John J. Moser of the Lehigh Valley Music blog recently conducted an interview with drummer Jason Bonham about JASON BONHAM'S LED ZEPPELIN EXPERIENCE — which celebrates the life and music of Jason's father, the legendary LED ZEPPELIN drummer John Bonham. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Lehigh Valley Music: Why do you think LED ZEPPELIN's music has endured so long? It's been 30 years since your father is gone and since they've not been playing as a band. Why do you think it's still so popular?
Bonham: Um, wow. That's one of the big questions I get asked. If I really knew the answer, I would put it in a bottle and sell it. Um, I don't know. I think for me — I can only answer for me; everyone kind of has their own reason — but when you looks at bands from the day and you look at LED ZEPPELIN, they were totally different. Like in the '80s – and I'm not knocking the '80s, I am a big fan of the '80s — there was a certain genre of rock bands that all kind of sound the same. But you put ZEPPELIN on even back in the day with all the '70s artists, they still didn't sound like anybody else then, you know? They've been unique from Day 1, and copied by many. It is truly an honor to be part of this whole thing in my family and then and again I still … my son will come up with his friends and say, "Dad, granddad was in LED ZEPPELIN, right?" And I go, "Yup." And they all go, "Wow" [Laughs]. And we've lived in America for the last five years, and he wouldn't have gotten that response in England. He thinks it's cool to wear his LED ZEPPELIN shirt to school. And it's like another new wave of fans. But these gigs, the other night there must have been three generations from one family; they're all there rocking out in the front. It was amazing; these two 11-year-old kids in the front, banging their heads like it was an '80s concert. Amazing.
Lehigh Valley Music: Now I have to ask you a little about something you've been asked a whole lot about. After the O2 stadium show in 2007 with LED ZEPPELIN, the expectation was that you guys were going to tour and then it didn't happen. Can you tell me a little bit about what happened there?
Bonham: Well, I was actually working with Jimmy [Page] and John Paul [Jones] after the show, but there was never talk of a tour before the O2, and after the O2, I think that was an idea the press had kind of built on. And there was no ever talk of a tour. I mean, I thought there might be because it was so good, but there was never any talk of it, so the next phone call I got was in March, and then I flew to England to work with Jimmy and John Paul on writing material and to see what we could do musically together — and that was a great time. I flew backwards and forwards a few times in 2008 for writing periods with the two of them. And that was, for me, one of the highlights of my life — to have Jimmy Page turn to you after we played a few ideas of his and John's and then go, "Jason, have you got anything you want to work on?" I'm like, "Are you kidding me!" [Laughs] So you know, those moments I treasure dearly. OK, it didn't tour, we didn't do this. But I have to be grateful and thankful for everything else I get to do. Every now and again, Jimmy would remind me and say, "Stop being such a fan." [Laugh] "You're in the band now."
Lehigh Valley Music: But I read a whole lot about the fact that Robert [Plant] opted out of continuing on. Is that correct?
Bonham: I think Robert gets a very tough time, gets hit hard because they kind of put it all on him. I've sat with Robert and we spoke very, very personally about my dad and the whole how he feels with it all. And I don't … I totally agree with his side of it 100 percent. Wanting say yes, but … obviously feelings that he had for dad and said, "Jason, you know, when we stopped 30 years ago" — and this was when it was 20-some years ago — "I really feel that that was it, you know? So to get back together now, no matter how great it sounds and how great you play — your dad would be so proud; no one plays the drums like you — but LED ZEPPELIN was with John Bonham. And I'd rather not tarnish the thoughts." I totally got that. I really did. And I felt very strong about his feelings for dad. His time has moved on. [He said] "I'm sorry if it's not what you want to hear me say." And I said, "It's not really what I want to hear you say, but inside it is what I want to hear you say." He said, "There was never going to be anybody else but you if we ever did it. So is that better?" [Laughs] And I went, "I can live with that one."
Read the entire interview from Lehigh Valley Music.