And with news of the second wave of Zep reissues comes all the media guff about whether or not Led Zeppelin will reform. Robert Plant has been quoted this week as complaining about being goaded in the press by Jimmy Page into doing the deed. Jimmy Page has… well, whatever.
This of course has been going on ever since Live Aid, 29 years ago, when Robert and Jimmy and Jonesy did get together with drummer Tony Thompson, down in Bath, to see what would happen. Then again when Robert semi-agreed to it, in the guise of Page-Plant, in the 90s, and again when they did the O2 in 2007, which was supposed to have been the launchpad for a series of huge shows around the world the following year, but again which Robert stepped away from in fright the nearer it got.
And, well, dear or dear, it’s still going on. In a nutshell, Jimmy wants it, needs it, hates it that Robert won’t play ball. Robert says he doesn’t want it, clearly doesn’t need it, and says he hates it when Jimmy starts the whole thing up again, even a little bit.
Before I began working on my Zeppelin biography, When Giants Walked The Earth, I had a very slanted view on this. Like, come on Robert, what’s the problem? Stop playing footsy and just do it, for fuck’s sake.
Then when I’d finished the book I swung the other way. Especially after seeing the 02 show, which was pretty dull, truth be told, too much baited breath being expelled and too much dancing around – Robert insisting he would only sing ‘Stairway’ if they did it in the middle of the set just like Any Other Old Song, no big deal etc.
Jimmy insisting on Anything That Makes Robert Happy, so desperate was he to make the show happen and be good and enjoyable enough for Robert not to bail on all those other shows they had secretly planned.
Wow, it makes me weary just sitting here having to go through this again. Like, if the boys don’t want to play nice together take their ball away and let them find something else to do.
Now, though… it’s seven years later. Jimmy is going to be 71 in January. Robert is going to be 66 later this month. John Paul Jones is going to be 69 in January. Even Jason Bonham isn’t getting any younger, though his playing just keeps getting better. And… well, hey.
Instead of acting like two old queens hissing at each other from opposite sides of the dressing room, why can’t they – that is, Robert and Jimmy, Jonesy has never been the problem – just breathe deep and talk to each other like the wise old men they both obviously feel they have grown up to be. Instead of a couple of snippy little schoolgirls.
These reissues… that’s poor old Jimmy’s way of staying active. Flowers he brings to the grave of his dead love every Sunday regular as clockwork. Robert and his let’s be honest tedious ‘world music’ versions of Zep-songs, is so last century it’s embarrassing. And all it really is, is Robert’s obsession with staying cool. Not facing up to the fact that at this point the coolest band in the world – finally – is Led Zeppelin.
Come on fellas, get talking before it’s too late and make a little music together. If Jimmy insists on calling it Led Zeppelin, that’s okay, let him. Believe it or not, Robert, we your audience have no more desire to see you open your shirt or fiddle with your cock than you have. We’d just like to see you guys making a little music together again. For your sake more than ours. The same way it would have been better for Lennon and McCartney to have brushed the bullshit aside for five minutes and just relaxed a little in company with each other.
Before it’s too late. Because, trust me, gentlemen, it really nearly is. For all of us.