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The Crunge

March 31, 2010

Some time back, I railed on what I considered to be worthless internet news coverage of rather un-newsworthy information regarding classic rock stars.  Thankfully, the boys here at TBTS have a good handle on classic rock news and commentary that doesn’t suck (see the recent excellent offerings by our own Jay St. Orts and T. Stump).  But unfortunately I can’t vouch for the rest of the internet, who continue to obsess over  what mediocre music Axl Rose is singing at his latest concert or the most recent lovers quarrel between Steven Tyler and Joe Perry.

So in a quiet sort of raging against the machine of music blogdom, I present to you what I consider to be substantive news about one of your favorite classic rock bands.  On the menu today is one of the staples of classic rock radio, Led Zeppelin.  For all the wasted pixels written about the Rolling Stones, it amazes me that the surviving members of Zeppelin get such relatively little press.  But make no mistake, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, and Jimmy Page are still relevant players in the rock world and deserve much more recognition.

We’ll start with Plant, who through intelligent and well-timed collaborations with Allison Krauss and T-Bone Burnett, has reinvented himself over the past 3 years as a legitimate country crooner.  Reinvention is nothing new to Plant as he led the retro group The Honeydrippers in the 80’s and even reunited briefly with Jimmy Page in the 90’s, so it’s really no surprise to see him doing it yet again in this decade.  But to me this reinvention seems purer than the previous two, both of which smacked of marketing ploys more than true explorations of new musical directions.  But it only takes one listen to Plant and Krauss’ Raising Sand to hear that he is taking this musical turn very seriously.

This past week, Plant announced that he would be touring with a group he’s named after his first band, the Band of Joy.  The talent he has surrounded himself with is phenomenal:  the lovely Patty Griffin, Kentucky native and collaborator extraordinaire Darrell Scott, and TBTS fave Buddy Miller.  The Band of Joy will go on a 13-city tour in July and the band will soon release an album’s worth of material with Miller serving as both guitarist and producer.

Not to be outdone, Plant’s former bandmate John Paul Jones has made headlines recently as one-third of Them Crooked Vultures along with Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme and superhuman Dave Grohl.  The Vultures released their self-titled debut last year and are currently embroiled in a European tour.  In all honesty, I don’t love the Vultures album as much as I want to and I attribute that to the presence of Homme, who I just can’t bring myself to listen to.  But that doesn’t take away from the amazing job that Grohl and Jones do as musicians and Jones also produces much of the album.  I’m excited to hear that they are working on a new album during their tour and hope that this collaboration continues for a long time to come.

Jimmy Page has been on my mind lately, mainly due to me watching the rockumentary It Might Get Loud last week.  For those of you that might not be aware, Loud is ostensibly a meeting of the minds between Page, U2’s The Edge, and the White Stripes/Raconteurs/Dead Weather’s Jack White.  I was severely underwhelmed by the movie itself, but more than impressed with Page and his immeasurably long wrists.  Of the three former Zeppeliners, Page has been the least in the news lately, but his genius as a guitarist is unparalleled.  For my money, I’ll take sporadic Page news over daily updates on Roger Daltrey any day.

There’s plenty more we could discuss, including Peter Gabriel’s new album or the upcoming release of a remastered Disintegration (YYYYEEEESSSS!), but Uncle Caleb’s out of time.  Until then, please remember that not all classic rock news is created equal.  Need proof?  There you go sister, try to erase that mental picture.  Later!

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One Comment
  1. April 4, 2010 10:31 pm

    nice to see a fan of Page and Zeppelin, i saw the It Might Get Loud movie and i loved it, from Page’s riff work and his ingenious music mind, i also like Jack White’s old-fashioned sense and where he came from in terms of music and his ideals, i wrote my own little bit about the Vultures new album, and I agree with you about Homme’s sound, but I can stand most of the songs though I’m not a big fan of his stoner rock/metal or whatever you call it, cool article dude

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