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16 September 2011 6,994 views 13 Comments

20 years ago this week, I was on a whirlwind tour of UK radio stations promoting mye then just published Led Zeppelin A Celebration book. Publishers Omnibus Press arranged for me to be driven by their PR company rep to visit a host of UK radio stations in a four day span. It included stop-offs in Sheffield, Manchester, Shrewsbury, Bristol, Coventry, Northampton and
finally Nottingham. I also conducted a couple of interviews on something that was called a mobile phone. Oh yes from the comfort of the passenger seat I could relay my enthusiasm for the book to the radio interviewer. A wondrous device – this mobile phone was brick like in size – it was my first associationwith the world of the cell.

Led Zeppelin A Celebration sitting proudly at number one – The author at the Virgin Megastore Oxford Street London, September 1991

The book tour had been delayed from early September as sadly my Dad had passed away in the late August so it was a difficult time, but once on the road it was a hugely enjoyable week- and on the Thursday there was a very memorable last stop off at  BBC RadioNottingham. On arrival  lo and behold lying in wait was the late Mick Hinton, loyal drum roadie of John Bonham – a man I had last seen on the Over Europe tour. Now residing in Nottingham, Mick had heard a trail of my appearance and decided to ring up and get in on the act. Unsurprisingly this was the most lively of the interviews as Mick relayed his tales of yore (or as clean a version as could be aired at 5pm). It was the beginning of several significant encounters with the former Zep insider – notably at the 1992 London Led Zeppelin Convention I co organised with Andy Adams and a trip to interview him for the TBL mag in Nottingham. Many of these stories I’m saving for my memoirs. By way of a preview I can reveal that Gary Foy’s first association with Mick was clearing up behind one of the Convention stalls after Mick had politely thrown up.

Then there was my trip to interview Mick in Nottingham.This included drinking a few cans of Tenant’s Extra strong lager at his place that ensured rather than stop off at Bedford on the train back, I found myself in St Pancras station London. Yes in my rather inebriated state I had slept right through!

Ahh sweet memories of 20 years back. By the way the A Celebration book is now long out of print though it does turn up frequently on eBay.

”Can you tell me where the reference books are?” –  Led Zeppelin A Celebration book signing session – WH Smith Bedford, August 31st 1991 – the little chap in the pushchair on the far right is my friend Terry’s lad David – he’s now 21!

20 years later with Feather In The Wind, there are no such luxuries as a chauffeured visit to radio stations but I have stacked up a fair few on the phone over the past few weeks. The latest was on Tuesday night for BBC Radio Devon. I appeared on the Vic Morgan late show. Lucky for me Vic is a die hard Zep man, veteran of Earls Court and hey, an actual TBL subscriber.  He interviewed  me at the 02 reunion . Our conversation flowed nicely – there was one tremendous segue that could only happen on local radio as the calming keyboard tones of Thank You by Led Zeppelin dovetailed Frank Sinatra’s Love And Marriage.

Those that know me will know of my penchant for good old Frank (I have collected over 100 vinyl LP’s of the man –love the sleeves/labels and the crooning – though not so much the cheesier end such as Love And Marriage!)

No matter, we were soon back on the subject of Zep and the Feather In The Wind book – all in a good cause of course in spreading the word and trying to get the sales in.

You can listen to the interview at this link:

Product flag up number one: if you have not indulged here’s a couple of independent views of said book:

‘’Dave Lewis is an incredible archivist and chronicler, and is an asset to rock journalism. He is a fan above all else, but a shrewd and passionate one at that. Feather
In The Wind
is a hefty tome and a worthy addition to any rock library.’’ Neil Daniels Fireworks rock magazine

‘’A brilliant dissection of the tour that time forgot. What emerges is an intriguing chronicle of the biggest band in the world contemplating their own vastness and legacy. But this is no obituary; instead Dave Lewis has skilfully woven a passionate celebration of a group who may well have been on the verge of an altogether different kind of greatness.’’ Terry Staunton Record Collector

Here’s the ordering link here – order now to make the author rich and famous (or at least help with our weekly Tesco’s food shopping bill!)

Seriously – it’s a great read and your Autumn will be enriched by it….

Plenty going on here with TBL 30 now a wrap and at the printers for distribution towards the end of next week . Hold on it’s coming and it should be worth waiting for.

What can I tell you other than it’s another action packed edition from the striking Jimmy Page cover via Ross Halfin, through to Mike Tremaglio’s illuminating Led Zep summer of 71 tour log. In between you have all the latest Page, Plant  and JPJ news plus Black Country Communion, a tribute to Howard Mylett with a remarkable last interview I conducted before his sad passing, the second part of Rikky Rooksby’s intensive study of Stairway To Heaven plus Robert’s Blue note DVD reviewed, CD reviews and all the loose talk that matters.

It remains a source of frustration to this author that this 32 page work of rare beauty that Mick and I have slaved over these past few weeks is seen by a limited audience. Worryingly sales of the last issue TBL 29 are down on previous issues as are the 2011 subs against last year. There are a fair few lapsed buyers who have had previous issues and have yet to re subscribe -to that end I’ll be mailing our reminders via post and email in the next few days.If you are are in that catagory -I look forward to welcoming you back on board…

Product flag up number 2: You can help change that trend by either subscribing for the 2011 magazines here -for which you will receive TBL 29 and 30 immediately:

Or by ordering the single copy TBL 30 here:

Invest and enjoy  and help make the author rich and famous (or as previously mentioned assist the weekly Tesco’s food shopping bill).

Have to admit there’s been a mild air of depression around these parts these last few days. I tend to get like this at this time of the year after the euphoria of birthdays etc (and thank you for all the lovely comments last week). September always seems a case of after the lord mayors show –much more than any other time of the year. Most people might site January as
the downer period but I always find it an exciting time as a new year unfolds. September though is hard work what with Sam going off to college and the start of the new school year. Then there’s TBL sales suffering a bit of a drop off. I have to say the financial and loss of potential sales from the Zep Fest cancellation is still having a knock on adverse effect with the state of play here. So the old ‘black eyed dog’ as Nick Drake put it has been kicking in a bit…I’m  not the only one I am sure, so it’s had to be a  case of dusting down and getting on with it. I’ve therefore taken a deep breath, uttered the immortal words ‘Ever Onward’ and with the inspiration of those who know who they are (not least the good lady) forged on.

To that end you will see the wonderful TBL 30 cover shining brightly on the front of the TBL site (thank you Mike Mac) , plus a new offer for TBL back issues –namely the TBL Back Issue Bonanza that forms a TBL starter pack of 5 back issues for just £8 plus postage. This is a great value way to get acquainted with this bank of TBL archive if you are new to TBL, or
catching up the back cat (as we used to call it in the retail trade).

So product flag up number 3… you can order the TBL Back Issue Starter Pack here:

Then there’s the Then As it Was -Led Zeppelin At Knebworth 1979 plan. For the second limited edition version, Mick and I have looked at this and decided on a whole new design and revamp that will see a good thing getting even better. There will be increased colour and text to make this overhaul a virtual new book – so if you missed out first time now’s the chance to catch up – if you  already have the first edition well this limited second edition will be well worth investing in again. Again all books will be individually signed and numbered. We are aiming to have it out late this year or early in 2012.

Product flag up number 4 –to ensure your copy you can pre order the new edition here now –all pre orders will be allocated the lowest numbers as received.

More on all this as it unfolds.

Other inspirations that have assisted the exorcism of depressions. A fleeting visit from the boy Foy, a phone call from Kevyn Gammond, the daily Jimmy Page web site updates –loved the Bonzo’s Montreux run down and Death Wish 2 on limited vinyl, oh yes count me on that, birthday present goodies such as a Motown vinyl collection (thank your Andrew R,) Humble Pie Rock On and Free Radio Sessions CD’s (thank you John P), The Hollies Clarke Hicks & Nash Years 6 CD set supplied by my good friend Terry who despite our musical differences, knows me better than most.

Later today I plan to catch up with Terry  as today is the 34th anniversary of Marc Bolan’s death – very admirably every year on this day Terry, who is a massive fan always marks the occasion by having a day of Bolan/T Rex on the turntable and a few beers.

As I am a big Marc fan myself It would rude not to participate. Marc Bolan was the epitome of the word STAR – when I was a great coat wearing Zep head age 15,amongst all the teenyboppers Marc Bolan and T. Rex were still cool. His album Electric Warrior is amongst my all time favourites and his singles such as Telegram Sam, Metal Guru,Children Of The Revolution, 20th Century Boy etc always inspire great 1970s  memories.

Now here’s a thing: I was playing the brilliant David Bowie’s Hunky Dory last night and it occurred to me how many of my fave albums came out in the year 1971. The above mentioned pair plus Jethro Tull Benefit, The Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers, Paul McCartney Ram, John Lennon Imagine, The Who Who’s Next, Free  Free  Live, Rod Stewart Every Picture Tells A Story, Yes Fragile, Alice Cooper Killer, Isaac Hayes Shaft, The Groundhogs Split,  David Crosby If I Could Only Remember My Name, Graham Nash Songs For Beginners, Joni Mitchell Blue, Faces Nod’s As Good As A Wink, Marvin Gaye What’s Going On, and oh that fourth Led Zeppelin album…all released in the space of 12 months in 1971. What a truly remarkable year that was.

Anyway before the celebrating of Mr Bolan, there’s a fair few stamps to stick on to envelopes in preparation for the mail out of the celebrated Tight But Loose issue 30. All that licking and sticking (ooeer!) can make a man a trifle thirsty….just as well the Bedford Beer Festival is only a couple of weeks away.

Depression? What depression? The autumn maybe ain’t looking so bad after all. An infux of TBL product buying would make it considerable brighter for all here at TBL central. Click on the appropriate links to ensure your autumn starts with a TBL/Zep spring in its step….

And here’s some delightful clips of Marc Bolan – always born to boogie…
T. Rex ’20th Century Boy’

Marc Bolan & T. Rex – Children Of The Revolution

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  • Greg Purling said:

    Took my Celebration copy to the 1992 London convention, just to get it signed (by Dave, plus Mick Hinton and Phil Carlo). What dedication ! What happy days !

  • Anthony Grsolia said:

    I have to dig out my celebration copy! need to get it signed by you!

  • Bob Flux said:

    Yeah! Norman Hale! Yeah! How about an interview with the great man? He’s still rockin’! Would illuminate the history of a mysterious period of mid-era Zed Leppelin no end! Norman Hale! Yeah!

  • Garry said:

    Dave, you just remember how much all your hard work and enthusiasm is appreciated. Thanks for all your efforts. Looking forward to TBL 30.

  • Michael, Melbourne said:

    I have unsigned versions of both of Dave’s early books that I bought at bookshops out here in the days before I had heard of Tight But Loose. Gary, do you think they might be worth something?

    My fellow country men and women will have to get Dave down here for a PR tour of The Antipodes. He can sign my copies of Celebration and the Concert File and shed the blues enjoying Spring in Australia!

    C’mon people, click on the links and order TBL and Dave’s great Led Zeppelin books. I’ve been a very satisfied subscriber for a few years now. I’ve also bought copies of the magazines and books as gifts for Led Zeppelin fans amongst my friends and family. All recipients are rightly impressed by the fantastic quality of Mr Lewis’ work, so much so that most have gone on to join the ranks of TBL subscribers.

    More power to your arm, Dave. Cheers, Michael

  • Swin said:

    Dave , I for one will be ordering the 2nd edition Knebworth! Looking forward to the latest TBL mag which just gets better and better.Chin up Dave,GET THE LED OUT!

  • Gary Foy said:

    I have a copy of Celebration that isn’t signed…… it rare?

  • Ian Avey said:

    Hi Dave,

    Great to see there is a new version of the Knebworth book on the way.
    I’ve just placed my order, and am sure many will be doing the same!

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    I feel better for your incoming orders – many thanks!

  • Steve A. Jones said:

    Dave Lewis is feeling down? Dave Lewis?! That should get them back together again soon – if only for a day – to discuss a new release!

  • Dave Lewis said:

    Gary I have a photo somewhere of you and I at the signing -I’ll search it out.

  • Gary Wade said:

    Great to see those pictures from the WH Smith book signing Dave, i got mine signed there too.
    I’m like you with September as opposed to January and i’ve decided to have no alcohol through October and November to trim the belly so even more depression! No you’ve got a fantastic job doing the thing you would do for nothing, and none of those corporate complexities so rock on Dave, ever onward. Gary

  • Steve Way said:

    HA HA HA….Mick Hinton……got a few of those stories myself Dave…
    bless him….after a night of cleaning me out of alchohol, i was woken at 3am by Mick having a very decent but rather one sided conversation with my parrot….a lovely if somewhat dependant man…
    another by product from dave lewis convention productions…

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