Paul Jones AOL Chat From Nov 17, 1997
Question: If you could
jam with any musician(s) from any era who would it be and why?
John P Zep: John Bonham and Jimi Hendrix, I don't think I need to say why!
Question: What do you think were the unique qualities that Zeppelin brought
John P Zep: Musicality, diversity, power ! let's see... a good stage show, and
Question: What Zeppelin recording do you feel features your most
creative bass work?
John P Zep: Oh, that's a hard one... Which one doesn't?
I hate false modesty! The Lemon Song is famous I quite like the bass lates
that are tight in with Bonzo, bass lines, that is. Any live recording of Dazed
Question: did you help in the release of the new bbc release ?
John P Zep: Yes I did. Tapes were circulated and... we all made a decision on
what best versions to use. we tried to get as much good stuff on as possible
Question: How do the younger bands react when they find out you are producing
John P Zep: Initially... they're terrified! but I think they get
frightened that I might want to change them and that they might not be able
to tell me what they want and what they don't want. hopefully, they find that
I'm pretty sympathetic and that if I'm going to produce a band that I'll let
their personality come out
Question: Do you like any new artists?
John P Zep:
Some songs from some artists, I think. Some of Radiohead. there's a single from
the Eels that I like. I like some of the English drum & bass/jungle. I like
bluegrass as well, at the moment
Question: If Page/Plant tour after their album
is released...and they wanted you to join them...would you?
John P Zep: No,
I think they've missed their chance now.
Question: Did the XYZ (former Yes and
Zeppelin) project ever really exist?
John P Zep: No! It was pretty much a press
thing, I think. It was one of those things you read about and wonder, Are they
talking about us?
Question: Did you make up the bass solo in the Lemon Song
on the spot?
John P Zep: The word is improvise-- And YES!
Question: What's the
best thing about this Live at the BBC album?
John P Zep: It's the sound of a
young, enthusiastic band. It's a very raw sound. A cocky young band at the height
of its powers. And John Bonham,
Question: Jonesy, on your upcoming solo album,
is it going to be entirely musical? No vocals, or do you sing? And are you doing
and No Quarter style jazz improve on it?
John P Zep: Entirely musical? Don't
you mean instrumental? The answer is yes-- it is instrumental -- no vocals no
guitar no jazz Pure Rock! (with some funny noises)
Question: you have such a
smooth driving bass style who was your influence
John P Zep: A lot of bass players
from a lot of different styles of music. To name a few... James Jameson from
motown, Duck Dunne (booker t & the mgs) and some of the great jazz players such
as charles mingus and Scott LaFaro
Question: Will we be seeing any professional
live video i.e. Earls Court '75, Seattle '77 released in the future for public
John P Zep: it's always possible. every now and again we feel we
ought to look at this stuff, some of it is good, some not so good, would be
nice to see some of it out there
Question: I know that you have worked with
Lenny Kravitz in the past do you consider him to be one of the most talented
younger musicians today as i do? by the way you do realize you are the best
bass player in rock music history right?
John P Zep: Is that Lenny Kravitz writing
in? If it is, i better say that he's pretty good too. he actually approached
John P Zep: by saying that his bass player left just before the MTV video
awards he was trying to think of who to use
John P Zep: and he said to me why
not call the guy i took it all from in the first place?
Question: Tell us about
the new Whole Lotta Love video. I believe some of the footage has never been
John P Zep: Yes, it certainly surprised me! There's a funny little
bit where Robert and I seem to be doing some strange Martian dance together.
Don't know where they found it. But it's a good video. I must be biased.
what do you feel is your best performance on the keyboard?
John P Zep: oooh...
There's a piano solo on No Quarter at one of the old Court shows that was
particularly successful (Earl's Court, that is) I can't tell you to listen to
the bootlegs -- Robert will kill me!
Question: What do you think of the current
state of rock?
John P Zep: Well, I don't know about America but in England it
seems to be harking back to the 60s a lot. As I was on most of the stuff on
the 60s that they took it all form I can't say that I'm happy to hear it all
Question: What did it feel like in 1985 when you played Live Aid in Philly
and at the end of 'Stairway' all 92,000 fans were singing along.
John P Zep:
It felt like we hadn't been gone. Walking on stage was just like coming back
home. It was very exhilarating.
Question: What were your thoughts on Hammer
Of The Gods? We all know that Percy hated it..... It's a very sad little book.
It made us out to be sad little people. He ruined a lot of good, funny stories.
Question: will zep be playing at the atlantic's 50 th anniversary
John P Zep:
There is no Led Zeppelin. And there's certainly no plans for any reunion of
the 3 remaining members... that i know of.
Question: John Paul what was your
favorite band that seemed a precursor to the Zep sound i.e. Cream , Traffic,
Jefferson AIrplane, et al?
John P Zep: Possibly Vanilla Fudge. I know that sounds
odd, but they really were extremely powerful plus they had a great stage show
They had two great voices. and we became great friends --we supported them on
the first tour.
Question: Did The girl I love evolve into Moby Dick ? John
P Zep: It kinda sounds like it, doesn't it? I think it must have. t was a Page
riff. I must admit, I preferred the Moby Dick version as a riff.
what advice can you give to the younger generation of musicians out there? John
P Zep: Keep your ears open. Listen to as much music as you can. Of all different
types. And listen to the other people that you're playing on stage with. Think
not just how you should sound... but how the band should sound and work towards
Question: is richard cole's book an accurate account of all the partying
on tours you guys did?
John P Zep: It's accurate about his partying! I don't
think he knows who else was there with him!
Question: What is Kashmir about?
And why the fascination with Tolkien's Lord of the Rings on the 3rd and 4th
John P Zep: That's a
Question for Robert. It's about a journey to
Morocco but you'd get pretty lost if you went by Kachina . Robert was into
all that fairy stuff.
Question: What kind of basses do you like to play? John
P Zep: I have my basses made for me by a guy called Hugh Manson he's just today
delivered a 10-string bass which i will be using on the record and on the following
Question: What do you consider to be Zeppelin's best album??? And would
you change anything
John P Zep: You could always change things. I like Physical
Graffiti a lot. but I like most of every album. There's a lot to like. But when
you listen to your own music back you always think you could've done better
but.. make another album!
Question: why don't you play with PAge and Plant anymore?
You would still make great music together
John P Zep: Their plans didn't include
me. Although it did seem to include my music.
Question: Do you think Bonzo is
the best drummer of all time?
John P Zep: Of all time, of all places. That's
one of the nice things about listening to the BBC Sessions I get to hear him
live and well recorded.
Question: Plant says Kashmir truly defines Zep.....Page
says Stairway ....what is your opinion?
John P Zep: Stairway to Kashmir ?
That would be a long track! They have everything that Zeppelin is about. they
have similar dynamic to songs like Baby, I'm Gonna Leave You Things off the
first album... That whole acoustic,heavy... journey, really It's hard talking
about songs in the abstract I could play it for you!
Question: What is the meaning
John P Zep: Oh lord! I really don't know! Jimmy came up with it...
He said it was something to do with Saturday... but we all chose our signs at
different times Bonzo and I got them from the same book Jimmy got his from who
Question: Do you have an ill feelings towards Page & Plant over
the No Quarter tour/album? Did you WANT to be involved, whether they asked you
or not? Did they ask you?
John P Zep: In the reverse order... No, they didn't
ask me I would have certainly thought about it at the time And it was hurtful,
at the time we were very close but...time passes!
Question: Is it true what
they say about playing Stairway backwards?
John P Zep: I should think it'd be
Question: Why do you use Marshall guitar cabinets instead of
Bass cabinets in your rig
John P Zep: I didn't know that I did! With the last
tour I did with Diamanda Galas? My 8 string bass was in stereo and the bass
head went through SWR bass cabinets and the high end went through Marshalls.
Question: How do you like the recently released Symphonic Zeppelin?
John P Zep:
I haven't heard it... I've heard mixed reports And a lot of people have asked
me over the last 10 years or so to do something similar I just couldn't bring
myself to. I think we made the definitive version.
Question: What did you think
of the Moog Cookbook version of Whole Lotta Love?
John P Zep: They got quite
a good groove -- I thought it was hilarious. I thought it was a bit cowardly
using real drums, though. I also noticed that they used my solo from All of
My Love from 25 or 6 to 4 so they've obviously been doing their homework!
Question: What age did you start playing the bass?
John P Zep: 14. I became
professional at 16.
Question: What is your favorite Zep album cover? Favorite
cover of all time?
John P Zep: The one with the wheel!
Question: have you ever
been to the rock-n-roll hall of fame in Cleveland ohio and Tell us more about
your new project:
John P Zep: Blues based and acoustic rock but using a lot
of computer processing and electronics over a live rhythm section
Did you write the Black Dog riff?
John P Zep: Yes. I did. it came to me on
a train coming back from rehearsal at Jimmy Page's house. I'd been listening
to a song on a Muddy Water's record called Electric Mud, which had a long, rambling
blues riff and i thought i'd like to try something with a similar form
What influenced you in writing the keyboard part for Stairway to Heaven? John
P Zep: Really, a reaction to what Jimmy was playing on acoustic guitar I think
he had already started writing it with robert when they were away in their cottage
in Wales and Jimmy had lots of different part of it which we put together, the
two of us at Hedley Grange
Question: What do you think of Jason Bonham ? John
P Zep: He's a good drummer, he reminds me of his dad a lot. When we played with
him at the 40th Anniversary HE WAS THE ONLY ONE WHO KNEW ALL THE LINKS BETWEEN
Question: do you miss touring?
John P Zep: yes, that's why I went
out with diamanda galas and that's why I'm going out as soon as my record is
Question: CD or Vinyl?
John P Zep: CDs are not perfect but I prefer
to hear my music without the surface noise and pops that vinyl used to have
on the other hand, the artwork is more fun on vinyl
Question: What is your fondest
John P Zep: ummm... playing at the Boston tea Party for
4 and a quarter hours with 45 minutes' worth of songs now that's what i call
improvising! HubMeg: Anything you want to add John?
John P Zep: Enjoy the BBC
Sessions! I wish Bonzo was here to hear them..