Thursday, October 29, 2009

Portion of another Them Crooked Vultures studio track teased online

On the same week the first radio single from Them Crooked Vultures was launched, the band has now leaked a portion of another album track. This time, the song is "Mind Eraser No Chaser." Hear it now!

Give Less. Get More. November 3rd. by crookedvultures

"New Fang" was the first single. The album is set to be released Nov. 17 in the United States.
  1. "No One Loves Me & Neither Do I
    (lengthened cut debuted online Aug. 19)

    (earlier cut debuted online Aug. 11)

  2. "Mind Eraser, No Chaser"
    (debuted online Oct. 29)

    Give Less. Get More. November 3rd. by crookedvultures
  3. "New Fang"
    (debuted online Oct. 26)

  4. "Dead End Friends"
    (live version from the Pukkelpop Festival, favorite of the band's)

  5. "Elephants"
    (debuted online Aug. 26)

  6. "Scumbag Blues"
    (debuted online Sept. 1)
  7. "Bandoliers"
    (live in Paris)

  8. "Reptiles"
    (live from Philadelphia)

  9. "Interlude with Ludes"
    (live from Toronto)
  10. "Warsaw or the first Breath You Take After You Give Up"
    (live from Paris)
  11. "Caligulove"
    (live version from the Lowlands Festival, favorite of the band's)
  12. "Gunman"
    (portion of studio version debuted online Oct. 31)

    (live version from the Lowlands festival, favorite of the band's)
  13. "Spinning in Daffodils"
    (live version from Lowlands Festival, favorite of the band's)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Reason to believe in a Led Zeppelin reunion has faded

The rumor of a Led Zeppelin reunion supposedly in the works, sparked by something Robert Plant said to a reporter on Monday, is worth considering -- if only to keep people from wishing, hoping, believing, and being disappointed.

Briefly, for a few months one year ago, there was a reason to believe in a Led Zeppelin reunion. That reason has long since faded.

Last year, Plant was the only one with a steady gig. When Jimmy Page was asked on Jan. 29, 2008, what the chances would be of a Led Zeppelin tour later in the year, he blamed the fact that Plant was unavailable. All we know of what Page said during that day's Tokyo press conference is this: "Robert Plant also had a parallel project running and he's really busy with that project, certainly until September, so I can't give you any news."

Page himself was a bit busy at the time. He was in Tokyo making the rounds to help promote the release of Led Zeppelin's latest best-of repackaging, Mothership. Just days before, he had met for the first time with The Edge and Jack White, as filmed for the movie "It Might Get Loud."

He plays a piece in that movie, originally called "Domino" and now recast as "Embryo No. 2," a leftover from his 1999 rehearsals with drummer Michael Lee for an album they hoped to release with Robert Plant on vocals.

So, when Page spoke with David Cavanagh for Uncut magazine on March 10, 2008, the topic of his unreleased music was on the tip of Page's tongue. "I had some new material written for another album," he said. "I had about a dozen numbers, and some of them were really good, but Robert heard them and he wanted to go in another direction. He wanted to do another solo album. Fair enough."

As Page says, another album never happened back then. Walking into Clarksdale in 1998 was their last together, and Plant went on to release the solo albums Dreamland and Mighty ReArranger, followed by Raising Sand with Alison Krauss.

It's obvious from Page's comments early last year that he was still hoping for Plant to come around, nine years after they parted ways at the beginning of 1999. But he finally had reason to believe again in a productive working relationship with Plant.

They'd just played a single show together, as Led Zeppelin, and spent months and months planning it and rehearsing it beforehand. Page discussed with Uncut the commitment that was involved in making that concert the worldwide success it was, and the same commitment it would take to carry Led Zeppelin forward:
"Everybody had such a great commitment to it. Now, if you're talking about a tour -- other dates, maybe recording together -- there's only one thing that's going to be the common denominator with that. And that's commitment. That's how we did the O2."
What a difference a year makes! When the calendar flipped to 2008, and the world was abuzz with cries for Led Zeppelin to reunite, Plant could not commit to the project.

Page also spoke during his interview on March 10, 2008, about any number of projects he had cooking. He wasn't forthcoming on the specifics, but "It Might Get Loud" was one; he'd be named an associate producer of the film. As the year proceeded, it became evident that Page had been in rehearsals with John Paul Jones and Jason Bonham.

But Page said in September of last year there needed to be four members. Evidently, there weren't.

As of this writing, a year and a month later, little has been disclosed about the nature of those rehearsals Page had with Jones and Bonham. All we know are that there were multiple candidates for singers who wanted to front their band, that the members never would have called their band Led Zeppelin if Robert Plant was not involved, that they were playing "loud music," and that rehearsals "fell by the wayside" after they "couldn't really agree on singers."

And if the anonymous tipster to England's The Sun tabloid is to be believed, there's this statement, which was printed in September of last year:
"Jimmy, Jason and John are determined a tour will go ahead next year. They've been rehearsing frequently in London and the band is really gelling. There's an American guy who has been standing in for Robert regularly and doing a great job. Obviously they want the original frontman to join them on the road but he still won't commit. They will be finalising plans for shows over the next couple of months and will tell Robert that if he doesn't want to be involved they will go ahead without him."
The Sun reported that Plant was receiving "an ultimatum by his bandmates - join us on tour or we'll replace you." Them's fighting words!

By the time Page's manager, Peter Mensch, publicly said singer auditions failed, it was old news to him. Mensch told MusicRadar on Jan. 7, 2009:
"They tried out a few singers, but no one worked out. That was it. The whole thing is completely over now. There are absolutely no plans for them to continue. Zero. Frankly, I wish everybody would stop talking about it."
Also by that time, other opportunities had opened themselves up to John Paul Jones, and he beckoned their calls. Jones spent part of this February producing the debut solo album by former Nickel Creek singer Sara Watkins. Once it was out, he joined her on a late-night TV slot and, eventually, a festival appearance. When the recently departed Merce Cunningham marked his 90th birthday with a ballet series in his honor, Jones teamed up with Takehisa Kosugi and the members of Sonic Youth to make some experimental music on the fly.

These commitments kept Jones busy in the opening months of this year, but all the while, he was keeping a huge secret from everybody: During his time away from the public eye, he was hiding away, intensely preparing a complete album of all new material with Josh Homme and Dave Grohl. Now, they have a single out this week, their resulting album is due in less than a month, and they'll be on tour straight on through January, hitting England, mainland Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Other dates are also expected.

Now, there is the rumor of a Led Zeppelin reunion taking place in June 2010 at the Glastonbury Festival in England -- all because Plant said he'd been talking to Michael Eavis about booking him in some shape or form but not being any more specific than that. Somehow, this makes many folks jump to the conclusion: He's finally getting Led Zeppelin back together! Celebrate!

I said it the other day, and I'll say it again: There just isn't any chance Plant would be volunteering eight months' advance notice of a Led Zeppelin gig. In my opinion, this isn't a Led Zeppelin gig. It just can't be. It has to be something else. Someday, what it is will be revealed. For right now, it's nothing more than Plant's cheap attempt to draw some attention to himself at a time when the only gigs he's playing are the ones he decides with no notice. (Last night in England, he played an impromptu set at a charity benefit, shortly following an unforeseen weekend of activity with Buddy Miller in California.)

Earlier this month, Jones commented on the longevity of his current group, Them Crooked Vultures. He told KUT 90.5 in Austin, Texas:
"Yeah, I think it's going to go for a while. Honestly, you know, their respective bands will call them back eventually, but I think we're going to get a good run of it before anything like that happens."
Notice he said "their bands" and not "our bands." Jones didn't even allow for the possibility that Led Zeppelin would be calling him back. No splinter group either. There you have it: It wasn't on the back of his mind.

Wish for a Led Zeppelin reunion tour eventually? Hope for this Led Zeppelin gig next summer? Puh-leeeease.

If you have read this far and still believe in an imminent Led Zeppelin reunion, then please tell me what you know and I don't, or give me a hit of whatever that stuff is you're smoking.

John Paul Jones: Project with Jimmy Page, Jason Bonham 'fell by the wayside' last year

Two days after Robert Plant's remarks carried by the BBC fueled rumors that Led Zeppelin would reunite at the Glastonbury Festival in eight months, the BBC carries an interview with John Paul Jones on the Led Zeppelin splinter group that nearly formed last year.

That splinter group, which would have consisted of Jones plus Jimmy Page and Jason Bonham and the singer of their choice, never advanced beyond the planning stages.

Jones first announced the group one year ago this week, during the Mansons Guitar Show in Exeter on Oct. 26, 2008 and quickly followed up by a radio interview with BBC Radio Devon. At that time, Jones described an incomplete band with Page and Bonham making "loud music" with him.

Anonymous tips to the press said their trio had been rehearsing and auditioning singers -- namely Steven Tyler of Aerosmith and Myles Kennedy of Alter Bridge, the only person who has admitted his participation. Other singers were weighing in with their comments; David Coverdale of Whitesnake volunteered himself and Joe Elliott of Def Leppard.

A year ago, Jones confirmed that singers had been brought in, although he didn't volunteer any names.

Now that a year has passed, Jones is back in England, promoting the November release of the debut album from Them Crooked Vultures, the band he has been rehearsing with since early this year. In an interview with the BBC, he discussed this project and mentioned that it came about shortly after the group with Page and Bonham "fell by the wayside," in his words.

Jones told BBC 6 Music, "Jimmy and I rehearsed a bit with Jason Bonham, and we couldn't really agree on singers and that fell by the wayside. Then this came along and, to be honest, I'm really happy."

From another interview Jones gave this month, we now know how the band came about. Jones told KUT 90.5 in Austin, Texas:
"He came up to [the] GQ Awards in London last year to present us with, um, Men of the Year, I believe it was, with Zeppelin. And we got to talking, and he says, 'Well, you know, if you're ever not doing anything, I want to get a little band together with Josh singing, and give you a call.' You know, so, I found out I was doing nothing after a while."
Singer auditions weren't necessary when Jones called up Dave Grohl to take up his offer to form a band. Grohl had already begun rehearsing on drums for a project with Josh Homme, singer and guitarist for Queens of the Stone Age. Homme's band was on a hiatus at the time, as was Grohl's Foo Fighters. So, the timing was right for those two.

As for Grohl and Jones, they had worked together a few times in the past like at a Foo Fighters show, at the Grammys and on a Foo Fighters album. But Grohl thought having a regular project with Jones was just a pipe dream. Back in 2005, he blurted to Mojo magazine that he dreamed of forming a band with himself on drums, Homme on guitar and Jones on bass.

But Jones fell into place, much to Grohl's surprise. In a separate interview this month with KUT 90.5, Grohl said:
"I bumped into him in London, and I said, 'Hey, I got this project I think might be kind of fun. Me and my buddy Josh are gonna do something outside of our bands.' And he kind of went, 'Oh, yeah, right.' And then I didn't hear from him for a while, and then a month later, he called and said, 'Hey, when do you think you're gonna do it?' So I called Josh, [and I'm] like, 'F***, man, I think he actually wants to do it! This is amazing!'"
To Jones, Grohl was exactly the kind of drummer he wanted. He now tells the BBC:
"I immediately recognized that this was a drummer that was -- A -- really good, and -- B -- groovy and -- C -- listened, all those nice things that bass players like in drummers."

Tuesday, October 27, 2009 giving away two copies of Zep photo book 'Good Times Bad Times'

Two copies of "Good Times Bad Times: A Visual Biography of the Ultimate Band" will go out today to the readers who were the first to send me their complete U.S. mailing addresses.

Publisher Abrams Books, which released the 216-page hardcover book this month, provided two extra copies for this site to give away. (Update: Both copies have now been claimed. Congratulations to my readers in Texas and Tennessee who gets them!) printed a review of the book on Sept. 30. also conducted an interview with Ralph Hulett, who contributed to "Good Times Bad Times" along with Jerry Prochnicky. Hulett says:
"Jerry Prochnicky is great for ideas. We go way back, and now we've done two books on Led Zeppelin. Jerry and I talked about doing a photo book. His initial idea was to do a visual biography. I said, 'This sounds great. I would like to be involved with that.' So, he did the research and came up with the ideas for the flow of the photos, and then I went ahead and took on the responsibilities of writing the captions and writing the introduction.

"We have quite a few photos of them. It's not just a book showing them onstage but places like the Chateau Marmont. It was an ancient hotel that had been used by Hollywood actors and producers, and so by the time Led Zeppelin came along, they began to love going there, and it became a home away from home for them.

"Later on, as they continued to enjoy playing in Los Angeles, they would be at the Continental Hyatt House, a place where you had all kinds of different, crazy parties going on all the time at the Continental 'Riot' House, they nicknamed it. In 1973, Neil Zlozower took the photo at the party of Jimmy Page with Lori Maddox, his teen-age girlfriend at the time. We have some photographs taken at the Hyatt.

"Various places that they would visit like that, we try to hit on somewhat. However, we also try to place Led Zeppelin in different locales throughout the book to show this isn't just a concert photo book. We have photos of them at home in England with their kids. We have them in different locations, so the book encompasses quite a few different locations and not just the concert stage."
More excerpts from Hulett's interview is scheduled to be broadcast on a future episode of Carol Miller's radio spotlight on Led Zeppelin, available in many U.S. markets.

Oh no, not again; music media really do want to predict a Led Zeppelin reunion eight months out

It was almost inevitable someone was going to read into Robert Plant's decidedly ambiguous and playful remarks on Monday and interpret them as a concrete indication that he was arranging a Led Zeppelin reunion concert.

And that chump was whoever at Ltd. dreamed up the laughably naïve headline, "LED ZEPPELIN - LED ZEPPELIN SET FOR GLASTONBURY 2010?"

Come on, give me a break!

The opening paragraph contains more like that:
"LED ZEPPELIN fans' dreams of seeing the rock supergroup back onstage together have been given a boost by confirmation frontman ROBERT PLANT is considering a slot at next year's (10) Glastonbury festival in England."
From there, however, the article transitions into a much more realistic assessment of the state of affairs. The second paragraph juxtaposes Led Zeppelin reunion rumors of a year ago with a statement that "the singer has since rejected all offers to hit the road with his old pals."

The third paragraph proves to be a little off the mark. It states:
"Last year (08), the rocker continually dismissed reports he'd be rejoining the band for a full reunion, prompting Page and Jones to consider touring without him. But those plans failed to materialise."
The statement here about what Plant did or didn't say "continually" throughout the whole of 2008 is a little misleading.

Plant may have been clear in some interviews about how much he disliked the idea of a lengthy Led Zeppelin reunion tour, but those comments did not necessarily reflect his opinions of a show here and there. It wasn't until nearly 10 months into the calendar year, as his touring commitments with Alison Krauss were winding down, that Plant produced his ultimate statement that he would not be going on tour with Led Zeppelin and not recording with them either.

That was his final word on the subject, he told us -- at least for the next two years.

So, by Plant's own words, sure, he could be making other plans for the end of 2010 that do involve Led Zeppelin. Could it somehow be that's exactly what he wants to lead the world to believe?

Or is that simply the action of a man who knows what effect his words will have? Did he want Contactmusic and others to jump at the opportunity to force his name back in the headlines at a time when all the Led Zeppelin-related news is coming from the supposedly "quiet one" and his "loud music"?

Surely, Plant's Glastonbury story got more mileage than did the context of Q magazine's Outstanding Contribution to Music award, which placed the microphones in front of his face in the first place. Maybe it was part of Plant's design to be a thunderthief to John Paul Jones on the day Them Crooked Vultures was releasing "New Fang" to radio stations and announcing further U.S. tour dates in light of a heavily anticipated album.

Plant's award didn't hold a candle to his summer trip to Buckingham Palace, where he received the rank of Commander of the British Empire at a Buckingham Palace. Everybody in England ran stories about that!

At least outside the royal residence, Plant had the dignity to mock reporters who dared ask him about the possibility of a Led Zeppelin reunion. "Sometimes I go a bit deaf in either ear, especially when people are talking nonsense," he was quoted as saying when the microphones were shoved in his face that time.

Right there, he said "nonsense."

Plant, facetiously as ever, did joke Monday about the idea of booking himself a solo spot on the Glastonbury stage. He said: "Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. I'm good at card tricks."

OK, so apparently, Plant has forgotten it is common practice for a solo artist to assemble a band for outings. What's that thing Plant's always insisting he is, over and above the singer in Led Zeppelin? Oh yeah, that's right, a solo artist. That's what.

Until he switches it up again.

Let's speculate just for a moment that Plant was meeting with Glastonbury's Michael Eavis about booking a Led Zeppelin appearance at the festival, which is set to conclude on June 27, 2010.

Go on and stick with me, baby.

If this were the case and Led Zeppelin was appearing, we would have been tipped off to the appearance eight months and a day before the festival's headlining act took to the stage.

That's just about how long Plant waited last year after the Led Zeppelin reunion at the O2 arena to announce he wasn't going to take part in any activity with that band again.

That's exactly what he's doing again!

If this really were the beginnings of a Led Zeppelin reunion, every indication is there would be no indication.

The people involved are the same people who kept their rehearsals and gig planning in mid 2007 a secret until it could be officially announced later in the year. They also kept word of last year's secret rehearsals that didn't involve Plant hidden from the mainstream media for the better part of a year. And the supergroup starring Jones, Dave Grohl and Josh Homme was also the world's best kept secret for about as many months until it all started to unfold delicately, piece by considered piece.

There's no way word of a Led Zeppelin reunion would have leaked so callously this early on. Plant, in an attempt to cast the media spotlight on himself, merely played the ambiguity card to let people believe what they want to believe.

Plant is a magician for sure. Maybe he's not the kind that specializes in card tricks, but he really has a magical effect on some in the media and some of his fans.

But the only trick up his sleeve is the one that gets us to pay attention to artists like Buddy Miller.

Michael Moretti is a Led Zeppelin fan who contributes to the Internet discussion group For Badgeholders Only with a regularity that barely surpasses Jimmy Page's album output of the past 10 years.

When Moretti wrote this weekend, he referenced some of the songs Plant has covered and diverse artists he's named in interviews as influential and enjoyable to him. Moretti writes:
"... BECAUSE of Robert Plant, I pause to take notice of something like 'Darkness Darkness' by the Youngbloods, or 'Morning Dew,' or Transglobal Underground, or Moby Grape, or ... and the list goes on and on. This is something that the 'Led Zeppelin ripped off old blues artists and never gave them credit' crowd doesn't get.

"The legalities of royalties and songwriting credits aside, [it] seems to me that the members of Led Zeppelin have never tried to hide their influences, but in fact went out of their way to call attention to and pay homage to their influences, which has given me a greater appreciation for a whole universe of music that I otherwise might never have taken the time to listen to with open ears and an open mind.

"And while I have to say I don't regularly pop in Robert Johnson when I'm out cruising the freeway and aren't likely to anytime soon, I have a great appreciation for Robert Johnson and the art form his musical statements represent."
That, hands down, was the FBO post of the month.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Award-winning Plant eyes 2010 festival appearance -- with whom? Led Zeppelin reunion rumors to abound

Robert Plant, in picking up Q Magazine's Outstanding Contribution to Music award at a ceremony held today in London, joins the likes of past award recipients David Gilmour, Smokey Robinson and Paul Weller.

Onstage, when accepting the award, Plant thanked his fellow members of Led Zeppelin, among other artists including Elvis Presley and Alison Krauss. Plant said that without them, he would not be receiving this award today.

But the big news of the day regarding Plant is not his win at the Q Awards. It's what the singer told reporters when asked to comment on a rumor that he has been in talks with the organizer of one of England's largest outdoor summer music festivals.

And also how he said it, including what details he left out.

Plant confirmed to BBC 6 Music, "I've just been talking to Michael [Eavis]. There's place for me there [in the 2010 lineup], but I have no idea who with."

Tickets to the Glastonbury Festival, to be held June 23-27, are already sold out. Next year's event marks the 40th anniversary of the original Glastonbury festival.

Glastonbury has been a popular destination for Led Zeppelin reunion rumors in the past few years. In light of the band's one show together in December 2007, one rumor held that Led Zeppelin would appear at Glastonbury in June 2008. Plant ended up playing that year with Krauss in support of their album, Raising Sand.

Plant also appeared at the Glastonbury festival in 2002 with his band, the Strange Sensation, in support of his album Dreamland.

Surely, the new comments from Plant on Glastonbury will fuel a new spat of Led Zeppelin reunion rumors in some corners of the world.

The BBC reports:
The rock icon said he is open to the idea of playing next year: "There is a chance, yeah, but I don't know with who."

When it was suggested to him that he could do it by himself, he joked: "Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. I'm good at card tricks."
Let the speculation begin!

As first single from Them Crooked Vultures released, West Coast U.S. tour dates announced

I've been calling my local modern rock radio stations and requesting "New Fang" since I haven't heard it yet on the air. It seems like some program directors need a good talking to!

The self-titled album from Them Crooked Vultures will be released on the following dates:
  • Nov. 13 in Australia, Austria, Germany and Switzerland;
  • Nov. 16 in Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Hong Kong, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal and the United Kingdom;
  • Nov. 17 in Canada, Spain and the United States;
  • Nov. 18 in Sweden; and
  • Dec. 2 in Japan.
Find the release date by your country:
  • Australia: Nov. 13
  • Austria: Nov. 13
  • Belgium: Nov. 16
  • Canada: Nov. 17
  • Czech Republic: Nov. 16
  • Denmark: Nov. 16
  • Finland: Nov. 16
  • France: Nov. 16
  • Germany: Nov. 13
  • Hong Kong: Nov. 16
  • Italy: Nov. 16
  • Japan: Dec. 2
  • Mexico: Nov. 16
  • Netherlands: Nov. 16
  • New Zealand: Nov. 16
  • Poland: Nov. 16
  • Portugal: Nov. 16
  • Spain: Nov. 17
  • Sweden: Nov. 18
  • Switzerland: Nov. 13
  • United Kingdom: Nov. 16
  • United States: Nov. 17
While Them Crooked Vultures completed a North American tour earlier this month, the band will be on the road in the United States again next month to support the U.S. release of their album on Nov. 17. So far, four additional dates have been announced:
  • Nov. 17 at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles, Calif.
  • Nov. 19 at the Fox Theater in Oakland, Calif.
  • Nov. 21 at Paramount Theatre in Seattle, Wash.
  • Nov. 22 at Roseland Theater in Portland, Ore.
European tour dates are then to follow in December, with shows in Australia and New Zealand finishing out January.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Them Crooked Vultures ready for U.S. radio

Two months ago, before Them Crooked Vultures had much of anything on its official Web site, a few hoaxes about the band were passed around the Web that were later determined to be a hoax.

One was an alleged promotional image declaring an album name, Never Deserved the Future, along with a supposed street date of Oct. 23. That date will evidently pass this Friday without a release by the band.

However, new music from John Paul Jones and his current bandmates may be heard on U.S. radio as early as this coming Monday. If this report today by FMQB is accurate, Interscope will be distributing "New Fang" as the band's first promotional single to rock stations on Oct. 27. will be working to confirm this independently. (Update: reports it likewise could not confirm this with a label rep, even when it was able to publish a full track listing -- see below.)

Singer Josh Homme confirmed in an interview that the Vultures debut album would be released in the United States on the Interscope label and on Sony/BMG internationally. Homme also said it would be self-titled.

The rest of the FMQB report says the album is scheduled to be released on Tuesday, Nov. 17. This would precede the international release date of Nov. 23 that has been spotted on Amazon UK and other online retailers. (Update: Glasswerk National and the Music Magazine now both state the U.K. release will be on Nov. 16.)

Amazon in the United States does not currently list a release date for the album but offers several discs from the group's members and their past projects.

Update: The full track listing of the self-titled album by Them Crooked Vultures, as reported by, is as follows.

  1. "No One Loves Me & Neither Do I"
  2. "Mind Eraser, No Chaser"
  3. "New Fang"
  4. "Dead End Friends"
  5. "Elephants"
  6. "Scumbag Blues"
  7. "Bandoliers"
  8. "Reptiles"
  9. "Interlude with Ludes"
  10. "Warsaw or the first Breath You Take After You Give Up"
  11. "Caligulove"
  12. "Gunman"
  13. "Spinning in Daffodils"
Note: Not found above is the song "Highway One," which was debuted in the middle of this month's U.S. tour!

In tweaking band lineup, Jason Bonham prepares for Calif. dates

Less than a week after the sudden cancellation of his tour's first three shows in Florida, drummer Jason Bonham announces some changes to the lineup of his group he will be bringing to California for a pair of concerts.

Bonham apologized to fans on his newly launched official Web site last week, explaining that the singer tapped for his band, Kelly Keeling, had taken ill. "We wanted to give Kelly all the time he needed to make sure he could or couldn't sing," Bonham wrote online on Oct. 16, one of three consecutive days last week his band, Bonham, was to appear in Florida.

Bonham says his band is "back on track and working real hard" to prepare for the gigs in California next week, Oct. 29 at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano and Oct. 30 at the Canyon in Agoura Hills. Following some adjustments, the performances are now to feature a revolving door of singers.
  • One special guest vocalist already named will be the namesake's own sister, Zoe Bonham, who recently joined him at a charity gig for a rather impromptu version of "Black Dog," which brother Jason described as "fantastic" in a radio interview.
  • Also on the docket is Marti Frederikson, who sang for Bonham's band Motherland and whose voice fans of the movie Almost Famous will recognize on "Fever Dog" and the other very Zeppelinesque songs by the fictional band Stillwater.
  • Also lined up is Doug Henthorn, who continues to sing for the band Healing Sixes, which had Bonham in its lineup several years ago.
  • The final singer slated for the West Coast dates is Franky Perez, who was lauded in his renditions of Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song" and "Whole Lotta Love" in the company of Bonham and guitarist Slash at a festival in Norway on June 30.

    It is often suggested Perez is a top candidate for the singing gig in a reformation of Slash's supergroup Velvet Revolver, which he originally formed with two of his fellow Guns N' Roses alumni and lead singer Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots.
Bonham's latest message posted online assures fans they're in for quite the show. "We have had to change the set a little, but it's still going to kick ass," he promises.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

First two shows of Bonham tour canceled due to illness, says band spokesman

The first two outings by a new lineup of the band Bonham have been canceled. Last night's show at Revolution Live in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was scrapped hours in advance, followed shortly by the withdrawal of tonight's appearance in Orlando.

The cancellations were forced by an illness of Bonham's singer, says Sam Rapallo, webmaster for the newly launched official Web site. Singer Kelly Keeling would have been making his debut with Bonham at the shows.

Refunds are available for the pair of shows, and no plans have yet been announced to reschedule the dates. As of the time of writing, the third scheduled Bonham date -- tomorrow night's gig at the State Theatre in St. Petersburg, Fla. -- has not been affected (Update: It was also canceled), nor have the two California shows scheduled for Oct. 29 and 30.

Update: Following the cancellation of the third date, Jason posted a message on his official Web site, stating:

To all, I feel so bad for everyone that turned up and didn't know but we wanted to give Kelly all the time he needed to make sure he could or couldn't sing . We all have worked so hard the past week . I can only say it will only make it better. I hope we can be real ready for CA in 2 weeks . Love tto all JB

No shortage of original riffs at Them Crooked Vultures show; John Paul Jones puts on display with array of instruments

The all-too-brief North American tour by Them Crooked Vultures comes to a close tonight with a performance at New York's Roseland Ballroom. If it goes anything like last night's concert at the 9:30 club in Washington, D.C., the Big Apple is in for an ear-splitting treat consisting of well over an hour of riffs.

Dave Grohl's career since Nirvana may have flourished the most with him singing for the Foo Fighters, but make no mistake: He belongs pounding on the drums, where his power is rivaled by his imaginative drum beats and long (trance-inspired?) fills.

Throughout the show, Grohl watched carefully as his bandmates out front unleashed each riff. Beneath a mop of hair that has been soaking since the first song, Grohl's face displayed a sly look as he eyed the man to his right, who heretofore was most famous in the band that placed him with John Bonham. A spontaneous and stilted "Moby Dick" reference between songs last night brought to mind the drummer who has been missed since 1980. For John Paul Jones, all bets are that this lineup is his favorite since those days of expanding upon Willie Dixon-derived tunes.

No Willie Dixon royalties were earned or withheld last night. The band bashes through only completely original riffs in its uncompromising set that's devoid of cover songs. The creative forces that wrote these songs in a short time this year execute them flawlessly in their live setting. The complicated rhythmic changes are memorized and performed without even the slightest exchange of a visual cue. It's all done with ears, not mirrors.

Jones inadvertently steals the show with his mastery of an array of different instruments. As each new one is strapped around his neck and displayed on the stage, the audience responds with an approval. But it's surprising to see Jones confined to a four-string bass when he's just tinkered with the freedom 10 or 12 strings a song or two earlier. He makes your average professional bass player look like an amateur.

A title and release date for the band's album have not been officially announced, although one online U.K. retailer shows Nov. 23 as the date in question. Singer and guitarist Josh Homme said their disc would be self-titled, but that could change if a new catchphrase in line with the past "Follow What's Heard" and "Deserve the Future" is favored.

In the meantime, NPR says it hopes to air, given the band's permission, a multi-track recording made at last night's show. It appeared to be an error-free show that was captured on tape, with the third public performance of the recent composition "Highway One," so it would make sense to offer the show up to the airwaves.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

'It Might Get Loud' slated for December release on DVD, Blu-Ray

Coming this December to DVD: the film documentary showcasing Jimmy Page's and two other guitarists' affection for, and personal encounters with, their electric instrument.

"It Might Get Loud" was still opening theatrically in some U.S. markets this month, but Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has announced a new way for enthusiasts to catch the movie. Beginning on Tuesday, Dec. 22, it will be available for purchase on the DVD and Blu-Ray formats with a collection of bonus features.

Sony says the press conference held at last year's Toronto International Film Festival will make it onto the new releases. During that September 2008 press conference, Page and his costars and fellow guitarists, Jack White and The Edge, fielded questions about the movie.

Page, who is an associate producer for the film, has already described some scenes not included in the film that could be destined for the home releases. He told Billboard magazine earlier this year, "There'll be some extra stuff from the summit," referring to the scenes that document his interactions with the others. "There'll be some extra stuff from the summit, that's obvious. I know there's another number I did. There was a lot that was played at the summit, that Edge did, I'm sure, and Jack."

Update: Sony now states deleted scenes will be included on the DVD and Blu-Ray. Also, the Blu-Ray is to include "an interactive playlist where you can bookmark your favorite songs featured in the film" as well as a special feature called BD-Live, which "connects you to access real-time information on the cast, music, trivia and more while watching the movie."

The movie shows the initial gathering of the three guitarists, as filmed in January 2008, and their jam sessions on their own songs such as "In My Time of Dying," "I Will Follow," "Dead Leaves on the Dirty Ground" and "Whole Lotta Love." The movie also shows a reflective Page as he arrives at the mansion Headley Grange about 37 years after he first recorded Led Zeppelin's untitled fourth album there.

Jason Bonham offers home movies on newly launched multimedia site

Click on the newly launched, and one of the first images to flash on your screen is that of the young drummer as a child being coached on a small drum set by his proud father, the legendary Led Zeppelin skinsman John Bonham.

Then click into the meat and potatoes of the site's multimedia category, and you can choose from an assortment of rarely before seen videos Jason Bonham has posted. One particular gem in the bunch is home video footage of the next generation of Bonham drummers. Jason's son, Jager, is developing an airy right foot to generate some of the forcefulness on a bass drum made famous by the grandfather he never met.

Jason Bonham was already a veteran of several of his own bands by the time he was pulled to work with such acts as Paul Rodgers, UFO and Foreigner.

With Paul Rodgers:

With UFO:

With Foreigner:

With Slash:

Jason's street cred rose substantially when he performed an acclaimed show with the three surviving members of Led Zeppelin at the end of 2007.

Now, the 43-year-old drummer finally launches his first official Web site on the week of three concerts in Florida presented as "An Evening with Jason Bonham," starting this evening. Featured on the site are an array of photos and videos highlighting the career that has been practically as long as Bonham's life.

It's too early to tell if Jager will follow in his father's footsteps and carry on the family name. Such was the situation in the late '70s, when Jason was a child. Much to his dad's dismay and eventual encouragement, Jason took to dirtbikes and became a sponsored competing rider with a shot at turning pro. It was a year after John Bonham's death that Jason says he "hung up the helmet and picked up the sticks again."

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

New song by Them Crooked Vultures debuts during tour; song titles in flux as band travels through United States

The new song, debuted during the Boston show on Oct. 11, is called "Highway One" although in rehearsals it has gone by the working title "Mandril."

At the beginning of the tour, John Paul Jones told an Austin radio station that the songs are "all still growing" as they play them each time.

Also during the Boston show, singer Josh Homme introduced a song previously called "Mind Eraser-No Chaser" under a new name, "Not in a Race and No Chase."

A source close to the band indicates that Them Crooked Vultures song titles often change.

Jones has admitted in interviews over the years that he is bad with associating song titles with songs. It must not help when the titles are in constant flux!

I wonder what cues he gets onstage. I'll try to find out on Wednesday night when I watch them play at the 9:30 club in Washington, D.C.

Sound team for Plant/Krauss tour wins award; Plant sits out as Rounder label honored

Congratulations go out to the people responsible for the sound on last year's Raising Sand tour by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss.

The sound team picked up the Outstanding Creative Achievement award for Tour Sound Production, presented by the Mix Foundation for Excellence in Audio at its 25th annual TEC Awards ceremony, held in New York on Saturday, Oct. 10. caught up with Plant's longtime sound engineer, Roy Williams, on tour last year.

Last October, T Bone Burnett won a TEC award for his production of Raising Sand, the Plant/Krauss album, and both singers were on hand to speak poetically in tribute to him. The situation one year later is different as a stalled project for a second Plant/Krauss album is in limbo, with Burnett's continued participation in it even in doubt and, now, Plant's relationship with the Rounder Records label possibly strained.

Hours ago, Krauss performed with her band, Union Station, at a Nashvile reception honoring Rounder's 40th anniversary. As The Tennessean recently reported), Rounder has been her label for almost a quarter of a century.

Nicole Keiper of The Tennessean reports in her Oct. 7 profile on Krauss that she and Plant "are in pre-production for a second set, Krauss says, but don't yet have a release timeframe."

So, not much has changed in the album's status -- or at least Krauss's terminology -- since she and Plant were in a studio together in January and Krauss insisted at the time that they were in "pre-production" for their Raising Sand follow-up.

Plant, who was spotted in California the past two weeks in a row, did not attend the Rounder reception.

By Friday night, he was back in England to attend a concert in Bristol by Egyptian percussionist Hossam Ramzy, who played on Unledded with Plant and Jimmy Page -- credit goes to Annie Hollinshead for the info about Plant's whereabouts on Oct. 9.

Isn't it odd for such a top-selling artist not to attend his own label's anniversary gala? It makes one question what the truth really is regarding their current work for Rounder.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Jason Bonham promotes upcoming appearances

Jason Bonham has been hitting the airwaves today to discuss a band he'll be taking on the road this month. He's to be headlining performances under the guise of "An Evening with Jason Bonham" this Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in Florida, with two more shows in California at the end of the month.

In a live, in-the-studio interview on today's "Mark and Brian" morning show on KLOS 95.5, Bonham discussed his upcoming shows as well as his performance last night with Slash at the Roxy Theatre in Hollywood for a charity event benefiting the Painted Turtle. Bonham says his sister, Zoe Bonham, was "fantastic" on vocals when she joined up to sing Led Zeppelin's "Black Dog."

For Bonham's upcoming shows, the band lineup will consist of two guitarists: Ian Hatton, who played for the original Bonham band (1989-1992) as well as the reformation Motherland (1994), and Tony Catania, who played in the Jason Bonham Band (1995-1997). Two new recruits for the band are singer Kelly Keeling and bassist Francesco DiCosmo. They'll be playing songs from Led Zeppelin and all of the other bands Jason has toured and recorded with, such as UFO and Foreigner, plus his own bands.

Also on their upcoming set lists are some songs that Robert Plant included on his first solo album. Bonham explained that he played on demo versions of Plant's "Like I've Never Been Gone" and "Burning Down on One Side." "I did all the demos for that," Bonham said. "I used to be picked up from school when I was, like, 13 [or] 14, just after Dad died. ... [I'd] go into Robert's house, and all the guys in the band would be there."

That, of course, wasn't Bonham's only link-up with the members of Led Zeppelin. He was Jimmy Page's choice of a drummer when he finally went solo in 1988, and that year also saw Bonham playing for the first reunion under the Led Zeppelin name. Most recently, Bonham played with Page, Plant and John Paul Jones as Led Zeppelin in concert at the O2 arena on Dec. 10, 2007.

Reflecting on that show, Bonham said today that it was only two or three days before the big show that Plant asked Bonham to sing back-up on a few songs during their two-hour set, including opening number "Good Times Bad Times."

He compared playing with Led Zeppelin to pulling the Excalibur out of the stone and added that it was unfortunate that he also had to put the sword back. Bonham said that once he got over his nausea just before the show, he was solely focused on impressing Page, Plant and Jones and ignoring the other famous people in the audience.

In other news, listeners who tuned in for a scheduled phone interview with Jason Bonham instead heard only the Internet DJ claiming to have been blown off by a guest for the first time ever.

Early this morning, a news alert said Bonham was scheduled to call into the Internet radio show "Uncle Scotty's Hot Tub" at 11:30 a.m. Pacific time. Just ahead of the scheduled start time, the DJ went on a sexist and racist rant, addressing his listeners as "klansmen." As the start time of the interview passed, Uncle Scotty started badmouthing his no-show guest.

Later, the DJ admitted Bonham had been given wrong phone number to call in for the show. Also, when he checked his e-mail correspondence with Bonham's people, he realized that they had confirmed an 11:30 p.m. call-in, a time when the Internet radio station is off the air.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Signed Led Zeppelin concert program fetches $2,800 in charity auction

As a result of a charity auction that ended tonight, $4,325 was raised in the sales of items related to Led Zeppelin. The proceeds are to benefit the Mount Sinai Hospital, Joseph and Wolf Lebovic Health Complex, located in Toronto.

The top item, by far, was a hardcover concert program signed by Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones. The program, which was for Zeppelin's reunion concert on Dec. 10, 2007, was sold for $2,800.

Following are the 11 other Led Zeppelin-related items in the auction and their final prices:
  • $335 for an issue of the fanzine Electric Magic autographed on the cover by Jimmy Page
  • $230 for an issue of the fanzine Electric Magic autographed on the cover by Jason Bonham
  • $205 for a signed photograph of John Paul Jones taken at the Knebworth Festival in 1979
  • $200 for a CD insert from the Robert Plant/Alison Krauss album Raising Sand signed by Plant
  • $175 for "Bonham by Bonham," a biography of John Bonham written by his brother, Mick Bonham
  • $100 for an 8 mm reel containing three minutes of footage from a Led Zeppelin concert in 1972
  • $70 for the book "Led Zeppelin: The Montreux Concerts" signed by authors Sam Rapallo and Gilles Chateau
  • $70 for a photograph of Robert Plant taken in 1977
  • $50 for a live concert photograph of Led Zeppelin taken in 1975
  • $50 for a photograph of Jimmy Page taken in 1973
  • $40 for a promotional booklet promoting the 1997 release of the Led Zeppelin album BBC Sessions

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Zeppelin members seek to improve medical treatments, research

Thirty-six hours remain in an online auction including items pertaining to Led Zeppelin. Bidding on the 12 Zeppelin-themed items ends at 10 p.m. Eastern on Thursday.

The auction, which was announced by the group's official Web site on Sept. 9, already stands to raise at least $3,555 ($3,747.68 CDN) for the Zeppelin-themed items alone.

Accounting for more than half of that figure is the most prized item, an official hardcover program from the band's 2007 reunion concert that is signed on the cover by Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones. Bidding on this item passed the $2,000 mark yesterday.

Surprisingly, only one bid has been placed for a three-inch projector reel containing three minutes of 8 mm footage shot at Led Zeppelin's concert at the Swing Auditorium in San Bernardino, Calif., on June 22, 1972. The high bid is currently a paltry $75.

Some stills from this silent color reel are shown here, and below the silent footage has been synchronized to an audio recording of the same performance.

Among the other auction items also available are live still photographs of the band, autographed fanzines and a book.

Proceeds are to benefit the Mount Sinai Hospital, Joseph and Wolf Lebovic Health Complex, located in Toronto: "Mount Sinai Hospital is an internationally recognized, 472-bed acute care academic health sciences centre affiliated with the University of Toronto. It is known for excellence in the provision of compassionate patient care, innovative education, and leading-edge research."

Check out the auction here.

In other Zeppelin-related healthcare news, Robert Plant was mentioned by Sky News in an article yesterday as one of several celebrities advocating for the availability of a cancer treatment called photodynamic therapy. The procedure uses a laser light to starve cancer cells of oxygen, thereby killing them as the body replaces the cells by generating non-cancerous cells.

Roger Daltrey is another musician whose name is touted in the article as supporting a charity simply called Killing Cancer, which champions photodynamic therapy, or PDT. The article quotes Plant as saying:
"It really is an injustice that this form of treatment is not available to everyone in the UK. I have friends currently receiving PDT, but only because we pushed to get it."
Currently, the use of PDT internationally is limited in scope to only certain kinds of cancers, namely esophageal cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, and pre-cancerous esophageal lesions. Research in PDT is currently aimed at expanding its use to treat cancers beyond these and eventually use the therapy to treat throat cancer, brain tumors, breast cancer, and other conditions including Staph infections.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Jimmy Page's charity, ABC Trust, announces Big City Sleep in London

Note: The following is adapted from promotional materials highlighting an upcoming event in London for the ABC Trust, a U.K. charity for which Jimmy Page is a patron.

Time: From 6 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 30, to sunrise on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2009
Location: Spitalfields Market, Crispin Place, Brushfield Street, East London
Fundraising target: Minimum £150 per person
Spend a night under the stars with ABC Trust this Christmas and help thousands of street children and young people in Brazil.

The ABC Trust invites you to take part in a 12 hour sponsored mass sleepout challenge by swapping your comfortable beds and homes for the basic provisions of a cardboard box on the floor of London’s well-loved Spitalfields Market, in the heart of the city. Once you have found your pitch inside the market for the night, ABC Trust will offer you some bedtime entertainment in the form of a capoeira demonstration and some live Brazilian acoustic music, as well as some hot food to help ease you into a good night’s sleep.

Every day, an estimated 7 million children are forced to face the violence, hunger and isolation of life on the streets of Brazil, with little hope for the future. ABC Trust helps transform the lives of the most vulnerable children. The ABC Big City Sleep is aimed at raising awareness of the plight of homeless children and raising funds to help provide them a better future.

For the everyday Brit, the issues that Brazilian street children are facing is a distant concept, this event is an opportunity to bring it closer to home, by experiencing something totally out of our comfort zones. The difference is that we only have to experience it for one night before going back to our everyday comforts. We hope that through the Big City Sleep, we will give you a personal experience which will emphasise the importance of the work the ABC Trust does. All funds raised through the Big City Sleep, will go towards sustaining the vital work of our partner projects in Brazil who provide support, care and education to some of the country’s most vulnerable children and young people.

For further details, view this document.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Robert Plant performs second gig with Buddy Miller in San Francisco; circumstances may hint toward Plant's next project

Robert Plant was spotted by a photographer at a mall in Malibu, Calif., for this photo printed by British tabloid The Sun on Sept. 29. Yet four hundred miles from Malibu, Plant made his third and fourth onstage performances all year long in a single weekend. Both times, he played with Nashville session musician Buddy Miller over the weekend in San Francisco, including at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival yesterday.

The San Francisco Chronicle on Sept. 27 highlighted a complete lineup of performers who were scheduled to appear over three days at the free concert at Speedway Meadow in Golden Gate Park. Almost prophetically, Robert Plant's name did appear in the middle of it all, though not as a scheduled performer.

Update: Footage from the show

He was mentioned only as someone with whom Miller, the expert sideman, has recently played. Other names touted in this capacity were John Fogerty, Alison Krauss and Emmylou Harris. Interestingly, though, the authors called Miller "a magnet for guests on his set."

During Miller's 11:45 a.m. set on the Towers of Gold stage, Plant was one of two special guests who appeared. He was brought in "to unleash his leather lung wail on the Hank Snow standard 'I'm Movin' On,'" according to Aidan Vaziri in the San Francisco Chronicle. There's also a remark attributed to Plant in the article: "This is like going to school for me."

As for Miller's other onstage guest during his festival set, Vaziri reports that Emmylou Harris, who later concluded the night with her own set, joined Miller in singing his "Wide River to Cross." Although Miller's tour dates don't reflect it on his own Web site, he'll be accompanying Harris on tour all this month, opening for her.

Plant had also performed in San Francisco on Friday night at a charity show where Miller performed as part of the backing band for Boz Scaggs. Twitter user Stax provided some information about this earlier appearance: "Plant sang several songs with Buddy's band and later sat in with Boz Scaggs and the Blue Velvet Band (with James Cotton). Plant was visibly excited to be sharing the stage with Cotton, singing Jimmy Reed's 'Baby what you want me to do.' To answer your question, yes, one of the songs Plant played with Buddy was 'What You Gonna Do, Leroy.'"

Last year, while Plant and Krauss began their world tour in support of their album Raising Sand, Miller was the capable guitarist at stage right for every show. He did not perform on their album, but Plant did appear on the disc released this March by Buddy and Julie Miller, Written in Chalk.

A year ago, Plant issued a statement saying he would not tour for two years and would not partake in any recording sessions with Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones or Jason Bonham. At the time, Led Zeppelin reunion rumors were widely reported in the press, even with one account claiming Plant had agreed to participate in a Zep reunion tour.

Progress on a follow-up album has been the subject of some confusion in recent months. In an interview published in the Sunday Express this August, Krauss was so unsure of how to describe their album because it evidently hadn't yet been recorded and the personnel hadn't yet been nailed down for sure. The Sunday Express's Charlotte Heathcote reported that Plant and Krauss hadn't "even decided whether they should ask influential producer T-Bone Burnett, who gave Raising Sand its stripped-back sound, back on board."

The only date currently on Krauss's official tour schedule is Oct. 12, when she and her band, Union Station, are to perform during the Rounder Records 40th Anniversary Celebration at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville. There is no official word on whether Plant will be in Nashville to attend Rounder's celebration.

(Coincidentally, John Paul Jones is scheduled to appear in Nashville exactly one week earlier; he and Them Crooked Vultures are booked for a show at the War Memorial, the band's first show outside of Austin for this tour. From Nashville, the band heads directly to Columbus, Ohio, for a show the following night.)

Over the summer, Krauss and Union Station were recording a new album. A Rounder spokesperson confirmed to in June that Krauss was planning to tour with Union Station in 2010.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Them Crooked Vultures to release CD by end of year, Josh Homme says in forthcoming interview

Kudos to the folks over at Antiquiet for being the first to get some important details out of any member of Them Crooked Vultures regarding their upcoming album.

Singer and guitarist Josh Homme said he's not quite sure when to expect a CD release by his new supergroup with Dave Grohl and John Paul Jones. As a matter of fact, none of the band members knows! Says Homme:
"We’ve been doing a lot of stuff real kind of secretive, and we actually made a pact to not know when it’s coming out, the band guys. I’m betting… Well it’s going to be before the end of the year… We kind of have a little running bet on what the date is. And I intend to win that bet, because I’m going to cheat."
Josh, I invite you to cheat by visiting for that information as soon as I learn it, hopefully, before you do.

Also of note is Antiquiet got Homme to break the band's silence on whether or not it is signed to a record label. Here's the discourse:

Antiquiet: Any idea as far as an agreement on a label, or how that’s all going to work out distribution wise?

Josh Homme: Yeah… It’s going to come out on Interscope in the states, and Sony/BMG internationally.

Antiquiet: How do you feel about that? You’ve been pretty outspoken in the past about not feeling so hot about Interscope anymore…

Josh Homme: Well, you know… If it was up to me, I’d just get a real big hot air balloon, and put ‘em all in the basket of that, and just (miming) pull the cord and let it drop over places, you know?

But, you know, it’s not up to me always.

Again, kudos to Antiquiet. You can read the full interview with Homme there.