May 1998
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Music review--Jimmy Page and Robert Plant -- Zeppelin No More

By Mark Egle

When Jimmy Page and Robert Plant collaborated for the No Quarter album three years ago I had feared the energy and charisma that was Led Zeppelin had completely vanished. The remake of such songs as "Kashmir" and "The Gallows Pole" was very disappointing and left a very sour taste in the mouths of remaining Zeppelin fans. The effort was no better than that of Musak versions of the old songs we love. At any rate I deemed the whole album to be one of those reunions when former members of a now de-funked band run out of money and need more. Interesting foot note: The only remaining member of Zeppelin to have a successful solo career as a mixer and producer, John Paul Jones, did not participate. When I heard Page and Plant were recording new material I had hoped and prayed a little ZoSo would still be left in the old boys.

Well, after listening to the first kind-of Zeppelin material in 17 years I am now certain that the energy and charisma that was Led Zeppelin died along with John Bonham in 1980. Walking into Clarksdale is a disappointing collection of one demi-song after another. What I mean by demi-song is, in essence, half, or unfinished. Sure there are drums and vocals and guitars and bass but there is no song structure or resilience. This album was also very one-dimensional. Every song sounded like the last and there was nothing defining in any of them. Kind of like the entire punk era. Another eerie aspect is that Plant sounds very much like his solo work and Page sounds very much like his solo work, but there is no combined effort. It seems Robert Plant is at one corner of the room singing, and Jimmy Page is in the other corner playing guitar, but not listening to one another. You can really tell Plant is getting old, as he can't hit the high, sustained notes he was famed for. Page can still fire up a fret board but there is nothing original up his sleeve. One has to admire someone like David Bowie who grew and changed along with the music. I guess the alcohol kind of kept this now un-dynamic duo stuck in the Seventies. The Seventies!! Phew!! Don't be deceived, I love Zeppelin with ever fiber in my brain, but now Page and Plant are just a couple of washed up old grand dads. I am very excited, though, to here the upcomming version of "Kashmir" with Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine, Puff Daddy, and Page. I can't believe I mentioned those three in the same sentence. No word on its release yet. One final note: I will be going to the Page and Plant tour when it stops here this summer, so if you hated the album and are still going don't feel bad. Its exciting for the younger generation like me to see guys who once defined the music of the time, even if they suck now.

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