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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What Is And What Should Never Be

September 25th, 1980, the day that legendary drummer John "Bonzo" Bonham passed away, marked the official demise of Led Zeppelin as a unit and Robert Plant, the admittedly aging frontman who has turned to Bluegrass in recent years, insists it stay that way despite overwhelming enthusiasm 30 years later for new music.

After a one-off "reunion" show at London's 02 Arena in 2007, which included Plant and Zeppelin bandmates Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones, along with Jason Bonham filling his father's shoes (quite ably), conversations were rampant about a possible tour with this lineup, the closest possible thing to Led Zeppelin.  In the time following the reunion show, writing sessions took place between Bonham, Page and Jones who intended to tour with a new frontman.  Singers were auditioned, including favorite Myles Kennedy, frontman of Creed spin-off Alter Bridge, before the reunion was scrapped.  So far, nothing has come of the songs that were written, some of them co-penned with Kennedy, and you can bet you won't hear Plant's voice on any new recordings.

During an early 2011 interview with Rolling Stone, Plant discussed the 02 Arena reunion show and tour rumors by saying "It was an amazing evening.  The preparations for it were fraught and intense, but the last rehearsal was really, really good, for all that it represented and all that we were trying to capture.  But I've gone so far somewhere else that I almost can't relate to it...It's a bit of a pain in the pisser, to be honest. Who cares? I know people care, but think about it from my angle — soon, I'm going to need help crossing the street."  In a previous interview from December 2010, when asked about the 2007 show he replied "I really had a wonderful time," said Plant. "It was the best Led Zeppelin gig since 1975."  When asked if he would do it again, Plant replied, "I don't think so. You've got to have a lot in common with the people you're working with at this time in your life. Everything has to move on and forward, in all relationships."  Plant's turn to Bluegrass won him Grammy gold with the album "Raising Sand" he recorded with Alison Krauss, which he followed up with "Band of Joy" that continued the pattern of change.

Jason Bonham wrapped a 39-city North American tour of his critically acclaimed "Led Zeppelin Experience" in December of 2010 and has talked of a 2nd leg coming this Spring.  Just before the tour wrapped, Jason sat down during part of the "Mark and Brian Christmas Show" on KLOS and was asked about a possible DVD release of the 02 show.  "Nothing is official, as yet.  I only know that because Robert had said that he'd watched it. I really do hope that it eventually will see the light of day. It's just nice to know that Robert had seen it, so I knew something, but it was nice that he rang up and said, 'Wow, it sounded great.' Fingers crossed, everybody…fingers crossed."

One popular opinion among rock fans chiming in on forums is that the legacy of Led Zeppelin should be left alone, untarnished by any future actions of the surviving bandmates (which would not be considered "Led Zeppelin" anyhow).  Personally, as an admirer of the Coverdale/Page album, a successful collaboration between Page and Whitesnake frontman David Coverdale, I could envision him to be a good candidate for new material.  Until Page, Jones and Bonham revisit the material they wrote with any kind of intent to move forward, and until the DVD release of the 02 Arena reunion show is announced, we have to rely on what's already out there, and if you ask me, things could be a lot worse (are you listening, Steven Tyler?).

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