Saturday, November 17, 2007

Welcome to the machine

On this day in 1997, a video for "Whole Lotta Love" video made its world premiere on a Web site, and John Paul Jones participated in an online chat session with fans.

The video was made to drum up support for the double album, BBC Sessions, released one week later. The first commercially released collection of Led Zeppelin concert material in 21 years, BBC Sessions contains over two-and-a-half hours of the group performing material for the British Broadcasting Corporation between 1969 and 1971.

Like the album, the "Whole Lotta Love" video contained previously unreleased elements that appealed to fans. The video consisted of professionally shot video from many key performances throughout Led Zeppelin's career. Many of these would be featured more in depth in future releases. The video also revealed unseen clips from the band's own 8 mm footage.

On the evening of Nov. 17, the video debuted at the Web site for Atlantic Records to a reported audience of 1,400 fans. Via the Internet service. provider America Online, the otherwise quiet Jones made himself heard by typing out his answers to more than 40 user-submitted questions. The multi-instrumentalist made the most of the opportunity by announcing he was preparing a solo album with the intention of touring upon its release.

Using conversational written English with negligible attention paid to capitalization, punctuation and correcting typographical errors, Jones reported his solo album would be "instrumental --no vocals no guitar no jazz Pure Rock! (with some funny noises)." Probed to divulge more about the project, he described it as "Blues based and acoustic rock but using a lot of computer processing and electronics over a live rhythm section." He also mentioned he'd just received a new 10-string bass assembled by Hugh Manson.

Inquiries also involved his playing bass and keyboards for Led Zeppelin in the 1970s and, foreseeably, the matter of whether a reunion was in the works. Jones said, "There is no Led Zeppelin. And there's certainly no plans for any reunion of the 3 remaining members...that i know of."

Asked why he had not been on tour with his Jimmy Page and Robert Plant when they reunited in 1994, he wrote, "Their plans didn't include me.Although it did seem to include my music." Would he play again with Page or Plant? "No, I think they've missed their chance now."

The real project Jones was to be plugging was BBC Sessions. To describe the sound, he wrote, "It's teh sound of a young, enthusiastic band.It's a very raw sound. A cocky young band at the height of its powers. And John Bonham."

He also commented on the existence of previously unseen footage in the "Whole Lotta Love" video. "Yes, it certainly surprised me! There's a funny little bit where Robert and I seem to be doing some strange Martian dance together. Don't knwo where tehy found it. but it's a good video. i must be biased."

The second part of this special 10th anniversary edition of "On This Day In Led Zeppelin History" is titled "Bring it on back." It brings the story up to date in 2007, highlighting what a difference 10 years makes.

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