Robert Plant has often said that Led Zeppelin was over long before the death of drummer John Bonham. Since the bands reunion for the Ahmet Ertegun concert in 2007, there have been rumors of a full tour. That concert was released last year as Celebration Day. The singer refused to take part in talks of a tour following that show. Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones implied that they were ready to go, but couldn’t talk Plant into it. Plant, at the time, was working with Allison Krauss and T. Bone Walker, and was not interested in getting together with Zeppelin. Following that, he put back together his project before he joined Led Zeppelin, Band of Joy.
Now, Plant implies the decision to tour would be left up to Page and Jones. He told Australia’s “The two other guys are Capricorns. They don’t say a word. They’re quite contained in their own worlds and they leave it to me… I’m not the bad guy. You need to see the Capricorns – I’ve got nothing to do in 2014.”
Plant’s five-year-old son Karac died in 1977 while Led Zeppelin was on tour. That tragedy made him look at the bigger picture, one without him in the band. His friend and fellow ‘Band of Joy’ mate, John Bonham, talked him into coming back to Zeppelin. “I was very sceptical about thinking about whether I had the right to be a parent and go back into that world,” says Plant.
“When I lost our boy I applied to see if I could get a role as a teacher. I wanted to be around, a way to enjoy children at the peak of the time before they’re spoilt by the ways of our world. I always thought, ‘There’s another thing I can do.’ I was detached. I’d left it. But it’s a terrible drug being a good singer.”
“John Bonham came round in a six-door limousine that he could barely get down the country lane. He had a chauffeur’s hat. He’d sit in the front and I’d be three doors back. He’d talk to me through the intercom – and we were only going to the pub. He’d say, ‘Come on, Percy, you know you can do it, you know you’ll have a great time,’ And so, back I went.”
Even then Plant thought the band had run it’s course. “We explored lot of music in those days,” he reflects. “But by the time Bonzo drew me back in, it was over anyway. We’d done what we had to do. The world had changed. Other people had arrived and it was the beginning of a whole new movement. It was like we’d lost the keys to the kingdom”, Plant says insecurely.
Led Zeppelin got “real close” to touring without their frontman, says Jason Bonham. “We did a year of writing and putting stuff together,” Steven Tyler and Myles Kennedy were both reportedly among those who auditioned to take over as lead singer, but nothing ever was offically released. Rumors were that Plant caught wind of this, and that put a real reunion tour even further on ice.
As the original members continue to get older in age, it seems another tour from Zeppelin is unlikely. Die hard fans like myself always hold out hope for one more time. Stay tuned, who knows how the story of one of the greatest rock bands in history will end?