Jimmy Page can tell you exactly when he will become a solo artist again: on August 2nd, right after the Led Zeppelin guitarist concludes his year-long deluxe reissues of the band’s studio albums with the July 31st release of expanded editions of 1976’s Presence, 1979’s In Through the Out Door and the 1982 compilation, Coda. On August 1st, “I’ll wipe my brow, lay in bed and read the paper,” Page says with a grin in a New York hotel room. The next day, “I’ll pick up the guitar, and I won’t stop from that point on.
“I’ve got new material,” he insists. “I’ve played guitar in so many different styles, and I want to revisit them all.” Page says that “the focus and energies I have been putting into this other stuff” — including 2012’s Celebration Day, the album and DVD from Zeppelin’s 2007 reunion concert, and Sound Tracks, a recent four-disc set of Page’s Seventies and Eighties music for films — “meant that I couldn’t play guitar or get involved in a project, then keep breaking away to do this. Now it’s time.”
Page still clearly recalls the way he felt about his instrument after Zeppelin broke up in 1980 following the death of drummer John Bonham. “I didn’t want to play the guitar,” Page admits. “It was going to bring up too much.” A short time later, he learned that he was contractually obligated to produce one last Zeppelin studio LP. “I was like, ‘Oh, my God, no.’ ” The result, Coda, “was a compromise, just an album of things left over.”
Surprisingly, the new three-disc version of that album is now the killer climax of Page’s Zeppelin-
reissue series — “the mother of all Codas,” he notes, with major rarities such as “Sugar Mama,” an outtake from 1969’s Led Zeppelin and two legendary 1972 recordings Page made in India with singer Robert Plant. That’s it, too: “No more studio stuff,” Page says firmly. “I made sure these reissues were thorough and complete. There is nothing else you can make a project out of.”
Page is also adamant about one aspect of his impending solo work: Don’t assume it will sound like his old band. “Because somebody plays guitar, why does it mean they need a singer?” Page says heatedly. “Because people already have this image of things? No, I’ll put my music together, then think about whether I need to embellish it with a singer.”
Still, Page admits, “I play like I play. You hear it on Celebration Day. It’s pretty good for a one-night shot.” He laughs, then adds, “Whatever I do in the future, it won’t be a one-night shot.”