As part of promotion for the expanded rereleases of the first three Led Zeppelin albums, singer Robert Plant and guitarist Jimmy Page talked to Rolling Stone magazine. It seems that there was a slight difference of opinion at the time regarding the band's activity after their long awaited 2007 reunion concert at London's 20,000-seat O2 Arena (more than 1 million ticket requests were received).
The 68-year-old Page, who formed the band in 1968 out of the ashes of his former band The Yardbirds (due to a contract obligation, Zep actually toured Scandinavia as The New Yardbirds), planned on a lengthy worldwide Led Zeppelin reunion tour over two years that could have been the first tour to net more than $1 billion. Plant, 65, says he never would have agreed to such a tour.
“A (reunion) tour would have been an absolute menagerie of vested interests and the very essence of everything that's (crappy) about big time stadium rock. We were surrounded by a circus of people that would have had our souls on the fire,” he said from a pub near his home in north London.
Pageadded, “At the time of the O2 show, we were led to believe there were going to be more.”
Eventually, Page concluded that they — Page, Jones and the younger Bonham touring with a new singer — just werent' going to cut it, noting that a bunch of interests really wanted that tour for the obvious reason: cash. Once everyone was convinced Plant was serious about not joining in, “singers were being thrown at us from here and there.”
“I wasn't feeling comfortable,” Page said. “Going out with the three members from the O2 show and another singer might have looked like trying to jam a square peg into a round hole.”
The entire process came to a halt in 2009 when the 68-year-old Jones joined The Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl and Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme as the power trio Them Crooked Vultures. Page appears to have finally given up the dream he's desired for 34 years.
“People ask me nearly every day about a possible reunion,” Page said. “The answer is ‘no.'”
In other Zep news, Page was given an honorary doctorate and gave the commencement address at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. Veteran R&B singer-songwriter Valerie Simpson, formerly of Ashford & Simpson, also received an honorary doctorate.
In his address to the 900 graduates, their friends and families at the 7,000-seat Agganis Arena at Boston University, Page told them to maintain their passion for music no matter what as it will sustain through all the varied ups and down, the twists and turns that lie ahead.
“Music has so much power across so many venues,” he said. “To be in a position to do the thing you're best at, which is making music, and bringing joy and pleasure to other people, it can't be much better than that.”IN THE STUDIO: AC/DC, FLEETWOOD MAC
With AC/DC's founding guitarist Malcolm Young at home in Australia recovering from a reported stroke, one of the most popular rock bands of all time have begun recording its 16th studio album, according to the Australian music website Noise11.
Media around the world speculated whether Young's illness would cause the group he co-founded in Sydney in 1973 to retire. However, singer Brian Johnson echoed a post on AC/DC's website saying they would carry on.
Filling in is Stevie Young, nephew of both Malcolm and lead guitarist Angus Young. Stevie has filled in for Uncle Malcolm in the past when he was ill. The band tentatively intends a massive 40th anniversary world tour later this year that will also see them promoting the upcoming album.
Fleetwood Mac appears rejuvenated since singer-songwriter-keyboardist Christine McVie rejoined the group a couple months ago, ending a 15-year retirement caused by a catastrophic fear of flying. The band is undertaking a major 39-date North American tour called “On With The Show” in the late summer and fall this year. The tour includes stops at the 18,000-seat Forum in Inglewood on Nov. 28-29 and Dec. 6.
In addition, four of the five reunited classic Mac members — McVie, bassist John McVie, drummer Mick Fleetwood, singer-guitarist Lindsay Buckingham — have been in the studio writing and recording, working on her first new album as a group since 1995, accroding to Britain's Guardian.
Singer Stevie Nicks will be joining the band as soon as she's done “attending to other commitments.” But Nicks' contributions notwithstanding, the others have almost finished eight songs, most being Buckingham-McVie collaborations. Buckingham says all five members are very excited about the new songs. IHe added that he is advocating that this upcoming album be a double album. The band is looking at a 2015 release date.CILLA BLACK EARNS BAFTA AWARD
The Beatles Liverpool pal turned mega-star in Britain, Cilla Black, will receive the Outstanding Contributions to Entertainment honor from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (the U.K.'s equivilant to a combined Oscars and Emmys). The 70-year-old's biggest song in the United States as a British Invasion artist was the George Martin-produced “You're My World” that hit No. 26.
In Britain, Black had a dozen top hits in the ‘60s as well as a popular weekly variety series on BBC titled “Cilla” from 1968-1976. McCartney composed its theme song, “Step Inside Love.” The show featured such guests as Ringo Starr, Andy Williams, Henry Mancini, Lulu, Donovan and Ethel Merman. The award will be presented May 18 at the Royal Theatre in London and will be broadcast live on BBC1.PAUL SIMON EARNS VISION AWARD
Paul Simon was recently presented with the 2014 NYU Steinhardt Vision Award at the Beacon Theatre for his humanitarian work and musical accomplishments. It was his first public appearance since he and his wife, singer Edie Brickell, were both arrested a couple weeks ago for disorderly conduct during a domestic disturbance.
After being presented with his award, Simon and his band performed a 75-minute set that included many of his biggies.
The only other performance on Simon's schedule is a Aug. 2 performnace at the Clark Sports Center in New York in connection with the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.COUNTRY MUSIC HALL'S ALL-STAR CONCERT
Nashville's 18,500-seat Bridgestone Arena played host to the annual All For the Hall benefit concert that raised $600,000 for the Country Music Hall of Fame. It was an all-star bash that kicked things off with Vince Gill and Keith Urban's tribute to The Everly Brothers with “Wake Up, Little Susie.”
The parade continued with Lee Ann Womack, Deanna Carter, Mary Chapin Carpenter, upcoming Country Music Hall inductee Ronnie Milsap, Reba McEntire, Carrie Underwood and newbies Kacey Musgraves, Brantley Gilbert and Kip Moore. The evening ended with everyone backing Darius Rucker on his smash hit, “Wagon Wheel.”
Steve Smith writes a new Classic Pop, Rock and Country Music News column every week. Contact him by email at Classicpopmusicnews@gmail.com.