Jimmy Page has opened up on how Led Zeppelin’s ninth album might have sounded – if the band hadn’t split on the death of drummer John Bonham in 1980
And the guitarist says he wasn’t aware of any tension within the lineup as they worked on what would be their final releases.
Presence, In Through The Out Door and posthumous title Coda complete Page’s series of reissues, complete with companion discs of outtakes, which he hopes will help put Led Zep’s previously-released work in better context.
Frontman Robert Plant has said the lyrics for Carouselambra on 1979’s In Through The Out Door deal with the fraught relationships between himself, Page, Bonham and John Paul Jones.
But asked about the mood during sessions, Page tells Classic Rock’s Mark Blake: “It was good, as far as I knew.”
Of Plant’s lyrics being based on the band he says: “I’m sure they were, but I didn’t know. The way we listened to music then was to make your own interpretation. We were still a few years away from videos, where they told you what the song was about.
“In the early stages of Led Zeppelin I wrote lyrics – but if I’d concentrated on lyrics I wouldn’t have been able to give as much attention to the guitars.”
And he rejects the suggestion that his drug use made it difficult for him to work. “When I needed to be focused, I was really focused,” he says. “Presence and In Through The Out Door were only recorded in three weeks. That’s really going some – you’ve got to be on top of it.”
Led Zep had endured a potentially permanent break after the death of Plant’s young son Karac in 1977, and finally ground to a halt following Bonham’s passing in 1980. Coda was released two years later.
But Page says he knows what the band would have done with their next studio title if they’d kept going: “Riffs. Interestingly-contructed riffs and hypnotic music,” he says.
“John and I spoke about this a lot. Let’s put it this way – on the next album, John wouldn’t have been playing with brushes. John loved the idea of anything where he could really get going.”