Friday, January 31, 2014

A Pop Culture Reference

From Bloom County November 5, 1982

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Ramble On Radio: The Led Zeppelin Podcast - Episode #45

Led Zeppelin won their first Grammy this week. Today, I look at the Grammy's in the 1970's and try to establish, how did hey never win one in their heyday?

And no, the Red Hot Chili Peppers will not be playing Dazed and Confused at the Superbowl.

You can download the podcast at Podbean or Spreaker. If you go to Spreaker, be sure to follow the episode.

You can also subscribe on iTunes. If you subscribe via iTunes, be sure to leave a review.

In case you missed them, here's episodes 43 and 44.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Dazed and Confused at the Superbowl

This years Superbowl half-time show will feature Bruno Mars, being backed by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Chili Pepper drummer Chad Smith was at the 2014 Drum-off this past weekend, and commented on the upcoming show:

We're going to play Led Zeppelin's live version of Dazed and Confused.

My Facebook page lit up this morning as this clip spread. However, it appears to me that Smith is talking tongue and cheek, giving an obvious false answer to a question the reporter knew he couldn't answer.  As the half-time show is about 15 minutes long, and live versions of Dazed and Confused that have been released range up to 29 minutes long, it seems unlikely.

By way of example, Madonna's 2012 half-time show was 12 minutes long, and the version of Dazed and Confused originally released on The Song Remains the Same Soundtrack (the most known live Dazed and Confused) runs at 26:53. So don't bet on hearing Bruno Mars going into San Fransisco after Josh Klinghoffer's violin bow solo. It ain't happening.

Meanwhile, The Red Hot Chili Peppers tackled (and thoroughly beat into submission) Ramble On back in 2000.

John Davis Interview

Celebration Day Audio Mastering Engineer John Davis appeared on Dee 106.3 and Silk 106.9 to talk with Brian Plumridge about the Grammy's, and the Led Zeppelin remasters, which he is also mastering.

Some quotes from the interview (emphasis mine):

There's stuff that's never been out before. There's new songs they've found, new versions of classics. They've gone back to the taped source, which is an incredible thing. The masters they're using have never been played before, so they just sound so vital as opposed to remastering tracks from tapes that have been played for 20, 30 years. You just lose a lot of the vibe, and the quality goes. But all this stuff just sounds like it was recorded yesterday.

I don't know when it's going to come out. On Led Zeppelin time they do like to take their time and get the right slot. But when it does come out all of the bonus albums have just got incredible stuff on it and I think it's just going to be fantastic when it comes out.

The all singing, all dancing version, and all the albums and all of the bonus disks, I'll be very surprised if that doesn't. be on the Grammy for next year.

On the 20th of February, we've got like a day of press. So people coming in from all over the world, so he's (Jimmy Page) gonna  of an interview, just going through the box sets and what the plans are.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Led Zeppelin Win Grammy

Led Zeppelin's album, Celebration Day, a live album of their 2007 one-off reunion show at London's O2 arena, has won the Grammy for Best Rock Album.

The band were nominated for two Grammy's this year, with Kashmir losing out to Imagine Dragon's Radioactive for Best Rock Performance (are  you kidding me?). The truth is, missing Kashmir in 1975 (The Eagles Lyin' Eyes won best performance by a duo or group in 1975) is such a major Grammy faux-pas that it should have been an automatic this time.

It is Led Zeppelin's first performance Grammy, although they did receive a lifetime achievement award in 2005. As well Jimmy Page and Robert Plant won a Grammy in 1988 for the song Most High off of their Walking Into Clarksdale CD. Individually, Plant won five Grammy's in 2009, including album and record of the year, for his collaboration with Alison Krauss, Raising Sand, and John Paul Jones' band Them Crooked Vultures won one Best Hard Rock Performance in 2011 for the song New Fang.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience dates

I spoke too soon. In the January 7th podcast, I wondered whether Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience was done. It sure was quiet, and Bonham had this new group with Glenn Hughes and Andrew Watt that he seems so excited about (more on that, including some clips coming in the next few days, apparantly). So maybe the Heartbreaker tour would be the last hurrah.

It all sounded so easy...

However, Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience has turned up on the lineup at 2 music festivals in May, the Big Guava Festival in Tampa, Florida May 2 - 4th, and Rock on the Range in Columbus Ohio May 16-18. So it appears it isn't over yet for the Led Zeppelin Experience. One can't help wonder if he's rehearsing a new keyboard player for just 2 dates? Or will they go as a four piece as they did on the Heartbreaker tour? And will there be more dates?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Jimmy Page's Five Best Yardbird Solos

Guitar World's Damian Fanelli  has done an article on their website of Jimmy Page's top five solo's while he was with The Yardbirds. His list?

Think About It
Happenings Ten Years Time Ago
White Summer
Smile On Me
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor

Head to the site for YouTube clips of all the songs, plus Fanelli's reasoning.

Forty-Five Years Ago Today

... and so it begins. While Led Zeppelin had performed as the New Yardbirds in September, played some gigs in England late in 1968, and began their first U.S. tour two weeks before, it all really started on January 12, 1969 with the release of Led Zeppelin.

Their are many reports of that first album hitting the airwaves, turntables and 8-tracks of America with a bang, of it being a real, "oh my God!" moment for many rock fans. Led Zeppelin had arrived, and within three years would become the biggest band in the world, a stay atop the music world that lasts to this day.  

Financed by Jimmy Page himself, recorded on a tight budget in 36-hours over a couple of weeks, it would contain all the elements that made Led Zeppelin: Babe I'm Gonna Leave You is an acoustic masterpiece with a tough, rock exterior; Good Times Bad Times a John Bonham showcase rocker with a funky groove; Dazed and Confused the epic that would be a staple of  their live shows until 1977; Black Mountain Side, the Jimmy Page showcase; Communication Breakdown, the hard rocker that foreshadowed punk by years and the pure blues of You Shook Me and I Can't Quit You Baby. And for all that, it's still possible to meet people who's favourite song on the album is How Many More Times or Your Time is Gonna Come, the former of which was the bands first live showcase.

As the band took the stage on the Fillmore West in San Francisco on this night in 1969, they couldn't know what was coming. But the show they would do on that night and the ones in the months to follow would seed the ground for their reputation as a great live act, just as the album that was released 45-years ago today would introduce them to the world as a band to be taken seriously, even if Rolling Stone didn't.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Ramble On Radio - The Led Zeppelin Podcast - Episode #42

On this episode, the first of 2014, I examine the members of Led Zeppelin's musical journey in 2013, and peek into the crystal ball to see what 2014 will bring.

You can download the podcast at Podbean or Spreaker. If you go to Spreaker, be sure to follow the episode.

You can also subscribe on iTunes. If you subscribe via iTunes, be sure to leave a review.

Happy 70th Birthday Jimmy Page

Picture Courtesy of Neal Preston, Sound and Fury©

Picture Courtesy of Neal Preston, Sound and Fury©
Pictures Courtesy of Neal Preston, from his book Sound and Fury.

Sensational Space Shifters European Tour Announced


Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters begin their European tour in support a new album on June 10th in Sweden, it was announced today. The band will play Sweden, Norway, Estonia, Russia, Ireland, France, Germany, Czeck Republic and Japan between June and August 17th.  Plant's hinted-at Glastonbury performance will actually be a month and a half after the famed festival, on August 9th at Glastonbury Abbey as part of the Abbey Extravaganza.

There are more dates expected to be announced, including an American tour, presumably in the fall (can we also presume a late spring/early summer album release?).

Here's the dates scheduled*.

10 SWEDEN, Gothenburg TRAGARN (Tickets)
12 NORWAY, Bergen BERGEN FEST (Tickets)
14 SWEDEN, Rattvik DALHALLA (Tickets)
16 ESTONIA, Tallin SAKU ARENA (Tickets)
18 RUSSIA, St. Petersburg NEW ARENA
20 RUSSIA, Moscow CROCUS HALL (Tickets)
16 GERMANY, Berlin ZITADELLE (Tickets)
17 GERMANY, Dresden JUNGE GARDE (Tickets)
19 CZECH REP., Ostrava COLURS OF OSTRAVA (Tickets)
9 ENGLAND, Glastonbury GLASTONBURY ABBEY (Tickets)
*Note: I will update as the dates are added.

The Sensational Space Shifters are:

Robert Plant - vocals, harmonica
Justin Adams – guitar, bendir, vocals
John Baggott – keyboards
Juldeh Camara – ritti (one stringed African violin), kologo (African Banjo), talking drum, vocals
Billy Fuller – bass guitar, vocals
Dave Smith – drums and percussion
Liam 'Skin' Tyson – guitar, vocals

Friday, January 3, 2014

Happy 68th Birthday...

John Paul Jones.

The Led Zeppelin bassist spent his 68th year playing and touring with the obscure improvisational avant-garde band Supersilent, writing an opera based on August Strindberg's Ghost Sonata, and in November, touring the Southern US with Country/Bluegrass singer/songwriter/producer Dave Rawlings Machine.

And if  your thinking avant-garde? Opera? Must be a very serious fellow, the last week has seen this photobomb going around.

Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones photobombs unsuspecting Led Zeppelin fan.

I, for one, can't wait to see what next year brings.

Happy 68th Birthday John Paul Jones. Take the day off and enjoy some rest, you probably need it.

Here's Jones performing Going to California with Dave Rawlings Machine - likely on November 26th.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy 2014 Led Zeppelin Fans

It's a new year, and with it, Led Zeppelin appear to be dropping new music on their fans in the next 12 months, both collectively and individually.

It's no secret that Jimmy Page has been remastering the entire studio catalogue over the past year.  Rumours of the first album, and possibly the first and second being released within the next month have circulated for a while now. On his website today, Jimmy Page states that the first three albums will be released in 2014.

Each album will be fully remastered, and come with a companion disk of unreleased material, likely studio out-takes more than new songs or live material.

As well, Page has announced via a New Years Day message on his webpage that "I've also been working on some of my own material from the archives that will be unleashed in 2014." Whether he means a remastering or reworking of Outrider, Coverdale/Page or The Firm or brand new material is unclear. While it's possible he means some new material that has been in the vault for a while, the use of the word archives suggests a re-release.

Robert Plant has also been in the studio. It's been well recorded via his twitter account that Plant and his current band, The Sensational Space Shifters have been spending some time this fall in the studio. Plant had recorded almost an albums worth of material with the Space Shifters last year (as well as having done a Band of Joy album with Buddy Miller) but the band developed a harder rock sound through their American tours in 2013, and it's possible they feel last years record is not reflective of where the band is currently. Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters also have a summer tour of Europe planned, with a number of dates unofficially announced. Plant's website only says at this point, "Stay tuned for 2014 tour news."

Meanwhile, a tweet from Audio Virus LAB on December 21st seemed to have gone unnoticed. It announced:
Coming up in 2014 #JohnPaulJones #HelgeSten #MinibusPimps #Deathprod #SusannaSonata
The accompanying picture said "Minibus Pimps (John Paul Jones & Helge Sten) Cloud to the Ground. Limited Edition 180 gram vinyl cut from the original 24/96 master."

While this tweet suggests that a Minibus Pimps vinyl album, featuring John Paul Jones will be released in 2014, emails to Jones representatives and to Audio Virus LAB seeking confirmation have gone unanswered.

As well, Jones has been working on a opera for the past couple of years, with a working production date of 2014.  Whether anybody outside of London's opera-going base will see or hear it remains unclear.

And finally, there is Jason Bonham, who, along with Glenn Hughes, has been tweeting messages throughout the fall indicating a new project with the 2 Black Country Communion bandmates and guitarist/keyboardist Andrew Watt. Expect an album from the trio at the least, that won't use the moniker Black Country Communion, as Joe Bonamassa controls the name and has reportedly denied his two former bandmates permission to use it.

Happy 2014 Led Zeppelin fans. The year is young but it might be a good day to get some work in and earn some cash that we're going to need to feed our music habit in 2014.

Robert Plant in Mali

The 8th and final episode of Robert Plant's home video style documentary, Zirka, is now available.


Part 7
Part 6
Part 5
Part 4
Part 3
Part 2
Part 1