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4 December 2012 7,736 views 3 Comments


Last night’s taping of the David Letterman Late show featured an interview with Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones –

This report of the Letterman taping via Steve Sauer:

The elusive third chair was brought out to the stage of the Ed Sullivan Theater for today’s “Late Show,” to accommodate the Led Zeppelin threesome of Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones. The standard two-chair setup returned for the interview with actor John Krasinski of “The Office,” an unabashed Led Zeppelin fan who, as it turned out, was sporting a Swan Song logo T-shirt underneath his dressy outfit.

Audience coach Eddie Brill said he was psyched that Led Zeppelin was going to be on the show. Krasinski said he was working as an intern for “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” the time Page appeared on the show with the Black Crowes, and he recalled what it was like behind the scenes of a TV show with such a huge star as Jimmy Page. Fraternizing with guests was grounds for immediate dismissal, he said, adding that backstage tonight he was basically unable to speak coherently to Page for fear of babbling and/or pissing his pants.

When the CBS Orchestra played the trio onto the stage to the strains of “Rock and Roll,” Robert Plant came out first, shook Dave Letterman’s hand and took the empty seat farthest from Dave. Page was next out, and when he went to take his seat in the middle, Jones was left with the one closest to Dave, and it looked like there was some confusion over the seating arrangement. All matched in their black outfits, although Plant traded in his black shoes for some tan cowboy boots.

Letterman started things off by asking if Led Zeppelin had received awards like the Kennedy Center Honors, prompting a brief one-word answer from John Paul Jones followed by a lengthy roll of the eyes. Dave appeared to be grasping at straws for ways to relate to the musicians, and Jones even made a witty remark after a few of Dave’s vein attempts: “How many ‘no’s do you want?” Plant, the only one who’d sat solo on Letterman’s couch before, joked it was good Jones was sitting closest to Dave. Dave got one back at Jones, saying the placement wasn’t best for everybody concerned.

Jimmy Page, sandwiched between his former bandmates, spoke early in the interview, picking up on a question from Dave about Buddy Guy, who’d also been an award recipient. Dave asked if Buddy was an influence on all of them, and Jimmy said indeed he was, referencing by name some of the other blues musicians he and Jeff Beck used to watch Buddy Guy playing with when they were all young. The names Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf were easy for Dave to pick up on, but Page’s mention of Sonny Boy Williamson threw the host a curveball. Dave , “Sonny Boy … Williams?” Robert shot a look of disgust toward the crowd, as if to say, “Can you believe this guy?”

Dave may not know old blues musicians well, but he named off a few of the most obvious choices for British rock bands from the same era as Led Zeppelin: the Who, the Rolling Stones and the Kinks. Dave listed off a few of these bands and asked if they would ever jam together back in the day. The answer was a surprising no, until Robert clarified that while he and John Bonham were touring the “big top,” the other two guys were studio cats and did indeed get to work with those groups. Plant interestingly went not for an anecdote about stealing milk bottles off of people’s front steps but said Bonham, in those days, was stealing cars. Dave kept the humor going by asking if this came up at all when being vetted for a Kennedy Center award. Dave also asked Paul Shaffer his opinion on whether the same musicians who were influences on British musicians similarly affected American musicians. Paul said British musicians had turned on to American music that wasn’t popular here first and, through their innovation, made it popular here.

If it’s a really enlightening question and answer session you were hoping for, it wasn’t there. Dave concentrated on the award ceremony and how they felt listening to others play their music back. Jimmy complimented Kid Rock, and Dave kept on naming other performers who had been on the scene to get their reactions. The mention of Jack Black seemed to make Plant chuckle. Even worse, the mention of “Stairway to Heaven,” which they performed at the Kennedy Center Honors, made Plant jeer once again. Either he didn’t like the performance, by a choir and an orchestra and Jason Bonham on drums, or he was just once again reiterating his disdain for the song.

For something visual, Dave displayed two photos on his desk. The first was less than 24 hours old and showed the three of them meeting with President Obama. Perhaps Dave was hoping the photo would elicit some comments once the crowd’s applause subsided, but it really didn’t. Dave moved on to the second photo, the famous shot from 1973 with the band posing in front of the Starship. This provided Dave with a subject to which he would refer often throughout the rest of the interview, about not needing to have your shirts buttoned up fully when flying on your own aircraft. Dave turned it into a running gag that went over well with the audience. One line that left a few heads scratching came from Plant when he asked Dave if “matinee” means the same here as it does in England. The way he related it had sex written all over it.

Dave recalled something Jack Black said about Led Zeppelin the day before, that their music is about sex … and Vikings … and Vikings having sex. The host asked if this was correct. While Page laughed, Jones added that some songs were about Vikings having sex with hobbits.

In one of the more mundane questions Letterman has ever uttered, he asked their musicians how one could sum up Led Zeppelin’s sound in a 10-word sentence. Plant didn’t jump at the ready with a response, nor did Page. It took Jones to break the silence, mimicking the opening riff from “Immigrant Song.”

Dave mentioned that Page and Jones had not been on the show before. He invited them back but did so almost as a group invitation. Imagine, Led Zeppelin’s surviving members making a habit out of forcing Dave’s third chair out of retirement!

To Dave’s credit, he did ask whether the 1980 death of “the drummer” — the name John Bonham obviously not on the tip of his tongue — made them think about continuing with somebody else on drums. To the surprise of nobody there, the answer was no. Jimmy Page pounced on it, saying it would have been unfair to tell another drummer, “Here, learn these parts.”

Lastly, Dave didn’t ask why these guys aren’t reforming — or if, in fact, they secretly were. He could have broached the subject easily by suggesting, “Look, all three of you are here now, and you’re musicians. Forget about reuniting in the future. Why the hell don’t you play us a little something right now, for God’s sake?” But alas, ’twas not to be. Instead, the studio and home audiences were treated to a musical performance by the waif-like British singer Paloma Faith, her elaborate orchestra and stage configuration, and her multicolored hair.

Above -Robert Plant arriving for the David Letterman taping

This via Facebook from Front Row Dave:

Dave, I had the pleasure of being at the recording of the David Letterman show today….here’s my thoughts….without giving away much….

For those who will be watching Letterman tonight…do NOT turn it off after the band leaves….the next guy also talks about Zep….

It is a hilarious show….Since the band and Letterman spent the weekend together in Washington DC they had a lot of hilarious stuff to chat about….

It was truly a pleasure to see the show in person….my first ever TV show that I attended….and what they say is true….it was freezing cold in there…..

The band did not play….and Letterman did not ask Theeee question…. Enjoy All…..

Many thanks to Steve Sauer and Jeff Strawman

There’s a clip at this link… 

John Paul Jones stealing the show here with some very dry wit…!

You Tube clip: 


More reports at these links:


Instead of fronting his band, leader Dave Grohl paid homage to late Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham from behind the drum kit. And Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins played frontman for the night, howling “Black Dog” and “Rock and Roll,” the bruising one-two punch that opens “Led Zeppelin IV.”

After the ceremony, Grohl told me that the decision was made at band practice just a few days earlier. The Virginia-raised 43-year-old remembers asking himself: “‘Can I sing Zep? I can drum Zep.’” So he traded Hawkins a microphone for two sticks. A few days later in Washington, the band took the Kennedy Center stage for a dress rehearsal without telling anyone about the swap. “The producer said, ‘Are those your starting positions?’” says Grohl. “And we said, ‘Yuuuuup.’”

The performance was one of the evening’s highlights. Grohl’s drumming in Nirvana was some of the most explosive rock-and-roll time-keeping since Bonham left us in 1980. And Hawkins was no slouch, either. His performance was poised enough to earn a bear hug from Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant afterward

Chris Richards/Washington Post


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Today is always a poignant date as it was 32 years ago that Led Zeppelin announced they could not continue as they were… and I and countless others will recall the pain of that statement released on this day in 1980. They indeed could not continue as they were without John Bonham …but continue they did as an inspiration and influence to millions –as we have vividly witnessed these past few months… and let’s remember amidst it all, that John Bonham was so integral to the reason it still means so much to so many people. Yes so much has gone in 32 years.. .but so much remains… in spirit, in mind and of course in the music. Dave Lewis – December 4th, 2012.


Dave Lewis/Gary Foy

December 4th 2012.

Don’t forget that you can follow Dave Lewis/TBL on Twitter – LedzeppelinTBL

and view additional photos etc at the Tight But Loose Facebook page (add us as a friend) at!/profile.php?id=1611296783

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