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With the sixth Zep / Island Records and Terry Boud at 50

7 May 2009 3,690 views 2 Comments

Dave LewisIf it’s generally acknowledged that Peter Grant was the fifth member of Led Zeppelin then Richard Cole was the sixth. I’m in little doubt of that fact having spent a very illuminating afternoon with Richard last week. I caught up with the former Zep road manager to conduct an interview for a US radio station.

He was on great form looking very well and very forthcoming on his role within the band during those incredible years. It wasn’t about all the sex and drugs of which there is plenty in his colourful Stairway To Heaven Uncensored book – what emerged during our extensive chat was the sheer logistics of keeping the band on the road and all that encompassed.

Richard’s memory is well intact reeling off anecdotes from their early tours complete with locations of the venues, the airlines employed and the security involved. ‘’It was a better life than scaffolding’’ he laughed ‘’though I quite liked scaffolding but being with Zeppelin we had six of everything’’ confirming his pivotal role within the Zep inner sanctum. Richard‘s sheer pride and lasting affection for the key players in this remarkable story was also plainly evident. Talking abut being at the 02 reunion he said ‘’it was the only time I’ve ever seen Led Zeppelin properly –usually I was running around somewhere, and for once I could see what it was really all about. They were still fantastic.’’

I’ll have further details of when the interview will be aired in due course. Thanks to Steve S and Simon C for their help on this and Richard for being a superb interviewee. Suffice to say for a few hours it was like living inside Led Zeppelin. Which as Richard’s first hand account confirmed, was a pretty incredible place to be.

Earlier in the week a film crew descended upon the Totnes HQ to capture me waxing lyrical about a variety of Zep memorabilia items that I spent a good while collating from all corners of the house (mainly the loft!)

This is for a rock’n’roll antiques roadshow series due for release on DVD later in the year. The interviewer for this project was the larger than life Jon Kirkman – a DJ on Rock Radio in Manchester (www.rockradio.co.uk). It was inspiring to find Jon was cut from the same cloth as myself in being not only a massive and knowledgeable rock fan with the same tastes as me (Zep/Who/Beatles etc), but he’ d also worked in various record shops in his youth . His detailed knowledge of Zep made it really easy to keep the filming flowing and we had it in the can as they say within a few hours.

Don’t know quite what Adam and his mates made of it as they saw the inside of our living room turned in to what could have been mistaken for the set of East Enders, but it beat watching Paul O’ Grady’s afternoon show. Again more news on that project as it unfolds.

The new Mojo has an extensive feature on the 50th anniversary of Island Records and a really excellent cover mount CD titled Island Folk that has the likes of Sandy, John Martyn, Fairport,Jethro etc.

Ahh Island Records…if Led Zep had not been on Atlantic surely the innovative label founded by Chris Blackwell would have been the next best place for them – as it was they recorded one of their most famous songs in the confines of the affiliated Island Studios.

My affinity for the label goes back to the days of my youth when there used to be a fantastic record shop called Carousel in town with masses of window space. That window space was regularly filled with striking displays of the latest Island Records releases. I can recall Mott’s Mad Shadows album being up there, Fairport’s Unhalfbricking, Free’s Tons of Sobs, Jethro Tull’s Stand Up, Blodwyn Pig’s Ahead Rings Out and many more. I used to gaze in awe at that window wondering what delights lay behind those distinctive sleeves. Island being Island soon provided the answer. They started issuing a series of budget samplers for under a quid so I was able to save the required 19 shillings and eleven to splash out on We Can All Join In, the one with the cover featuring several of the artists in question gathered in Hyde Park.

Years later when I worked in W.H. Smith I used to pay host to  Maureen ‘’The Island girl’’ as we called her (Phil H. would remember her –he worked across the way in Carlows Records where she also called), the very nice young lady who would come and put up the still equally mysterious displays of wonderment from artists such as Roxy Music, Bob Marley, Bad Company, Robert Palmer etc

Wish I’d kept one of the polystyrene Island logos that were often stapled to the sleeves Maureen put up. I still love looking at the various Island Records labels that adorn many of the vinyl albums I covet and I still keep an eye out for items such as Paul Weller’s seven inch singles that still carry that distinctive pink design.

So happy birthday Island Records – one of the great British institutions. As for those iconic samplers, the aforementioned We Can All Join In, Nice Enough To Eat, Bombers and El Pea – I still have those little beauties (see latest Mojo for more details) and they have ensured its been an Island Life playlist here in recent days.

From one 50th birthday to another.
Island Records is the sort of subject my good friend Terry Boud and I will chew the cud over endlessly over a beer or two. (or three) He is a  man who loves his music (and football too even though he supports Leeds). Our lasting friendship was initiated out of a shared interest in Led Zep as years back Terry would come in and chat with me on the subject when I was in W.H. Smiths and make more than the odd purchase– I can vividly recall playing him an advance tape of Principal of Moments on one occasion. When we realized we lived in close proximity it was only a matter of time before we clicked socially. The fact our respective wife’s became pregnant and had our first born’s within weeks of each other only cemented that bond – a bond between our families that many years on remains very special indeed.

Terry reaches the ripe old age of 50 on Friday. We’ve shared many an escapade together and when I get around to my memoirs Mr. Boud will feature in many of them.

Examples: missing our stop in Bedford on the train back from a Bob Dylan gig and ending up in Wellingborough (‘’We’re on alien territory’’ Terry informed the bemused policeman who was unimpressed with him taking a leak on the station platform).
Then there was the Zep Remasters lunch time launch party at the Kensington Rooftops when Terry’s wine consumption saw him end up in the bushes of said location (along with a certain Mr. Foy), oh and the time we missed the last train home (we had to get a curry in beforehand!) coming back from a Zep Eastern Monk convention and spent the night on Kings Cross station where I was mistaken for a down an out and flicked a £1 coin to keep me going. ‘’We have respectable jobs you know!‘’ piped up Terry in surprise  – he and I both knew I had a wadful of notes in my pocket from selling copies of the new TBL earlier… and then there was the 1992 Convention when Terry arrived on the Saturday to help us on the TBL stall for a day and ended up departing on the Monday (Sorry Marian it was Keith’s fault!).

And then the time I gave him my pass for Donington in 1990 when I was immersed in finishing the Celebration book –only for him to ring me from the backstage area exclaiming ‘’Guess who’s just come on with Aerosmith and stormed through Train Kept A Rollin’?!’’

Speaking of Aerosmith there was another afternoon when Terry came into the Our Price shop in Bedford a little worse the wear after a few beers on the train after a meeting – the salesman in me made sure he exited with the new £40 Aerosmith box set that without the dutch courage of alcohol he would surely never have dared take home (sorry again Marian!).

The fact that he considers David Coverdale a better singer than R.Plant has not affected our friendship too much nor the fact that he prefers Iron Maiden to Gun’s’ N’ Roses (had to get that one in Terry!). The good lady and I are looking forward very much to toasting his half century this weekend.

Mate, welcome to the over 50’s club. Long may music, football and beer brighten our lives!

Finally many thanks for all the encouraging comments for TBL 23 –one important typo to rectify. Zep ticket collector Cliff Hilliard’s email should read clifford.hilliard@ukonline.co.uk

Thanks also for the Knebworth memories that have come through. Keep them coming –I am also looking for any photos taken out in the crowd on the two days. If you have any pics taken at Knebworth 1979 email the usual address Davelewis.tbl1@ntlworld.com

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2 Comments »

  • Terry Boud said:

    Dave

    Great night on Saturday. Thanks for your company (and on Friday and on Monday!!!).

    Kam

    Sorry you couldn’t make it and will see you soon.

    Many stories were told on Saturday night, not least of which those mentioned by Dave above and most involving beer and curry!

    However, it’s not the beer you drink it’s the people you drink them with that counts and it continues to be a pleasure to share a beer with both of you.

    Hello also to other Zep folk I’ve met over the years (Gary, Keith, Dave L, Mark H, Phil T to name a few)

    Cheers

  • Kam said:

    Thought this would be a good opportunity to wish Terry all the best on here.

    We’ve experienced many things thanks to Dave over the years including two that immediately come to mind: Unledded and the ULU Page Plant shows, meeting JPJ backstage…. theres loads.

    We’ve tended to agree on a few things over the years such as Neil Peart being the best drummer we’ve both seen, not enjoying Robert’s gig at Somerset House where we actually left early. One thing he doesn’t want to admit was the awful Mars Volta gig he dragged me to.

    I won’t be able to get to the Saturday night celebration where I’m sure Terry and I would have convinced Dave that Walking in to Clarksdale was not a good album.

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