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Pre-Velvet Underground Nico with a young Jimmy Page and Brian Jones
12.15.2014
12:32 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Jimmy Page
Nico
Brian Jones


 
Before she became the Teutonic ice queen chanteuse of the Velvet Underground, Nico, via her then boyfriend Rolling Stone Brian Jones, was introduced to Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham and signed to his Immediate Records label, where a young Jimmy Page was employed as house producer, session musician and A&R scout. (Page’s brief career as a session musician saw him adding his distinctive guitar sounds to recordings by The Who, The Kinks, PJ Proby, Lulu, Jackie DeShannon, Van Morrison and Them, Burt Bacharach, French singer Johnny Hallyday, Marianne Faithfull, Vashti Bunyan, Donovan and many others. It’s amusing to think of Jimmy Page being a part of Petula Clark’s “Downtown” single, but there he was. There are several CD compilations of Page’s early session work, probably the best is Hip Young Guitar Slinger.)

Page produced and played on Nico’s 1965 single for Immediate, a cover of Canadian folkie Gordon Lightfoot’s “I’m Not Sayin’ ” which was backed by “The Last Mile,” a song composed by Page and Oldham. Jimmy Page plays a six-string in the song, while Brian Jones plays a twelve-string guitar.

A promotional film for “I’m Not Sayin’” was shot at the site of London’s West India Docks (now Canary Wharf) by Peter Whitehead.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The Unholy Grail of ‘Lost’ Films: Kenneth Anger’s ‘Lucifer Rising’ with Jimmy Page soundtrack
04.17.2014
08:05 am

Topics:
Movies
Music
Occult

Tags:
Kenneth Anger
Jimmy Page
Brian Butler


 
Tonight a lucky audience in downtown Los Angeles, seated in the opulent setting of the theatre at the Ace Hotel (once the original United Artists Theatre co-owned by Charlie Chaplin, D.W. Griffith, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford) will be treated to a number of Kenneth Anger rarities that have been recently rediscovered and restored by Anger’s producer/manager/collaborator filmmaker Brian Butler. Among them are alternate versions of The Magick Lantern Cycle films and the mind-blowing, but ill-fated collaboration between Anger and Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, both famously devotees of Aleister Crowley’s philosophy of Thelema.

The story of their falling out has long been a foundation of the Led Zeppelin mythos: Anger had been living in Page’s Tower House abode in London, editing Lucifer Rising on the same film equipment used on The Song Remains The Same. While Page was on tour with Led Zeppelin, his girlfriend suddenly kicked Anger out, not even allowing him to get his things. A few days later, the mercurial Magus of Cinema threw a hissy over not getting an additional five minutes of music he needed to complete Lucifer Rising when he wanted it, phoned the Swan Song office and “fired” Page—who was in America and apparently mystified by the whole exercise—from the project. Anger did his patented “curse” routine very publicly, going so far as accusing Page of being a mere “dabbler” in the occult and a rich, lazy junkie. Rock journalists at the time began to speculate if Anger’s curse had worked when a succession of tragic events ended Led Zeppelin’s reign as the world’s biggest rock group.

Pages’ Lucifer RIsing score is wonderfully perverse: a languid but steadily building Middle Eastern-sounding drone, festooned with chanting, tabla, screaming mellotron, a sonically shifting low frequency, foreboding ambiance and shimmering 12-string guitar work. It’s a mad, diabolical symphony of beautiful evil; a fascinating piece of unconventional aggressively avant garde music from one of the rock era’s most mysterious living legends. Married to Anger’s imagery, it’s an exquisite aesthetic and spiritual experience.

The world’s two most famous, most artistically high-level Thelemite magicians collaborated for several years and frustratingly, the fruits of that effort have been seen by very few people. And not for four decades at that.
 

 

Over email, I asked Brian Butler a few questions.

How or where did you locate this print?

Brian Butler: I got a call from a storage facility who told me that they had found an “aberated” print of Lucifer Rising. They asked if they should throw it away or if we wanted to keep it. This was a year ago. I was so busy that I didn’t think much of it and put it in storage. Gradually as I started to inventory Kenneth’s archive I found old press clippings and film programs. I found it interesting how meticulous he was in curating a unique experience for the audience. In 1966 he began screening his films as The Magick Lantern Cycle and designed a thirteen-page booklet with a different color for each page. He also recut Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome as the “Sacred Mushroom Edition” for this occasion. In the audience notes were included specific instructions on when to take LSD (still legal at the time) to time it for that film.

I started to notice how The Magick Lantern Cycle evolved in the early 1970s with different versions of Lucifer Rising. It’s seems he began including this in the program as he was shooting it—“Lucifer Rising Chapter One” was shown in 1970—and he experimented with various soundtracks including Pink Floyd’s Atom Heart Mother.

Eventually Jimmy Page came onboard in 1973. For someone of the stature that Jimmy Page had reached in 1973 it was quite radical to do an avant garde soundtrack strictly as an artistic endeavor, although Mick Jagger did the Moog soundtrack for Kenneth’s Invocation of My Demon Brother in 1969. They worked together for several years with at least two different versions being produced, one in 1974 and one in 1975.

Which one is this?

Brian Butler: After a lot of research, I found it to be the 1975 version—the most developed of four versions known to exist. It ends with “To be continued” and was obviously a work in progress.

In one interview I found, Jimmy Page refers to when he screened Lucifer Rising in his room hotel room on the sixth floor and seemed delighted that his haunting score terrified guests up on the twelfth floor. He also mentions making a special trip to a screening at the Museum of Modern Art in New York to be sure the music was synced up correctly. The Anger/Page version was exhibited to the public at least a few times, and also privately, for potential investors.
 

 
The Films of Kenneth Anger” will be introduced by the filmmaker and is a co-production of Kenneth Anger, Brian Butler and Cinespia. The former United Artists Theatre is one of the most opulent movie palaces ever built in America. For a while it was owned by freaky TV minister Dr. Gene Scott and basically closed to the public for more than two decades. The Ace Hotel has restored and preserved all the original decorations, murals and mirrored ceiling and Anger’s films will be projected on the theatre’s big screen beneath ornate columns, a soaring gold ceiling and walls in the style of a Spanish Gothic cathedral. (I was there once to see Dr. Gene Scott and even then it was pretty impressive. Restored it should be pretty incredible.)

More information here and tickets here. Apparently it’s nearly sold out, so if you snooze, you’ll lose, be warned.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Jimmy Page: Led Zeppelin’s guitar maestro turns 70
01.09.2014
10:54 am

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Tags:
Jimmy Page
Led Zeppelin


 
Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page turned 70 today. Looking at recent pictures of the man, it seems within the realm of occult possibility that the maestro made a Faustian bargain to retain his good looks into his old age (Actually considering the amount of debauched mileage Page’s body has been put through over the decades, Dorian Gray is perhaps a more appropriate fictional name to evoke.)

Look at that unlined face. For a guy his age, he looks great, but for a guy his age who lived through the excess of Led Zeppelin, it’s doubly impressive. Look at Keith Richards for contrast. In the footage shot at the O2 Arena Led Zeppelin reunion in 2007 (and later released as the incredible Celebration Day), Page was every bit the guitar-wielding marauder of his younger days.
 

 
I had the great pleasure of meeting Jimmy Page once. He’s a very elegant dude, and very friendly, putting me immediately at ease with the information that both his wife and a friend had gifted him with my Book of Lies occult anthology for Christmas that year. I’m not going to pretend like that wasn’t a thrill… because it was.

The unused Jimmy Page score for Kenneth Anger’s Lucifer Rising:

 
“Train Kept A Rollin’” with The Yardbirds.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Jimmy Page on the art of songwriting, a Dangerous Minds exclusive
09.19.2013
11:37 am

Topics:
Books
Music

Tags:
Jimmy Page
Led Zeppelin


 
The following is an exclusive extract from Isle of Noises: Conversations with Great British Songwriters, a superb new book by Daniel Rachel published this month by Picador. Inspired by Paul Zollo’s seminal Songwriters on Songwriting, Rachel has managed to bring together a truly impressive ensemble of British tunesmiths, including Ray Davies, Jarvis Cocker, Mick Jones, Robin Gibb (why the hell not!) and Johnny Marr, among others. The results are hugely enjoyable, and the mind veritably boggles imagining the kind of cajoling and legwork Rachel must have put in to coax this rich and eclectic ensemble out of their country piles—not least the notoriously taciturn, the notoriously notorious Jimmy Page…
 
Daniel Rachel: Do you have any introductory thoughts about songwriting?

Jimmy Page: I know what my contribution is and I know how that kicks off in the early stages. Coming from the guitarist’s point of view, I’ll start with the music first. That’s the essence of the key ideas and then I’ll work on those. Sometimes I’ve written the lyrics myself. For example, on the first Led Zeppelin album I had a number of things where I had the chorus, like ‘Your Time Is Gonna Come’ . . . well, that line gets repeated a number of times so there’s not a lot of lyrics in that (laughs). ‘Good Times Bad Times’ I wrote the chorus. I had the music for it and I was writing for this thing that was going to be put together for the band. The whole thing on ‘Good Times Bad Times’ is recognized by John Bonham’s bass drum, isn’t it? Initially I had a sketch for it and then Robert supplied lyrics to the verses. I was very keen on concentrating on the music, and whoever I was going to be working with, for them to be coming up with lyrics. I didn’t think that my lyrics were necessarily good enough. Maybe they were in certain cases, but I preferred that very close working relationship with whoever was singing, whether it be Robert Plant, Paul Rodgers or David Coverdale. The starting point would always be coming from the music, whether I had written that acoustically or electrically.

Daniel Rachel: It’s very noticeable in your music how song structures seem far more classical than pop in their construction.

Jimmy Page: Well, very much so, because I had very much the view that the music could set the scene. One of the things that you’ll see in the Led Zeppelin music is that every song is different to the others. Each one has its own character; musically as much as lyrically. For example, ‘Ten Years Gone’ or ‘The Rain Song’, which has got a whole orchestral piece before the vocal even comes in. So yes, it was crafted in such a way that the music was really of paramount importance to setting the scene and most probably inspired the singer, in this case Robert, to get set into the overall emotion, the ambience of the track of what was being presented, and then hopefully inspire him to the lyrics.

Often we just had working titles. A good example of this and how it would change and mutate was ‘The Song Remains The Same’ leading into ‘The Rain Song’. The original idea I had for that was an overture—as ‘Song Remains The Same’ is—leading into an orchestral part for ‘The Rain Song’. I had a mellotron and I’d worked out an idea—John Paul Jones did it much better than me—coming into the very first verse. If it’d worked that way there wouldn’t have been any vocal until the first verse, you would have had this whole overture of guitars and then into the orchestral thing that opened up into the first verse. But as it was, when we were rehearsing it then it actually became a song; the structure changed, there was another bit put in and then Robert started singing.That wasn’t a bad idea to have an overture, a whole musical segment that took you into ‘The Rain Song’, but it worked out really well as it was (laughs). Whatever it was you were constantly thinking all the time about it.

Daniel Rachel: Writing in movements was a very unusual step to take as a songwriter, considering Led Zeppelin was preceded by predominantly verse, chorus structures to suit the three-minute single format.

Jimmy Page: Although I’ve already said on the first album there were some choruses there, it got to the point where some of the things didn’t have what you’d call the hook. The reason was we weren’t actually writing music that was designed to go on the AM stations in the States at the time. You had FM, that were called the underground stations, and they would be playing whole sides of albums. Well, that’s a dream, isn’t it?—because people are going to get to hear—it’s not necessarily a concept album—the whole body of work that you’re doing on one side of an album and on the other. That was really a nice way to be able to craft the music into that. It was going to go like that anyway, but it was just really useful. The essence of the contents of these albums was going contraflow to everything else that was going on, and again this was intentional. Whereas on Zeppelin II you’ve got ‘Whole Lotta Love’, on Zeppelin III . . . with other bands it’d be something very close or reflective of if they’d got some sort of hit, and we just weren’t doing that. We were summing up the overall mood and where we were on that musical journey at each point in time.

Daniel Rachel: Did you write songs in sections and then join together collated ideas?

I worked very much in that way. I’d be working at home on various ideas and when we were working on something in a group situation I’d think, ‘Oh, I know what I’m going to put in this,’ if you hadn’t already put it together. Some things, I had them really mapped out, and other things—this is as the group goes on—would be on the spot. ‘Ramble On’ and‘What Is And What Should Never Be’: I had those structures complete.

Daniel Rachel: Can you explain how a riff comes to you?

Jimmy Page: A riff will come out of . . . this whole thing of do you practise at home and all that. Well, I play at home and before I knew where I was things would be coming out and that’s those little sections or riffs or whatever. At that stage it’s selection and rejection. It’s whether you continue with something or you go, ‘No that’s too much like something else,’ and then you move into something else. If you’ve got an idea and you think that’s quite interesting then I’d work and build on it at home. ‘Rock And Roll’ was something that came purely out of the ether. We were working on something else and John Bonham happened to play—just as you do sometimes, because we were recording—this intro from ‘Keep A-Knockin’’ from Little Richard and I went, ‘Oh, that’s it!’—I did this chord and half a riff that was in my head – ‘Let’s do this.’ It was really quick to do and we could write like that.

Get yourself a copy of Isle of Noises right here
 

 
Below, Jimmy Page gets his Chopin on at the ARMS Concert:
 

Posted by Thomas McGrath | Leave a comment
Twinkle: Nearly forgotten 60s teen pop star (+ rare Jimmy Page guitar work)
05.26.2013
03:41 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Jimmy Page
Twinkle


 

Lynn “Twinkle” Ripley, better known simply as “Twinkle,” was a pretty, blonde, green-eyed teenaged pop star of mid-60s Britain who never crossed over to U.S. popularity. Her father was a wealthy Tory MP and her older sister, Dawn James, was a well-connected music journalist.  She insisted from the age of six that she was going to be a pop star. Her biggest hit was “Terry,” a sappy, maudlin song she wrote herself. “Terry” tells the tale of an ill-fated motorcycle ride and slightly predates “Leader of the Pack” by the Shangri-Las. It’s sung like a very flat Leslie Gore. Twinkle was not blessed in the voice department, clearly.

“Terry” was not based on a true story, but the fact that it was written by teenaged girl (and not a male songwriter channeling one) makes it all the more charming. None other than Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page was a session musician on the track. The song reached #4 in the British record charts around Christmas of 1964 despite being banned from BBC radio airplay (and TV’s Ready, Steady, Go) because it was considered in “poor taste.” It’s kind of odd today to consider that when the song was banned, it was being called “sick” and “dangerous drivel” by Lord Ted Willis. Radio Caroline continued to play the record.

Her next song, “Golden Lights,” about being the girlfriend of a pop star (she was, Dec Clusky of The Bachelors was her then steady) was even better, but reached only #20 on the charts. (“Golden Lights” was later covered by The Smiths and is included in their Louder Than Bombs compilation).  Although she appeared on package tours with the Rolling Stones, Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders and Herman’s Hermits (Peter Noone became her boyfriend for a while), she never really made it and “retired” from the pop world before she turned 18. She later went on to write TV themes and commercial jingles for ATV Music, recording sporadically throughout the decades.

I read on her Wikipedia page that she attended the same girl’s school as Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall.
 
Below, a clip of her biggest hit, “Terry”:
 

 
More Twinkle after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Lucifer Rising: Jimmy Page’s insane, amazing, unused soundtrack to the Kenneth Anger film
05.16.2013
10:03 am

Topics:
Movies
Music
Occult

Tags:
Kenneth Anger
Jimmy Page


 
I think it’s safe to say that the music composed (and performed alone) by Jimmy Page and intended for Kenneth Anger’s Lucifer Rising, but not used, was/is among the very most sought after Led Zeppelin, or in this case Zep-related, bootleg recordings.

The story has long been a foundation of the Led Zeppelin mythos: Page and the mercurial Magus of Cinema had a falling out, then Anger did his patented “curse” routine very publicly going so far as accusing Page of being a mere “dabbler” in the occult and a rich, lazy junkie. Rock journalists began to wonder if Anger’s curse had worked when a succession of tragic events saw Robert Plant badly injured in a 1975 car accident, Plant’s five-year-old son Karac dying suddenly in 1977 and the death of John Bonham in 1980 that instantly ended Led Zeppelin’s reign as the world’s biggest rock group.

There are always two sides to every story and Page maintains that he had given the project financial support, put Ken up in one of his homes (Aleister Crowley’s Boleskine House in Scotland, no less) and lent him film editing equipment. Moreover, he’d given Anger 23 minutes of amazing music. Anger needed an additional five minutes from Page to complete Lucifer Rising, but it was slow arriving and after a shouting match with Page’s wife, he threw a major hissy, “firing” Page and viciously denouncing him—for years—in the media:

“He’s a multi-millionaire miser. He and Charlotte, that horrible vampire girl – the druggie that got him on heroin – they’re both junkies. They had so many servants, yet they would never offer me a cup of tea or a sandwich. Which is such a mistake on their part because I put the curse of king Midas on them. If you’re greedy and just amass gold you’ll get an illness. So I did turn her and Jimmy Page into statues of gold because they’ve both lost their minds. He can’t write songs anymore.”

It’s not like Jimmy Page wasn’t busy back then (the time period in question roughly corresponds to the time Led Zeppelin IV was being recorded), plus Uncle Ken can go from sweet and utterly charming to homicidal in like two seconds flat. (I’ve met Jimmy Page, as well. He was super-friendly, easygoing. An old school gentleman, informing me as he shook my hand that he had been gifted with not one, but two copies of my Book of Lies occult anthology. I know which side of this tale I come down on: Jimmy’s! Look, I admire and revere the films of Kenneth Anger. I think he’s a truly great artist, touched by genius, even, but he’s fucking nuts...)

Eventually Page’s music escaped in 1981—probably sourced from the magnetic track from an early 23-minute-long “to be continued” print of Lucifer Rising that Anger showed potential investors (I’ve seen this, it’s pretty incredible)—when it hit the bootleg market as “Solo Performances by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant,” a limited edition LP with a green wax seal (I have one of these, it sounds like frying dogshit). Another blue vinyl version was released in a “Kabbalistically numbered limited edition.” Better quality digital versions started making the rounds on torrent trackers around 2005 and last year Jimmy Page released the music he’d composed for Anger’s film via his website on very limited edition red vinyl that sold out instantly.

The music itself is wonderfully perverse: a languid but steadily building Middle Eastern-sounding drone, festooned with evil chanting, tabla, screaming mellotron, a sonically shifting low frequency foreboding ambiance and shimmering 12-string guitar work. It’s a mad, diabolical symphony of beautiful evil; a fascinating piece of unconventional aggressively avant garde music from one of the rock era’s most mysterious living legends.
 

Although Page’s music was not used, the guitarist does make a cameo appearance in Lucifer Rising bearded and staring at a wreathed portrait of Aleister Crowley while holding an Egyptian stele.

Page does not often talk to journalists about his interest in the occult, but in a 2008 Guitar World interview, he did reveal a few fascinating tidbits about his creative process:

Guitar World: There was always a certain amount of speculation about your occult studies. It may have been subtle, but you weren’t really hiding it.

Page: I was living it. That’s all there is to it. It was my life – that fusion of magick and music.

Guitar World: Your use of symbols was very advanced. The sigil on Led Zeppelin IV and the embroidery on your stage clothes from that time period are good examples on how you left your mark on popular culture. It’s something that major corporations are aggressively pursuing these days: using symbols as a form of branding.

Page: You mean talismanic magick? Yes, I knew what I was doing. There’s no point in saying much about it, because the more you discuss it, the more eccentric you appear to be. But the fact is – as far as I was concerned – it was working, so I used it. But it’s really no different than people who wear ribbons around their wrists: it’s a talismanic approach to something.

Well let me amend that: it’s not exactly the same thing, but it is in the same realm. I’ll leave this subject by saying the four musical elements of Led Zeppelin making a fifth is magick into itself. That’s the alchemical process.

In Rolling Stone’s December 2012 cover story “Jimmy Page Looks Back,” Page said “...there was a request, suggesting that Lucifer Rising should come out again with my music on. I ignored it.”

Below, the unused Jimmy Page score for Lucifer Rising:
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘Trampled Under Foot’: Barney Hoskyns’ brilliant oral history of Led Zeppelin

barney_hoskyns_led_zeppelin
 
I have always liked Barney Hoskyns’ writing. He has a subtle and incisive way of getting to the seed of any story. His biography on Montgomery Clift, Beautiful Loser was sublime. More recently Hotel California: Singer-Songwriters & Cocaine Cowboys In The L.A. Canyons was perhaps the best book written on West Coast music. He also wrote a commendable biography on Tom Waits, and written histories on Glam and Soul, particularly the exceptional Say It One Time For The Brokenhearted: Country Soul In The American South.

Now Hoskyns has delivered Trampled Underfoot: The Power and Excess of Led Zepelin, which is the best biography written about Zeppelin to date.

It’s the best because Hoskyns’ book is a mammoth oral history of the band, told through over 130 interviews, featuring the key players, the management, the wives, the girlfriends, the roadies, the producers, the engineers, the PR people, the record label, the security, the druggies, right down to the designers of the album sleeves and office staff. Where there have been gaps, caused by death (drummer John Bonham, manager Peter Grant) or refusal (Kenneth Anger), Hoskyns has lifted directly from the original, key interviews, to maintain the story’s immediacy.

In an exclusive interview with Dangerous Minds, Barney Hoskyns talked to about Trampled Underfoot and the power and excess of Led Zeppelin.

DM: Why did you choose Led Zeppelin?

Barney Hoskyns: ‘I chose Zeppelin because I love them. The mission really was not to preach to the converted, if you like, it was to an extent to preach to the unconverted. Obviously, I hope that the Led Zeppelin community will read it and take to it, and embrace it. But I think I wanted to pitch it at as much skeptics, to say look a) Zeppelin’s music was incredible and b) the story is extraordinary.

‘And I think there was an opportunity to demystify the story a little bit, just to sort of get away from glorifying the usual larks and antics, and Hell-raising, and to make the story a bit more real. I think, was the mission, and that’s kind of how the book mutated into an oral history. Because it didn’t start out like that, but the more interviews I did, I ended up doing over 130, the more it became clear to me there was an opportunity to tell the story in a different way, with the kind of immediacy you get from people just talking quite openly and candidly. And I thought let’s see if we can tell the story in a kind of continuous way, from start to finish. That was the mission and that was the methodology.’

Hoskyns starts the book from the with the earliest moments in the band member’s careers. This is a youthful Jimmy Page showing his prodigious skills on TV with his skiffle band, before going onto a brief career as a session musician.

Page was so talented a guitar player that unlike most session musicians, he played both acoustic and electric guitar. Jimmy could play anything, and was the guitar on records by The Kinks, Donovan, Lulu and even Val Doonican. As can be seen from Hoskyns’ book, Page dedicated himself so much to playing his guitar that he was removed from the world, becoming that slightly isolated, mysterious figure of his adult years.

Most session men were middle-aged, with an interest in angling and loft-conversion. Yet, it was at one session that Page met a bass player and sometime musical arranger, John Paul Jones. The pair got on because of their age, but also because they had a respect and admiration for each other’s talent.

While Page and Jones were connecting in recording studios, Robert Plant and John Bonham were performing with various bands across Birmingham, which in the mid-1960s was considered to be the next Pop Capital of Britain after Liverpool, as it had so many music acts (The Move, The Moody Blues, Steve Winwood) coming to the fore. Plant and Bonham were equally dedicated to their talents. Bonham was a self-taught drummer, who even then was showing the skill and innovation that his contemporaries found difficult to match. It’s interesting to note that all these years later how many people in Hoskyns’s book still describe Bonham as the best.

Robert Plant was also trying out his skills fronting various bands. He had a love of Blues and Rock, and was developing his powerful and unique way of singing.

The turning point came when Page joined The Yardbirds at Jeff Beck’s insistence, which led Page into the orbit of manager Peter Grant.

Grant had the reputation of a hard man, one that he liked to play up. When stories circulated he had hung some recalcitrant manager over a penthouse balcony by his ankles, Grant neither admitted nor denied the charge, only quipping, “Let’s say I acquainted him with the view.” This was the kind of whispered tale that created the fear and myth about Grant.

As manager, Grant became like a father to Page and helped support the young guitarist with his vision to create a new Supergroup, one that he could lead. Page contacted Jones, and then through different connections, Plant and Bonham were brought in. The foursome that was to become the biggest band of the 1970s was born.
 
barney_hoskyns
Author: Barney Hoskyns
 
DM: Why did Led Zeppelin take-off? Was there a gap, say after The Beatles split?

Barney Hoskyns: ‘I think there was a gap there and Peter Grant spotted the opportunity, if you like. I think he intuitively knew there was room for a new band, a supergroup, you might call it, though Zeppelin weren’t a supergroup in the sense of Cream was a supergroup. The disbanding of Cream left a gap for Atlantic Records. Clapton had decided to mellow out and to calm down, and that allowed some other bands, or Zeppelin to step into the breach.

‘I think it was an evolution musically. ‘There are 4 guys with extraordinary talent, who have respect for each other. And they all kind of liked each other. They hung out with each other. There weren’t ego struggles, until the tensions start coming in as a result of many things, not just drugs. But until that moment, you know, these 4 guys, they weren’t punching each other in the dressing room. They’re having fun.

‘And, it was about the alchemy of these 4 musicians that was at the heart of everything. Without that you can hype a band to death and but it’s not going to mean much if there isn’t some substance and quality there form the outset, and there was that. But that’s not the whole story, as the book makes clear, there was an awful lot else that went on around this. There was the machinery, an extended family, that all contributed in creating this machinery, that all contributed to creating the phenomenon.

‘It was all very sudden and was done by sheer brute force in many ways. Peter Grant was a powerful figure who decided that Zeppelin was going to be his mission then nothing was going to stop him from turning that band into the biggest band on earth. And it was kind of brilliantly done. If the music hadn’t been as great as it was then even Peter Grant would never have succeeded in that mission.

‘The thing is there will always be a wave of adolescents, a new generation coming through that will need a band of its own. I’m not sure that’s the case now, as I think pop culture, rock culture, is very different, but then, there was a new generation, a semi-generation coming through, for whom bands like The Beatles and The Stones belonged to their older siblings, or boys and girls who were 4 or 5 years older. I think Led Zeppelin were the best in every sense technically and mythologically, as they sort of captured the imagination at that time, especially in North America, where there was almost a religious aspect, a mass cult of Zeppelin, the likes of which we will never see again.’
 
More from Barney Hoskyns plus bonus of Led Zeppelin ‘In Concert’, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Jimmy Page and William Burroughs discuss magick and eat burritos, 1975


 
Here’s the back story of the famous William Burroughs/Jimmy Page Crawdaddy magazine cover story of June 1975, excerpted from LZ-‘75: The Lost Chronicles of Led Zeppelin’s 1975 American Tour by Stephen Davis. Read the original article, “Rock Magic: Jimmy Page, Led Zeppelin and a search for the elusive Stairway to Heaven” by William Burroughs here.

The long black limousine carrying Jimmy Page to his encounter with William Burroughs made its way down Fifth Avenue in a light snowfall. The car stopped in front of 77 Franklin Street in a dark, shabby neighborhood of vacant or abandoned industrial lofts that were slowly being reclaimed by young artists and urban pioneers. Jimmy was greeted at street level by James Grauerholz, Burroughs’s young assistant, who led Page up four steep flights of stairs to Burroughs’s loft. The sixty-one- year-old writer, dressed in a coat and tie set off by an embroidered Moroccan vest, extended his hand and offered his guest a cup of tea, which Page happily accepted. Also on hand was a photographer to document the interview, and Crawdaddy’s publisher, Josh Feigenbaum, whose idea this meeting had been. Before getting down to business, Burroughs proudly showed Page his orgone accumulator, which looked like a big plywood crate. Sitting in this box, Burroughs explained, concentrated certain energies in a productive and healthful manner according to theories developed by the psychiatrist Wilhelm Reich. Jimmy Page declined Burroughs’s offer to give the orgone box a try.

Burroughs thought he and Jimmy might know people in common since Burroughs had lived in London for most of the past ten years. It turned out to be an interesting list, including film director Donald Camell, who worked on the great Performance; John Michell, an expert on occult matters, especially Stonehenge and UFOs; Mick Jagger and other British rock stars; and Kenneth Anger, auteur of Lucifer Rising. Burroughs told Page about the feelings of energy and exhilaration he experienced sitting in the thirteenth row of a Led Zeppelin concert. These feelings, he told Page, were similar to those he had known while listening to music in Morocco, especially the loud pipes and drums of the Master Musicians of Jajouka. Page somewhat sheepishly admitted that he had yet to visit Morocco but had been to India and Thailand and heard a lot of music there.

Burroughs was interested in getting Page to speak about crowd control, a longtime fascination. “It seems to be that rock stars are juggling fissionable material of the mass unconscious that could blow up at any time,” he pondered.

“You know, Jimmy,” he continued. “The crowd surges forward . . . a heavy piece of equipment falls on the crowd . . . security goes mad, and then . . . a sound like goddamned falling mountains or something.”

Page didn’t bat an eye. “Yes, I’ve thought about that. We all have. The important thing is to maintain a balance. The kids come to get as far out with the music as possible. It’s our job to see that they have a good time and no trouble.”

Burroughs launched into a series of morbid anecdotes he’d collected about fatal crowd stampedes, like the 360 soccer fans crushed to death during a riot in Lima, Peru. Then there was the rock band Storm playing a dance hall in Switzerland. Their pyro effects exploded, but the fire exits had been chained shut. “Thirty-seven people dead, including all the performers,” Burroughs recalled.

He poured two fingers of whiskey for himself and for Page. Burroughs had been informed that these were the first Zeppelin shows to deploy any special effects. “Sure,” Page said. “That’s true. Lights, lasers, dry ice are fine. But I think, again, that you have to have some balance. The show must carry itself and not rely too heavily on special effects, however spectacular. What I really want is laser . . . notes. That’s more what I’m after. Just . . . cut right through!”

Burroughs then wondered if the power of mass concentration experienced by Zeppelin’s audience could be transposed into a kind of magic energy that could materialize an actual stairway to heaven. He added that the moment when the stair- way becomes something physically possible for the audience could be the moment of greatest danger. Page again answered that a performer’s skill involved avoiding these dangers. “You have to be careful [with large audiences],” he said. “It’s rather like driving a load of nitroglycerine.” Page described the fan abuse they had seen in Philadelphia a few days earlier as an ex- ample of a situation that could really crack, but somehow didn’t.

Over margaritas at the nearby Mexican Gardens restaurant, Burroughs asked about Page’s house on the shores of Loch Ness in Scotland, which had once belonged to Aleister Crowley. Was it really haunted? Page said he was sure it was. Does the Loch Ness monster exist? Page said he thought it did. Skeptical, Burroughs wondered how the monster could get enough to eat. The conversation continued over enchiladas. Burroughs talked about infrasound, pitched below the level of human hearing, which had supposedly been developed as a weapon by the French military. Then on to interspecies communication, talking to dolphins via sonar waves. Burroughs said he thought a remarkable synthesis could be achieved if rock music returned to its ancient roots in ceremony and folklore, and brought in some of the trance music one heard in Morocco.

Jimmy Page was receptive. “Well, music which involves [repeating] riffs, anyway, will have a trancelike effect, and it’s really like a mantra. And, you know, we’ve been attacked for that.”

They parted company on the icy sidewalk outside the restaurant, with many thanks and good-byes. Jimmy Page’s limo, which had been waiting for him, whisked him back to the Plaza Hotel. William Burroughs, James Grauerholz, and Josh Feigenbaum walked back to Burroughs’s loft to listen to the tape that Josh had recorded of the conversation.

Speaking of Jimmy Page and magick, here’s the maestro’s seldom-heard abandoned score for Kenneth Anger’s Lucifer Rising: Part II is here.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Led Zeppelin: Rocking the Gladsaxe Teen Club for Danish TV in 1969

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Roughly 6 months after their first gig (where they were billed as ‘The Yardbirds med Jimmy Page’) this is Led Zeppelin giving a hint as to why they will dominate venues and stadia across the world during the 1970s.

Recorded at the Gladsaxe Teen Club, Denmark, for TV Byen / Danmarks Radio on March 17, 1969, Led Zeppelin perform “Communication Breakdown”, “Dazed and Confused”, “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You”, and “How Many More Times”. Impressive and tight, this was what I considered as “grown-up Rock ‘n’ Roll” when I was young - the kind of music you studied after achieving good grades in Bowie and Bolan - and forty-three years on, it is still a cracking masterclass.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Jimmy Page: Releases ‘Lucifer Rising and Other Sound Tracks’ next week

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Jimmy Page has revealed via his Facebook page, that he will release his music for Lucifer Rising next week.

In a “special announcement” Page said:

On March 20th, the Spring Equinox 2012, the title music for Lucifer Rising and Other Sound Tracks will have its premiere and release.

The title music, along with other musical pieces recorded at my home studio in the early Seventies, have been revisited, remixed and released for the first time.

This is a musical diary of avant-garde compositions and experiments, one of which was to appear on the film Lucifer Rising.

The collection has been exhumed and is now ready for public release. This will be available exclusively on the website.

There will be a standard release on heavyweight vinyl.

In addition there will be a special run of 418 numbered copies. The first 93 copies will be signed and numbered.

There are liner notes and commentary to each track. The tracks are:

Side One

1) Lucifer Rising - Main Track


Side Two

1) Incubus
2) Damask
3) Unharmonics
4) Damask - Ambient
5) Lucifer Rising - Percussive Return

Jimmy Page, March 2012

As you all know, Page was originally asked to write the music for the film by Kenneth Anger, but various difficulties saw their collaboration fall apart. Anger later claimed he could turn the guitarist into a toad or a statue of gold.

While Page’s soundtrack has been available as a bootleg for some years, this is its first official release, which you can purchase via Jimmy Page’s website

This is what the bootleg version sounds like:
 

 

 
And what Kenneth Anger said after being asked just one more question about Jimmy Page.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Nude Jimmy Page, plus entrails, naked lady, 1969
09.21.2011
12:35 pm

Topics:
Art
Music

Tags:
Jimmy Page
Ron Raffaelli


 
I found this by accident yesterday. Strange isn’t it? Ron Raffaelli, the rock and erotica photographer shot this peculiar portrait of a naked Jimmy Page with his guts hanging out, at Page’s specific request. The blonde in the shot is Miss Cynderella, one time member of the GTOS and briefly the wife of John Cale (before he caught her fucking Kevin Ayers, but I digress).

Raffaelli recollects:

“After touring with the band I became very close to them, and on a long flight from London to New York, Jimmy Page told me about a recurring dream he had. In this dream Jimmy falls from the concert stage into the flailing arms of a sea of screaming fans. he is stripped of his clothes and forced to have sex with many beautiful groupies.

Dream? Sounds more like his waking life back then, but this was 1969, maybe the legendary Led Zeppelin debauchery hadn’t gotten into full swing yet? Via Dark Elf:

Thus it came to be that in December of 1969, Raffaelli set up a photo shoot at his studio for Jimmy to turn his dream fantasy into a fully realised photographic image.

“I had an assistant go down to the butcher and get these entrails,“recalls the photographer, “and they smelled like crazy! So I insisted they be kept in a can out on the back porch of my studio for the early morning shooting, and we weren’t going to bring them in until we had to because of the smell. Page came in with this model, some groupie that was hanging on to him at the moment.

I don’t remember her name, it was ‘Moonbeam’ or something… [the model is Cindy Wells, aka Miss Cynderella, from the GTOs] and I had the private set ready so there was no one there but him and me and this model. They stripped down and I got them all posed and everything and I said ‘ok, I am going to bring in the…uh..entrails,’ and by now the sun had come up and and it was heating them up so they were warm . I put them on him and got it all posed, but I’m looking through the camera and I’m thinking, ‘it just looks like I poured those entrails on his stomach, it doesn’t look like there’s a gash or anything.’ It just didn’t look convincing. And he’s laying there and she’s laying there and the stuff is beginning to get ripe and I’m thinking, ‘I’ve gotta think quick.’ So I run out to the kitchen and look in the refridgerator and there was my answer. I had a nice jar of strawberry preserves!

“I quick grabbed a long spoon and mixed ‘em up and they had the right redness and consistency, with little specks and everything. it had the right look to it like it might be the inside of a turned-out open wound. So I took these cold, cold preserves- and I give Jimmy a lot of credit, he must really have wanted the picture- and put them all around the entrails on his stomach. And I know from the expression on his face and the contortions that his body was going through that this was not a comfortable situation!

“I originally shot it in Black & white and gave Page a 16X20 print, and I also shot color at the same time that I just developed and rolled up into a ball and stuck into a drawer and hadn’t looked at until I decided to put it up on my website this year.

My agent met Jimmy in New York last year and explained that we have this material and that we were intending to sell it and he didn’t have any objections to it. It’s bizarre, but I would never consider it a controversial picture by any means, it’s just bizarre and reflects a bizarre state of mind that he was in at the time. I’m sure he looks back at it and goes, ‘Oh my God, what was I thinking?!’”

I’ll bet he does!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Teenage Jimmy Page on TV, 1957
06.24.2011
12:52 pm

Topics:
History
Music

Tags:
Jimmy Page
Led Zeppelin


 
A 14-year-old Jimmy Page and pals performing some skiffle music on The Huw Wheldon Show, BBC TV 1957.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Before they were famous: Hugh Cornwell, Richard Thompson, Lemmy and co.

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A 15-year-old, Hugh Cornwell poses with his first band Emil and The Detectives in 1964. The band was formed by guitarist Richard Thompson (on the far right of picture). who went on to Fairport Convention, while Cornwell found fame as frontman with The Stranglers. Cornwell talked about this early snapshot in the Telegraph Magazine:

I remember getting the violin bass guitar I’m holding here, I was about 15 and had saved up £50 for it. Before then I’d been playing a homemade version with a neck the thickness of a plank of wood. Richard Thompson (on the far right) suggested I learn to play bass because he was forming Emil and the Detectives (the band in the picture) and he needed a bass player, so he taught me. We were good friends from school and we played each other music that we had discovered, like the Rolling Stones and the Who. Richard’s older sister, Perri, who was the social secretary at the Hornsey College of Art in north London, would book us to play parties and pay us £30 per gig. Our biggest claim to fame was supporting Helen Sahpiro at the Ionic cinema in Golders Green. But after we took our O-level [exams] we lost touch. The next I heard he was the lead guitarist in Fairport Convention…

...In August 2008 I was doing a festival outside Madrid and the promoter said, ‘If we hurry we can catch the end of Richard Thompson’s set.’ I couldn’t believe it. I hadn’t seen Richard in 30 years. We had a big huggy reunion and now we’re back in touch it’s really lovely. When I played in LA last year he came to watch and I suggested that we play a song together. I chose “Tobacco Road” by the Nashville Teens, which was a number one hit in the 1960s and was one of the first songs we learnt together.

Hugh Cornwell tours the UK April 6-17, details here.
 
More early pics and performances of pop stars, including Lemmy, Bowie and Davy Jones, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Kenneth Anger talks about working with Jimmy Page on the ‘Lucifer Rising’ Soundtrack

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While the Kenneth Anger / Jimmy Page dustup has been reported ad nauseum, this clip is new to me.

Led Zeppelin guitarist and leader Jimmy Page has been fired as composer for the soundtrack of the film ‘Lucifer Rising’ by it’s director, Kenneth Anger. Speaking in London on Friday, Anger decried Page for time-wasting and a lack of dedication to the project, and claimed that Page’s personal problems had made him impossible to work with. Page has been working on the film for the past three years and has so far delivered some 28 minutes of completed tape. The story of the collaboration -and the ensuing rift- goes back to 1973 when Page first agreed to compose and perform the movie soundtrack. He and Anger first met at Sotheby’s, at an auction of boots by the English Occultist/Magician Aleister Crowley. Both Page and Anger are students of Crowley’s teachings. Anger is a practicing Magus (a priest/magician) and his films’of which ‘Scorpio Rising’ is perhaps the best known—- are replete with occult symbolism. Anger himself describes them as “Spells and Invocations”.

 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
William Burroughs and Jimmy Page talking about magic, infra-sound and Aleister Crowley, 1977

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In this fascinating article, written for Crawdaddy magazine in 1977, William Burroughs explores the music of Led Zeppelin and discusses Crowley, infra-sound, magic, Moroccan trance music and rock and roll with Jimmy Page.

The essential ingredient for any successful rock group is energy–the ability to give out energy, to receive energy from the audience and to give it back to the audience. A rock concert is in fact a rite involving the evocation and transmutation of energy. Rock stars may be compared to priests, a theme that was treated in Peter Watkins’ film ‘Privilege’. In that film a rock star was manipulated by reactionary forces to set up a state religion; this scenario seems unlikely, I think a rock group singing political slogans would leave its audience at the door.
The Led Zeppelin show depends heavily on volume, repetition and drums. It bears some resemblance to the trance music found in Morocco, which is magical in origin and purpose–that is, concerned with the evocation and control of spiritual forces. In Morocco, musicians are also magicians. Gnaoua music is used to drive out evil spirits. The music of Joujouka evokes the God Pan, Pan God of Panic, representing the real magical forces that sweep away the spurious. It is to be remembered that the origin of all the arts–music, painting and writing–is magical and evocative; and that magic is always used to obtain some definite result. In the Led Zeppelin concert, the result aimed at would seem to be the creation of energy in the performers and in the audience. For such magic to succeed, it must tap the sources of magical energy, and this can be dangerous.”

Read the entire article here .
 
Thanks HTMLGIANT

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
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