Earlier this week, Led Zeppelin released new, deluxe editions of its fourth record and Houses of the Holy albums remastered by producer and guitarist Jimmy Page. The guitarist also recently put out a new edition of his photographic autobiography, Jimmy Page by Jimmy Page, which documents his musical life from choirboy through one of the most iconic guitarists in rock.
To promote these releases, the guitarist stopped by SiriusXM to take part in the satellite radio broadcaster’s “Town Hall” series, where contest-winning fans were allowed to sit in a studio audience and ask questions of Page directly. The program originally aired on November 7th but will be rerun numerous times (the schedule is available on the SiriusXM website and on demand for subscribers on the SiriusXM app). From the origins of the Houses of the Holy album title to his plans for his upcoming solo record, here are the most interesting things we learned from the chat.
1. Jimmy Page Did Not Write the Riff for “Black Dog” – Led Zeppelin’s bassist did
“John Paul Jones had a riff, and that’s the sort of riff you know of that song,” Page told the audience. “So we had that, but that’s what it was. It was just a riff. And he was playing it over and over, and it was tricky to play…. But during the point of getting to play with that part, it was like, let’s try this with a call and response with Robert singing and the riff…. So really, you’re asking me what my part of it was, it was actually taking it from a riff and making it into a piece of music.”
2. There’s a reason why Houses of the Holy was not titled Led Zeppelin V
“It goes I, II and III, as you say, but then IV, there’s still four symbols, so it still goes in digits [like IIII], you see,” Page said. “But [the fifth album] wasn’t going to be Led Zeppelin Victory Sign [V]. So Houses of the Holy.” Later, the guitarist explained just why Houses of the Holy is so named. “It’s about all of us being houses of the Holy Spirit, in a sense,” he said.
3. Page found his first guitar at a house his family moved into
“My first guitar was like a campfire guitar,” he said. “And it was left at a house that my family had moved into…and the guitar was at the house. It was all strung up. It’s normally something that would be beyond a bit of rubbish.”
4. Page is up for correcting Internet misinformation – up to a point
“Oh crikey!” Page exclaimed when the show’s moderator asked whether the guitarist had played on the Who’s “I Can’t Explain” and the Kinks’ “You Really Got Me.” “This is a result of internet meddling and muddling…. Yes, I was on the Who’s ‘I Can’t Explain.’ I wasn’t on ‘You Really Got Me,’ but I did play on the Kinks’ records. That’s all I’m going to say about it. But every time I do an interview, people ask me about ‘You Really Got Me.’ So maybe somebody can correct Wikipedia so people won’t keep asking me.”
5. Page’s new solo record will be a “guitar project” that could come out next year
After saying that he had a plan for a new solo record in his Rolling Stone interview last month, Page threw out some other hints at the Town Hall interview about what it could be. “That gives me some time to work on the guitar project that I’ve got in mind,” he said. The moderator repeated that phrase, “Guitar project?” and Page joked, “Well, I’ll be playing the guitar. I can’t be sitting around on that one.” The room laughed. “Whatever it is, hopefully what I’ve got in mind will surface sometime maybe next year.” After the moderator complimented Page’s 1988 solo record Outrider, the guitarist said, “I think probably it’s time for another solo album,” he said. The audience applauded.