The three surviving members of Led Zeppelin and Jason Bonham, son of the late John Bonham, gathered Tuesday (October 9) in the basement theatre of NYC’s Museum of Modern Art for a press conference following a screening of “Celebration Day,” the new film of the seminal band’s 2007 reunion concert at London’ 02 Arena in tribute to Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun.
Amidst plenty of jostling between the press and the band, there were several revelations: The band claimed the Rolling Stones were slated to play the show and that Eric Clapton had intended to reform Cream for the concert which was originally slated for the Albert Hall; they all thought their performance of “For Your Life” from “Presence,” a song they had never performed live and “Physical Graffiti”‘s “Kashmir” were the set’s highlight.
The band spent a good chunk of the hour-long press conference ignoring or deflecting questions/pleas/prayers by Zep fanatics disguised as journalists repeatedly asking if a Led Zeppelin reunion was in the works. The ’02 performance, as the band confirmed, was something of a redemption for their less than stellar reunion performances at 1985’s Live Aid, 1988’s Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary show and 1995’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. After practicing for six weeks, the quartet agreed their two-hour, 16-song performance was a strong one and very well their last.
Where guitarist Jimmy Page tended to be factual and pull no punches in his comments, John Paul Jones was soft-spoken and monosyllabic and band scion Jason Bonham, for the most part, still seemed in awe of the gentleman sitting directly to his right. That left singer Robert Plant, who unlike the others is something of a raconteur whose every word is either humorous, eminently quotable and/or a complete non-sequitur. Here then are the Golden God’s best lines.
Robert Plant’s Best Quotes:
“I used to be better looking than this.”
“He said to me, you’re not very good Planty — just go out there and look good. And he was right.”
– On John Bonham’s words of wisdom
“I wanted to know what happened to that blonde chick — Guinevere.”
– On “The Song Remains the Same”
“We just played and played and played and played and played and played and played and the thing that grew out of that became so big it became almost kind of intolerable in a way. “
“We used to call ourselves the band of nods because if you missed a cue, we’d just wait a bit and nod. It had nothing to do with opiates we were just nodding. Those nods have turned into middle-aged grins”
“The tail should never wag the dog. If we’re capable of doing something in our own time, that will be what will happen. So any inane questions from people who are in from syndicated outlets you should just really think about what it takes to answer a question like that in one second. We know what we got. Que sera.”
“You could have wonderful times with him talking to him about everything [Ahmet] from Coltrane and the Modern Jazz Quartet to Ratt and White Lion…”
“As the years progressed, Ahmet became quite attached to us — I think he liked the after show relaxations that we had — more than Jerry Wexler did…”
“There are some people in here who are not journalists. There’s a masseuse in here who’s not a journalist – I think that’s ever so exciting.”
“To do actually anything at all together is such an incredible weight. Because sometimes we were fucking awful, and sometimes were stunning…”
– In response to a reporter who again asked if the film is in anticipation of something bigger. (Watch below.)
“Jason actually knows far more about us than we do – he’s got all the bootlegs, he’s in touch with the people who make the bootlegs, he’s got a very strong interest in the bootlegs…”
“Johnny Burnette’s ‘Dreamin” on Liberty produced by Snuff Garett with strings, not trying to be some kind of rockabilly purist. Last record I got was on first avenue and sixth street at Kim’s Records where I bought Translucent a new album, I think from Colorado, but I love Mumford & Sons.”
– On his first and last record purchases
“Everything that we talk about is American, from our music tastes more or less (and maybe north African and Egyptian). So the fact that we get to go to this thing and meet the most dynamic and charismatic American outside of America, Obama, bar none is a great great privilege. Our mutual love of and absolute and total influence by American music whether its from Mississippi or Chicago in 1982 – it’s great because we’re sort of Americans but not – of course.”
– On the upcoming Kennedy Center Honors