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
Back in the long long ago, the late ’80’s, I managed a record store in Southern NH, and I bought an album from a group about whom I knew nothing (Jon Snow), called The Lyres. One track, this drunken horror show of a take, has stuck with me for 30 years.
She Pays The Rent starts with a shimmering tremolo guitar(which I loved because I had an amp with that effect) and builds into a nice organ based ballad. The vocals are rough. Jeff Connoly plays organ and sings, and if he’s not shitfaced in this song, then he’s doing a great impression of someone who is.
It’s pitchy, it’s politically incorrect, it’s rough, and it’s awesome. She Pays The Rent. There are myriad different versions of this song, but this is my go to. Enjoy.
My first, in fact THE first Led Zeppelin CD bootleg was Zurich, June 29, 1980. It was a dry soundboard recording, like almost all of the 1980 tapes, and it showed precisely how not on their game Jimmy Page and (tragically) John Bonham were at this time. They were both deep in their addictions, and it showed. I’ve compared Zeppelin live in 1980 to Aerosmith, in that it’s not the shows were horrible (although almost all the shows had an awful component… usually White Summer/Black Mountainside or Hot Dog), but they weren’t inspired. Bonzo would sometimes sound tired or like he was just phoning it in. They had to stop a show in Nuremberg (just before this show in Zurich) because Bonzo collapsed and couldn’t play. That stuff hadn’t happened before.
That being said, Achilles Last Stand was great on this tour (Frankfurt is arguably the best live performance ever), as was Kashmir, and the truncated Nobody’s Fault But Mine is bad ass.
This Trampled Underfoot is hands down my favorite. I don’t know if it’s the best, but it is to me. I hope you enjoy it. Jimmy does some hot wah wah work, Bonzo is on it, Robert’s voice is strong as hell (as it was for this whole tour), and fuck… it’s a great song to begin with.
Let me know what you think. I am kind of leaning toward doing an episode on the 1980 Tour Over Europe, since there are some really good performances, some great jams, and it’s the last tour with Bonzo, so it’s special.
Given the condition of half the band I’m glad they never toured the States in 1980, because I think it would have very likely tarnished their reputation. I don’t think they would have pulled off a good tour. In another reality John Bonham and Jimmy Page got clean and sober in the 1970’s, and Zeppelin kept chugging along for years, and years. Alas, that’s not the timeline in which we live.
I love Patrice O’Neal. He was one of the smartest, wisest, funniest, bravest, noblest comedians of the 21st Century, and his early death was a huge loss. In whi
This clip if from his appearance on the NoName Show, speaking of his (never made) Comedy Central show about White People. If you’re not familiar with Patrice O’Neal, he was a comedian in the same crowd as Bill Burr, Joe Rogan, Jim Norton, et al. The Boston Gen X crowd (of which I’m a member) that ascended with the rise of (non music video) MTV.
I forgot that Joan Osbourne toured with Phil Lesh & Friends for a bit. This is of course the post-Jerry, Phil Lesh vehicle (in this case with Trey Anastasio), but they sound wonderful. The sax player is a nice touch. Phil’s bass brings the Grateful Dead bottom to this contemporary performance.
Joan’s voice is strong and full of emotion, as always (I love her), and she does China Doll justice. I am not a Deadhead and I just stumbled upon this while on YouTube, but it was such a delightful surprise, I wanted to share it with you all. It’s from July 6, 2006 and the whole show is available, for free, on Archive.org. Good stuff. Enjoy.