Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Could undivided harmony recur?

This is part two of the "On This Day In Led Zeppelin History" edition published Dec. 4, 2007, the week before the first Led Zeppelin concert since 1980. The day this was published was the 27th anniversary of Led Zeppelin's breakup following the death of John Bonham.

Jason Bonham, 41, says he is enthusiastic to be taking his father's place with Led Zeppelin at Monday's concert. "It's something I've dreamed about since I was 15 and realized I would love to play drums in Led Zeppelin," he said in an interview published in the December issue of Rythm magazine.

The rest of the band now considers him an equal, the drummer says. "I want to be known as more than just John Bonham's son. Because being in the room with them I do feel like a kid again. But after that first day I might have walked in a boy, but I left a man. The feeling they gave me at the end was they weren't these giants that I remember -- I was talking eye-to-eye with them, musically."

According to Plant, Bonham has earned the spot in the reunited group rather than it naturally being his by inheriting it from his father. In an interview with David Fricke for the current issue of Rolling Stone magazine, Plant said, "Now [Jason] knows that not only is he the right guy for it, but he's actually adding and, with his enthusiasm and his skill and his chops and his prowess, he's actually changing it."

Proclaiming that Bonham does so "stylistically," Plant added that because Bonham is "a drummer and a thinker in a more contemporary environment than the one that Led Zeppelin flourished and died in, he's got much more of a handle on keeping it in place than we have. Also, he played in bands where timing is strict."

Is it possible that the sense of undivided harmony has returned among Page, Plant and Jones with their new drummer? Bonham said that after a rehearsal this year, they informed him, "You're the reason we want to do this again, you're making us feel it's worth pursuing."

"I can't believe how well [Jason] fits into the scheme of things," Jones said in an interview for Yahoo. "He's a great drummer, he hits really hard. He's got certain musical mannerisms of his dad, but he doesn't really play like his dad, although it's uncanny because he sounds like his dad when he speaks." Jones said he'll often hear Bonham speak and think it's his father.

Plant has been particularly outspoken over the years that Led Zeppelin would never be forced to reunite. In the Rolling Stone interview, he answered Fricke's question of what about the current reunion he would characterize as real and not forced. "Oh, what happens in that room when there's nobody about," Plant replied. "And that's really -- that has been, at times, as good as it ever was. And the mentality and the approach obviously is a little different because Jason's whupping everybody's ass now, you know."

In a videotaped interview for Yahoo shot since the splint on Page's left pinky finger is gone, the guitarist described what is working with the reunited band today. "All I know is that the vitality that we'd have in the rehearsal period that we've had up til now, and the passion for the music, I mean, it's urgent," said Page. "It's still scary, and that's all there is for me. ... That's what it would have to have, and it's a synergy. It's a synchronized energy between the musicians, and the more that we've been playing together, the more that it's gelled."

"The passion and intensity is still there," Jones said. "We sounds great in rehearsals. It would really take your breath away, I guess. ... I was very happily surprised."

"It has to be exciting," said Plant, "when you got that much electricity in the air, a lot of static and a lot of expectation."

For 27 years, the thrill was gone. Now, with Jason Bonham, it appears to be a whole different story.

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