Friday, January 1, 2010

Testy guitarist admits he's 'a year behind' in releasing his new music

Jimmy Page, in his first interview published in the new decade, says he's tired of his plans as an artist always being compared to those of his former bandmates in Led Zeppelin.

An Independent piece published with the Jan. 1 dateline focuses on the guitarist and his involvement in "It Might Get Loud," now in U.K. theaters.

The piece also overviews what's been reported about some of his plans for the current year, including a possible tour, a possible appearance in Beijing, a possible album -- hopefully, says reporter James McNair. It's all just possible and hopeful, though. Nothing about Page's future plans was confirmed in the article.

Just what Page says: that he has some new music to put out. Scratch that; he has "lots of new music to present."

But just don't expect him to base his decisions around Led Zeppelin reuniting anymore.

"It's unfortunate that anything that I might want to do gets linked into whatever Robert Plant and John Paul Jones are doing," Page is quoted as saying.

McNair even offers that Page says it "a little testily."

Page continues:
"I intend to be making music next year and I've got lots of new music to present, okay? The only thing to say is that I should have started it a year ago. So I'm a year behind with what I'm doing -- that's not too bad, is it? Some of these business things can get rather complicated, but I've managed to work my way through all that and see a way of getting on with it, thank God."
His last published interview of the 2000s seems to be another feature, this one in the Telegraph by Neil McCormick.

It's gotten a lot of traction in the past couple of days for one particular remark of his, likely a verbatim quote from an interview or two some decades ago when asked to comment on Led Zeppelin reunion rumors. In a manner that made it clear there was a single holdout, the following canned response would suffice:
"You'd better ask Robert Plant what the future of Led Zeppelin is."
That's precisely how Page handled the topic in the Telegraph interview published Dec. 30. It must have felt relieving to say those words and pass the buck.

Page then continued:
"Musicians can always play together, but I don't think you can go out with a band called Led Zeppelin if you haven't got the original vocalist."
True, true.

Not to beleaguer the point, but with all the John Paul Jones interviews coming out lately where he's been stating that when he and Page were last rehearsing together, we've learned through Jones that they weren't considering replacing Robert Plant in Led Zeppelin and it was only mischaracterizations by the mainstream media. Here are two such statements.
  • Jones said in a French television interview filmed Dec. 4 and broadcast Dec. 17, while he was discussing how he came to become a member of Them Crooked Vultures:
    "... I was kind of up for doing something anyway because I'd been -- I'd spent a few months working with Jimmy Page and Jason Bonham after the O2 [reunion concert by Led Zeppelin]. We were gonna form another band, but everybody kept calling it Led Zeppelin without Robert Plant, so we decided -- it kind of fell apart. So... But I was ready to, like, do something and play some music ... "
  • Similarly, Jones tells the Skinny in a piece published Dec. 10:
    "We thought we'd like to start another band -- not Led Zeppelin without Robert Plant, as was reported -- we just wanted to do another band, although obviously we realised we would have to play some Zeppelin songs if we actually went out on tour. We couldn’t agree on singers in the end."
There's no published confirmation from Page in either of his interviews that the Led Zeppelin reunion rumors of 2008 were a media concoction.

In fact, you get exactly the opposite from reading those two articles.
  • McCormick says the music Page hopes to release in 2010 "is unlikely to be with any incarnation of Led Zeppelin, despite having spent a considerable amount of time and energy this year [sic] trying to follow up their 2008 [sic] reunion." (Just to clarify McCormick's blunder, the reunion was in 2007, and the time and energy spent doing something akin to that was in 2008.)
  • McNair follows up his mention of the O2 arena concert, correctly placed as having occurred in 2007, saying that afterwards Page "had hoped for a subsequent Led Zeppelin tour, but Plant's commitment to the O2 show had largely been predicated on it being a one-off tribute to the late Ahmet Ertegun, the Atlantic Records president who was also a close friend of the band."
Again, the above is true. Nobody is suggesting it's not. There absolutely was a time in those rehearsal studios that Page, Jones and Bonham thought they might be able to get Plant to join them and consider another go at a longer Led Zeppelin reunion, perhaps either more shows or an extended tour. This has been well documented all along.

But didn't their desire to reunite Led Zeppelin ultimately give way to another desire, one that Jones said -- back in the thick of things, in October 2008 -- was all about getting out there and playing some loud music? He told us they'd been trying out the odd singer.

Trying singers out to do what? Stand in Robert Plant's place in the rehearsal room until he miraculously showed up?

One singer, Myles Kennedy, has even confirmed to he'd been writing with Page and Jones. That doesn't sound like standing around and singing Led Zeppelin songs to me.

Is it possible that Jones, Kennedy and Bonham were all on board for a new band while Page wasn't? Is it possible that the only singer Page wanted to see himself working with was Robert Plant, and the only band he wanted to see himself working with was Led Zeppelin?

One thing Page does admit is that what he'll be doing this year is something he should have done a year earlier. It no longer matters to him what anybody else is doing. All he's talking about is where he wants to be and what he wants to be doing.

As for the specifics, we shall see.

Speaking of specifics, if you'd like to read more about Page's pictorial autobiography due in a few months, your best bet so far is to fetch a copy of the February 2010 issue of Mojo. You can't miss it on the newsstand because Page adorns the cover. The issue also promises:
"Cue a look back over a career that has spanned the last 45 years of rock history with unseen photos, in-depth discussion of his new movie, his new music and the truth behind those persistent Zeppelin rumours. PLUS! The Page record collection revealed! The sounds that rock his soul!"
But start saving up for a copy of the book now because Genesis Publications is involved, and what that means is this is a high-end and relatively expensive collectable photograph book that is very limited in number.

Although official word is not available outside of Mojo, it appears to that the book's editor is Dave Brolan, who represents Ross Halfin and other photographers who've shot members of Led Zeppelin together and apart.

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