Led Zeppelin was an English rock band that was started in 1968. The band’s members included singer Robert Plant, guitarist Jimmy Page, bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham. But in spite of their popularity, did you know that they were known for their notorious behavior?
Led Zeppelin was regarded as one of the most dangerous bands to interview, and journalists were given guidelines to avoid all-out brawls. The most famous of these was to never make eye contact with John Bonham.
The History of Led Zeppelin
Before Led Zeppelin was formed, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones were already successful musicians in the British music scene of the 1970s. From 1966 to 1968, Jimmy Page was The Yardbirds’ lead guitarist. Page gained respect in the rock scene through his work as a studio musician and with The Yardbirds, but his ambitions were higher than these minor achievements. During the 1960s, John Paul Jones had some success as a studio musician, but nothing on the scale of Led Zeppelin. Furthermore, Robert Plant and John Bonham were born in Birmingham, one of the most important cities in the history of hard rock and heavy metal.
This combination of influences proved to be beneficial to the band’s success. Page and Jones embodied the virtuosity and professionalism of the London blues-rock scene. In contrast, Plant and Bonham displayed the heaviness, stage presence, and intensity that defined the numerous bands that emerged from Birmingham in the 1970s and 1980s. (Source: Study)
What Rules Did Journalists Have to Follow Before Interviewing the Band?
As one of the most famous names in rock and roll history, it’s no surprise that the members of Led Zeppelin could be a little difficult to manage. The never-ending tours and frantic studio sessions were probably stressful enough without hordes of journalists barging in looking for an exclusive interview or a tidbit to send back to their grateful editors.
Time was valuable, and musicians like Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Bonham, and John Paul Jones couldn’t always be counted to be civil. To maximize their interview time and ensure that no one crossed the line, Led Zeppelin established a few ground rules that journalists had to follow if they wanted to film the rock heroes.
First and foremost, John Bonham could be extremely unwelcoming when he wanted to be. He is known for aggression and ferocity.
As a result, journalists were frequently pushed to one side before entering a room with Bonham and told not to make any sort of eye contact with John Bonham. Having all of these people in one place made interviewing Led Zeppelin a difficult task.
Led Zeppelin’s Interview Rules:
- Never talk to anyone in the band unless they first talk to you.
- Do not make any sort of eye contact with John Bonham. This is for your own safety.
- Do not talk to Peter Grant or Richard Cole, for any reason.
- Keep your cassette player turned off at all times unless conducting an interview.
- Never ask questions about anything other than music.
- Most importantly, understand this, the band will read what is written about them. The band does not like the press nor do they trust them.
(Source: Far Out Magazine)