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Bonzo / Priory / All Pens Blazing

25 September 2009 3,789 views 3 Comments


Late September rolls around and thoughts as always drift back to that fateful day all of 29 years ago when everything stopped. John Bonham is still the best and most missed drummer of all time. I’ll be acknowledging that fact with a Bonzo based playlist here over the next few days. Definite inclusions will be Hots On For Nowhere – those last fills are just impossible, Walters Walk – marvel at the way he comes banging right in at .05 seconds, Good Times Bad Times – bass pedals never sounded so fluent before or since, and Fool In The Rain where the dexterity remained the same. As Robert remarked ‘’The rest of us might have been struggling at that point but Bonzo still had it.’’

Indeed he did. Remember him (always) this way…

Good to see Kevyn Gammond receive an award in recognition of his work with the MAS Record label and Kidderminster Collage. It’s incredible to think that it’s exactly ten years ago on September 25 1999 that we travelled up to Sheffield to see Robert with Kevyn at the Boadwalk Club. It was the first of a series of memorable Priory Of Brion gigs I was lucky enough to catch. A therapeutic experience after the big scale shows of Page & Plant for singer and audience alike. Ten years gone …holding on.

A book that is right up my street arrived this week. All Pens Blazing compiled by Neil Daniels is a 350 page volume that as the cover states, brings together interviews with ‘’65 of the worlds most successful writers of heavy metal and hard rock.’’ It’s a fascinating glimpse into the psyche of the writers who have chronicled the genre for nigh on forty years- from biographers, long standing freelancers, fanzine writers etc. I’m privileged to have been asked to contribute to the book, lining up in the company of such esteemed rock chroniclers such as Chris Welch, Pete Makowski, Jerry Ewing, Dave Ling, Geoff Barton, Derek Oliver, Garry Bushell, Carol Clark, Malcolm Dome etc etc . The whole book reads like a history of rock publishing with countless behind the scenes anecdotes of life in Sounds, Kerrang, Raw, Classic Rock etc. For more info and ordering details visit

Suffering from a bit of a bad back right now – I’m putting this down to the curse of The Obelisk. I was in the loft searching out my not quite mint condition Object/Obelisk (the Presence promo item) to show the visiting Graeme Hutchinson. I must have bent awkwardly as I reached over to recover it from the piles of magazines/LP’s/singles /books etc and since then have been in not inconsiderable pain. Reminded me of that story Bonzo relayed in an interview stating he wouldn’t have one in the house. Years back

mine mysteriously fell off the speaker I had it perched on causing it to break in two. All a bit spooky. The only good thing was that Graeme was able to inspect it and denounce that it was not an original. It might come in handy now as a doorstop.

Bad back withstanding, there’s been a lot to get stuck into this week with TBL 24 out on the streets, Knebworth book promotion ongoing, TBL 25 to plan and the Nick Drake feature underway. Off to the smoke to catch up with Gary Foy this weekend as we haven’t seen too much of each other all year, so we are making an effort to get out. A few beers will be drunk as we catch up the news and old stories are retold.

Just as they were last Friday on the post birthday bike ride pub crawl. Once again I couldn’t resist the pull of karaoke in the Blarney Stone pub. This year’s version of Ramble On was more assured according to Max as I went for the ad- libbed post Zep arrangement (not!). You will be pleased to know this performance isn’t on You Tube. The pub itself was quite amazing – around 7pm the locals were out on the floor dancing to The Mavericks and Abba. A friendlier unpretentious atmosphere you could not have wished for. It was though inside these hallowed walls the recession hadn’t happened as the feelgood factor clocked in at ten. Shame we had to break the spell and get on our bikes and ride. The curry beckoned…

The weekend ended with a surprise ad hoc get together of the Knebworth 4 with my good friend Dec in town plus Phil and Tom. Shame they had the Chelsea Spurs game on at the time but you can’t have everything.

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  • rod dragone said:

    Bonzo! the so great late bonzo.
    i am a young and aspiring drummer now out in the real world. and i will never forget the day i heard bonham.
    at the age of 12 and really getting into my rock music metallica, nirvana then my step dad comes in and says “you want to listen to rock music, then you better make it good music!” he gives me his old hi-fi system and a box of 12″ lps inside there are all the original zep. first one i played physical graffiti. and thats the day my life changed from then on music would be my life, my dream, my air, my water and my food.
    the power, the emotion and the raw un-tamed talent of led-zep set me on a path for life and for that i thank john from the bottom of me heart.

    led-zep will live forever people say rock is dead… well as long as zep is still selling and inspiring people this will never be true.

  • Dave M said:

    Just to show how Bonham is still hugely regarded…

    This month’s Rhythm magazine (which is a drummers’ mag) has the results for the top 50 drummers of all time as voted by its readers.

    The winner? You guessed it.

    For me – and I’ve played since ’79 – Bonham was years ahead of his time and his playing still sounds phenomenal.

    So many of today’s top drummers cite him as a massive influence – and I know young players not even born in 1980 who are inspired by him.

  • Graeme Powell said:

    for what its worth a Bonzo playlist of my own,
    Achilles Last Stand
    Four Sticks
    Custard Pie
    How Many More Times
    The Girl I Love….
    and my all time fave..When the Levee Breaks

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