Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Led Zeppelin Podcast Episode 102

It was quite a week. I started off Monday interviewing photographer Scarlet Page, who just happens to also be Jimmy Page's daughter. The interview went well, if I do say so myself.

On Tuesday it was up and out, as I made my way to Toronto to see Jimmy Page. We left in the morning, and as Toronto traffic has been horrific in the past few weeks due to the Pan-Am games, had no idea whether the journey would take an hour or three. It was closer to the first, and I made it to Bay and Bloor for the Jimmy Page book signing. Arriving too late to get one of the three-hundred wrist bands, I was graciously allowed to linger and take as many pictures as I needed to. It was quite a mob scene but Page seemed at ease as he chatted amiably with fans. You can read all about it, including some pictures here.

Then I was off to the Masonic Temple of Young Street, formerly the Much Music TV studios and before that the Rockpile bar, where Led Zeppelin played three times in 1969. Jimmy Page was giving a listening party, and would play 10 songs from the deluxe editions of next weeks final remastered Led Zeppelin albums, Presence, In Through The Out Door and Coda. I arrived about ten-after six and wound up in the front row. I have seen a picture from the event, and all that you can see is Jimmy Page, host Jeff Woods and the back my big head. You can read about the event here.

As a side note: I would like to thanks Warner Brothers Records for the pass to hear the new songs and see Jimmy speak.

In the latest edition of my podcast, Ramble On Radio: The Led Zeppelin Podcast 102, you can hear the entire Scarlet Page interview, as she talks about her upcoming book Resonators. Resonators is a black and white photography book featuring some of the worlds greatest living guitar players taken by Scarlet Page. Scarlet is funny and engaging and it's possible I was a bit smitten by the end of the interview.

Scarlet has a Kickstarter campaign to raise the necessary funds to publish the book. A £50 donation gets you a hardcover copy of the book, so please consider donating. As well, there's her personal photography page, her Facebook page and the Resonators Facebook page.

The Podcast also has a full accounting of my evening with Jimmy Page, including a full review of the songs played.

You can subscribe to Ramble On Radio on iTunes. Please, if your at iTunes, stop by and leave a review, even if you aren't downloading from iTunes. You can also listen on Spreaker. If you have a Spreaker account, please follow Ramble on Radio - 100 followers means I can apply to get Ramble On Radio on IHeartRadio. As well, Ramble On Radio can be listened to or downloaded at Podbean.

--> For certified professional guitar repair in Cambridge Ontario: Brian Gardiner Guitar Repair

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Deluxe Editions Playback

As noted in the previous post, I attended a playback of bonus tracks from the upcoming remasters of Led Zeppelin's Presence, In Through The Out Door and Coda. Here's the evenings playback:

  1. Friends (with the Bombay Orchestra)
  2. In the Evening (Rough Mix)
  3. Desire (Wanton Song Rough Mix)
  4. Sugar Mama 
  5. Poor Tom (Instrumental Mix)
  6. 10 Ribs & All/Carrot Pod Pod (Pod)
  7. Fool in the Rain (Rough Mix)
  8. Bonzo's Montreux (Alternate Version)
  9. Two Ones are Won (Achilles Last Stand Reference Mix)
  10. If It Keeps on Raining (When the Levee Breaks Rough Mix)
The sound system used was top notch. Two of the tracks played, In the Evening (Rough Mix) and Sugar Mama, have been pre-released, so a reasonable estimation of how good the system was compared to my home listening (which tends to be iPod) was possible. My home system failed such a comparison. It's worth noting that the separation of instruments so integral to the impressiveness of, for instance, Friends was also quite obvious in Sugar Mama, so your mileage on some of my comments may vary.

That said, overall, I was super impressed with this collection of bonus tracks. The Bombay Session Friends, familiar enough to bootleg collectors, sounded incredible and Two Ones are Won and If It Keeps on Raining will blow you away, especially the latter.

Here's my thoughts on the selections:

1. Friends (Bombay Orchestra) - from Coda:  What a start to the listening session. Jimmy explained later about visiting Bombay with Robert. They performed this song and they loved the percussionists so much, Jimmy had to have them try Four Sticks, which is also included. The sound is so good, the percussion in the right channel is so clear. 

In the after-talk, Jimmy also explained he wrote this at his Boathouse in Pangbourne, after a "row" with the woman he was with at the time. He went on the deck overlooking the Thames and when he was done, he had it complete. He knew even then he wanted an Indian flavour to it. 

2. In the Evening (Rough Mix) - From In Through the Out Door. This has already been released and you can hear it yourself somewhere out there. It's worth noting it has much less effects on it, and the gizmotron intro is cut way back (and yes, I learnt Jimmy used a gizmotron on the intro last night). But the song excels as a more straight forward rock number, and the band seems to loosen up in the chorus making a fun version of the song. I like this one a lot, and it was great to hear it in full audiophile sound.

3. Desire (The Wanton Song - Rough Mix) -  from Coda: This is a more keyboard version of Wanton Song, with the keys higher/guitar lower in the mix. Things are also much different at the break with some missing guitar overdubs.

4. Sugar Mama (Mix) - Coda: Again, this has been released for over a month now. Hardly new, but I used it as an opportunity to baseline the audio system they were using. It was excellent, and so was Sugar Mama.

5. Poor Tom (Instrumental Mix) - Coda: If your a drummer wanting to learn a shuffle, Bonham is putting on a clinic on Poor Tom, and it shines through on this version sans vocals.

6. 10 Ribs & All/Carrot Pod Pod (Pod) - Presence: It turns out they did bring the piano/keyboards with them to Munich for the 1975 Presence sessions. This is a keyboard piece all over. It starts like a ballad, and I wondered if the descending chords of the first couple of minutes were a foreshadowing of All My Love: more knowledgable keyboard players than I will have to figure that out, but it was what struck me. The song picked up with the introduction of guitar and drums, and the piano changed to an ascending pattern. Definitely the band were trying something, and it could have been interesting had they followed through.

7. Fool in the Rain (Rough Mix) - In Through the Out Door: The guitar is up in the mix, the piano down, but Bonham's drop dead shuffle is still what shines. With the guitar up this is a bit more rocky and while in no way an improvement over the original, fans of the song (the author raises his had here) will enjoy this mix.

8. Bonzo's Montreux (Mix Construction in Progress) - Coda: In the Q&A after, Jimmy explains he ran one of Bonham's drum channels through a harmonizer, and it made them sound like steel drums. Bonham apparently loved it, "now people will think I can play steel drums," Page quoted Bonham as saying. In this mix, he has lowered the harmonizer affect, and it is a noticeable change. I think I prefer this.

9. Two Ones Are Won - Presence: The session ends with a bit of a bang. Two Ones are Won is a reference mix of Achilles Last Stand. As far as I could tell, some guitar overdubs weren't done yet, but this rocks as only Achilles Last Stand can. It's hard to describe how good this sounded on the sound system they had set up, but if you ever get a chance...

10. If It Keeps On Raining (When The Levee Breaks - Rough Mix) - Coda: Of all the remixes, alternate mixes &tc. we've had the last two years, this is the one you've been waiting for. Quicker and leaner, there's two opposing thoughts I had listening to this: I would have liked this song then so much more if it had been this version, and this version would never be the classic that When the Levee Breaks became. The big drum sound is gone as, by the sounds of it, is the 12-string guitar.

The audio presentation was augmented by a video, based on a reel-to-reel player that showed pictures, concert posters and assorted paraphernalia from the representative eras. It was nice to watch while not so absorbing you forgot about the music. A nice touch really.

Also of note, some mistakes on the track cards handed out to us. Note on the above pictures Pod is listed as being from In Through the Out Door instead of Presence and Fool in the Rain from Coda instead of In Through the Out For.

But that's a quibble, and it was an excellent night. Many thanks to Warner Brothers Canada for giving me the opportunity to sit within' five-feet of Jimmy Page and to hear some amazing music.

The Remastered Editions, including the Deluxe Editions reviewed here of Presence, In Through The Out Door and Coda will be released worldwide on July 31st.

For certified professional guitar repair in Cambridge Ontario: Brian Gardiner Guitar Repair

Jimmy Page Invades Toronto

Jimmy Page arrived in Toronto Monday for some media interviews. Yesterday, it was the fans turn to get up close and personal with Page.

First up, mid-afternoon saw Page do a book stamping at Indigo Books at Bay and Bloor. Three-hundred fans lined up for the chance to meet the legend and have their Jimmy Page by Jimmy Page book stamped with a special stamp made up for the date (Page has done this several times at the locations, in lieu of signings).

A hundred, possibly more, fans lingered around the signing getting pictures, and just catching sight of the man. I was one of the latter group.

Page chatted with the fans and seemed amiable and friendly with all of them. "He asked me if I played guitar," a 14-year old Dean told me (not actually his real name) after getting his book stamped. Dean was carrying a Jimmy Page action figure. Dean does play, and Page encouraged his to continue. "Man, if I had met Jimmy Page when I was 14," I told him. "I don't think I could have talked to him." 

After Indigo Books, Page was at the historic Masonic Temple. Formerly the Rockpile, where Zeppelin played three times in 1969 (Feb 2 and twice on August 18).

Sixty-five contest winners and some media invitees (I was among the latter) where treated to a 10-song playlist from the bonus material from the final three albums, Presence, In Through The Out Door and Coda. Page gave a few introductory comments before the listening on the top quality audio equipment. A Q&A session with Q107's Jeff Woods followed. The interview portion, combined with an interview Woods did an air Monday, will be featured on Woods Legends of Classic Rock August 2nd. 

"There’s marimbas on Fool in the Rain and that’s John Bonham playing those, which I’ve never told anyone before," Page said at one point, adding "but now you know and it will be on the Internet,” forcing me to post that particular quote. He also mentioned the colouring book section of the In Through the Outdoor packaging was meant to be discovered when you took the album to a party and someone spilled or set a drink on it. 

The absolute highlight of the listening event the November 1970 version of When the Levee Breaks recorded at Island Studios, called If it Keeps on Raining. "It was hard not to say, 'Yeah, it's on Coda,'" Page said, referring to his promotional interviews for the fourth album. 

Here's the playback for the evening:

  1. Friends (with the Bombay Orchestra)
  2. In the Evening (Rough Mix)
  3. Desire (Wanton Song Rough Mix)
  4. Sugar Mama 
  5. Poor Tom (Instrumental Mix)
  6. 10 Ribs & All/Carrot Pod Pod (Pod)
  7. Fool in the Rain (Rough Mix)
  8. Bonzo's Montreux (Alternate Version)
  9. Two Ones are Won (Achilles Last Stand Reference Mix)
  10. If It Keeps on Raining (When the Levee Breaks Rough Mix)

Tomorrow I will review the material we heard, and of course, I will be discussing this on Episode 102 of the podcast, which also includes a must hear interview (no, not with Jimmy Page).

For certified professional guitar repair in Cambridge Ontario: Brian Gardiner Guitar Repair

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Coda (Super Deluxe Edition) unboxing

For certified professional guitar repair in Cambridge Ontario: Brian Gardiner Guitar Repair

Friday, July 10, 2015

Episode 100

Ramble On Radio is celebrating the 100th edition of the podcast. Dave Lewis stopped by to help me celebrate, and we talked about the Led Zeppelin's 1975 Earls Court show. Dave has a new book out, Five Glorious Nights, on the Earls Court shows, available from Rufus Stone at

Dave also talked about his upcoming edition of his iconic magazine Tight But Loose. Edition 39 features a new interview with Jimmy Page, a listen in on the last three re-masters plus more information of Five Glorious Nights. Dave has been busy packing TBL 39 into envelopes, and will very shorty be sent to subscribers. You can buy the individual edition, or a yearly subscription at

I also talked to Dave about his book Feather in the Wind, Over Europe 1980, celebrating the last Led Zeppelin tour. The final Led Zeppelin show happened a few days ago in Berlin. Dave wasn't there, but he was side stage taking pictures two days previous. His book is on special on the 35th anniversary of that tour. It is one of my favourite books, and I can't recommend it enough. You can get Feather in the Wind here. Our discussion of over Europe 1980 will be in Episode 101

You can download Episode 100 here. Or subscribe on iTunes or Spreaker.

--> for certified professional guitar repair in Cambridge Ontario: Brian Gardiner Guitar Repair

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Led Zeppelin Gear

Led Zeppelin uber-blogger Jeff Strawman of Achilles Last Stand sat down on January 1st, 2013 on what he thought would be a short project, documenting all of Led Zeppelin's gear:
Jimmy Page's guitars and amps, John Bonham's drums, John Paul Jones basses and keybords and more. A year and a half later the book still has a chapter to go, but Jeff is ready to begin selling the book.

Using crowd funding site Indiegogo, Jeff has been raising the money to produce the book, and with 22-days left to go in a 60-day funding drive, Jeff is at 75% of his funding.

About a year ago, Jeff approached me to review the first section of Led Zeppelin Gear. I had the unique opportunity to peek at this work in progress and offer my thoughts to the author. It was excellent and I can heartily recommend this book to fans. It is, I think, going to be a very good book.

So click on the link above and make a donation. Just $15 gets you an e-book copy of Led Zeppelin Gear and $40 a hard-cover book.

for certified professional guitar repair in Cambridge Ontario: Brian Gardiner Guitar Repair

Scarlett Page's Resonators

Scarlet Page, Jimmy Page's daughter, has announced a Kickstarter campaign to fund the production of her book Resonators.

Resonators is a portrait book of some of rock and roll's most legendary guitarists: Albert Lee, Billy Corgan, Brian May, Chrissie Hynde, Dick Taylor, Graham Coxon, Hank Marvin, Jack White, Jeff Beck, Joe Walsh, John Squire, John Frusciante, Johnny Marr, Justin Hawkins, Kelly Jones, Mark Knopfler, Mick Jones, Nile Rodgers, Noel Gallagher, Paul Stanley, Paul McCartney, Paul Weller, Peter Green, Phil Manzanera, Phil Collen and Viv Campbell, Robert Fripp, Serge Pizzorno, Slash, Steve Jones, Wayne Kramer, Wilko Johnson and, of course, Jimmy Page.

Scarlet is looking to raise £16,000 for productions costs, and anybody who donates £50 or more will get a copy of the book (£65 will get you a signed copy of the book).

You can contribute to Scarlet Page's kickstarter campaign at the Resonators - The Photographic Book by Scarlet Page page.

for certified professional guitar repair in Cambridge Ontario: Brian Gardiner Guitar Repair