Drummer Jason Bonham (BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION, THE CIRCLE, BONHAM, JASON BONHAM'S LED ZEPPELIN EVENING) was recently interviewed by the Tulsa, Oklahoma radio station 97.5 KMOD's "DOMKcast" podcast. The full chat can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On how faithfully he performs his father's drum parts faithfully during LED ZEPPELIN EVENING concerts:
Jason: "My theory of it all is there are key points that he played — key fills. There's a fill in 'Black Dog' right before the solo. You have to do the [imitates drum pattern]. You've got to do those. The fills in 'Stairway [To Heaven]', you've got to do. What I like to do is, I listen to all the different bootlegs. There's a lot of fills, a lot of stuff that people aren't aware of. Sometimes, they go, 'Oh, wow. You did your own thing there.' I go, 'I'd love to say it was, but no — that was from '75, when he did this, or '77.' When I do 'Kashmir', I'm focused on the '79 Knebworth version."
On including deep cuts in the band's set lists:
Jason: "This tour, we're going to do — hopefully — the full 27 minutes of 'Dazed And Confused' from '[The] Song Remains The Same'. We are going for different arrangements, but a lot of them, I love. If anything, the live versions, they're the most known, so we're going to do 'Rock And Roll' into 'Celebration Day' into 'Black Dog', and then 'The Song Remains The Same' into 'Rain Song', just like 'The Song Remains The Same' movie. Then we're going to turn it up a bit and go into, like, 'Carouselambra', which was never played live from '[In Through] The Out Door'. We're changing it up all the time. That's the one thing I love. There's never a bad song — we just like to change up the set list and not make it so people think, 'Oh, they're just going to do the obvious songs.' There's so many to choose from."
On his relationships with Robert Plant and Jimmy Page:
Jason: "It's kind of like a working one, really. Jimmy was the one that hired me, first for the solo album he did, which was 'Outrider'. He took me on the road with him, which was crazy. I was 22 years old. That was a big responsibility, [being] that young and out on the road with him. Before that, I'd worked with Robert as a kid, come picking me up from school and doing the demos for his solo album. Years and years later, all of a sudden, I was driving them around, and we were rehearsing for the O2 [the London arena where LED ZEPPELIN performed a 2007 reunion concert]. And to win a Grammy? I'd never won a Grammy. That's the only thing I can ever say I got more than dad. He didn't win one. It's one of those things — we don't speak on a weekly basis, but whenever we do walk into a room and everyone's there, it's like we were just talking yesterday."
On shifting his focus as a teen from motocross racing to drumming:
Jason: "I was really into motocross. I started racing when I was 10 years old and did very, very well. That was my dream, if anything, more than drumming. My father passed when I was 14. When I was 15, I had my most successful year [racing]. I lost the British championship [by] one point, but that was a great for me. When I turned 17, I had a bike malfunction at a race, and in my head, I went, 'You know what? I'm done. I'm going to go play drums.' I still ride my bikes for fun, but that was the turning point. That's how it all began for me... I actually rode my dirt bike last week, and I hadn't ridden for two years. Boy, did I realize I hadn't ridden for two years."
On THE CIRCLE:
Jason: "I'm with Sammy Hagar most of my time. We have a new album coming out. When I'm not doing this, I'm with Sammy 24/7. Every now and again, we've got the BLACK [COUNTRY] COMMUNION project, but at the moment, [LED ZEPPELIN EVENING] is my focus for the next 21 shows, and then it's back to Sammy again January 4. We've been touring now for four years. It's been an absolutely amazing ride for me, to be still working and playing. I feel very blessed."
THE CIRCLE – which also features guitarist Vic Johnson and former VAN HALEN bassist Michael Anthony — is expected to release its debut album, "Space Between", in early 2019.
JASON BONHAM'S LED ZEPPELIN EVENING spent the summer on the road with FOREIGNER and WHITESNAKE and has tour dates scheduled through December 8.