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Led Zeppelin says no live shows, but even more unheard material may be released; Page autobiography also in works

by Ian Chainey

Page & Plant in more brotherly times
Page Plant

Led Zeppelin fans must feel as though they’re in a B.F. Skinner experiment as the band seems bent on giving and taking away in equal measure.

Giveth: Earlier this week, the iconic outfit revealed more details regarding their comprehensive reissue series that’s starting with their first three albums. In addition to a full remaster by guitarist Jimmy Page himself, the expanded sets feature previously unreleased material, including recordings that haven’t yet made their way to bootlegs. “I left no stone unturned,” Page said to Rolling Stone, though it wasn’t reported if the magazine was also turned. Concerning whether the Led Zeppelin archive was ready to be fully raided, Page was vague: “There’s certainly more things that can be done.” Yet, if something is going to be done, it seems as though Page and Page alone will spearhead the project. “I can’t have anyone else do it because I want it done properly. I dread to think how it could have been thrown together if I wasn’t around.” If you were looking for a link between Led Zeppelin and Prince, there it is.

Taketh: Speaking of people who won’t be around, singer Robert Plant, riding upon a fresh deal from Nonesuch and targeting the end of the year for a solo record, put the kibosh on the idea of a reunion tour. Again, to Rolling Stone: “A tour would have been an absolute menagerie of vested interests and the very essence of everything that’s shitty about about big-time stadium rock. We were surrounded by a circus of people that would have had our souls on the fire. I’m not part of a jukebox!” Fair assessment, though Plant’s recent set-lists look close to what you’d key in if gifted a stack of quarters at the bar. Still, his adherence to art over money is impressive, considering the kind of small-nation-GDP haul the band could net if they found their road legs. Lesser men would go Gollum vs. The Ring in a similar situation. In fact, the same Rolling Stone piece had this nightmare-fuel nugget:

When Robert Plant walked away from the group after the O2 show, Page, John Paul Jones and Jason Bonham continued to rehearse together in England, even auditioning singers for a possible Plant-free tour. Most names have remained secret, but Steven Tyler and Alter Bridge frontman Myles Kennedy have both admitted to spending a few days playing with the group.

That bullet from Janie’s gun? Consider it dodged.

For the record, Page doesn’t see a tour in the future, either: “The answer is ‘no.’ It’s been almost seven years since the O2. There’s always a possibility that they can exhume me and put me onstage in a coffin and play a tape.” Jeeze, Jimmy, why all of this talk of the end? Doesn’t anyone remember laughter?

Giveth: And that’s the thing, Jimmy Page is an oddly curatorial state of mind. Genesis Publications announced the first autobiographical account of the Led Zeppelin years and Page is the source. (Preorder.) Jimmy Page is due out in October and features his first-hand account, along with 650 hand-picked pictures. The tome weighs in at 512 pages and looks to be a treasure trove for obsessives who wish they were there; just maybe not for the mudshark thing.

So, despite the doubtful tour, it still looks like Led Zeppelin will acquire one more thing this year.

Taketh: Your money.

To help you envision what could’ve been, find a full Led Zeppelin set from Royal Albert Hall in 1970 below…

Check It Out

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