Drummer Jason Bonham is becoming increasingly in demand again, now having been booked to play a few shows in England reuniting him with the members of his first professional rock band.
Bonham was 17 years old when he joined Airrace, which released an album called Shaft of Light on the Atco label in 1984. The album was put to CD for the first time in 2003 by the reissue label Wounded Bird Records. The hopes of selling more CDs appear to have prompted the group to get back together.
Classic Rock magazine reports that three other original members are to join Bonham (shown on right in picture) in the reunited Airrace: guitarist Laurie Mansworth (left), singer Keith Murrel (center) and keyboardist Toby Sadler (not shown). In addition, new member David Boyce is to play bass with Dean Howard on second guitar, completing the six-piece lineup.
Three British concert appearances by Airrace, with Bonham on drums, are currently scheduled for this June and July, with Mansworth telling Classic Rock magazine a more permanent reunion, including a new album, could be in the works.
On June 19, Airrace is to headline a show at the Pitz in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire. The band is also set to support British rock group Thunder at Sheffield City Hall on July 4 and in Cambridge on July 5.
One more Airrace date is to take place Oct. 24 at the Firefest in Nottingham, although it has already been announced that Bonham would sit out for that show due to scheduling conflicts. Classic Rock's report does not specify exactly what commitments are keeping Bonham from playing this date, which once again leads one to wonder.
Of course, it could be as innocuous as a previously scheduled family outing for the Bonhams. But on the other hand, with John Paul Jones saying last week that he hopes "to be everywhere this summer" with "a couple of other people" who've been "working [with him] on some other music, which is more rock based," one cannot help but wonder what other plans are on the horizon.
Bonham's June and July concert dates with Airrace surround his only other announced live appearance this summer, a June 30 headlining set at Norway's Quart Festival combining him with Slash, Ozzy Osbourne and Ron Wood. No other performances by this de facto supergroup lineup have been scheduled.
Last August, Bonham left Foreigner as its regular drummer while the band was very busy touring, stating that he wanted to spend some time with his family in the short term before returning to the music scene. At the time, it seemed possible to him that a few jam sessions earlier that year with Jones and Jimmy Page would allow him to continue playing with them, as he had onstage at the Led Zeppelin reunion in December 2007. Page's manager said in January 2009, however, that auditions for a new singer to join a touring and recording band with Page and Jones had concluded, without anyone having landed the gig.
Meanwhile, the natural selection for any group including Page, Jones and Bonham -- Robert Plant -- spent last year touring with Alison Krauss, with their joint album Raising Sand deemed a commercial and critical success. A potential follow-up album is already in the works, but Plant is already dabbling in at least one other project: He is scheduled to take part in this Saturday's headlining act at the three-day Womad festival, which is already underway in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.