Monday, January 31, 2011

UK Dates for Black Country Communion

Black Country Communion announced four UK shows following their appearance at London’s High Voltage Festival this July. The Festival, held at historic Victoria Park, takes place the weekend of July 23 & 24, 2011.

The new shows are:

  • adTuesday 26th July - Leeds O2 Academy

  • Wednesday 27th July - Newcastle O2 Academy

  • Friday 29th July - Glasgow O2 Academy

  • Saturday 30th July - Manchester Academy

The UK appearances follow a seven show tour of Germany from June 30 - July 14.

  • 30th June Stuttgart, Germany

  • 1st July Frankfurt, Germany

  • 2nd July Leipzig, Germany

  • 4th July Munich, Germany

  • 5th July Berlin, Germany

  • 6th July Hamburg, Germany

  • 14th July Bonn, Germany

Tickets for the UK shows go on sale Friday Feb 4. There is a presale for 02 priority customers Feb 2.

Tickets are available through 24 hour box office at 0871 230 1101 or online at See Tickets or The Gig Cartel

Tickets are also available tat the individual locations:


Tuesday 26th July 2011

Tickets: £40.00 Standing £45.00 Seated

Box Office: 0871 230 1101
55 Cookridge Street, Leeds, LS2 3AW


Wednesday 27th July 2011 

Tickets: £40.00

Box Office: 0871 230 1101 Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear, NE1 1SW


Friday 29th July 2011 

Tickets: £40.00 Standing £45.00 Seated

Box Office: 0871 230 1101
121 Eglinton Street, Glasgow, G5 9NT


Saturday 30th July 2011 

Tickets: £40.00

Box Office: 0871 230 1101
Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PR

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Band of Joy: The Three Sided LP

I picked up the LP of Robert Plant and the Band of Joy today, and found an interesting surprise. Here's the tracklist:

Side 1

  • Angel Dance

  • House of Cards

  • Central Two-O-Nine

  • Silver Rider

Side 2

  • You Can't Buy My Love

  • Falling in Love Again

  • The Only Sound That Matters

  • Monkey

Side 3

  • Cindy, I'll Marry You Someday

  • Harm's Swift Way

  • Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down

  • Even This Shall Pass Away

That's it. A three sided LP. I opened it expecting some triangular variation, but no such luck. Instead, side 4 was engraved with the same ring that adorns the front and back cover, as well as a quote from Beowulf in Olde English: ├ża gyt hie him asetton segen gelden heah ofer heafod, oleton holm beran...

[caption id="attachment_863" align="aligncenter" width="491" caption="Click to Enlarge"]plant-lp[/caption]

Vinyl albums are more collector piece than musical experience these days. Personally, I like that: better quality albums; some thought put into the presentation of the albums. In this case, Robert Plant came up with a first for my collection, the three sided LP.

Robert Plant Interview

Robert Plant, it seems, does everything different these days. When an artist plays Toronto one weekend, and New York the next, it is normal that New York is the one everyone talks about, even while the artist is in Toronto. For Robert Plant, who is playing New York this weekend to a wall of silence, last weekends Toronto shows are again being talked about.101201-robert-plant

The Observer’s Ed Vulliamy spent last weekend with Plant in Toronto talking in depth with Plant about his motivations for performing, how he gets to the shows, and the Wolverhampton Wanderers.

“There’s no plan,“ Plant tells Vulliamy, “this band has a life of it’s own.” Those are key words. When wondering what will Plant do, he is just as much in the dark as you are. Last week I penned a piece called, What’s Next for Robert Plant? chronicling his desire to write with Band of Joy after telling Rolling Stone he was done writing. The real answer to the question what’s next for Robert Plant lies in that answer, “there’s no plan.” And if that means Robert Plant is moving on from where his fans are musically, drifting out of significance, he understands that:
The further I get into it, the harder it will be to get a gig in the Top Rank. I won't fit. If I continue doing this, it will mean obsolescence for me… I'm just incredibly fortunate that my eyes and ears have been opened. I have to be honest with myself and remove as much of the repetition and fakery as is humanly possible.

Unlike other interviews, other comments, Plant is also more conciliatory, less dismissive, towards his time in Led Zeppelin:
"We were great when we were great. I was part of something magnificent which broke the Guinness Book of Records, but in the end, what are you going to get out of it? Who are you doing it for? You have to ask these questions: who pays the piper, and what is valuable in this life? I don't want to scream 'Immigrant Song' every night for the rest of my life, and I'm not sure I could.

Comments like “who pays the piper,” probably say more about why Robert Plant turned down huge money for a Led Zeppelin reunion. A tour the size of Zeppelin would be a machine grinding away at Plant’s creative impulses. Besides, how would a reunited Zeppelin get to the gigs? Not, I suspect, by Plant’s preferred method:
It’s all by bus. It’s a great way to see America and a great way to meet interesting people. But most of all, I want to be on these kinds of terms with these kinds of people. There’s no point in doing it any other way, and if I did, I’d feel uncomfortable. I’ve got a big name, but I’ve always wanted to be in a band, one of a band… I do not want to arrive to join the band in a limo.

Plant is also less dismissive than he has been about other artists continuing to play their old songs, touring with 40 year old music:
It would become progressively more difficult to talk about music at a whist drive. All my colleagues that I’ve known and loved - our lives have been lived in parallel for 40 years - and you have to say: each to their own. People get off on what they want to get off on - I’m not going to tell anyone how to live…

Leaving aside his comments, direct or indirect, about Led Zeppelin, Plant has a lot to say about The Band of Joy as well.
I wonder sometimes, how did I get into this family of people?" Sometimes I feel as though I'm not contributing so much as getting away with it… this band has a life of its own. It's breaking down all the terminologies; all the terms that apply to different genres are being torn asunder.

It's about contribution. Everyone is throwing themselves into this abstraction called Band of Joy, and no one knows what it is. But we know how to find it, and we go looking. I asked Nic (Nicola Powell, his manager from Merthyr Tydfil ) if my rambling between songs on stage is getting too obscure. She says no, it's just about mad enough to capture the spirit of the thing

Why, at his age, does Robert Plant keep doing it at all when he could easily retire to the Black Country, watching the Wolverhampton Wanderers and minding the legacy of Led Zeppelin?
I would say it was restlessness if it was not something else, which is inquisitive curiosity and the need to challenge myself. It's a two-dimensional gig being a singer, and you can get lost in your own tedium and repetition.

Plant’s inability to not get lost in tedium and repetition is what fans both love and hate about him. It explains the great moments in his career, why Led Zeppelin didn’t stop progressing after Led Zeppelin II, or their fourth album. It also explains why he is riding the busses with Buddy Miller and Patty Griffin and not jetting around the world with Led Zeppelin; why he is doing two nights at The Beacon Theatre and not seven at Madison Square Garden; why Rock and Roll is now a bluegrass number.

The Band is getting better as well, Plant tells Vulliamy. “Something went up a notch in Ann Arbor( the night before Toronto).” It continues into the Toronto show:
a spell of sorts descends on the Canadian theatre, too, an alchemic moment, and the musicians Cheshire cat grin at one another, because they know.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Robert Plant and the Wall Street Journal

The concerts are an eclectic mix pulled together by the charm and force of Mr. Plant's personality, the wonder of his voice and his spirited band…

One of the better stories, and interviews I’ve seen with Robert Plant landed today in the Wall Street Journal.101201-robert-plant Heading into New York for two shows this weekend, Plant talked to the Journal about the progress of the Band of Joy.

When recordings of the Band of Joy’s first show in Memphis hit the internet last July, I listened to it and thought, not for me. But by December when I listened to and partially watched, the BBC Electric Proms broadcast, it was clear either the show was much better or I had acclimatized to what Plant was doing. Turns out, the shows were better:
"I think we were masking a whole lot of nerves. It was great, though. It started becoming a bit more mysterious on the second and third nights.

The project, as Plant refers to it, is ever evolving. During sound check the band sits in a circle and toys with arrangements. It’s all part of the “workshop feel” of the American music scene at present, says Plant. Making the obvious reference that many reviewers, including myself, have made, he compares The Band of Joy to Led Zeppelin III
The two projects have some similarities over 40 years: the spirit of the '70s.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Jimmy Page en Cuba

What was Jimmy Page doing in Cuba? Other than buying records and the iconic picture of Che Guevera taken by photographer Alberto Korda, his appearance in the Spanish nation raises questions about Jimmy’s musical intentions.

Page spent at least three days in Cuba. On Saturday, word got out that Page was staying at the old Havana’s Hotel Saratoga and local DJ Juan Camacho and Cuban rock band Tesis de Menta (Mint Thesis?) went down to talk to Page. Page, looking fit and healthy in shorts and black t-shirt, told the admirers that he was interested in the work of Havana night club, Maxim Rock. Maxim Rock, along with the Cuban Rock Agency, work to promote rock bands in Cuba.

Last June Page visited Brazil, including a stop in a local Samba school. At the time it was suggested Page would return in September to record local musicians. Everybody then believed, Page included, that he was going to be recording in 2010. In late 2009 Page said:
I intend to be making music next year and I’ve got lots of new music to present.

By December 2010, his tune had changed as he told Liz Barnes:
I’m desperate to be playing, but it won’t be ‘til next year.

It is now next year, and Page is in Cuba checking out a rock club and promoter.  Is Page planning on doing something with a latin/Spanish feel, much like he did with Moroccan musicians on Page and Plant’s Unledded album?

Time will tell, but we can only hope this Jimmy Page sighting indicates that he’s beginning work on his next project.

Also posted at Lemon Squeezings

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Black Country Communion at High Voltage

Black Country Communion have been confirmed to play the main stage at London's High Voltage Festival.jason-bcc

Taking Place the weekend of July 23 and 24th, 2010 in London's historic Victoria Park, this is the second year for the festival which features acts from classic rock, progressive rock and metal.

Also featured at this years festival is Michael Schenker Group, Judas Priest and Dream Theater. Jethro Tull will headline the Progressive rock stage.

The festival appearance by Black Country Communion will happen nine days after the end of  their seven date German tour. It also probably means, if you are an American fan, that Black Country Communion will not be coming to a town near you until at least August.

Tickets are £99 for a weekend pass and £56.50 for a day pass. VIP passes are also available and can be purchased through the High Voltage Festival Website.

Robert Plant in Toronto: Not Your Grandpa’s Led Zeppelin

A Robert Plant concert seems like a good chance to wear a Led Zeppelin shirt: maybe that old leather Swan Song jacket; throw on that Ahmet Ertegun Tribute Concert t-shirt that‘s too rare to wear everyday. You can wear what you chose, but before dropping half a days pay to see Robert Plant, understand this: there’s one person who won’t be wearing Led Zeppelin - Robert Plant.

Not everybody seems to understand this going in, and on Saturday Night in Toronto, there were reports of fans being disappointed in Plant’s show at the Sony Centre. While it’s understandable that fans want a piece of Led Zeppelin, Plant has spent much of the last three years distancing himself from his Zeppelin legacy, and he wasn’t about to don a Zoso t-shirt on this night. Or, as the singer put it himself from the stage of the former O'Keefe Centre, where Led Zeppelin played in 1969, Saturday night:
Nov 2 1969 - twice... there was somebody here that I knew.

While second hand reports of disappointed fans have emerged, all first hand accounts seen here have been positive. If you know what to expect from Robert Plant circa 2011, you will see a great performer with an excellent band behind him.

With Plant looking casual in Jeans and female singer Patty Griffin sexy in thigh length skirt and knee high boots, The Band of Joy performed a 21 song set, including stripped down arrangements of Houses of the Holy, Tall Cool One, Ramble On and Rock and Roll. Otherwise, the set was predominantly from his Band of Joy album with a couple of songs from 2007’s Grammy Award winning album with Alison Krauss, Raising Sand.

Tangerine and Gallows Pole fared best as being both from the Zeppelin canon and suitable to the assembled band. But the rest of the Zeppelin material seems out of place and on the whole bears very little resemblance to the original. They are throw-ins for the fans: Plant would rather, no doubt, add a couple of songs from the selection of 86,000 songs on guitarist Buddy Miller’s laptop.

While fans can be forgiven for thinking they are seeing Robert Plant, the singer himself considers that you are seeing The Band of Joy, of which he is but a member. This is shown in the fact that Miller, Griffin and guitarist Darrell Scott all get songs of their own to sing. Other members of the Band of Joy are drummer/percussionist Marco Giovino and bassist Byron House.

The Band of Joy ended the show, as they have other shows on this tour, with an acapella version of The Incredible String Band’s A Very Cellular Song, sometimes called Goodnight, The Goodnight Song or We Bid You Goodnight. It is appropriate as Plant is clearly saying goodbye to Led Zeppelin. Know that going in, leave the Tour Over America ’77 hoodie at home and you’ll enjoy the show.

Toronto Sun
Eye Weekly
Suite 101
Henne Music (with videos)
Chart Attack
Globe and Mail

Robert Plant
Sony Centre - Toronto, ON – Saturday January 22, 2011

  • Cindy, I’ll Marry You Someday

  • Angel Dance

  • Down To The Sea

  • Rich Woman

  • House of Cards

  • Love Throw A Line (vocals: Patty Griffin)

  • Please Read The Letter

  • A Satisfied Mind (vocals: Darrell Scott)

  • Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down

  • Take Me Where Trouble Don’t Go (vocals: Buddy Miller)

  • Tangerine

  • Twelve Gates To The City (with excerpts from Wade in the Water and In My Time of Dying)

  • Houses Of The Holy

  • You Can’t Buy My Love

  • Tall Cool One

  • Ramble On

  • Gallow’s Pole

  • Encore:
  • Silver Rider

  • Rock and Roll

  • A Very Cellular Song (We Bid You Goodnight)

Sunday January 23, 2011

  • Cindy, I’ll Marry You Someday

  • Angel Dance

  • Down To The Sea

  • House of Cards

  • Rich Woman

  • Love Throw A Line (vocals: Patty Griffin)

  • Misty Mountain Hop

  • A Satisfied Mind (vocals: Darrell Scott)

  • Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down

  • Take Me Where Trouble Don’t Go (vocals: Buddy Miller)

  • Tangerine

  • Twelve Gates To The City (with excerpts from Wade in the Water and In My Time of Dying)

  • Houses Of The Holy

  • Tall Cool One

  • Ramble On

  • Gallow’s Pole

  • Encore:
  • Monkey

  • Rock and Roll

  • A Very Cellular Song (We Bid You Goodnight)

Monday, January 24, 2011

What’s Next for Band of Joy?

Enjoying their critically acclaimed tour, Robert Plant and the Band of Joy are playing predominantly music from their self titled album. 101201-robert-plantEach of those songs is a cover version, an interpretation of someone else’s music.

The question Plant fans always have in the back of their mind: what’s next for Robert Plant? In an interview with The Pulse of Radio Plant hinted new, original music is coming from the Band of Joy:
We’re talking, we have to write songs now. It’s all very well celebrating other people’s song writing… But we’ve got to head that way soon.

Getting excited about what Robert Plant is going to do down the road is a fools bet, in this case possibly more so than usual. In a Rolling Stone interview, released just two weeks ago, Plant says he’s done song writing:
I’ve kind of given up writing. All my writing is sort of meandering. The last time I picked up a pen was when Tony Blair became a Roman Catholic.

In the same article Plant talks about recording sessions with Alison Krauss in 2009, the follow up to Grammy winning Raising Sand. “The sound just wasn’t there,” Plant notes, explaining why the sessions didn’t result in another album.

Led Zeppelin fans who were anticipating a reunion in 2008 will recall Plant at times suggested a reunion could happen, and certainly Jimmy Page and Jason Bonham anticipated that it would happen.

Which is to say that pinpointing what’s next for Robert Plant can be a moving target, even, I have grown to suspect, for Robert Plant. Is the Band of Joy going to write new material, or is Robert Plant done writing? Nobody knows, but time will tell.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Robert Plant Does Wanee

Robert Plant and the Band of Joy will be among the acts headlining the 2011 Wanee Music Festival.

161917_172890200221_2234789_nSince 2005, the Allman Brothers Band has hosted the Wanee Festival in the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Florida. The 2011 Festival will take place the weekend of April 14-16.

Tickets of $188.50 include four nights of camping and three days of music.

Among the other acts also on the bill are Widespread Panic, The Steve Miller Band, Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi Band, Hot Tuna and current openers for the Band of Joy Tour, The North Mississippi Allstars.

For more, see the Wanee Festival Website.

Alison Krauss Follows Up Rasing Sand

In 2009, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss returned to the studio to record the follow up to their Grammy winning album, Raising Sand. "The sound just wasn't there," Plant told Rolling Stone about those sessions.

Plant then called on the guitarist on the Raising Sand tour, Buddy Miller, who told Plant, "go back to Alison." They collaborated on Plant's new album, Band of Joy instead while Krauss turned back to her old band, Union Station.

Alison Krauss and Union Station's new album, Paper Airplane, will be released April 12th. It is her first album since Raising Sand was released in 2007, and her first with Union Station since 2004's Lonely Runs Both Ways.

Track list for Paper Airplane:

  • Paper Airplane

  • Dustbowl Children

  • Lie Awake

  • Lay My Burden Down

  • My Love Follows You Where You Go

  • Dimming Of The Day

  • On The Outside Looking In

  • Miles To Go

  • Sinking Stone

  • Bonita and Bill Butler

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Can't Buy My Love

The more I hear the Robert Plant's Band of Joy album one song at a time, with each piece removed from the context of the rest of the album, the more I like it. Whether it's the first single, Angel Dance, The second release, Monkey, this weeks free download, Central Two-O-Nine or the new video of Can't Buy My Love, each song is stellar.

Meanwhile, Plant has added another leg of his current North American tour:

  • Apriil 8 - Louisville, KY - The Palace

  • April 9 Chicago, IL - The Auditorium Theatre

  • April 11 Milwaukee, WI - The Riverside Ballroom

  • April 12 Minneapolis, MN - The State Theatre

  • April 15 Hollywood, FL - Hard Rock Live Arena

  • 17 Vancouver, BC - Queen Elizabeth Theater

  • April 19 Portland, OR - The Schnitzer

  • April 20 Seattle, WA - The Paramount

  • April 22 Berkeley, CA - The Greek

  • April 23 Los Angeles, CA - The Greek

  • April 25 Santa Barbara, CA - The Santa Barbara Bowl

  • April 27 Denver, CO - The Fillmore

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Stephen Tyler Rejected Led Zeppelin...

So says Stephen Tyler, anyway. On an interview on Shock Jock Howard Stern's radio show yesterday, Tyler admitted he played with the Zeppelin's, minus Robert Plant, in October 2008 as had been reported at the time.

The reason the pairing never happened? Not that the audition was "shambolic," as Page contended at the time, but Tyler turned them down. They will, however, do dates in the future if you believe Tyler.

What's not to believe form a guy who sold his artistic credibility down the American Idol hole?

Steve Sauer has more, much more.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Free Robert Plant Download

Robert Plant is offering a free download off the third song on the Band of Joy album, Central Two-O-Nine.

Here's what I said about Central Two-O-Nine when I reviewed Band of Joy back in September:
Central Two-O-Nine is ‘old timey,’ mandolin and resonator guitar based up-tempo dirge. Did they have distortion in the depression? If they did, this is what it would have sounded like.

Click below to get the song from Top Spin Media.

Tight But Loose #28

The first words of the lead editorial in the latest edition of Tight But Loose, Dave Lewis says:
Well I have to say that year one of this new era of Tight But Loose has been a pretty eventful one.

35597_167676946607179_142780809096793_310677_2541257_nWell, I have to say that year one &tc. has brought some excellent magazines to my door. The newest edition, Issue 28, is the third in the newly designed Tight But Loose (TBL) and easily the best of the bunch. It is full of good articles that are informative and easy to read. The great Ross Halfin picture of Jimmy Page on the cover, looking relaxed yet elegant (Tight but Loose?) gives a hint that the inside will be a Zeppelin fans treat. It is.

For the first time since I started receiving TBL last year, I read it cover to cover. There was no superfluous articles that didn’t really interest me, nothing seemed to fill, every article interesting and relevant.

That said, it’s been a good year to be writing about Led Zeppelin as all of their former members have been busy. The last four months no less than the rest of the year, so TBL 28 had a lot to write about. Jimmy Page’s book release, Robert Plant’s Band of Joy tour, Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience and John Paul Jones doing a mini tour with the Dave Rawlings Machine. Much of what happened also happened in Dave Lewis’ backyard, including Robert Plant playing BBC at the Proms, the Robert Plant BBC night, Jimmy Page’s book launch, the classic rock awards.

It was a good year, and the best thing you can say about a fan magazine is, they were there and they chronicled it all. TBL can make that claim for 2010, especially at the latter part of the year.

Twenty-eleven promises to be another big year in the world of Led Zeppelin. I only hope Tight But Loose is able to keep the momentum going, and provide great reading for another year.

Tight But Loose can be ordered from the TBL website. It is, depending on where you live, from $10-$13 (Canadian) for the single issue, $30-$40 for a three issue subscription. Get the subscription, you’ll be glad you did.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Bettye Lavette Performs All My Love

Robert Plant Gets BRIT Nomination

When the British Recording Industry Trust (BRIT)Awards were first handed out in 1977, Robert Plant and Led Zeppelin were among the biggest bands in the world. 101201-robert-plantHowever, Led Zeppelin was not nominated then, or later, and no member of Led Zeppelin has ever been nominated.

Thirty-four years on, Robert Plant is finally up for a Brit Award for Best British Male Solo Artist. Plant is going against Mark Ronson, Paul Weller, Plan B and Tinie Tempah.

The BRIT’s will be awarded Feb 15 at the 02 arena, a building Plant has triumphed in once before. Perhaps he can go 2 for 2.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

BCC Tour Dates

According to Tight But Loose, Black Country Communion has scheduled some summer tour dates in Germany.

  • 30th June Stuttgart, Germanybcc-logo

  • 01st July Frankfurt, Germany

  • 02nd July Leipzig, Germany

  • 04th July Munich, Germany

  • 05th July Berlin, Germany

  • 06th July Hamburg, Germany

  • 14th July Bonn, Germany

Meanwhile, Black Country Communion have begun recording their second album, BCC2. According to Glenn Hughes:
We recorded our first new BCC 2 song F------ it loud...GH

Monday, January 10, 2011

Black Country Come-June-ion

Glenn Hughes announced via Facebook and Twitter that Black Country Communion's second album, BCC2 will be released in June to coincide with a summer tour.

Black Country Communion is currently doing pre-production for BCC2, and are expected to go into the studio by the end of the month.

In a throwback to the 1970's, when bands produced albums yearly or more, BCC2 will be the supergroup's second album in less than a year. BCC's 1st album was released last September to favourable reviews. The band just finished two performances in England over the Christmas break, which were also strongly received.

Pat Moran Dies

The man who twiddled the knobs of Robert Plant's first two solo albums has died. Pat Moran Engineered Plant's first post-Zeppelin work, Pictures at Eleven, and is listed as a mixing credit along with Plant.cover363_62392

On Plant's second album, The Principle of Moments, Moran again engineered, as well as co-produced and co-mixed with Plant and former Zeppelin tour manager Benji Lefevre.

Moran, who also worked on Lou Gramm's Ready or Not, Big Country's No Place Like Home, Iggy Pop's Soldier and others, had been suffering a ten year illness.

No word on when, where or exact cost of death for Pat Moran, one of the key cogs in Robert Plant's transition from Led Zeppelin.


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Happy 67th Birthday Jimmy Page

Last year, Jimmy Page talked about new material and some live shows, including specific mention of the Peace Concert in China. None of it happened. Fans of the guitar legend did get, however, a high end book release.

jp01pr240910Late in the year, Page opined that he was "desperate to be playing," and hoped new material and live shows where in the cards for 2011. We hope so too.

Today, however, Dr. Page, OBE, is celebrating his birthday, and Ramble On wishes him nothing more than a very happy birthday, and many more.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Robert Plant’s Same Tricks: The Rolling Stone Feature

“I see your still up to the same tricks,” John Bonham’s 81 year old mother Joan announced to Robert Plant backstage at a recent concert in Birmingham: “People who have written their story - they’ve got to the point where nothing moves. I don’t deal in that,” he later says about his musical contemporaries still playing the same songs.

Robert Plant is an enigma, a feature of the singer that comes through more than any other in a Rolling Stone magazine feature hitting newsstands Monday. Plant is at once talking about “the occasional tryst,” next telling Led Zeppelin fans the old Led Zeppelin groupie days are over:

Tell people the mud shark is dead and Buddy Miller’s got 86,000 songs on his laptop.

Plant talks about looking ahead when it comes to Led Zeppelin, but about Alison Krauss, “we’ll come back to it.” About travelling to Morocco, revisiting the famous trip he and Jimmy page took in 1973 (not 1978 as stated in the article), “I wanted to go back down that road.”

Frustratingly inconsistent as Robert Plant can be, make no mistake to his intent in this article: he has no intention of revisiting Led Zeppelin. And considering Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and Jason Bonham recorded six or seven songs together in the aftermath of the 2007 reunion show, the most significant quote in the Rolling Stone article may be his one on writing:

I’ve kind of given up writing. All my writing is sort of meandering. The last time I lifted a pen was when Tony Blair became a Roman Catholic (Dec 2007)

The Rolling Stone article, Robert Plant’s Mystical Mountain Hop, has been getting a lot of press this week. It is, in reality, a disappointingly thin article, with almost all the quotes released in the articles pre-press, and the other 90% reviewing his recent career.

What you really want to know about Robert Plant circa 2011 is, he sees himself as a teacher, teaching music fans about old American music:

“You stay,” he tells the articles author Stephen Rodrick as he’s leaving the Cecil Sharp House, a repository for British folk music and dance. “Learn from this.”

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Robert Plant: American Songwriter?

Robert Plant isn't American, and doesn't really write his own songs anymore. 101201-robert-plant"I’m through with trying to express stuff in three minutes until I’ve got something really interesting, ironic or humorous," he tells American Songwriter. YEt he is featured in an American Songwriter Piece this month: Robert Plant: The Unlikely King of Americana.

It is a pretty wide ranging piece, in which Plant discusses his career, old and new. On his current status, Plant is diffident:
I traded drugs for Rand McNally. And you know what? It’s better than drugs...

I was looking for substance to get my head around it and my motive to project into other people’s songs, you know. I just think there’s so many different strains and filigrees in our record, which require a different mind to get into them as a singer, to tell them.

And that question? The one he hates, but an interviewer has to ask:
...(Plant) refers to the idea of Led Zeppelin playing more gigs together as something that’s “not even a talking point,”

Monday, January 3, 2011

Planet Rock Year End Poll

London radio station Planet Rock had listener voting throughout December in their annual year end poll and Led Zeppelin related acts faired well.

Band of the Year was Black Country Communion, of whom Planet Rock said:
bcc-logoThe first rule of supergroups is that they are[sic] must be a crushing disappointment. Black Country Communion obviously didn’t get the memo and despite playing just two unbelievable concerts this year they have beaten several very big bands to win this category by some margin. An excellent album, several musicians at the top of their game and a bunch of songs that put the classic in classic rock. More please. Much, much more.

Black Country Communion also won New Band of the Year and third in Album of the Year. Robert Plant followed in the latter category with Band of Joy being voted #5 Album of the Year. Plant's Band of Joy also came in #8 for Live Act of the Year.

On top of Black Country Communion's success, BCC guitarist Joe Bonamassa topped the Best Live Act and Guitar Hero of 2010.

Other Led Zeppelin wins are It Might Get Loud taking #5 in the Film of the Year honours. It Might Get Loud was a guitarist movie with Jimmy Page, The Edge and Jack White.

The final category, Hope for 2011, went to "Led Zeppelin Reunion." I'll join them in hoping for that.

Happy 65th Birthday...

John Paul Jones

Retirement age comes but once a lifetime, and John Paul Jones has hit the official age of retirement. Music fans worldwide can only hope he doesn't take the hint of age, and continues working.

Whether with Led Zeppelin, as a solo artist or with Them Crooked Vultures, Jones has proven to be a rhythm section tour de force. May he continue to be so.

The last couple of birthdays, I have wished Jones a year traveling with old friends. Last year, it was modified to friends, old and new. This year, let me modify it again, and wish John Paul Jones a year of music, of friends, health and happiness.

Happy 65th Birthday John Paul Jones.