Yes, yes- I’ll be cliche and say Led Zeppelin is one of my favorite bands. And since I’m all about live music and I can’t see Led Zeppelin, I go in search of other means. One of those has been Led Zeppelin 2. When I saw them before, it was such a poignant show/time in my life that it made it into my book, Head Like A Hole.
In advance of their upcoming show at the House of Blues Sunset, I spoke to Bruce ‘Robert Plant’ Lamont and Paul ‘Jimmy Page’ Kamp. Check out the great interview below, and fetch a ticket to their upcoming performance of Physical Graffiti!
HardRockChick: What are your earliest Led Zeppelin memories?
Bruce Lamont: Driving shotgun in my mom’s 1970 Dodge LTD between Oak Forest, Illinois, where we lived, to my grandmother’s apartment in Dolton. This had to be the summer of 1976. I was four.
HRC: How did your Zeppelin fandom fit into your becoming a musician?
BL: Zeppelin has been a cozy warm blanket for most of my life. I can’t exactly say how much of Zeppelin’s music actually made me decide to become a musician, but I would have to say it was Page’s guitar playing that I listened to when I first started to play.
HRC: Take me through your initial vision for forming Led Zeppelin 2 and what it has become today.
BL: It was a Halloween thing that we were part of many moons ago. We dressed up as our favorite rock band and bashed out some deep cuts. We did this for a few years then decided to do it a few times a year. Then we decided to take the show on the road. And well, here we are.
HRC: While Led Zeppelin created the foundation for the hard rock sound today, both of you (Lamont and Kamp) are known for more avant garde rock sounds. As purveyors of future sounds pushing the boundaries in your other work, where do you think rock music is going, and should go? (BTW- The Corrections House show I saw at the beginning of the year was awesome!)
BL: Killer, thanks. I don’t really have an opinion where rock should go, but I have always been involved in projects that tend to not follow any sort of formula or game plan. “Creatively challenging” is a good way of putting it.
HRC: Describe what it feels like to be on stage as LZ2.
Paul Kamp: I have a lot of fun with it but at the same I’ll be the harshest critic. We really want this to be an over the top experience. The folks that come deserve it; the music deserves it. So all in all it’s a blast and at the same time can be a little nerve racking. Ha!
HRC: What is your typical fan like?
PK: What’s amazing about our crowds and Zeppelin fans in general is the range of people – it’s literally 8 to 80, and people from every walk of life. There is a mass appeal to Zeppelin music. We get the middle age weekend warriors, the 20’s hipsters, the silver ponytail guys and their ladies, this flock of young Zep fans who know every word to the songs, the cougar ladies, metal guys, jazz guys, entire families. I remember one show meeting grandpa, dad and son together; three generations. People black, white, yellow and brown. We do make a point of going out and talking with people, take pictures with fans, chat about Zeppelin music. As the “Page” of the band, I meet lots of these guys who are regular, hard working, family guys, maybe play a little guitar, and they’ll stick around after shows and pull me aside and confide “I didn’t think I’d like it but I had such a great time, this made my week.” That’s pretty rewarding.
HRC: To what extent do you bring Zeppelin details into your show?
PK: Well, let me start by saying we all have the rest of our lives, and families, and friends and lots of other music. Hopefully we don’t get too obsessed with it! That said, we mine deep into the lore and mystique of the Zeppelin and the Chicago electric blues that inspired it. It’s part of the fun. As Jimmy I get to attempt the whole custom attire deal, the legendary outfits. It all gets pulled together on a shoestring, believe me, but we also have excellent people who we know through the Chicago theater scene who help. We pay attention to the lights, the sound, sometimes down to the audio board. With the music, we’ve studied it, I suppose me and Bruce mostly, down to the details of how songs were played on different tours and sometimes, individual nights. It takes considerable effort to disassemble and reassemble the 28 minute version of “Dazed and Confused,” and combine the other live and album versions and snippets, and keep it fresh and new each time, eh ? Then there’s the tour stories and myths, sometimes you’ll see us cracking up on stage and it’s cause Bruce referenced some “on the fly” Plant stage banter, or Ian added some obscure drum fill from the ’77 Seattle show, etc. We entertain ourselves too!
HRC: For the upcoming LA House of Blues show you’ll be playing Physical Graffiti. Explain what this Zeppelin album means to you in particular.
PK: The sound of it, to my ears, keeps getting better. I love every single song. It’s the favorite Zeppelin album of Zep2, and probably, personally, my favorite album ever by anyone. “In The Light” and “In My Time of Dying” and “Ten Years Gone” are three of my top ten songs of all time. I could keep gushing.
HRC: It’s been announced that the House of Blues Sunset will be closing. Zeppelin had a huge history in the Sunset Strip’s prime era. Discuss.
PK: The first time Zep 2 played LA it was 2011 [and] we did another joint up the strip. We were on a long nationwide tour that was going well, and my wife and brothers-in-law and friends were flying in from Chicago We heard there were some celebs and lots of friends coming. We pulled up the night before and there’s this huge dual marquee electronic billboard of Bruce gleaming out over Sunset Strip. We felt like we owned it. We hung out with Wendy Dio and Bebe Buell backstage and three of the guys from Metallica were there. We all love to spend an extra day or three in LA if we can. First show at HOB, we pulled down the hill into the lot, and I fell in love with the place, so rare, so cool. The show was great and my nostalgia for HOB Sunset went far deeper and wider than that one moment. It felt like a connection to the glory days and that our little Zep2 was part of it. We had a great Saturday night show to a packed house; the staff and crowd were awesome. I know time marches on but I can’t appreciate that cherished monuments need to be torn down. I hope we can come back before the place is gone.
HRC: Personal thoughts on if the remaining three Zeppelin members will/should reunite again?
PK: They’re all still viable musicians for sure. Anything they would do would have a touch of gold and commercial success. At this point, I like what Plant is doing better on his own. I’d love to hear Page do some acoustic solo stuff. JPJ could do anything he wants; he seems ageless. I don’t see why they need to get back together and try to re-create old glory. What they’ve left behind for those of us who never got to see them is glorious enough.