Thursday, January 31, 2002

John Paul Jones doesn't see the point of a Led Zeppelin reunion

This news originally appeared in an edition of the newsletter "On This Day In Led Zeppelin History."

Steve,

Re: JPJ interview

I think the most important issue that you yet haven't touched upon is the potential reunion with Page and Plant and his thinking about why he was left out in the past.

Kind regards,

Peter
Stockholm, Sweden

John Paul Jones and I did spend some time on Dec. 10, 2001, talking about whether a Led Zeppelin reunion would be possible.

Each and every day since John Bonham died, there has been in some form or another, a rumor that Page, Plant and Jones would carry on. That's what everybody wants to know, and so the question was inevitable. I knew it, and Jones knew it.

But I felt uneasy talking about that subject with him because his mind is not really in that place at all. In the interview's second hour, I asked him flat out, "Is there going to be another Led Zeppelin reunion?" He shook his head and said nothing. I rephrased the question for him, and he said:

"While I don't have a problem with it, I don't think we could go back in time and re-tour what wouldn't be Led Zeppelin anyway, apart from the fact that there aren't enough of us to make a Led Zeppelin reunion. We're all different people now anyway."
That seemed like a definitive answer to me, and I felt like the subject was impossible. But I persisted with asking a more specific question. I told him that one of my readers had suggested a reunion with Jones, Page, Plant and drummer Jason Bonham on a high-profile, televised concert, for instance, the Super Bowl half-time show.

The idea of reuniting for a show like that was just foreign to Jones. He responded, "But why? For what reason? For the money?"

Then I echoed to him what I hear every day from people who receive my newsletter: that people of every age want to see Led Zeppelin live again, particularly those who were too young to see it in the past.

He said, "What happens if we did it and we disappointed them all? We wouldn't want that." I had almost no response to that, and he finished it off by saying, "The time has passed."

Wednesday, January 30, 2002

Will John Paul Jones play in my town?

This news originally appeared in an edition of the newsletter "On This Day In Led Zeppelin History."

In November, I posed the question to my readers: "What should I ask John Paul Jones?" A number of people said I should ask where he intended to tour in the future. That question came from all over. Folks in Mexico want him to come to Mexico. Those in New Zealand hopes he visits their part of the world.

I asked him such questions during the interview on Dec. 10, 2001. I asked about those individual places, and each time he said, "I'd like to, certainly." He said that he wanted "terribly to play Mexico and South America too, places I've never played before."

In the past, his solo tours were limited to parts of Europe and the United Kingdom, Japan, the United States and Canada. Jones indicated that he hopes he will cover new ground in the future, but he stated that it is not all up to him.

"People say, 'Do you do this for the money?' What money?" he said, laughing. "It's very expensive to tour." He used the term "budget touring" several times throughout the interview to refer to the ways in which he cuts down the substantial costs of the road. "I just can't play big enough places to pay wages," he said. "It's as simple as that. It costs a lot of money to go and get all this stuff on the road."

Jones used Detroit as an example. His 1999 and 2000 U.S. tours had overlooked this Michigan city, but he was finally able to perform in the Motor City on Dec. 1, 2001. He opened for King Crimson at the Royal Oak Theatre. "It was a killer show, really a great show," he told me. "I thought, man, now maybe they'll ask me back!"

He was, of course, joking about having to be invited back to Detroit. He explained, "I have all these good people at my site saying, 'Why didn't you come to Detroit?' I can't tell them that nobody wants me in Detroit. People think you can choose where you go."

At any rate, Jones should soon be touring to support the release of his new album, The Thunderthief. Although nothing official has yet been announced, the Led Zeppelin newsletter will alert you when new dates are available.

I've spoken with Hugh Manson, who makes Jones' electric instruments and looks over them on tour. He hinted to me that Jones may be bringing to his future concerts a new instrument built by Hugh's brother and partner, Andy. A triple-neck arch-top mandolin could pop up on the next tour. The instrument's curved top joins the three necks: a mandolin, mandola and a bass mandolin. Jones used it on his new album for an instrumental cover of the traditional folk song "Down to the River to Pray."