Sunday, November 16, 2014

Announcement: Why this site hasn't been updated

Two words: Life changes.

During my very first hour visiting in Clarksdale, I met some traveling musicians who had just met up with a friend and were going to seek out the farmland where Howlin' Wolf's cabin originally stood. So I tagged along for their jam session; in fact, I drove one of the two cars, and I remember clearly that we listened to Led Zeppelin on the way back. The CD was live on April 27, 1969, at the Fillmore West. When we got to "As Long as I Have You," the guys in my car hadn't heard music like this ever before and their jaws were dropping. I provided the appropriate volume adjustment upward while the young band on my car stereo quoted Spirit, Cream, Miles Davis and Chuck Berry, all before tagging on the "As Long as I Have You" ending. The effect is shattering!

My Led Zeppelin sites have been an on-again-off-again hobby, a way to cut my chops writing a few times a week. I looked forward to finding out the latest news about anyone named Page, Plant, Jones or Bonham and sharing it online with my own approach. In total, I wrote nearly 365 editions of "On This Day in Led Zeppelin History" per year for half a decade. Later, I wrote about 150 Led Zeppelin News updates each year for another half a decade.

The drop-off in my Led Zeppelin writing activity in February 2011 coincided with the first of several changes in my life. That was a road trip through the South, with myself, my car, and a big but portable keyboard. I took off to Mississippi by way of Nashville and Memphis, and all sorts of destinations in Texas and Arkansas. I spent a few weeks in each setting I chose. There's no denying my itinerary was inspired by the people covered here on this site, and their music was part of the journey.

In the South, I was seeing and doing things, having all sorts of new experiences, and I was bringing music to people. And I was soaking in theirs. I basked in the glory of my life's passions: music and travel. One of the effects of my road trip was my decision not to write for a living anymore, to trade in my notepad for a new keyboard. I insisted that live music become the biggest pursuit of my life. It has been that way ever since.

Apart from taking up music full-time, I am thrilled to report that I found an amazing woman and married her. I'm still writing, though much less and barely any of it is on this site. There's tons of Led Zeppelin news being made, and other fan sites are doing a great job of tracking it all. I haven't. My priority has been playing live music, and now I'm 35 and enjoying every weekend playing somewhere with somebody.

On a side note, Jimmy Page is putting together a new band, and I want to be his keyboardist. I'm declaring this on the off chance somebody reading this is interested in getting me an audition.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Reissues series to feature on Carol Miller show

New York radio personality Carol Miller will be proudly presenting the Led Zeppelin reissues on her program. The first of six weekly broadcasts dedicated to the original three Led Zeppelin albums will air on her flagship station, Q104.3, next Monday, May 26.

  • Shows 1 & 2 - Carol Miller's Get the Led Out on the debut album Led Zeppelin
  • June 3 - The box sets for the first three albums become available for purchase in the United States
  • Shows 3 & 4 - Carol Miller's Get the Led Out on Led Zeppelin II
  • Shows 5 & 6 - Carol Miller's Get the Led Out on Led Zeppelin III

Throughout the six weeks, the show will also be airing the recording of Carol Miller's "exclusive conversation with Led Zeppelin guitarist and producer Jimmy Page." From the show's official press release: "Page was intimately involved with the re-mastering process of the original Led Zeppelin material and also with the bonus tracks that will be included on the new deluxe editions of these classic albums."

The radio show is distributed nationwide to classic rock stations. If your classic rock station doesn't already get the Led out properly with Carol Miller, then you'll be missing out! Call your program director and ask for Carol Miller's Get the Led Out. As a disclosure, I contribute to the show, and I'm a fan too.

It just so happens that at the time the last of these six shows airs in New York, I'll be 132 miles away, onstage with the band Get the Led Out, The American Led Zeppelin, at the Ocean City Music Pier, Moorlyn Terrace, in Ocean City, N.J. This will be my ninth time sitting in with the band, playing all the keyboard parts. We'll be performing live the album versions of songs from all over Led Zeppelin's catalog, not just the first three albums.

Just think of all the things I might be brushing up on playing now! Maybe the Clavi on "Trampled Under Foot."What about the synths on "All My Love"? Perhaps the fluty recorders and electric piano on "Stairway to Heaven"? See you in Ocean City!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Well, that settles it. No Led Zeppelin reunion, and that's all anyone ever cared about

Isn't it interesting that nearly all of the Led Zeppelin news coverage anywhere on Thursday was centered on Robert Plant's declaration that there was "zero" chance of another Led Zeppelin reunion? In case you missed it, that's what he told the BBC in the very last second of a six-minute chat aired on BBC radio Wednesday morning and was available online for listening all over the world.

It's what he said in the very last second, the "zero" chance comment, that stole the headlines. Because there's always been an interest in a Led Zeppelin reunion, no matter when the last one was, or how discouragingly bad the last one was, or how astonishingly good the last one was. But Robert's closed the door.

Jimmy admitted, in his separate interview, also broadcast April 23, that he's more surprised than anyone there's not been a reunion. Furthermore, he's not the one to ask about a Led Zeppelin reunion. He's only the guitar player. He's not the singer. You should ask the singer. And so they did, and the singer said no. It was an outright no. And as Brian Gardiner astutely observed on his site, this is exactly what he could have said a long time ago and saved us all some agony.

I'm feeling really badly for Jimmy now. I think he put a whole lotta stock in the inevitability that Robert would change his mind once again. It's possible Jimmy didn't want to get any kind of a studio or live project going again unless Robert was going to be the frontman. Luckily, John Paul Jones doesn't feel that way, and we've gotten Them Crooked Vultures, Seasick Steve, Minibus Pimps, I won't repeat myself...

What was really cool is the fact that neither of the two Led Zeppelin bonus tracks premiered by the BBC at the same time was anything ardent fans have ever heard before. (Correct me if I'm wrong!) Jimmy truly dug into boxes of tapes, and took two years doing it, to arrive at the best stuff there is. And so far, this is stuff that never leaked to the masses.

We've now heard a minute's worth of the Led Zeppelin III outtake "Key to the Highway" (none of the "Trouble in Mind" portion expected later) and learned it was recorded 30 minutes after "Hats Off to (Roy) Harper." It features Robert Plant singing through the same reverberating filter also heard on another studio outtake already distributed and well known among bootleg collectors. But it's a totally different melody, and the chord progression features a nice two-five turnaround seldom heard in the blues.

Representing Led Zeppelin II's bonus disc is a rough mix of "Whole Lotta Love" with an alternate vocal. This is nothing that came out with the multitracks when they leaked online in February 2012. Hmm, just over two years ago, which we can now surmise is when Jimmy started working on this remasters-plus-bonus project taking advantage of technological advancements of the past two decades since the first remastered Led Zeppelin CDs ...

And this is all in addition to the sweet first track of the live CD accompanying the Led Zeppelin remaster, which we can stream on Spotify now whenever we want.

Also, it was fun hearing Robert admit he was imitating the stylings of Steve Marriott on "Whole Lotta Love." Isn't it funny how Jimmy wanted Steve Marriott as the singer and instead got a Steve Marriott imitator? Not that Robert was a Steve Marriott imitator all the time. He says he was this for one three-minute song, then onto something else entirely different for another. Great point!

It sure would be nice hearing from John Paul Jones on these matters. I wonder why not.

Anyway, now that Robert closed the door to any future Led Zeppelin reunions, what impact will that make on whether Jimmy picks up a guitar again, in his 70s, and goes out there with somebody else?