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by Mike Tiano of the Yes mailing list

Q: One of the less known periods in your career was your involvement with XYZ. Yourself, Chris and Jimmy Page. How did you and Chris link up with him?

AW: I met Jimmy quite a few times because he lived pretty close to Chris, he lived in the same area. We used to meet at parties in London and all that kind of stuff and basically Chris called me on day and said," Jimmy wants to go and play in the studio kind of thing", so we all just turned up one day and started playing and it started sounding pretty good. We got the engineer in there and they started putting down the XYZ tapes as it were.. Quite a lot of it was stuff that I'd been writing with Chris and we had, I think it was like four, five, six songs. I don't know if that's out in the black market yet.

Q: I don't think so...I've never heard of them--

AW: I think the only two cassettes that exist is, that outside of the master tapes, is I've got one and Chris has got one, but Chris says he can't find his now, but I do have a copy of it at home.

Q: Do you think that the band had real potential?

AW: Oh, it was sounding pretty good, there was some interesting music. It was really different, it was like Zeppelin meets Yes kind of stuff, it was real odd.

Q: Was it always a trio or was Robert Plant ever involved at any point?

AW: It was a trio, and Jimmy kept calling Robert saying how great is was and he should get involved but Robert thought (the music) was too complicated. He came and listened to it and I think he thought it was too complicated; or else there could have been the kind of a Yes Zeppelin band at that time. I think that kind of either frightened a lot of people off at that time or it was a too-good-to-be-true kind of thing. But the management thing got involved and they really screwed it up and it just all went haywire, that's what really dissipated the whole thing.

Q: So it was the management, or was the band behind it as well?

AW: Pretty much the management, but I think Robert was very iffy about it, he thought the music was too complicated, he was more of a rock 'n' roll wailer kind of thing. We were doing things in (taps out five beats)...there's one thing that we did that was kind of a lick that I wrote at home one day it was like almost like a military type thing put in a odd time signature that built up into this really orchestrated kind of piece of music...and it was all in 7/4 time so I think when Robert heard 7/4 it was like, "What am I getting myself into here?" So...

Q: That's not rock 'n' roll.

Here is part of a Chris Squire interview talking about the XYZ project back in the early 80's with Page and Plant

Q:I understand that "Mind Drive" from Keys 2 is largely based on a piece you and Alan White workedon with Jimmy Page in the early 80s.

CS: Uh, yes, that's right. [in a surprised tone of voice] Who told you that?

Q:The rumor is that copies of the original version are circulating on Led Zeppelin bootlegs in Japan.

CS: So, that original version is out there. Hmm. Yeah, it sounds very similar, apart from the fact that Jimmy Page isn't playing on our version of it. [laughs] But I wrote the thing in the first place - the chords and everything. Jimmy just played my chords. But I suppose it's interesting to compare the two versions.

Q:What can you tell me about the sessions that resulted in it?

CS: There was a period when Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes had been in Yes in the 80s. We had done the Drama album and toured America on that, and that's also when John Bonham died around the summer of '80. So, after we got back from touring, Jimmy [Page] moved and bought a house in England near the house I was living in. So, we became neighbors and got together. He was obviously pretty depressed about John Bonham's death for awhile, and I kind of helped him out of that by saying "Let's try to do some new music" and that's really what happened.

Q:Is it true that you were planning to form a band with Page and Robert Plant called XYZ, standing for "Ex-Yes and Ex-Zeppelin?"

CS: Yeah, that's right. It was gonna be myself, Alan White, Jimmy [Page] and Robert [Plant]. Page and Plant are of course now playing together, but at the time, Robert wasn't ready to jump back into it. He was feeling the loss and wanted to go his own way. But of course, 18 years later, he's doing what we could have done then. At the time, Yes was in a kind of sabbatical period. [laughs] Geoff Downes and Steve Howe started the Asia project, so Alan and I were gonna work with Jimmy and Robert. But Robert never completed the equation, so that's when we went back into the reformation of Yes with 90125, which was probably the best thing to have done.

Q:What was it like to work with Page during that period?

CS: Uh, very stony. [laughs] There was a lot of drinking etcetera involved, I remember. Umm, yeah. [laughs and pauses] Let's leave it at that shall we?

Soft music may, like everyone's saying, be the current rage. But someone forgot to tell all those hard-rock fans that times have changed. Unless Led Zeppelin is a soft-rock group.

Led Zeppelin is in the middle of a North American tour. Last weekend's stop was Vancouver, the Canadian west coast city which seems to specialize in hippie-police wars. The show was held in the city's hockey arena, a concession to the commercial appeal of the quartet. Even the massive arena with 13,000 seats couldn't accommodate everyone, however, and by show time there were some 3,000 people without tickets, but set on seeing the Zeppelin.

The inevitable happened, of course. The locked-out fans and the police engaged in a brief but spirited battle. The decision went to the police and the fans withdrew to regroup for another day.

Inside there was lots of action too. And most of it was in the audience. A group of anti-pollution scientists had set up equipment to measure the noise level during the concert. Someone mistook the equipment for recording machinery and decided that a bootleg album was in the making! The scientists escaped with assorted bruises but the equipment fared less happily, with doubts whether the expensive machine can ever be repaired. There were no noise measurements made, either!

At last word, police were looking for Led Zeppelin's manager for questioning about the incident.

Led Zeppelin returns to Canada next week for an appearance at Toronto's massive Maple Leaf Gardens. Strangely, the concert is being billed as Led Zeppelin's "only Canadian appearance" British Columbia always did consider itself separate from the rest of the country! Tickets are selling briskly and all indications are that an 18,000 seat sell-out is imminent. No noise pollution tests are planned!

None of the soft music people have attracted that type of attention. Rock may have its problems but it certainly isn't dying in this town.

by Chris Salewicz

"When you've discovered your true will, you should just forge ahead like a steam train. If you put all your energies into it there's no doubt you'll

London: The overriding first impression that emanates from both Led Zeppelin's music and the legendary self-isolation the band and its entourage
maintains is one of power. Something akin to a mega-sized armour-plated rhinoceros moving relentlessly - and often, one suspects, humourlessly -
through contemporary rock music.

In what seemed initially to be thoroughly in keeping with this assumed tradition, it soon became apparent that endeavouring to be placed in an
'Interview Situation' with Jimmy Page would not prove to be the easiest journalistic task I had ever undertaken. Indeed, there were moments when
scoring this interview seemed to be taking on all the elements of a parody of The Quest For The Rap With The Big Name Rock Star.

Negotiations commenced at the end of November last year. They were consumated in the second week of February at Swan Song's offices on London's Kings Road. In the interim, Page had cancelled two scheduled appointments, though we had actually met on one of these occasions. There had been a further meeting at Emerson, Lake and Palmer's converted cinema rehearsal studios, where Zeppelin was rehearsing for their first tour since Robert Plant has sustained severe injuries in a car smash on the Greek island of Rhodes in the summer of '75.

Almost predictably, when the interview did actually take place, six days before the band was due to fly out to Texas (where the first dates would be
postponed because of Plant's tonsilitis, though that's another story), Page revealed none of the superstar arrogance or aggression one might expect,
talking at length of Led Zeppelin with an almost religious fervour.

We also discussed his fascination with the occult and, in particular, with the self-styled 'Great Beast,' Aleister Crowley (whose former Scottish home,
Boleskin House, Page now owns), and his related interests in ecological matters. The guitarist seemed more content and at ease when dealing with
these subjects than when talking about the band; though by the time they were raised he had warmed to the task of being interviewed.

For the first fifteen minutes of the interview he sat on the edge of a couch, huddled over and shivering into the cup of tea he was holding in both
hands. His speech was frequently little more audible than a whisper. Indeed, he seemed so fragile and it appeared to be such an exhausting emotional
effort to talk about Led Zeppelin, the impression remained that it might completely upset his thought pattern - or he might actually call off the
interview - if he were asked to speak up.

Later on in the interview I would look up from my notebook and see Jimmy Page lying back on the couch and looking at me through his legs. Or
stretched out with both eyes firmly shut and a hand stuffed down the crotch of his frayed jeans as he delivered his semi-audible soliloquy.

Notwithstanding an acute bronchial cough that punctuated his speech, he chain-smoked throughout the interview.

His eyes were ringed with the kind of wrinkles that some would describe as laugh lines and others might attribute to the effects of constant nervous
tension. In fact, in the fall of last year Page spent some time as an in-patient at an exclusive health farm near London. This was supposedly to
recuperate from the effects of having become dangerously underweight. Now, though, as he told me in his soft accentless Home Counties voice, "I just needed to get away for a while and see things from a different perspective. There was nothing sinister. I needed to get into a regular pattern. A
regular schedule. And it seems to be working."

What sort of. uh. line do you want to take on this?" he asked me with what seemed to be a slight edge of suspicion.

I summarized the majority of my questions. After that, he seemed a little more comfortable: "Okay. Well, fire away. You can always edit out what you
don't want."

Okay, then. So how have the rehearsals been? Pretty rigorous?

"The rehearsals started a month before Christmas and with the Christmas period off we've been working consistently ever since. They've been going
well. Really well.

"Of course, the first task was to clean off the rest which is obviously going to set in after eighteen months without being on stage. Although we
recorded Presence some fourteen months ago it's not quite the same because a tour is a concentrated series of dates. We'll have three days on and one day off. And we have like a three and a half hour concert to contend with.

"Consequently there was a stamina aspect involved apart from anything else. Plus the constant dilemma that appears from tour to tour about the repertoire as such. What to drop, what not to drop. Which is always a great problem when you've seen everything go down really, really well for its own merit, for its own vibe, so to speak, and the atmosphere that that particular number's portrayed and evoked. As has been the intention.

"As far as our playing goes, the way it ended up was everyone was just a hundred percent confident and really bursting to go."

Have you dropped any numbers that were in the last live set?

"We've dropped a few things. But nothing of great importance. None of the epic things but."

What have you added?

"Stuff from the new LP. 'Candy Store Rock,' 'Achilles,' 'Nobody's Fault But Mine'. We've also added 'Ten Years Gone,' a number we never did in the past.
It offered such a challenge as far as the guitars went. It's really my baby because I worked it out note for note at home. At one point there were nine
guitars going to present all the harmonies so obviously we lack some of that. But nevertheless the overall feeling of the number comes across. And
comes across very well.

"And we're doing 'The Battle Of Evermore' which I think (laughs) is a very sort of noble challenge really. We'll probably get applause for the sheer guts of the thing rather than anything else.

"But they're coming off good. All of them."

So it's all happening okay, the, as far as live.


Do you get very apprehensive about going back on the road?

"Well, obviously when you haven't played a concentrated tour for two years. well, it goes on for months. And obviously you've got to take into account the fatigue aspect and all this sort of thing.

"But I'm pretty confident. Everyone's confident. As far as the playing goes there's no problems at all. We've got such a variety in there - Oh, 'Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You' is another number that we've been doing. pedal steel guitar instead of the usual. So it sounds pretty different from the original.

"It's very interesting. And yet we've obviously kept in there all the key epics: 'Achilles,' 'Kashmir,' 'Stairway'. things like that.

"But the most amazing thing, really, is that we started nine years ago putting out albums, albums which have been constantly subject to change as far as content goes, to the point where we stuck our necks out only because that's the material that we've got when it comes to the time of recording.
But rather than stick to the previous formula and work stuff around it we've just stuck to our guns. And because of that we've got a wide variety of

"But nevertheless it's marvelous to think that after what is basically a two year break - even though the film's come out - to hit the top of all these
polls (a reference to Zeppelin's having swept the boards of various assorted music publication polls throughout the world) is really quite stunning,
really quite.awe-inspiring. A confident boost beyond all measure, you know, to realize you're still thought of as being really contemporary instead of
a. (laughs) nostalgia-band, shall we say.

"Not that I ever thought we'd become a nostalgia band because we've got too much up our sleeves to fall into that bracket. Nevertheless, it's nice to be reassured. In the warmest possible way."

You obviously feel as strongly about the band now as ever.

"Yes (very decisively). And I feel very strongly about the timeless quality of the songs too. I think that's where it's at. That's probably why we're so
critical about their construction when we start putting them together. So you don't just rest on the obvious sort of clichés that were around in '72.

"I mean, it's so easy to sit there and jam a soul riff and to make a song out of a soul riff."

The reaction that I have to Led Zeppelin's music - and I know I'm not unique in this - is unlike what I get from any other band. On first hearing a new
Zeppelin record it often seems to slightly grate. There are usually edges to it which you have to grow to understand. Also, whenever I haven't played any of the records for a couple of months I'll put them on and immediately get a colossal rush.

There's something there - something indefinable unless you accept that it's just down to the chemistry of the four members - that suggests the band
contains the true essence of rock'n'roll.

"Well, inventive rock'n''s got the root which is in all rock'n'roll.the earthiness. But it's also got all the other facets that, shall we say, musicians of today have been able to get. You know, finger style, folk areas and things like that. And traces of jazz. Generally the three strong areas. Which is so important."

And also whether it's in the hard rock or the acoustic side there's also this enigmatic sense of power and strength. Yet many people still look on
you as just a heavy metal band.

"Well, they did. I think it's dawned on them now that we are a band that's going to be subject to change all the time. Like it or loathe it.

"But the most encouraging thing about that is that when an LP is announced the advance orders are so great that it seems they automatically assume
there is going to be a certain over-riding quality to it. Which is really reassuring because that's what we've been going for. Which again related to
that lasting quality. Which one can only hope for.

"One can say - and it sounds pretentious - but it's the test of time which shows it."

So was that your idea of the band when you first conceived it after the Yardbirds ended? That it should have incredibly strong quality and inventiveness.

"Definitely, Yeah. I mean, the first album has got the catalyst for so much. You know, the blues and the sort of step off from that. And the working
together between Robert and myself and the acoustic work and the way you can stretch an acoustic number. you know, keep the dramatic quality there. Which is, after all, the atmosphere that you're trying to convey. And trying to, you know, develop the mystery.

"And I hope that's still there. I think it is."

How do you feel about Presence?

"I think it's the most important album myself. In many respects. Because of the amount of time it took to do. Working up against a deadline it took
three weeks: the tracks took about a week. Then we had a slight break in the middle when Robert fell over and he thought his leg had gone again. Then we started again and continued.

"And it was pretty much up to me because after that the group really left it to me. Which is really an honour after so long to have that sort of trust;
that they know you're not going to sort of mess it up, and don't mind if you embellish the thing or whatever. Because some of those tracks changed
immensely by the time all the overdubs and effects had gone on.

"Although it may not be the best track on the album 'Royal Orleans'. the first verse of that is as it was. As a riff. After that you hear all these guitars coming in (hums guitar parts). And that's the sort of thing which I can do to change the whole mood of how a number comes out."

So when you did Physical Graffiti, for example, you'd work in the same way whereby you'd just be left alone to produce the tracks?

"Yeah. Pretty much. There'll be the tracks and then Robert will come in and do his vocal parts and sometimes Jones will come in and do a little synthesizer work on the tracks. But usually it's down to me and (laughs) I'm quite happy with that.

"As I say, it's an honour to have that sort of relationship with the band.

"The time spent on Physical Graffiti was really because of work that came in between time and there was the problem of studio availability. We just
couldn't get in.

"And there was the new material which related to that point and I wanted it to have a sort of chronological touch about it. And that's why there are all those tracks that go way, way back and reflect the development of the band. And then you have the apex of 'Kashmir'."

What do you feel in retrospect about The Song Remains The Same film?

"Well, I think the film's successful in so much as it is a frozen celluloid statement of an evening.

"And the soundtrack as such. (pause) I wouldn't call it a live album because we've got so much live stuff in the bag going back to '69 at the Albert Hall. We've got some fabulous live stuff. And, it wasn't necessarily the best live material we had but it was the live material that went with the footage so it had to be used. So, you know, it wasn't like A Magic Night. But it wasn't a poor night. It was an honest sort of mediocre night.

"You know, I've always thought of the band as being reasonably consistent as far as the concerts go. I think we always start off shaky and it's at the
end when the whole thing builds. Which we build up between ourselves. We build up the - I don't know what you might call it - the ESP aspects of it
where when you do start jamming and entering areas which are open to free form and you start coming across the different rhythms and you might just stop it and start and stop. And use some shock tactics.

"A lot of that is just off the cuff, you see. And that's where everybody's really working. You can just anticipate what's coming. And a lot of bands don't manage to be able to do that. a lot of larger bands anyway. They play it safe with everything just about note for note perfect apart from some change in the solo or something.

"But they don't let the solos go on for a long time on purpose so they can really get their teeth into improvising and showing what can really be done.

"And consequently you hear a number one year and so much has changed from a few years before. Because there is that quality.

"Again Presence by the way. We really needed that as a band that has been together for such a long time to prove to ourselves that. You know, we've
always spoken of the instant chemistry and how the band get together and start jamming and within those jams, riffs come out. And it doesn't take
long before you've got the framework of a song which often gets reviewed but nevertheless it's there from the inception.

"Whereas you do hear stories of big bands that get together for two or three weeks and they can't get anything together. There's like two or three
different strong frameworks every rehearsal. And that sort of three week thing proved that it can be done.

"Mind you, there was a helluva lot of emotional anxiety and frustration related to that as well. You know, the uncertainty of Robert's position and
one thing and another. And the way that the band really stuck together during this whole thing because of the loyalty between the band and each
other. And that was the emotional release of getting it all out.

"That's why it's an important album to me. Because it reflects all the spontaneous aspects."

How did you personally react when you heard about Robert's car smash? What were your immediate reactions?

"Well, I was shattered. (profound concern in his voice) I'd been with Robert the day before and I'd just left to go to Sicily. And I was in Sicily when I
heard the news."

So did you hear what state he was in or did you just get garbled reports?

"No, I just heard that he was hurt very seriously. A doctor had to come out from London immediately and put him on a plane because the medical
facilities there were so impossible."

Was there any time when you thought 'Well, what happens if he doesn't get better or if he dies? What happens to the future of the band?'

"Well, I've always felt - and this has been discussed - that no matter what happened, provided he could still play and sing, and even if we could only
make albums, that we'd go on forever.

"Just really because the whole aspect of what's going to come round the corner as far as writing goes is the dark element, the mysterious element.
You just don't know what's coming. So many good things have come out of that that it would be criminal to interrupt a sort of alchemical process like
that. And we're aware of that and we wish to play forever.

"There's a lot of important work to be done yet anyway. It's only just started."

You're obviously very confident of the future of the band now. Have you always been so?


Never any doubts at all?

"No, no, no."

But there does seem to be a contradiction in that you're so into the music.

"It's the all important thing, yeah."

But at the same time Led Zeppelin is a colossal business empire.

"Well, that's just one of those things that happened to snowball up behind us really. But nevertheless the music is the most important thing. If we'd
been conscious of trying to sustain a particular sort of market then we'd have stuck to a formula. Which is a terribly dangerous thing. When you know you're going through changes it obviously reflects on your music - lyrics, especially. If you try and suppress that, then you get into trouble. If you
suppress it for the sake of a formula.

"But then that's our philosophy of what we're up to and other people have a different way of looking at it.

"But it's only the test of time which can lay down the importance of what you're doing. You see, there's been so much flak directed towards us. I knew that it would take a time before a proper perspective was reached about what we were really doing. The fourth album probably being the first milestone in that respect, even though the third should have been.

"When the third LP came out, Crosby Stills, Nash and Young had just toured. They'd done an acoustic set followed by an electric set. And, of course, our third album having more predominant acoustic work on it then the reviews related it to Crosby, Stills and Nash and said 'Well, obviously they've been influenced by them.' And missed the point altogether. They forgot that we'd used acoustic guitars very heavily on the first album. Not quite so much on the second but it was there.

"And, you know, after we'd been on the road after second album had been released we really wanted to have a rest and consequently sitting around a log fire in Wales you don't put up a 200 Watt Marshall set-up but you get your acoustic guitars. Consequently acoustic numbers came out.

"And if they've got a validity you owe it to yourself to lay them down."

Oh, incidentally, I've always felt that John Paul Jones' situation within the band was exceptionally important, especially in the way he seems to cloak a lot of the changes. Do you not feel that he's underrated?

"Underrated? Well, quite possibly. Yeah, as far as a bass player relative to a rhythm section. Yeah.

"But as far as the writing goes everybody has an equal share of coming forth with the ideas they've got. But it always seems to end up with myself when it comes to most of it. And I think Robert and I are sort of very sympathetic to the sort of loony vibe because we've always been working

Yeah, there is a sense of you and Robert as The Terrible Duo, the Inseparables.

"Yeah. Yeah. But it's not to the point of a Jagger-Richard thing where nobody else gets a look in. It isn't a cut-off situation. It's just developed from the early days where, say, Jonesy may come up with one riff for one section and Bonzo the same whereas I'll probably come up with the whole framework. Or piece together all those little bits and pieces."

How is Robert standing up to the stagework?

"Fine. Fine. He's been rehearsing ten hours a day. Ten hours on the trot."

I understand that a changed Robert Plant who has taken to reading Nietzsche on plane journeys has emerged since the accident. I know that you were ill for about nine months prior to joining the Yardbirds and I've heard you're supposed to have spent much of that time reading. Was that when your interest in the occult began?

(Fifteen second pause) "My interest in the occult started when I was about fifteen."

Do you agree that whereas Western society tends to see occult matters as a very dark - a very black - thing it is, in fact, a very light and enlightening thing?"

"Well, there has been a major revival, a spiritual revival, throughout the world and it reflects all over the place. Not just within the West.

"And there's a great interest in the Celtic mysteries and the Dark Ages and the areas where a lot of these truths were just erased for the sake of the
Church, you know. But I'm quite fascinated by these things."

So obviously the folkie Traditional English side of Zeppelin all emanates from one logical area of interest, no?

"Yeah. Well, a man's a product of his environment. It depends how much he wants to educate himself in that framework. You know, in relationship to his craft. There should be no boundaries, so just carry on as far as you can and do it."

Page, of course, is an ardent aficionado of occultist and magician, Aleister Crowley (1875-1947). Indeed, the guitarist owns Equinox, an occult bookshop situated off London's Kensington High Street, which has a large section devoted to Crowley's works as well as having his birth chart pinned to one wall. And, as already mentioned, Page spends most of his time on British shores at the home that Crowley once owned, Boleskin House.

Not unexpectedly, such matters are beginning to arouse the interests of the more sensational end of the British press. In fact, only a few weeks ago a
National Enquirer-like weekly magazine featured an aerial photograph of the house on its cover along with details of collapsing staircases and the
appropriate 'Dark Man Of Pop' blurb about Page.

"Well," says the guitarist, "They should have gone into the history of the house and Crowley would've come out like a shinning angel compared with what else went on.

"I mean, it's had a history of suicides and con tricks. Plus the site of the house is on the site of a church and a graveyard, and the church was burnt
down by an arsonist with the whole congregation in it. So the actual foundations of the house are built on hallowed ground.

"But I'm not really interested in going on about Crowley in so much as, say, Pete Townshend does about Meher Baba. I'm not interested in trying to turn anybody on in any way whatsoever. You know, there are a thousand paths and they can choose their own.

"All I know is that it's a system that works. (laughs) Although, of course, there's not much point in following a system that doesn't work."

But what about the hassles you've had with Kenneth Anger? (Page wrote the score for film-maker occultist, and author of Hollywood Babylon, Kenneth Anger's imminent film, Lucifer Rising, but was turned down by Anger towards the end of last year and replaced by none other than Mansonite Bobby
Beausoleil. Since then Anger has denounced Page on every possible occasion.)

"I think it's more the problems he's had with himself. All I know is that at the end of the film I promised him - as I had before - the loan of a three speed projector which makes the editing so much easier. I said to him 'well, it's just going to be your own time invested'. And I also told him that he
must put the music on after he put the footage together so I was just waiting for him to contact me, really. He had other music that I'd done instead of the stuff that I'd delivered which he said he wanted to use. Nevertheless, I still needed to hear from him. And I never heard anything."

Didn't he come down here and stick things onto the door of this record company?

"Oh, that was his curse. That was pathetic. His curse amounted to sending letters to people. Silly letters saying 'Bugger off, Page' and this sort of thing.

"How can you take that sort of thing seriously? (Sounds quite deeply disappointed). A man you had thought to be a genuine occultist and it turns out to be just. theatre. It's a shame, really."

Although it's quite acceptable these days, do you wish your occult interests weren't known about?

"I just don't want it rammed down people's throats as though I'm saying it's the be-all and end-all and the only way you'll be able to put things together. I'm not saying that at all. You might go off and study the Gurdjieff system and be equally.

"But what I can relate to is Crowley's system of self-liberation. In which repression is the greatest work of sin. It's like being in a job when you want to be doing something else. That's the area where the true will should come forward. And when you've discovered your true will you should just forge ahead like a steam train. If you put all your energies into it there's no doubt you'll succeed. Because that's your true will. It may take a little while to work out what that is, but when you discover it, it's all there.

"You know, when you realize what it is you're supposed to be here for. I mean, everyone's got a talent for something. Not necessarily artistic but
whatever you care to say. And it's just a process of self-liberation. I mean, I just find his writings to be twentieth century. As a lot of the others weren't.

"And there's really nothing more to say than that. I find him quite a curious, highly enigmatic character. Consequently I enjoy my researches into him. But it doesn't want to be blown out of all proportion, though, because that would be. silly, you know. I'm just another artist, too."

Yeah, it's an interest in all things occult and, as you said, all things English or, rather, of Albion. And that's just one area, right?


Uhh.Returning to the music for a moment do you feel any great responsibility in your position as one of the ruling triumvirate of rock'n'roll along with
the Stones and the Who? Do you feel any great responsibility towards rock'n'roll?

"Well, I've always felt a commitment, shall we say? Because I got into it because I was so turned on by the sounds that I heard when I was really young and I just wanted to be involved in it. It was just something thrilling that could send chills up your spine."

Presumably your parents told you you'd grow out of it.

"No, actually they were very encouraging. They may not have understood a lot of what I was doing but nevertheless they had enough confidence that I knew what I was doing; that I wasn't just (laughs) a nut or something. "

Do you and the rest of the other three members of Zeppelin see much of each other socially?

"Not that much. But we do. We don't live in each other's pockets so it's always a great joy to see each other again."

Do you by any chance find the rock'n'roll lifestyle a strain in anyway?

"What side of it?"

Well, and, taking into account your stay at the health farm, the irregularities of the hours, for example?"

"Well, that taxes you physically."

And inevitably, therefore, it must tax your mental powers.

"Well, in a way, yes. Except that when I'm very tired I can do my best writing. You know, late at night because there's nothing to distract you and all those day to day problems have gone. And I can just start concentrating on the guitar and get lost within it and I find that all these things are coming out."

But there are those who bemoan rock'n'roll as being vastly uneconomic in terms of both financial and human terms, especially human terms.

"But the willpower gets you through. And the adrenaline and the feedback from the audience at live concerts - which is maybe what we've been
missing - is the thing that charges you up like a battery."

You really enjoy playing on stage, do you?

"Oh yeah."

You don't prefer recording from playing live or.

"Both. And things have been out of balance in that respect. And one knows something's missing and gets edgy about it. But it's not until you play
again - when you rehearse - that you know what it is.

"Of course, a lot of it has been done by Robert's recovery. And certainly not even wanting to breathe a word of the subject of a tour until nature had dictated her terms and things became good.

"But then there is that bond between us that gives enough confidence to just wait and see. Not just go off making solo albums or kicking with others, as they do.

"There's incredible dedication in what we're doing. Be that rightly or wrongly. Subjectively, that's just the way it is. That's the way it's got to be. There's nothing complacent about things. The minute you start not criticizing what you're doing then you're in trouble.

"And if you start thinking everything you're doing is a master piece (laughs) then you're in trouble."

© Chris Salewicz 1977
by Nick Kent

Jimmy Page is as wary of discussing his formidable past as he is talking to the press in the first place. The latter state of affairs has been alleviated somewhat but exists as a reminder of the consciously anti--Zeppelin bias that prevailed in several noteworthy periodicals for so long, and Page's own awareness that facts and statements can so easily be twisted and perverted into something else again when splashed across the printed page.

Still, looking almost obscenely calm and healthy in the wake of the last (and exceptionally grueling) Led Zeppelin assault on the United States, the dapper Mr. Page genially acquiesced to being plugged with questions about his pre-Zeppelin work.

"God knows what the others much think when I start talking about my old days. They must say 'Oh Christ, he's off again on his Yardbird stories'." Similarly, he prefaces a recounting of his session work experiences - which stretch from working in the studio with P.J. Proby and Dave Berry to playing on the Who's "Can't Explain" and Them's immortal "Gloria" - thus:

"The thing is, these days, nobody even knows about those old things anymore, and a lot of that really ancient stuff, I'm sure nobody gives a toss about anyway.

"The kinks' tracks and things like that are a bit more interesting, credibility-wise or whatever. Or the Who's first single, 'Can't Explain,' that I played rhythm guitar on - actually I wasn't really needed, but I was fortunate enough to find myself there. Just strengthening up riffs, that's all - just two guitars doing it instead of one.

"Concerning the Kinks' work, my presence there was to enable - I gather, looking at it in retrospect - Ray Davies to walk around and virtually control everything without having to be down in the studio all the time, because he was really producing those things as much as Shel Talmy. A lot more so, actually, because he was directing it and everything. At one point there were even three guitars playing the same riff."

Page's rise to working as a session musician is the archetypal story of the early 60s Eel Pie Island / Art School / Marquee clique of posthumous beginnings for aspiring rockers.

"I joined Neil Christian's Crusaders when I first left school and I was just sort of giggiing with his band - driving round the country and getting glandular fever and everything. I remember one night walking outside a gig, and the next point waking up and I was laying on the floor in some sort of dressing room. I just collapsed and couldn't keep going, and it was just fatigue and exhaustion. I was remembering the other day all those breakdowns on the M1 which were great in their own way but after a while it starts knocking you out. I was getting ill, and I really thought 'I just can't carry on.'

"I was doing a lot of painting and drawing in what free time I had, and so I thought I'd go to Art college, because a number of my friends had gone to Art college anyway, and I thought...maybe this is it, maybe this is my vocation. So I went - but of course I couldn't stop tinkering round with my guitar and I was still playing at the Marquee in a sort of interval band.

"I was involved in the old Richmond and Eel Pie Island sets - well, I used to play at those jazz clubs where the Kinks played and I'd always been in groups around the Kingston area. Kingston and Richmond were the two key places, really, but by that time I was well into the Marquee. It was a good scene then because everyone had this same upbringing and had been locked away with their records, and there was something really new to offer. It just exploded from there."

While working at the Marquee, Page was invited to play on a session. "It was a nothing song, but the record was a minor hit. They started using me quite a bit after that and then suddenly I became a new name, y'know, appearing on what was then a very, very tight session scene."

Visions of Art school success vanished. "Well, at that particular point all the sessions that I was being invited to were really good ones and I was doing the solos - really constructive work - and it wasn't too hard a decision to make. Then, about two years later, when guitars were almost becoming out of vogue and people were always trying to do something new - using sax sections and all that - and we used to paly just doodles on guitar, I thought it was time to get out."

As a matter of historical trivia, Page released a solo single during 1965. "There's nothing to be said for that record except it was very tongue-in-cheek at the time. I played all the instruments on it except for the drums and sang on it too, which is quite, uh...unique. 'She Just Satisfies,' that's what it was called. It's better forgotten."

So, on to the Yardbirds, of whom it is stated Page was the first to be asked to join after Clapton's departure.

"Well, you see this is all very touchy. Beck would probably say a lot of things. I could tell you a whole story about that but it's not really on the cards. What actually was going on was all cloak-and-dagger stuff, and I didn't want to be part of it at all really. And I just don't want it to be printed."

Long pause.

"You know, Jeff (Beck) must wince every time he reads any of this, but I've never put him down. I've always said that he's a brilliant musician and I defy anyone to show me anything I've said against him in the press. I can certainly think of a lot of times when he's put me down - but he's the one who's probably a bit paranoid about that. I don't care. Actually, there was a possibility that he and I were going to get to see each other again but ...

"Things like the 'Beck's Bolero' dispute, for instance, which he'd claim was his own, which is just not right. Certain parts of it, like the steel part, that was his work over ten chords which I worked out in the studio. He put the other parts on afterwards. Again those sort of things look like you're bitching in the press so in a way it's better to leave them out. Nicky Hopkins was another one who said something about some Immediate tapes - some 'grievance against Jimmy Page' thing which again wasn't on at all. Things just get printed and people seem to latch onto them and they don't know the full circumstances."

Back on the Yardbirds trail, Page explained how he was invited to joint the band.

"Beck and I had known each other for ages. I'd gone to see quite a few of their gigs because they were a good and to go and see, and there was this great night when (Keith) Refs was thoroughly drunk.

"I forget whether it was at an Oxford or Cambridge Union dance, but he was shouting 'fuck' at the audience and eventually fell back into the drum-kit. Instead of everybody seeing the humour of it, as three of the group and myself did, Paul Samwell-Smith (who was then the Yardbirds' bassist) just blew up and said 'I can't stand this anymore. I'm going to leave the group - and if I was you, Keith, I'd do the same thing.' And that was when he left.

"They were stuck, of course, so I said 'well I'll play.' I started out at the Marquee playing bass - an instrument I'd never played before, and that was how it came about."

Page's bass-playing were not unnaturally short and he quickly took over as second lead guitarist to Beck. The results of such a potentially explosive union were shortlived but nonetheless fruitful.

"It was good. Unfortunately there is very little of it that was recorded, but for the amount of time that it was working it was really fabulous. It could have led to so many good things except that here was a personality conflict within the group that wasn't coming from Beck and me - and that's why things started to bubble up.

"There are a lot of incidents that led up to the final break-up - something that had been there long before I joined the group But while it worked it was good.

"Like on the Rolling Stones 66 tour which was more or less its debut. I can remember one great gig at the Fillmore, but really there's so little of it left. 'Stroll On' from the soundtrack of "Blow Up" was one thing. It was funny because it had dual lead guitars and I think I was playing bass in the film. The single we made, 'Happenings Ten Years Time Ago," failed miserably in England."

The Yardbirds continued - without Beck - but with the questionable assistance of Mickie Most. An album "Little Games" was recorded "at a bloody fast pace We weren't even allowed to hear playbacks" and released in America but not in England. "Mickie was far more into a commercial singles consciousness then, right up to the point where he was recording Beck and Rod - when his whole attitude obviously changed."

Some "commercial consciousness" singles exist (inadequately) to testify to the power of Page's Yardbirds. A live album recorded at the Anderson Theatre was released by Epic after Page had hit his stride again with Zep, but was banned by Page himself. "We had the right to state all along whether it be released or not, and the whole thing was that it had been recorded by Epic at a particularly bad gig, engineered by some character who was strictly into Muzak and the concert itself was bad. So the guy said "Listen, wonders can be done in the studio" and he worked on the live tape for three days or more.

"We came down to hear it and found he'd overdubbed bull-fight cheers and stuff. There was one number where there was supposed to be utter silence in the audience, and there was clinking cocktail glasses, and sort of mumbling like a club atmosphere which destroyed the whole thing. Every time you took a solo you got a sort of 'raaaah' coming at you.

Apart from the aforementioned heinous package, Page has not been as dogged as some with vultures vamping old work of his. "Well, maybe they don't know what I've done and maybe it's as well that they don't. I didn't really do anything of great importance that they could package anything out of. Only a fool would reissue 'She Just Satisfies.'"

Anyway, the next step after the Yardbirds was the formation of Led Zeppelin. John Paul Jones was an old session ally - "he seemed to appear on that scene some time after I did. I remember seeing him but we never really knew each other. We just used to bump into each other and say hello" - so he joined on bass.

Terry Reid was Page's first choice as vocalist. "He was the only vocalist I knew, but he'd just signed up with Mickie Most so he was out of the question. He did suggest Robert Plant - said he lived in Birmingham and that we should try and track him down. So we went to see him at a college gig and I had a chat with him and said I was trying to get something together and would he be interested to come down and have a chat?

"He came down and stayed for a couple of nights and it just went on from there." John Bonham was an old buddy of Plant's, having played in the Band of Joy, and was then residing in the drumseat of Tim Rose's band. He quickly joined.

A tour using the name the "New Yardbirds" was undertaken - "purely to fulfill old engagements" through Scandinavia - and, that completed, the band promptly became Led Zeppelin, and recorded an album in surprisingly quick time.

"We had all the songs thoroughly rehearsed at that point and it was just a case of getting our stage act down in the studio."

A first American tour was set up with the band playing second to the Vanilla Fudge - whom they promptly blew right off the stages throughout the country.

"I can't really comment on just why we broke so big in the States. I can only think that we were aware of dynamics at a time when everyone was into that drawn-out West Coast style of playing.

"I can tell you when I knew we'd broken through, which was at San Francisco. There were other gigs, like the Boston Tea Party and the Kinetic Circus in Chicago which have unfortunately disappeared as venues, where the response was so incredible we knew we'd made our impression - but after the San Francisco gig it was just - bang!"

Denver Post
by Thomas MacCluskey
Rocky Mountain News Music Critic

Barry Fey did it again - a GREAT rock concert at the Auditorium Arena Thursday night, with the Vanilla Fudge, Spirit and Led Zeppelin in colourful living sound!

And Feyline has nearly solved the sound fidelity problem - even on the main floor - with stationary speakers systems on the floor augmenting the group's systems on the rotating circular stage.

One hitch occurred - tangled cables underneath the bandstand pulled the plug on the Fudge and almost melted their entire performance. When repairs were completed, the clock had punched my deadline. Thus - catch the Fudge review in Saturday's Rocky Mountain News.

Spirit - quintessima strong - MUSICAL!

Everything especially interesting because of a non-ending, high varied rhythmic continuum structured by Ed Cassidy, pile-driven by bassist Mark Andes, girded by conga drummer-vocalist Jay Ferguson and filgreed by pianist John Locke and guitarist Randy California.

A further dimension especially welcome was the group's friendliness to the audience and humour.

The concert was cranked off by another heavy, Led Zeppelin, a British group making its first U.S. tour.

Blues-oriented (although not a blues band) hyped-electric, the full routine in mainstream rock - done powerfully, gutsily, unifiedly, inventively and swingingly (by the end of their set.)

Singer Robert Plant - a cut about the average in style, but no special appeal in sound. Guitarist Jimmy Page, of Yardbirds fame - exceptionally fine. Used a violin bow on the guitar strings in a couple of tunes with resultant interesting, well integrated effects.

Bassist John Paul Jones - solid, involved, contributing. John Bonham - a very, effective group drummer, but uninventive, unsubtle and unclimactic in an uneventful solo.



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Rick's Cool Collectibles is a memorabilia mail order company serving collectors worldwide! Since 1979 the name Rick Barrett has been associated with quality collectibles including rare concert & event tickets and stubs, Led Zeppelin memorabilia, select music & sports memorabilia, stamps, coins, old postcards, and more!

This Month in
Led Zeppelin History

August xx, 1968 - Page, Plant, Jones and Bonham hold their first rehearsals in Gerrard Street, London
August xx, 1968 - Page, Grant and Chris Dreja go see Robert Plant perform at a Birmingham Teachers College. Page invites Plant to his Pangbourne house and offers him the vocalist position
August xx, 1969 - Peter Grant starts enforcing the 90/10 split in favor of the band
August 31, 1969 - The third US tour ends at the Texas International Festival in Dallas
August xx, 1970 - Zeppelin earn no less than $25,000 per show
August 17, 1970 - Page completes mixing of the Led Zeppelin III in Memphis
August 19, 1971 - The seventh North American tour opens in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
August xx, 1972 - Jimmy Page purchases Plumpton Manor in Sussex
August xx, 1973 - Jimmy starts arranging ideas for the next album
August xx, 1974 - Film maker Peter Clifton has the band re-enact scenes at Shepperton Studios
August 31, 1974 - John Paul Jones appears with David Gilmour and Steve Broughton as Roy Harper’s backing band for the night
August 04, 1975 - Robert Plant and his family are seriously injured as their car veers off the road on the island of Rhodes
August 08, 1975 - Rehearsal for Zeppelin’s Eleventh North American tour postponed after Robert is involved in a serious car accident
August xx, 1976 - Arrangements are made to show the upcoming Zep film in theaters
August xx, 1976 - Jimmy Page finishes mixing the soundtrack for the movie The Song Remains The Same
August 14, 1977 - Jimmy jams with Ron Wood at a charity golf tournament for underprivileged children
August xx, 1978 - Robert plays with Dr. Feelgood and Phil Carson in Ibiza, Spain while on holiday
August 11, 1979 - Led Zeppelin perform a second show at Knebworth due to overwhelming ticket demands
August xx, 1980 - Jimmy moves into his new Windsor home, which was purchased from Michael Caine
August 14, 2009 - It Might Get Loud opened in select theatres in NY, WA & CA.
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