Jimmy Page’s recent talk and Q&A session at The Oxford Union is available to watch in its entirety.
The guitar legend was a guest speaker at the world-famous university on Monday 23th October where he opened by delivering a speech about his life and influential music career including, of course, The Yardbirds and Led Zeppelin. Jimmy then answered probing questions from Oxford Union President Chris Zabilowicz and the audience.
The Oxford Union uploaded the entire 54-minute address and Q&A to YouTube yesterday, which you can watch here:
One of the many subjects Jimmy touched upon was his “incredible connection” with late-great drummer John Bonham.
Jimmy was asked by an audience member “if John Bonham hadn’t died, do you think that Led Zeppelin would still be going today or do you think that something else would have broken the band up by now?”
He responded (as transcribed by Led Zeppelin News): “The last part of your question is a difficult one. I know that before he died we’d already discussed what the next album was going to be like, what the approach was going to be like after… because we’d had a very guitar, well ‘Presence’ was all guitar. There were no keyboards on it whatsoever which gave the ground to be able to do a keyboard album because there had been keyboards on the rest of the albums, not on ‘Presence’ but on the album called In ‘Through The Out Door’, the keyboards were really featured on that because John Paul Jones had bought this amazing synthesiser outfit called The Dream Machine so I think that says it all really. He had actually started to write some full songs so that was really good.
“But we’d discussed, John Bonham and I had discussed, that we were gonna go more back into the guitar power aspect of things.”
John Bonham © Getty Images
He continued: “It’s hard to say (whether Led Zeppelin would still be going today). I know we had a really amazing connection, an incredible connection between the two of us, John Bonham and I. There’s just no doubt about that.
“So I’m sure whoever, somebody would have gone off to do their solo projects, but we still would have been coming back together again because we really enjoyed playing together so much and I know that John Bonham loved Led Zeppelin music and played it at home nearly most of the time. So that’s really interesting.”
Jimmy also opened up about Ahmet Ertegun O2 Arena show, which took place almost a decade ago calling the experience “absolutely marvellous.”
“We went out there and did exactly what we should have done which was to play really standing on the precipice, ready to fall at any moment. And still improvising and not playing anything safe whatsoever,” Jimmy said.
“It was also wonderful to do that with John Bonham’s son (Jason) and to do as much rehearsal so that he felt part of a band as opposed to a novelty in it. It was cool. I thought we did so well with that. It was good. But it’s 10 years ago.”
Last month, Redditch Borough Council gave the green light for a John Bonham memorial to be built in his home town.
The 2.5 tonnes bronze sculpture will be situated in Mercian Square next to Redditch market and it’s expected to be launched to coincide with what would have been Bonzo’s 70th birthday on 31st May 2018.