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Tribute Bands/Bikes (again)/NME/Vultures

14 November 2009 3,134 views 2 Comments

nmecovernov121Ten years ago this weekend along with  my good friends Tom and Gary (and Terry and Kam), I watched England triumph over Scotland 2-0 on Saturday afternoon (sorry Billy!) Then we all ventured to Birmingham in a mini bus driven by the Foy boy to witness Robert and the Priory Of Brion performing in the lounge bar of the Kings Heath Red Lion pub.

Ten years on history is repeating itself sort of, as later today we will soak up a bit of the England v Brazil friendly then venture out to see the Led Zep Too tribute band at Haynes Village Hall. Tom and Gary will again be in attendance, Terry has opted to see Deep Purple (is that a tribute band too? Only joking Tel!).


I actually might well have missed all this as coming back from the pub on Thursday in the pouring rain (and I wasn’t drunk honest!), I managed to take a mighty tumble off my bike. The handlebars speared my rib and it’s well sore today. Aside from that and a few cuts on my hands I survived. Friday the 13th came early… my nine lives are fast running out though and the good lady has recommended a helmet (ooerr!).         


I’ve been reading the NME since 1964 and have piles of issues in my loft. Nowadays it’s a rare event for me to buy it (the exception was the recent Beatles front cover specials), though I often have a browse through it when I’m taking the post. This week it was a pleasure to hand over £2.30 (blimey it used to be sixpence!) to invest in this weeks issue, for there in all their glory on the front cover are Them Crooked Vultures with John Paul Jones under a suitable Zep reference ( ‘’It’s like Led Zeppelin. There are no rules’’) and an extensive interview inside.

You have to go back 36 years by my reckoning for the last time a John Paul Jones interview was featured in the NME. On that occasion Jonesy was talking to Nick Kent on the ‘72/3 UK tour.

As for JPJ being on the cover of the NME, I’d say it was back in June 1970 when a Zep group pic was featured on the front page plugging a pre Bath Festival interview with Bonzo. Quick aside: That interview ended up with Bonzo going on a bit of a session with Stan Webb of Chicken Shack: the new Good Times Bad Times book has visual evidence of this day on pages 96/97.


When JPJ uttered those intriguing words to me ‘’I’ll be playing and it’ll be exciting’’  last April, little did I realise what was in store. Them Crooked Vultures album is out next week and is sure to be an absolute smash.   

It will be the first big Zep related release since I exited out of retail.

Have to say we’d have had a ball with this album at Zavvi. It would have gone down a storm with the kids there with its contemporary edge. We’d have had it blaring out in store and that vivid red cover racked out at the front.  

But that was then…next week I’ll be like any other punter eagerly opening up

the CD sleeve – in fact I’m going to invest in the vinyl version for the full effect. It’s loud it’s proud. It’s John Paul Jones (as he put it) participating in the (current) best band in the world again and for once its name isn’t Led Zeppelin.

The ethics though, remain the same.


Elsewhere there’s been more TBL 25 text to sort. Conducted an email interview with Charles Cross, author of one of the many new Zep tomes just out Shadows Taller Than Our Souls. He relayed a great story of how he approached the task of re-appraising the Zep catalogue for his book.

‘’I’d listened to each of these albums hundreds if not thousands of times before’’ he told me. ‘’But I took the entire catalogue away to a cabin in the woods (not unlike Bron Yr Aur), with no phone, no cable, no internet, and no roadies (like Zep’s Wales ventures). It did have electricity though, and the setting helped me approach the albums with new ears. I’d take on each album in order, and only stick with that one for days. I came away amazed at how fresh the first three albums sounded. I don’t think I was disappointed in the final three, as much as I came away aware that for Zeppelin to keep innovating every time was a struggle. In Through The Out Door blew me away though when put into the mix, and made me, as it does any Zep fan, sad thinking about what might have been.’’


The full interview is in the next TBL, another reason not to miss an issue.  Thanks to all who have re- subscribed for next year so far – if you haven’t there’s an exclusive limited offer of £5 off the next TBL Publishing book of which the subject will be Led Zeppelin Over Europe 1980. There’s lots of exciting plans ahead, I just need to go easy on the bike so I’m around to see them through…   

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  • Gerry M., Shefford said:

    TCV from Reading Festival on BBC 2 this Friday at 00.50 (technically Saturday but a great excuse to stay up with a dram!)

  • Gerry M., Shefford said:

    Listening to the Vultures on their website playback now – all I can say is I’m hearing the album of the 2009…

    Oh lord, the missus and the young ‘un are gonna get sick of hearing this!

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