Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Chris Welch focuses on memorabilia in new Led Zeppelin book

Chris Welch is set to release his first book on Led Zeppelin in 12 years. His follow-up to "Dazed and Confused: The Stories Behind Every Song" is due next week in the United Kingdom.

The title of the new book is "Treasures of Led Zeppelin," and its U.K. release is set for Thursday, May 13, by Carlton Publishing Group.

In a new interview, the longtime Melody Maker journalist says the book is written from the point of view of a fan or collector. The title "Treasures of Led Zeppelin," he says, has to do with diehard fans' "eternal interest for things like T-shirts, posters, memorabilia of every kind."

The 64-page book includes 90 photographs and 16 memorabilia reproductions, some of which is sourced from the collection of fellow author Howard Mylett. Other pieces referenced in the book are courtesy of other collectors, says Welch:
"A lot of it came from various collectors around the countryside, fanatical collectors [of] ticket stubs from shows, and programs, illustrations. The album covers, of course, are a very important part of the look of Led Zeppelin."
Welch admits he is not much of a memorabilia collector himself, but for 12 years he did own one particular artifact that was given to him by a member of the band. He tells the following story about receiving this gift from John Bonham:
"I was interviewing John, and it was going very well. He was a very personable and friendly guy, and we went out for a drink near his home. He had a farm house in the country. We went to the country pub and had a lot to drink and were talking about our favorite drummers, people like Buddy Rich. At the end of the interview, he realized that I was a keen drummer as well, so he insisted that his roadie give me this brand new Ludwig drum kit, which was stashed away in a barn at the back of his farm. And, of course, I made fake protests, saying, 'No, John, you can't possibly give me a drum kit.' He was very generous and very kind. ... I kept it for about 12 years. I did use it and played it as well."
Welch is also the author of the biographies "Peter Grant: The Man Who Led Zeppelin," "John Bonham: A Thunder of Drums" and "Power and Glory: Jimmy Page and Robert Plant," as well as books on Cream, Steve Winwood, Jimi Hendrix, and two-part series on David Bowie.

The interview was conducted by radio producer Denny Somach while visiting London last month. More of Welch's interview is scheduled to air in an upcoming episode of DJ Carol Miller's Led Zeppelin-centered radio show "Get the Led Out," which has been syndicated nationwide since January 2009.

In a previous interview also for the radio show, Welch discussed home movie footage he shot while touring Europe with Led Zeppelin in 1970.

A tentative U.S. release of Welch's new "Treasures" book is set for October.

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