Tuesday, October 27, 2009

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 Contactmusic.com 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.


  1. Mr. Lemon, no offence here, but here you become one of the media people who jump on the bandwagon and over-analyse Robert Plant's every word.

    If you still remember Plant's official statement, it didn't only said "Robert has no intention whatsoever of touring with anyone for at least the next two years", but also "Robert Plant will not be touring or recording with Led Zeppelin". And the talk about Plant only let people know when his tour with Alison was ending is not true. Does he have to deny it bluntly everytime? He has done it many times but people would keep asking the same question.

  2. I like the approach the blog TwentyFourBit uses in discussing the Led Zeppelin reunion rumors. First, it says it's all "speculative." Then it adds: "[W]e might get a vague quote from Page shortly, perhaps a non-denial from Jones (now of Them Crooked Vultures), and the reunion rumor mill will grind away nicely for a bit. Meanwhile, at least we’ve got that Creed reunion to help bide our time." Classic!

  3. Steve,
    I think you are right. Robert is just trying to steal JPJ's Thunder. Just like he stole it from the 1st rumered Reunion, to promote the Alison Krauss thing. That's who JPJ was referring to when he wrote the Thundertheif song.


  4. Ah well yes, blame it on Plant. Blame him for everything, that's how it works.

    He promoted Raising Sand with the O2 reunion? Have you been on any fan communities in the last two years? I've only seen people hating him for nothing doing the tour and thus boycotting Raising Sand.

  5. Sadine,
    I do not understand your 2nd paragraph in your responce to my comment.

    Can you please try again?



Comments are moderated prior to publication. Comments will not be published if they are deemed vulgar, defamatory or otherwise objectionable.