Did you know that in 1978/79 John Bonham & Roy Wood (former ELO alum) recorded a song together? You do now! It is called Keep Your Hands On The Wheel. It’s a track on Roy Wood’s album, On The Road Again. It’s interesting to hear Bonzo playing with another band.
This session undoubtedly occurred during Led Zeppelin’s hiatus after the death of Robert Plant’s son, in 1977. Last week I posted a session Bonzo did with Paul McCartney, because it’s interesting to focus on John Bonham, after so much attention on Jimmy Page.
The song itself is, in my opinion, nothing to write home about, but the style of John Bonham is evident. No one could mic him as well as Jimmy Page, though. Enjoy.
John Bonham recorded some tracks with Paul McCartney during the 1975/1976 Led Zeppelin hiatus (Robert was recovering from a terrible car crash, and was in a wheelchair for months), and we are lucky enough to hear one. Beware My Love is the most rocking track (not that it says much for Wings. It’s not like they’re Motorhead) on the Wings At The Speed Of Sound album.
This is a rough track, just a bit more than a demo, as far as polish and quality go, but it’s cool to hear Bonzo’s Presence era drums, a bit like the thump and drive of Achilles’ Last Stand, driving the whitest band in the world.
I posted an audio interview with John Bonham from 1972, if you’re interested in Led Zeppelin related Bonzo content. Otherwise enjoy this little ditty from McZep. The drums don’t have the presence (no pun intended) that Led Zeppelin’s songs have, but that’s a testament to Jimmy Page knowing how to mic drums. It’s fun. It’s cool to know that Bonzo had a life outside of Zeppelin, musically speaking.
As the creator of the World’s Okayest Led Zeppelin Podcast I am constantly scanning for new, and relevant, LZ stuff to share with you. Thanks to the excellent Led Zep fan forum, Royal-Orleans, I’ve discovered audio from a 1972 interview of John Bonham. There are precious few interviews with Bonzo, and this audio is a revelation.
This was right around the time that Houses of the Holy was recorded, right on that cusp before they became HUGE. They were already huge but in 1972 they still played around with cover songs, medleys, and John Paul Jones still had a Hammond Organ instead of a mellotron. It’s incredibly fascinating hearing him speak about how Zep was slagged in the British press about being sellouts, and being too big, while he’s telling Roy Carr (the interviewer for NME) about how Zeppelin was the only band to go back to the clubs (1971).
It’s a great interview where one can hear what a …. good guy Bonzo was. He was only 24 at the time, and he’s got to answer questions like a politician. Defending Led Zeppelin for avoiding television and the press, which is obviously the best thing Zep ever did, given the attitude the press had toward them. Zeppelin made it big DESPITE of the press. DESPITE avoiding publicity and exposure. They made it because they were simply the best rock band in the world. I just published a podcast featuring some unreleased live music from the 1972 tour. Listen and you’ll see why they were so amazing.
Bonzo has a wonderful attitude and I really like this guy we hear. He defends the accusations that Zep sold out and retired to their enormous mansions by telling Roy Carr that he and Robert had the same homes that they had at the beginning. They were country boys and homebodies (especially Bonzo).
I really enjoy this peek into the history of the band at the cusp of SUPER STARDOM, and the year before The Song Remains The Same was filmed. The gist of the whole thing is that Zep were 4 amazing musicians who didn’t let ego change their dynamic (at least at that point) and their talent and synergy meant they could do all this without collaborators, session musicians, or outside input. Enjoy this super cool John Bonham interview.
It is finished. A nice 22 minute episode wherein I discuss, then play, two unreleased live Led Zeppelin tracks left off of their live album, How The West Was Won. It’s an audience recording of Louie Louie, Everyday People, and Thank You. Amazingly powerful performances
which also highlight the level of connection Zeppelin had with their audiences. This recording is from June 25th, 1972. I said Long Beach on the podcast, but it was the LA Forum. I just said Long Beach to give a few perfectionists a paroxysm of rage. We are all of us monsters in one way or another.
These 2 unreleased live Led Zeppelin tracks are EXCELLENT. Led Zeppelin in 1972 was at the peak of their powers. Robert Plant’s voice hadn’t gone, and Jimmy Page’s hands were fluid and eloquent. Jonesy still had the organ (pre-mellotron) and all was well. Their cover versions were often legendary.
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I have started work on the new podcast episode. It’ll (hopefully) be a short one (20 minutes or so). I want to talk about, and share, some amazing songs which were left off of Led Zeppelin’s otherwise awesome live album, How The West Was Won. There’s an incredible performance of Louie Louie into Sly and the Family Stone’s Everyday People, into Thank You. Zep didn’t want to pay the royalties to use those songs, aside from Thank You, which is their’s… so they got the axe.
Luckily there’s a very good audience tape of this show (June 25, 1972) and we happy few can hear these lost masterpieces. SOON.
The Historical Illuminatus Chronicles is back in print. I first read The Earth Will Shake (the first book of the Historical Illuminatus Chronicles) in 1992. It was great. It takes place in the 18th Century, and feature ancestors of the main characters of the Illuminatus Trilogy. We have Celines, Malatestas, Moons, as well as amazing cameos by Edmund Burke, George Washington, Tom Paine, and my favorite… de Selby. A fictional character who exists in another fictional world appears (in footnotes) in the second book of the trilogy, The Widow’s Son.
Robert Anton Wilson is a criminally underappreciated writer, in my opinion. I think one reason is that his books are spread throughout the entire bookstore/library. He has written fiction, sci fi, philosophy, literary criticism, plays, humor, treatises, books about sex, drugs, the occult… he’s all over the road. He was a friend and colleague of Timothy Leary, a scholar of James Joyce, Aleister Crowley, Buckminster Fuller, Richard Feyman… he was just as at home speaking of non-locality in quantum mechanics as he was about DMT vs LSD, or the number of mathematical puns are in Finnegan’s Wake.
He was also hilarious. He is a wonderful Hermetic gatekeeper to the realms of all the above. His Illuminatus Trilogy (written with Robert Shea in the late 60’s/early 70’s) contained every extant conspiracy theory of which Wilson was aware. It was Tom Robbins in hyperspace and it will change you forever if you read it, in a good way.
Here’s a nice taste of what Robert Anton Wilson (or Uncle Bob) has to offer.
Listen, I think your life will be enriched, profoundly, by reading some good old Robert Anton Wilson, and The Historical Illuminatus Chronicles are the smoothest entrance into his world I can imagine. Bob passed in 2005 but his daughter Christina has founded a publishing company, Hilaritas Press. This will be used to reissue Bob’s catalog. Getting these books will support the legacy of a great man. Give them a shot.
Led Zeppelin’s Final Tour: The 1980 Tour Over Europe
As a young fan I was always deeply curious about the last days of the mighty Zep. The 1980 tour was (back in the mid 1980’s) not well known (it was a brief tour of Europe. The big US tour was scheduled for later in 1980.), and before the internet, and downloads, there wasn’t much in the way of data.
Well, there is now! I explore the last days of Led Zeppelin, their final tour, and play some really cool songs. Give a listen.
I have been revisiting Led Zeppelin’s 1980 tour, and I had never listened to their July 5, 1980 show, in Munich. This is one of the only (maybe the only) show from this tour that doesn’t have a soundboard out there. That late 1980’s glut of dry soundboards did this tour no favors. Jimmy’s tone is brittle and highlights every flubbed note wayyyyy more than a good audience tape.
Munich is a very good audience tape, maybe even excellent. There’s good stereo separation, good ambience, and you can hear Jimmy’s guitar the way you would have heard it in the hall. On top of that it was a fun show.
At the conclusion of the show, a second drum kit was set up, next to Bonzo’s drums. Not even Keith Moon got his drum kit when he played with Zep in ’77. This is a one time thing.
After a brief break, Led Zeppelin comes back with the drummer from Bad Company, Simon Kirke. Bad Company was the biggest act (aside from Zeppelin themselves) on their Swan Song label, as well as friends with the band, so they had special access. Jimmy and Robert even jammed with Bad Company a couple of times, but that’s the subject of another blog post.
So here is a very cool, very funny, version of Whole Lotta Love, with two drummers. This is also the second to the last time the band would play this song, before Bonzo’s untimely death. It’s a fun one. Jimmy goes into the fun blues things, and even brings the drummers back into line, when they get lost. This recording really changed my mind about this tour, and tipped the scales in deciding to make this tour the topic of my next podcast.
This is old news but I’m an old guy, and I saw this Rick and Morty court transcript reading when it first came out, so I’m still cool. Just about exactly two years ago a story consumed the Internet, about an exchange between a judge and an convict, which was just out of this world filthy, hilarious, and surreal.
This happened in Georgia and nothing else matters other than it’s a completely accurate reading of the actual goings on in that courtroom. Jesus Christ this country is fucked. Hilarious though.
If you would like to read the entire thing, go nuts. It’s just brilliantly magnificent in a truly Discordian sense. I declare both of these men, the judge and the prisoner, Discordian Popes.
This is a smoking hot jam from July 1, 1980, in which Jimmy Page jams with Santana in Frankfurt. Led Zeppelin had just played one of their best shows of their 1980 Tour Over Europe, the night before. Santana (the band) breaks out the old chestnut Shake Your Moneymaker, and Jimmy Page joins in. It’s pretty great.
You don’t get much jamming from Jimmy during the last years of Zep. He had his demons but not this night. The soundboard recording is very hot (oooh hot mic), and a bit shrill to these old ears, but it’s still awesome. Jimmy is at home sparring with the amazing Carlos Santana. It’s got the bounce and enthusiasm of the version, 20 years later done by Jimmy and the Black Crowes.
I’ve been revisiting the 1980 tour and I believe I’m changing my mind about it. For the last 30 years (Jesus, that’s sobering) I’ve thought of the ’80 tour as essential a shell of Zeppelin. This is based on the dry soulless soundboard recordings which abound.
The soundboard boots were everywhere when I was a youth, and even not there are only a relative handful of good audience recordings from this tour. Munich is an exception. It’s audience tape is excellent and it makes the show SO MUCH BETTER. You get the sound with reverb and space, as opposed to the flat line input sound. The soundboards highlight Jimmy’s shaky playing and is the aural equivalent to the fluorescent lighting in a gas station bathroom. It does the subject no favors.
Anyhoo give this a listen and you’ll hear Jimmy giving it his all and playing the fuck out of his Les Paul. Enjoy.
I think the 1980 tour will be the topic of my next podcast. #foreshadowing