at its L.A. premiere on Friday, a few seats from Page himself.
Just as I was getting comfortable in my seat, just as I'd settled into WATCHING this movie, Jimmy strapped on a sunburst Les Paul and started to play...

A tingle just shot through my body thinking about it.

You know how Jimmy holds his guitar so low, down by his pubic area, like it's a sexual being, not a musical instrument? He's not just playing, he's romancing the entire instrument, the neck is bobbing and weaving, the body of the Gibson is throbbing, and with his nimble fingers, Jimmy Page is playing RAMBLE ON!

The track has not been overdubbed after the fact, the original master has not been stripped in, this is the guy who wrote and played it standing there and WHIPPING IT OFF! And in classic "Led Zeppelin II" fashion, he's not playing to the last row, there's that subtlety that separated the band from its imitators, they could be quiet as well as heavy.

And speaking of quiet, when Jimmy sat on a stool in the garden of Headley Grange and played "The Battle Of Evermore", I got goosebumps.

But "Ramble On" was the peak. Better than Jimmy playing the riff from "Whole Lotta Love" on the soundstage. There was a lyricism, a whole story was unfolding in his playing.

I played "Led Zeppelin II" for a week straight. After buying it the day of release. I thought I never needed to hear it again. But years later, when the focus was no longer on it, it turned out to be one of those mementos of youth that was just as vital today as it was back then. Somehow, music can do that. People age, but not tunes. Not the best ones.

My leg is bouncing, my body is twisting. I'm surveying the theatre, I see no concomitant movement. How can this BE? Has our nation been castrated to such a point that viewers need to take their cues from television? Can they only be infected, jump up and down when they're in front of the stage at an overpriced gig? This performance of "Ramble On" was the essence of the experience. It was the zenith of rock and roll. Jimmy said how the critics didn't get it. And he was right. But the public did. Led Zeppelin was instantly successful.
Lefsetz also mentions another scene in the movie with Page:
Like I said, they shot a bunch of footage at Headley Grange, where the fourth album was cut. Jimmy hasn't been there in a long lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time. He's overwhelmed at first. Then he starts telling stories. About the mobile truck outside (and a picture is flashed...that truck was HUGE!) They ran cables up the stairways, out the windows, it was key to be in an environment unsullied by everyday life.

And John Bonham ordered a new set of drums. And his tech set up this kit in the entry hall, with its multiple story ceiling, so Bonzo could check it out. And once Bonham started to play, they decided to record RIGHT THERE!

Then Jimmy claps his hands. As he's standing in this entry hall. And you hear that unmistakable echo, the sound of late night seventies parties, of lying on your bedroom floor in the dark, listening to "When The Levee Breaks".

Lefsetz also writes about his meeting Page at the afterparty:
We ended up having a conversation about being best man at failed weddings. Had to give Jimmy credit, he knew how to play this game, he knew how to be warm and personable. And how do you not love a man who lets his hair go gray, who owns his age?
From there, he closes with his thoughts on Jimmy Page's long and storied life, plus the place Led Zeppelin has earned in rock history and our culture:
It's been a long strange trip. From discovering a left behind guitar in a new abode to playing sessions to being in the biggest band of its era, the second biggest band of all time.

Yes, the Beatles were bigger. But they were different. They were the darlings, the sunny boys who could be endorsed by the media, cheeky and lovable. Zeppelin were different. There was an inherent darkness. You hear it in the music. They're looking for satisfaction, but still living along the way. And life is hard. It's dark and creepy with a bit of exuberance sprinkled in. Like Led Zeppelin's music. Zep's music wasn't one note, it was like life, it covered the spectrum of emotions. And for this reason, we cannot forget it.

When you see Jimmy Page play these tunes up close and personal in this movie you'll be flabbergasted. It's not like a concert, where you can hear but not really see. When you see Jimmy's fleet fingers fly across the fretboard, when you see his right hand pick out the notes, you experience the true spirit of rock and roll, in all its power and glory. These moments are not only worth the price of admission, they're what we live for!
Six minutes of segments from the film are included (with French overdubbing) here:

Jimmy Page mum on details of his 'big project ... that I've had in mind for a while'

In a moment of clarity the other day, Jimmy Page discussed the similarities, and differences, between guitars and women. As Lina Lecaro reports for the LA Weekly blog West Coast Sound, Page said:
"I've said that it's shaped like a woman, you know. You can touch it and caress it. The thing I haven't said, that I'll tell you now is: it doesn't ask you for alimony!"
Aside from this witty moment, West Coast Sound also relates good news for Jimmy Page fans who've been hoping to hear new music from the guy. (That is, more new music than just the "Embryo" pieces contained in the guitar documentary "It Might Get Loud" opening this August.)

Page hinted, "I've got a big project I'm working on." Of course, the guitarist was mum on the details, just like his Led Zeppelin counterpart John Paul Jones, who hasn't offered any further details in the past two months on his "secret" project now believed to be an album recorded with Dave Grohl and Josh Homme.

An announcement regarding Jones's project is anticipated soon, especially considering the fact that back in April he said he'd hoped "to be everywhere this summer" with the people whose names he failed to mention.

As for Page's "big project," he says, "I've got some new music. There's sort of little tastes and shades of it in the documentary. Bits. It's just a question of actually doing it now. Actually getting a project that I've had in mind for a while. I've just got to go and do it. Don't want to tell anyone about it. But, yes, I've got a big project I'm working on."

There's no word on the timetable for this musical project of Page's as of yet. Update: He told a WalesOnline reporter on Friday, "I'm taking a little bit of time off and then getting back into work thoroughly around December time and into the New Year."

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Dave Grohl wished for album with John Paul Jones, Josh Homme years ago

"The next project that I'm trying to initiate," Dave Grohl once said, "involves me on drums, Josh Homme on guitar, and John Paul Jones playing bass. That’s the next album. That wouldn’t suck."

Right, it probably wouldn't suck, but it would just take a while -- years -- to come to fruition from when he first said it.

If indeed it has! I'm getting ahead of myself. But it's looking like, uh, it has.

Fronting the Foo Fighters only scrapes the surface as to who this guy is and what Grohl has been capable of. Once known only as the drummer throughout all of Nirvana's major success, this guy has revealed himself to be a primo singer and guitarist, savvy songwriter and ambitious collaborator.

Grohl never did make a secret of his desire to take John Bonham's place in a reunited Led Zeppelin, and when given the chance to work with -- or even just hang with -- anybody from that group, he has repeatedly taken it.

(Right, who wouldn't? Maybe the emphasis is more on the fact that he has been given those chances more often than just about anybody else in recent memory. Some would say this guy deserves it.)

And now that the name Dave Grohl has been blurted out online as one of two people working with Jones on a project that would see them releasing an album and going on tour, it seems to be a perfectly logical conclusion -- if not a convenient one.

A couple of months ago, Jones spoke out and said he'd been "working on some other music, which is more rock based, with a couple of other people." He said he couldn't reveal who they were as it was all "secret."

"Top secret" perhaps? This two-word turn of phrase was invoked less than a week ago, when Greg Werckman of Ipecac Recordings revealed to Rock-A-Rolla magazine that singer and multi-instrumentalist Josh Homme "has got a new top secret project that he's working on now."

Homme is the other guy mentioned as having been recording with Jones and Grohl, and it brings to fruition a dream Grohl expressed in the above quotation. That remark of his comes from an interview given to Stevie Chick for Mojo magazine back in 2005.

Yes, 2005. That dream of his first went public four years ago.

At that time, the Foo Fighters released the double album, In Your Honor, for which Jones met up with the Foo Fighters at their recording studio that was designed to look like the Stockholm facility where Led Zeppelin's In Through the Out Door was born as the brainchild of Jones, foremost among the members of that band.

Grohl may have wanted his next album to be with Jones and Homme, but it didn't happen in 2006. Sessions the following year yielded the album Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace. The band spent a while touring in support of its new disc, the highlight of which came on June 7, 2008, when Jones rounded up Jimmy Page to show 86,000 people -- and however many have bought the live DVD since its release last November -- at the Foo Fighters' Wembley Stadium finale just how well they could still play the Zep songs "Rock and Roll" and "Ramble On" in their 60s, as well as how eager they were to do it!

Since this, the Foo Fighters have gone on hiatus, and the hopes for some kind of a continued Led Zeppelin reunion beyond just one single show were dashed. Ever since things have settled down, it seems all too probable that Grohl has finally gotten his way as far as his wish to bring Jones in to help him write and play with Josh Homme.

We await official confirmation, and we also await the dates of an album release and a tour.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Source drops suggestion for new John Paul Jones collaboration; Foo Fighters front man and Queens of the Stone Age stronghold named

The two people rumored to have been ready to make loud music with John Paul Jones may have just been publicly identified for the first time.

Back in April, Jones posited that he hoped "to be everywhere this summer" with "a couple of other people" who've been "working [with him] on some other music, which is more rock based."

Now, a blog source says recording sessions have already been underway in Los Angeles involving Jones with Dave Grohl and Joshua Homme.

Jones in recent years has sat in with Grohl's Foo Fighters onstage and in the studio, and conducted an orchestra for the Foos at the Grammys. Homme, who is the only consistent member of Queens of the Stone Age, allowed Grohl to guest on that outfit's breakthrough single.

When Jones first hinted of a summer project, he gave few details -- and intentionally so, it appears, due to an expressed secrecy revolving around the collaboration. After dropping his sole hint in an interview with Women's Wear Daily, Jones added, "It's a secret, actually. I shouldn't have even said that, you know? There are some exciting projects coming up, let's put it that way."

But as for what this project would be named, today's disclosure says it hasn't yet been determined. But it does say an album will follow.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Jimmy Page and Jack White discuss future plans, video games at L.A. press conference

Reuters and the New Musical Express are reporting on a press conference with Jimmy Page and Jack White that took place this morning in Los Angeles. Both are in town for the city's film festival and tonight's premiere of "It Might Get Loud" there.

Both stories carried a humorous quip from White on whether he might consider playing again with Page, such as on the solo album White is rumored to be embarking on. "I think Jimmy needs to practice a little more," he commented. Yeah, he was joking.

The Reuters coverage carries more interesting remarks from both guitarists on the way music is presented to today's youth. For instance, neither thinks video games are very useful for musical practice.

White said, "That's like the only outlet now, that you have to put [your music] in a video game to get it in front of [kids]. That's a little sad."

Reuters carried a long, candid remark from Page about amateur musicians setting out to imitate their heroes:
"If you start with the first track on the first (self-titled Led Zeppelin) album, 'Good Times Bad Times,' and you think of the drum part that John Bonham did there, how many drummers in the world can actually play that? Let alone Dad on a Christmas morning? There might be a lot of alcohol to be consumed over Christmas, he still ain't gonna get it."
Interestingly, as the NME story tells us, Page pointed out that both he and White, and also their third co-star, The Edge, are all self-taught guitarists.

The film premieres in L.A. about an hour and a half from the time of writing.

Update: Getty Images and the Associated Press have photos of Page and others at the premiere. Also, the video below is from a Q&A session at the L.A. film premiere.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Jimmy Page hobnobs with Jack White in Los Angeles in time for film premiere

Two days before the first public screening of "It Might Get Loud" in Los Angeles, at least two of the film's stars were in town. It is likely both Jimmy Page and Jack White will stick around long enough for the Friday evening screening of their film, taking in the flick yet another time before its widespread theatrical distribution in August.

Don't expect a full reunion of the three guitarists starring in "It Might Get Loud." Unlike at the world premiere in Toronto last year, when all three attended and participated in a public question-and-answer session, this time, The Edge is in Barcelona, where he is with the rest of U2 preparing for the 360 tour, which is set to open in less than two weeks.

Page's frequent traveling companion, photographer Ross Halfin, details the events of the June 14 flight they shared into Los Angeles on his blog. Halfin then discusses the concert he and Page attended at the Roxy last night.
  • The band was the Dead Weather, which consists of Alison Mosshart on vocals and Jack White on lead guitar and occasional vocals. An L.A. Times blog by Ann Powers mentions Page's presence at the show, saying he "was the show's most whispered-about attendee." Luckily for Page, the blog says, his "It Might Get Loud" co-star didn't fail to "invoke" (might she mean "evoke"?) Led Zeppelin during the hour-long set.
  • The Dead Weather is scheduled as tonight's musical guest on "The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien." Their album, Horehound, is expected to drop July 14.
Anyway, Halfin says he and Page had barely just arrived in Los Angeles when they ran into Roger Daltrey of the Who. In Halfin's words, the singer "wasted no time in badgering Jimmy to play at the Teenage Cancer Trust next March. Jimmy didn't say no, so you never know." Indeed, this 2010 charity event would be a welcome addition to Page's invisible concert schedule, seeing as he is nearing the halfway point of this current year with only one in-concert appearance under his belt.

There's been no mention of how long Page would remain in Los Angeles or what the purpose of his visit, so assuming he'll attend tomorrow's "It Might Get Loud" showing is just a logical conclusion. However, if he's still around through the weekend, perhaps Page would pad up his sightseeing itinerary with another concert. Led Zepagain is one tribute band Page has watched in approval and solidarity. It's possible that on Saturday night, he may head over and watch the tribute act again at the Whisky A Go Go in West Hollywood, which was the scene of four consecutive nights with Led Zeppelin and Alice Cooper sharing the bill 40 years ago.

Also, there is that gong of John Bonham's that seems to be in town past its expiration date. Imagine stuffing that in the overhead bin on the flight back!

One last thought: Gee, I hope Jimmy gets a chance to listen to the nightly installments of "Get the Led Out" on 95.5 KLOS. The program, for which I write and consult, just debuted in Los Angeles last week and is now airing at 7 p.m. Pacific time (10 p.m. Eastern). Those of you not in the area can tune in on the Web site to listen live, or check with your local classic rock stations to see if they already "Get the Led Out" with Carol Miller.

Monday, June 15, 2009

No buyer for John Bonham's gong

A gong used in the 1970s by John Bonham failed to sell at auction yesterday, a spokesperson at the Los Angeles auction house of Bonhams and Butterfields confirmed today to LedZeppelinNews.com.

The gong's estimated value of between $80,000 and $120,000 may have been too high, commented Margaret Barrett, an entertainment memorabilia specialist with Bonhams and Butterfields.

Barrett said the auction house would hang onto the historic percussion instrument for a short time to attract a buyer at a reduced price. If unsold after some time, she said it would return to Bonham's family.

The gong was consigned jointly by Deborah Bonham, John's sister, and their mother, Joan Bonham.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

August fan gathering, book to reflect on Led Zep's '79 Knebworth concerts

Recent months have celebrated the 40th anniversaries of Led Zeppelin's first album and onstage debut, but author Dave Lewis over in England recognizes another milestone anniversary taking place in 2009. This August will mark 30 years since Led Zeppelin's final appearances in its home country, at the Knebworth Festival in 1979.
The monumental occasion of Led Zeppelin's homecoming performances on Aug. 4 and 11, 1979, proved sentimental for the group and its fans at the time. Given the unexpected nature of these shows being Led Zeppelin's last ones in England, memories of the concerts have improved with time. And since the May 2003 release of the band's official 2-DVD set in 2003, these shows are now more than ever viewed as two of the most memorable events in the band's latter days.

Before that anniversary rolls around, Dave Lewis is organizing a get-together for Zep fans at the Lytton Arms, a pub about a 10-minute walk from the location of those concerts. "Then as It Was: A 30th Anniversary Knebworth Celebration Day" is to take place on Aug. 8, the Saturday between the two dates on which Led Zeppelin played its famous shows at Knebworth in 1979. For only £10 admission, attendees will be treated to a buffet meal, view memorabilia displays and participate in a charity auction.

The event will also serve as the launch party for a new limited-edition hardcover book Lewis has been compiling, called "Then As It Was: Led Zeppelin at Knebworth 1979 -- 30 Years Gone." Lewis will be on hand to sign books and also hold a question-and-answer session with the audience. Footage from the Knebworth shows are to be played throughout the day. Click here for more information on the Aug. 8 event in England.

The limited-edition book will include the written accounts of fans who witnessed the shows firsthand and some material that has previously appeared in Lewis's superb fanzine, "Tight but Loose." There is also going to be a 16-page section in the book for color photographs, which should have a number of shots from the Knebworth concerts -- as well as shots taken this weekend by Led Zeppelin memorabilia collector Brian Knapp of some Knebworth-related items in his possession. Included among these are some truly unique items from the shows! More on these in the coming weeks.

Also, Knapp happens to be selling one of his rare Knebworth items on eBay right now: a full, unused ticket to the Aug. 4 show. Since he's an avid collector with many items for sale on eBay, he brags that his ticket is one from the Aug. 4 show with red lettering, which makes it more scarce than ones from the Aug. 11 show with green lettering. And he boasts that his ticket comes with the perforated "agent retainer" portion that would have been removed upon entry to the shows -- and also with a letter of authenticity from Knebworth promoter Freddy Bannister from when Knapp acquired the ticket in 2004.

As you may recall, British Zep fan Annie Hollinshead spearheaded "Memories in Music '68-'08" last year, a Led Zeppelin memorabilia display at Knebworth Field House raising money for charity. Plans for a repeat of the event this year have been postponed until further notice.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Rare Zep footage included in guitar documentary's trailer

What happens when three generations of guitar heroes meet?

"Probably a fistfight," predicts Jack White, on his way to an arranged guitar summit with The Edge and Jimmy Page.

This comical prediction comes courtesy of a newly released trailer for the feature film "It Might Get Loud," which heads to theaters this August.

The trailer cuts to a scene with Page shot on location at Headley Grange, known to Led Zeppelin fans as the place where many of that group's songs were recorded. At the bottom of a staircase, Page names off one of them, "[When the] Levee Breaks."

The shots, in this film directed by Davis Guggenheim of "An Inconvenient Truth" success, bring this mythical and storied mansion to life for a mass of Zep fans who have never seen inside it before.

Just as this comes to life, Page says memories are coming back to him, and the shot changes to home footage I haven't ever seen before. Probably from 1971, Jimmy Page is shown wielding a guitar in a garden, presumably on the grounds of Headley Grange, with a dog relaxing on one side and an energetic Robert Plant bouncing around on the other side.

The trailer later cuts to a glimpse of Page playing air guitar, as has been explained before, to his recording of Link Wray's "Rumble." Get a load of the library of records behind him! This was filmed at his home, which video crews are said to have never been allowed before.

The trailer begins and ends with White building his own makeshift guitar -- "Who says you need to buy a guitar?" -- but also includes a moment of three-way laughter as Page treats the two agape and onlooking guitarists to a personal performance of "In My Time of Dying."

No fistfights are apparent in this trailer!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Robert Plant in and out of Nashville

Robert Plant was in Nashville briefly over the weekend, sources have confirmed. One LedZeppelinNews.com reader tipped me off to the singer's whereabouts on Saturday. Plant witnessed the banjo-plucking debut of comedian Steve Martin on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry. The informant said he was in and out of town rather quickly.

That account has been bolstered now by WKRN MusicCityTV's report on Plant's Friday night whereabouts -- wearing bright red shoes while dancing with Alison Krauss at a Presbyterian church -- and his quick exit from town Monday morning.

In January, Plant and Krauss were in pre-production for a second album together, although plans to complete the project have been sidetracked for the time being. In July, Krauss will be recording a new album with Union Station, a spokesperson for her record label, Rounder Records, confirmed today. The spokesperson added there are no plans for Union Station to tour this year, which means a tour in 2010 in support of the album would be likely.

On one hand, that could leave time for Krauss to work with Plant and finish work on their sophomore release; however, my source indicates that "Alison has declared a moratorium on all work for 12-18 months with Robert because she wants to do an album and extended tour with Union Station." In the meantime, the source says, this situation has left Plant "frustrated" because he "wants to finish the thing off and be done with it."

As for what this portends for Led Zeppelin fans hoping to see the surviving members reunited once again, perhaps there is still yet hope. One observer has theorized, "By the time [Alison] works [Robert] over, he will crawl back to Jimmy Page." True, you can almost always predict how Page would react if Plant suddenly said he was in favor of some further Led Zeppelin activity.

Finally, portions of a Levon Helm concert from last September, which saw Plant and Krauss perform as special guests onstage at the Ryman Audiotorium in Nashville, are set to air June 14 on Nashville Public Television.