Jimmy Page Previews Final Zeppelin Reissues, Closes Band Vault
Jimmy Page slammed the door of the Led Zeppelin vaults shut as he launched the final round of the band’s album reissues in London today.
The deluxe editions of Zeppelin’s final three studio albums – Presence, In Through the Out Door and Coda – feature a wealth of previously unreleased material. Highlights include “Sugar Mama,” a song initially recorded during sessions for the band’s 1969 self-titled debut, and “St. Tristan’s Sword,” an instrumental recorded during the Led Zeppelin III sessions.
“As far as the studio side of things [goes], this is it,” the guitarist said at a press conference in the former Olympic Studios in Barnes, West London. “Unless something might pop up on international Record [Store] Day or something like that. But it will be a long way off.”
Today’s event was the fourth playback/Q&A session for the series of reissues, and Page expressed his “jubilation” at finally finishing the project, which involved an exhaustive three-year trawl through the archives.
“There were hundreds of hours of listening to set all of this up,” he noted. “I’m really thrilled because what it means for Led Zeppelin fans is that there’s now twice as much information as there was before, and it’s of really good quality. So as far as I’m concerned, I’ve done my job.”
There remains a wealth of live Zeppelin material without an official release, but Page said the prevalence of live bootlegs meant a project on the scale of the studio reissues wasn’t needed.
“Looking at the whole bootleg scene and knowing how much live material had already come out, and pretty good stuff at that, dealing with the studio outtakes seemed to be a more satisfying project,” he said. “I knew the chronology and the quality of what was going to turn up so I could really visualize it a lot easier than all the [live] bootlegs that are out there. This is what needed to be done – the whole Led Zeppelin world in the studio needed to be dealt with properly and seriously.”
Page plans to return to active guitar playing, once promotion for the reissues is out of the way.
“I won’t take it easy,” he said. “I’ll be working on the guitar now, that’s the next thing to be obsessive about. It’s clear what I’m going to be doing next; I want to do something, which involves being seen to play the guitar. It goes without saying that I would like to be doing a guitar project – I mean, better doing that than a violin project!”
Page also revealed that his and frontman Robert Plant’s legendary 1972 sessions with the Bombay Orchestra, tracks from which are included on the Coda companion disc, had initially been a test run for a “masterplan” for Zeppelin to make recording and touring stops across the planet on its way to Australia.
“I could see a way where we could stop in Cairo and play and record with the orchestras there,” he said. “And we could also have recorded in India if we could play in Mumbai at the cricket ground there, and then continue on to Australia. It was a great idea – the only thing was there was no infrastructure to do this sort of thing.”
Page said that, consequently, the Police became the first major western rock band to play live in India, some 12 years later. Despite such reminiscing, however, Page insisted he no longer misses his old band.
“I haven’t been missing it for the last three years because I’ve been involved from [2012 live album/DVD] Celebration Day all the way through [to this],” he said. “So no, it’s OK, it’s fine.”
The final set of deluxe reissues will be released July 31st.