Jimmy Page spent the past few years digging deep into Led Zeppelin's vault for the group's upcoming series of deluxe album reissues, but now that the project is done the guitarist is finally ready to focus on his own career. "I play guitar at least once a week," he says. "But now that the Zeppelin project is finished, I'll be playing daily for the foreseeable future. I want to get myself back into playing shape. I'm a bit of a perfectionist about these things."
Page hasn't released an album of original material since the 1998 Page/Plant LP Walking Into Clarksdale, and 10 years prior to that he put out Outrider, his one and only solo album. "I'm an unusual character in the music business," he says. "How many people do you speak with that say they only have one solo album?"
That doesn't mean he hasn't continued to write music. "I've got lots of material I've written on acoustic guitar," he says. "Lots and lots. And right now I need to get myself up to speed, and that won't take too long. But I don't know what musicians I'd play with. I do have material and a passion for it. I need to work towards it, and now I can without all the other side issues going on."
One of the last times that Jimmy Page performed in public was at the 2009 Rock and Roll hall of Fame induction ceremony, where he jammed with Jeff Beck on a smoking rendition of "Beck's Bolero" that snuck in a bit of "Immigrant Song." It was a tantalizing glimpse at a possible Beck/Page co-headlining tour, which would likely do very good business. Earlier this year, Beck told Rolling Stone he'd be interested in such a tour. "If you could talk Jimmy into appearing somewhere," he said. "He appears at the most unlikely events and then disappears again. He’s a dark horse, there’s no doubt. He’s got a completely private side to him as I have. But we have such a great laugh when we’re together and if he ever comes up for grabs, then it’d make a good package."
Page is slightly less enthused about the idea. "That would be great," he says. "But I don't know. I don't know what's going to happen. At this moment, it's safe to say that I haven't been playing gigs. I've been doing this Zeppelin project, but now I intend to start getting to a point where I could play some gigs. But what those gigs are going to be, I don't know yet. I have ideas of what I want to do, but they're pretty complex. I would love to play live again. I love playing live. It's wonderful."
A Jimmy Page memoir would likely be a huge hit, but don't expect to see it in stores anytime soon. "I've been approached by people about that," he says. "I said to them, 'I'll consider doing a book, but I'd want it to be released posthumously.' I've had quite a lengthy career in music, going back to when I was 13. I went through all of those changing times with the explosion of rock and roll and the undercurrent of blues and how it came into England. I've seen documentaries that were really well done, but I lived through it."
So, why wait until death to release such a book? "That way I can really tell the whole story of what really went on," he says. "I wouldn't want people messing around and stopping it with lawyers. No, no, no, no."