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(from Guitar World 1/91) Glory Days ========== by Joe Bosso - Ten years after Led Zeppelin's breakup Jimmy Page produces a brilliant compilation that emphasizes music over myth. - London: It's a sunny Monday afternoon, and business-as-usual with the lunch hour crowd on Kensington street. Associate Publisher Greg Di Benedetto and I are larking about, biding time in an effort to calm our nerves before our appointed interview with noted journalist-slayer Jimmy Page. Suddenly, the slow-moving pedestrian traffic around us is disrupted. Heads turn, jaws drop and eyes gape at the sight of a lone individual making his hurried way down the street. It is Page, himself. "I was on my way for a bitter ale before chatting all day. I thought I could go unnoticed," he explains to our disbelieving selves. By now a group of fans has gathered - living legends have a way of drawing crowds - and Page shakes every hand in sight before rushing off. "I'll see you guys in a bit," he says. Di Benedetto and I draw a collective breath. So far, so good. "I took the train in today, you know," Jimmy says a short while later. We are all seated in the conference room of Atlantic Records' U.K. branch offices. "Not the subway," he quickly clarifies. "I took the mainline train in. I figured that would be easier than to go to a lot of trouble. Now, wasn't that brave of me?" Jovial, open and gentlemanly, this Jimmy Page is the antithesis of the coldhearted, tight-liped rogue of interviews past. The conversation is clear of any surliness and of the contemptuous "Get on with it's!" with which Page cowed journalists in the past. The truth is, he's downright likeable - and insists he's never been any different. "Yes, well, those interviews were a bit hard," he explains. "The questions would be so... I mean, asking me about Alesteir Crowley and whatnot. Gimme a break! It's all so stupid. I'd rather talk about the music, you know? It's much better to talk about the _music_." Ah, the music. Ten years after the disbandment of Led Zeppelin, Jimmy is more jazzed about the band's music than ever before. He has good reason to be. Together with recording engineer George Marino, Page recently spent long days and nights at New York's Sterling Sound Studios, sprucing up the cream of Zeppelin's crop. The result of their labors is _Led Zeppelin_, a gorgeously packaged 4-CD set on Atlantic Records that is sure to be _the_ stocking stuffer this holiday season. Thanks to "Classic Rock" radio, particularly in the United States, where Zeppelin, the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd all receive daily - sometimes _hourly_ - airplay, a generation of fans who never got the chance to see the band perform live have entire album sides etched in their memories. Their ears are primed for "Stairway To Heaven" and "Immigrant Song" as they were originally meant to be heard. But in digging up long-vaulted master tapes and running them through today's EQ systems, not to mention personally supervising song selection and sequencing, Jimmy Page sought more than an enormously profitable stroll down FM-radio memory lane. "What I wanted was a re-assessment of the material. I absolutely wanted a new look at the band and its music." With its judicious selection of the best of Led Zeppelin, along with rare live BBC performances, the previously unreleased "Travelling Riverside Blues" and a special Page tribute to John Bonham, _Led Zeppelin_ is a collector's dream. With every cut digitally remastered, the collection yields more than enough audio surprises to satisfy even the most knowledgeable Zep-o-phile. And it's all produced by the only man qualified to do the job. Jimmy Page, who next to Jimi Hendrix is arguably the most studied and emulated guitarist in rock history, is additionally assured a place in the music's pantheon of greats for his role as Led Zeppelin's musical director, producer and all-around guru. Under his shrewd guidance the band was a powerhouse from the word go, relentless in their musical assault and fearless in their bold embrace of such disparate influences as electric blues, rockabilly, hillbilly, funk, reggae, English traditional and Arabic music. Over the course of nine studio albums, they covered it all with stunning conviction and ingenuity. The Zeppelin _myth_ is the product of countless tales of all-night groupie conquests, private jets, hotel-room wreckage and millionaire opulence. But the Zeppelin _magic_ came from the indefatigable creative expression of its players and Page's own maverick studio smarts. To produce work so outlandish and enduring, countless, unglamorous hours of toil were spent in cold, uninspiring studios, coaxing previously unheard-of sounds from crude tube amps while stretching the limits of what analog recording equipment - laughable by today's standards - could reproduce. Page is fond of using the word "textbook" to describe Zeppelin's output, and over the course of our interview he happily analyzed elements of that golden volume, divulging such choice bits of studio trivia as the source of the drum sound on "When The Levee Breaks" and the construction of the solo to "Stairway." But more than anyone else, Page knows that Zeppelin wasn't about knob-twisting and amp volume levels; It was about _chemistry_ - and an unbridled vision. In the ten years since Led Zeppelin's disbanding, countless heavy metal bands have attempted to reproduce specific aspects - the look, the sound - of the Real Thing. But the Led Zeppelin vibe isn't just anyone's for taking. GW: The appearance of the retrospective prompts two basic questions: Is Zeppelin no more? Or are you, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones waiting for the most appropriate time to work together again? JP: Well, I love the music - I always have. It's been a major part of my life. As to whether I would like to play it again or not, well, you could trace that back to my Outrider tour, when I did stuff from the Yardbirds and Zeppelin, as well. Plus, I know the material, which helps! [laughs] At this point in time, though, all three of us are involved in other things. Robert is busy with his solo career. John Paul Jones is doing some production. And I'm two-thirds through material for my next album. I'm giving it quite a bit of thought - I want to have some pretty good material. GW: In this age of rock and roll reunions, Led Zeppelin is the only "mega-band" that hasn't reunited for an actual tour. JP: Well, the surprising thing is that we've had meetings about album covers and such. The one thing that hasn't been discussed is, what comes next? It would be good to do it properly. But you'd have to have everyone in the right spirit of things, and doing it for the music. GW: Atlantic has been itching to release a Zeppelin boxed set for some time now, I imagine. JP: I think Atlantic always wanted to put out a one- or two-album "best of"- type of deal, but they didn't have the rights to do that. They did put out the catalogue in CD form, which I wasn't involved in. I've heard some horrific stories at how they were "mastered," if you can call it that. But I didn't think they came up to scratch. Like they cut off a cough at the end of "In My Time Of Dying," which would irritate any Zeppelin fan. GW: No doubt you felt that for this project to "come up to scratch," you had to be personally involved. JP: Yeah, I wanted it to be done properly. I thought it would be interesting to employ today's EQ on the songs, to crisp 'em up and make 'em sparkle. The process involved going back, wherever possible, to the original studio tapes - the tapes used to make the production masters - and then make all the EQ and level changes on them. A couple of tapes seemed to have gone astray somewhere; we could have wound up looking for them for a whole year. Ultimately, about 80 per cent of the set is from the original tapes. GW: This was a more ambitious undertaking than any "greatest hits" package would have been. Did you have any particular apprehensions at the outset? JP: See, I approached this project with a certain amount of trepidation, because Zeppelin gets a hell of a lot of airplay - well, not here in England, but in America. You've got those "Get The Led Out" programs and all that. I'm pretty aware that people know those Zeppelin albums inside and out. They know that this track follows that track. GW: The sequence of cuts isn't exactly chronological. What determined the order? JP: Well, with nine albums to draw from, you can juggle the tracks around in any order. I purposely tried to juggle them up so you'd find different themes running around; for instance, you'll find something from _Zeppelin I_, or the second album, following the fifth album. GW: What prompted your issue of the unreleased cuts at this time? There's "Hey Hey What Can I Do?" and the BBC live cuts. JP: You see, _Coda_ was released, basically, because there was so much bootleg stuff out. We thought, "Well, if there's that much interest, we may as well put the rest of our studio stuff out." The material which didn't appear on _Coda_ made it to this record. As for the BBC things - "Travelling Riverside Blues," for instance, came along because of the interest expressed when I played it on the Outrider tour. People said, "What's this?!" [laughs], thinking it was something left off the second album, or whatever. GW: Was this the first time you listened to so much of the material in one sitting? I don't imagine you ordinarily sit around at home and listen to Zeppelin. JP: Sometimes, yeah. I sit and listen to the albums. GW: But how did you feel listening to the material at the remastering sessions? JP: Well, you could imagine that I was reliving ten years of my life right there. Obviously a lot of things came back to me, little memories, how things were done. GW: Were there any pleasant surprises? Tracks that made you think, "Boy, that sounds better than I remember?" JP: Yeah, there were a number. But the one where everyone said, "My God, that was brilliant," was "Achilles Last Stand." That _did_ sound brilliant, actually. GW: Did any tracks make you cringe? JP: No... well, there might have been some personal cringing! [laughs] But, you see, the way we approached it was, we got John Paul and Robert to submit lists of the soungs the wanted on the package. So it was clear from the start what people _didn't_ want on. I wouldn't want anyone's personal nightmares on the set. GW: This was the sort of dream project for which most engineers would gladly die. Why did you choose George Marino for the job? JP: Well, he's worked on some of our material in the past. He's excellent, and he has a great feel for our stuff. GW: Was actual re-mixing ever a consideration? JP: It was considered for a second, but rejected. I mean, if we'd started that, we'd be in the studio for _ages_. The only remixing of any shape or form was done to the two drum solo tracks, "Moby Dick" and "Bonzo's Montreaux." It occurred to me that it might be worth it to combine the two. So I checked 'em out to see that the tempos were akin, after which I went to Atlantic, into this little workshop, the Synclavier Room, and bound the two together. I think Bonzo would be pretty happy with it. GW: The tempos of the two tracks _do_ match well. That ol' studio magic? JP: Isn't it just? I'm real pleased with it. GW: In one of his last interviews John Lennon remarked that there wasn't a single Beatles cut he wouldn't want to re-do. Did you have similar feelings as you went through the Zeppelin catalogue? JP: No, I wouldn't be so negative. But I was the producer of it all, so I guess I've got to say that! [laughs] GW: How did you, as a producer, strive to create a special environment for each album? JP: See, we were fortunate in those days not to have to do singles. There was no point where we thought, "Well, now we've got to write the big single." It was an album market at the time. So each album reflected where we were, mentally, at the time. We had done a few gigs before the first album, but then we went in and recorded it in a short amount of time. And the second album was actually done while we were on the road, so a lot of that energy comes through. The third album was written during what was, sort of, the first tour break in the band's career. The album reflected that break in our schedule - it was mellower. We got a great critical hammering because everybody was expecting something with the same sort of force than the second. But then even the fourth album got bad reviews. GW: That's so hard to imagine. JP: Yeah, it is! [laughs] And it's great to sit here and say, "They were wrong." GW: _Led Zeppelin I_ was recorded at Olympic Studios, but from the second album onward, you used all different studios. JP: Yeah, and starting with the second, we'd even use different studios - on the same album! GW: So did you start the same gear around from studio to maintain the tonal consistency? JP: Yes, we did call in for particular EQ units and such. I was always right up on the latest technology and digital delays and all. Now, going on from that point, we did a lot of location work, where we stayed in a house and used a remote studio. Those albums would sound totally different and looser than the studio albums. In fact, one of my suspicion regarding sound was validated right from the earliest recordings of the band: I had been on sessions with other drummers who, while they played really well, sounded like they were just hitting a cardboard box. The whole reason for that they were sitting in the little drum booth, which just sucked the sound, all the harmonics, right out of the drums. So right from the first album I insisted that the drums were gonna breathe, and that we were gonna get a proper tone out of them. Of course, you couldn't get a better drummer than John Bonham, given that set of circumstances. He knew how to _tune_ his drums. See, I always felt that the drums were the backbone of the group, and I still do believe that. So you have to base everything around that - the bass and drums. GW: Millions of drummers have tried to emulate Bonham's style and sound. But what were the specifics of actually producing that drum sound? JP: Well, it was the _ambience_, to get the ambience of the drums. Obviously, from the way we progressed, you can see how we got more adventurous, like on "When The Levee Breaks." GW: On that track, it almost sounds like you had a tape echo on the kick drum. JP: We recorded that, believe it or not, in a Victorian workhouse called Headley Grange. We set the drums up in this main hallway, and they sounded so good that we said, "We're gonna _use_ this." And we set up a stereo mike, just up the stairs. There actually was a bass drum mike set up, but it didn't get used because we already had such a balance of the sound. So what you're hearing is the sound of the hall with the stereo mike on the stairs, second flight up. GW: So you weren't ramming mikes up the separate drums, then? JP: Well, we _did_ close miking on some tracks. But the hallway is responsible for that one and "In My Time Of Dying." We did put a bit of echo on, but I guess I shouldn't say that! [laughs] GW: In general, was there a lot of echo put on the drums during mixing? JP: Sometimes; there's no hard-and-fast rule. Every cut was different, every approach was different. GW: Was there a problem with leakage when the band recorded together in those large rooms? JP: When we got to the point of being really silly, but at the same time confident that we could do this sort of recording, we had John playing in the hallway, but the amps were in different rooms. GW: So you used headphones and used the different rooms as baffles. JP: Yeah, that's right. Stuck the amplifier in the cupboard under the stairs. Not quite that, but that sort of thing. But on the first album, there's a lot of leakage there - it actually sounds like an effect. Robert was singing the vocals live. GW: Those vocals on the first album are all live? JP: Yeah, yeah, invariably they were live. Which helped him 'cause he'd make up lyrics as he went along! [laughs] GW: Many players, in attempting to get that massive Zeppelin sound, equate power with cranking the amp's volume. Are they missing the boat? JP: If they're doing that all the time, yeah. What I tried to do was get as many different sounds as possible. And as many approaches, as well. You know, when I sat down and listened to it all, it really came home to me how many different areas we touched on. It was a really good textbook, basically, so I can understand why people really got into it. GW: What track was the hardest for Zeppelin to nail? Anything that confounded the band for days? JP: "Levee Breaks." We tried to record that in a studio before we got to Headley Grange, and it sounded flat. But once we got the drum sound at Headley Grange, it was like Boom, and that made the difference immediately. It was very exciting to listen to that drum sound on the headphones. GW: There's a lot of harp on that track. JP: Yeah, backwards-echo harp. Actually, it could even be a backwards harp - you know, a harp reversed around. But I actually invented that - back- wards echo, anyway. I _know_ I did. It was on a Yardbirds track. There had already been backwards guitar bits, but I thought, "Why not have backwards echo?" GW: Les Paul said _he_ invented it. JP: [Caught up short] Did he? GW: Just kidding! JP: I was gonna _say_! [laughs] C'mon Les... [laughs] GW: What do you remember as the hardest solo for you to nail? Something that gave you a lot of grief? JP: "Since I've Been Loving You." That was a hard one because I couldn't get the right sound out of the amp. But there was an amp just outside the studio door, which didn't belong to us. I plugged in and it sounded so good. It was a British amp - an "Axis," or something. But finding this amp right outside the door really saved the day. GW: Is there any one track you consider to be your crowning achievement? Any favorite solo? JP: No, not any one. That's like asking who's you're favorite child. I can't really... the "Stairway" solo is a great solo; the "Achilles" solo is good; the "Tea For One" solo... but I shouldn't even single those out. It's fair enough to say there are some good solos. "Dazed And Confused" (Led Zeppelin I) Recorded in October 1968 at Olympic Studios, London GW: You had experimented with "Dazed And Confused" when you were with the Yardbirds. JP: That's right. GW: When you recorded it with Zeppelin, was it as though you'd finally captured what you'd been hearing all along? JP: Oh, you've got _that_ right; it just felt pretty good. Of course, the added thing was putting the bow in. I'd employed the bow with the Yardbirds, and I used it quite a lot on the Zeppelin albums, but it's a bit camouflaged. GW: Did you record the solo to "Dazed And Confused" live, or was that an overdub? JP: That's actually an overdub, 'cause there's guitar underneath, if I remember right. Now, I'm gonna make mistakes on some of these things, 'cause this is where it's difficult. GW: I'm referring to the solo that follows the bowing sequence; it's the flurry of riffs - it's the last solo on the song. I don't think there's any rhythm guitar underneath that. JP: There are no chords? I don't know. Actually, I think I must have played it live, 'cause I did the bow live, and I overdubbed the bow as well. GW: Did you feel limited by the eight-track recording in those days? JP: No, not at all, because you didn't know sixteen-track was just around the corner! [laughs] You just worked around it. It's like guys today with their PortaStudios and Fostexes and home four-tracks. And what do they get out of it? Great stuff! GW: There's such a sense of discovery on the first record. Did you have a conscious sense that you were attempting to stretch the limits of the guitar? JP: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. I'd been interested in so many guitar styles - acoustic fingerstyle, tunings, blues and rock, and the more avant- garde quality of the bow. Sure, I wanted to do all that. Atmosphere. I wanted atmosphere. You listen to that one and even "Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You." There's incredible atmosphere on that. "Whole Lotta Love" (Led Zeppelin II) Recorded in 1969 at Olympic Studios, London GW: Countless guitarists have tried to recreate your guitar sound on "Whole Lotta Love." How did you achieve that rhythm guitar tone? JP: I used distant miking on that one. Miking used to be a science, you know, and I had heard that distance makes depth, which in turn gives you a fatter guitar sound. In my studio session days, the mikes were right up close the amps, so I had to turn down the amp volume. Going into Zeppelin I learned to always use a distance mike. GW: You were using small amps, like Supros. Those aren't very loud. JP: The first album was done totally with a Supro. It's got a twelve-inch speaker. So with just that, a wah-wah, a boost pedal and a Telecaster, you've got a great variety of sounds. GW: What amplifires were you using on _Zeppelin II_? JP: I had a Vox amplifier, which came out at the time of the Beatle amps. GW: On "Whole Lotta Love," were you using a Vox? An AC30? JP: It could be; but then, I also used one that was a solid-state amp. See, this is what I did to the Supro amp: I spoke about it in interviews - and then people bought them up and I could never find one again! [laughs] Actually, by the time we'd gotten around to "Heartbreaker" and "Bring It On Home," I'd gotten hold of some Marshalls. GW: Hundred-watters? JP: That's right. GW: Did you record the rhythm to "Whole Lotta Love" with the amp turned up very loud? JP: Oh, yeah! It was healthy. GW: Did you rely on any pedal distortion for the sound? JP: The amp's distorting. It was just controlled to that point where it had some balls to it. GW: After you recorded the main rhythm track, did you then double the part? JP: Guitar reinforced, you mean? I can't remember. Obviously there are other guitar overdubs, the choruses and slide bits. GW: Did you use a depressed wah-wah on the solo? JP: Yeah. You know, I did the same thing on "Communication Breakdown." It gets you a really raucous sound. GW: Which guitar did you use on "Whole Lotta Love?" JP: The Les Paul. I had been using a Black Beauty, which got nicked [stolen] in the States. It disappeared in airports, somewhere between Boston and Montreal. A lot of my studio work had been done with that guitar. I didn't want to take it out of the house. Funny that once I _did_ take it out, it got nicked! However, I had been using the Telecaster, and Joe Walsh - we were at the Fillmore at the time - said he had this Les Paul... well, he wanted me to buy it basically... and I played it and it was lovely. It was a '59 and he wanted to sell it for $500, a right price at the time. And of course, once I started playing it, that was it. "Friends" (Led Zeppelin III) Recorded in 1970 at Headley Grange, Hampshire, with the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio. GW: There's far more acoustic guitar on this album than on either of its predecessors. Did you radically change your gear to realize better acoustic sounds? JP: I used an Altair Tube Limiter. I'd gotten that from a chap named Dick Rosemenie, who recorded an album called _Six String, Twelve String_, on Vanguard. I'd never heard an acoustic sound quite like that. I bumped into him in the States and asked him how he got his recorded sound, and he said the whole secret was the Tube Limiter. It was so reliable. We even used it on _In Through The Out Door._ GW: Were you changing your acoustic miking techniques as well? JP: Well, I put the microphone right inside the guitar at that point. Can't remember what kind. Now, I can't remember if I did that on "Friends." I probably didn't because it was a lighter track. It's just congas on that, without a full drum kit. GW: So you'd just tape a microphone inside the guitar? JP: I did do that sometimes, but the sound suffers because of it. Now that I remember, "Hey Hey What Can I Do" was _definitely_ done with a microphone inside of the guitar. GW: Did you use your Martin D28 on "Friends?" JP: No, I'm using a Harmony on that one. I got the Martin right after this album. GW: You're using an open tuning on "Friends," right? JP: There's no open tunings. GW: By open tuning, I mean anything other than standard. JP: Oh, see, I call an open tuning something that gives you an immediate chord, like G or E. GW: But "Friends is in C. JP: It's a C tuning, but not a _C_ tuning. I made it up. It's... [thinks, long pause], from high to low, E, C, G, C, A, C. I use that on "Bron- Yr-Aur," as well. So that's _definitely_ a tuning. "Stairway To Heaven" (Led Zeppelin IV / untitled) Recorded in 1971 at Island Studios, London GW: This album isn't really called "Led Zeppelin IV," but it was the band's release. What do you call it? JP: Well... _Led Zeppelin IV!_ That's it, really. I'll tell you why the album had no title - because we got so fed up with the reactions to the third album, that people couldn't understand why that record wasn't a direct continuation of the second album. And then people said we were a hype and all, which was the _furthest_ thing from what we were. So we just said, "Let's put out an album with no title at all!" That way, either people like it or don't. GW: Clearly, people liked the album. JP: Yeah, but we _still_ got bad reviews! [laughs] GW: How were you demoing songs for the band at this point? On a home recording system? JP: I had a unit called the New Vista. It was the deck that was used to record _Live At Leeds._ I thought it was a fabulous unit, really. See, when they were trying to get away from valves [tubes], one of the things they developed was the Vista and the Transistor. The Vista did sound very valvey. I used to do a lot of overlays and such. So, yes, I had the eight-track at home GW: So you actually worked up a quality demo of new songs for the band? JP: Well, they were reasonable. GW: The demos included the overdubs? JP: Some of 'em did, yeah. GW: Year after year, "Stairway To Heaven" is voted the Number One FM radio song in America. When you wrote it, did you have any inkling it was just a little special? JP: We knew it was really something. Apparently, Robert made some statements to the effect that the song wasn't well received originally. _It's not true!_ Because I remember we played it at the [L.A.] Forum, before the record had even come out, and there was like this standing ovation. I think Robert would remember _that._ GW: You came up with the song yourself, basically? JP: I'd been fooling around with the acoustic guitar, and came up with different sections, which I married together. But what I wanted was something that would have the drums come in at the middle, and that we'd build to a huge crescendo. Also, I wanted it to speed up, which is against all musical... I mean, that's what a musician _doesn't_ do, you see? So I had all the structure of it, and I ran it by John Paul Jones so he could get the idea of it - John Bonham and Robert had gone out for the night - and then on the following day we got into it with John Bonham. You have to realize that at first there was a _hell_ of a lot for everyone to remember on this one. But as we were sort of routining it, Robert was writing down these lyrics, and a huge percentage of the lyrics were written there and then. GW: Had you, yourself, written a vocal melody at the time? JP: Well, as much as a guitar is giving the vocal melody. GW: You had the guitar solo demoed and ready, I presume. JP: No, no, not at all. I winged it. GW: You winded the _solo_? JP: Yeah, every time. GW: Even the call-and-refrain sections? The overdubs? JP: Oh, you mean the slide bits? That's orchestration. You want to know if I had prepared the overall structure of the guitar parts? GW: Yes. JP: Yes, but not the actual notes, though. But when it came time to record the solo I warmed up and did three of them. They were all quite different from each other. GW: You mean there are different solos on the master tape that no one's even heard? JP: Oh, yeah! But the one we used wa sthe best solo, I can tell you that. That's how I did all of 'em. GW: It's just so hard to imagine you going in and winging a solo that is considered a classic. JP: I did have the first phrase worked out, and then there was the link phrase, I did check them out beforehand, before the tape ran. GW: Did you A-B solo tones a lot? Record one solo with a real dirty sound, and then do the same solo with a different sound. JP: Oh, I tinkered about with the amps to get a sound. But by the time I'd reached the solo I'd already put all the other guitar overlays on. In most of the songs the solos were the last things to be done, near enough. I'd do the guitar overlays, and then Robert would come in and carry on with the vocals. Invariably, I'd put the solo on last, unless it was something I did live. GW: What electric guitar did you use for the solo to "Stairway?" JP: That's the Telecaster, interestingly enough. I'd returned to the Telecaster. GW: And the amp was? JP: I don't remember. It could have been a Marshall, but I can't remember. "Over The Hills And Far Away" (Houses Of The Holy) Recorded in 1972 at Stargroves with the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio. GW: There's an acoustic guitar throughout the song. Did you play a main acoustic throughout and overdub the electric? JP: No; we played it through entirely as you know it, but I was playing electric. GW: So you simply edited the electric out of the beginning? JP: Yeah, that's right. _Presumably._ It sounds that way. It sounds like the acoustic is going straight through. GW: How did you arrive at those soft guitar figures at the end? JP: You mean when it fades out? That's the echo-return. There's no send-out there, just the return. GW: At the very end, that descending part - is that a steel guitar? JP: No, that's just the synth. Another good illusion! [laughs] "Custard Pie" (Physical Graffiti) Recorded in 1974 at Headley Grange, Hampshire, with Ronnie Lane's Mobile Studio, and at Olympic Studios, London GW: This album marks a bit of a return to the raw, loose approach of the first two albums. It's not so heavily produced. JP: Well, see, again it's Headley Grange. You could say it's a garage-type of streetband thing. The fact that the studio was not a studio - it's a house - lent itself to an open-ended type approach. You didn't have to worry about anyone coming in after you, unlike at Sterling Sound! [laughs] GW: Your guitar sound appears to have dramatically changed with this album - it's a lot less bottom-heavy. An example is "Custard Pie." JP: Uh-huh. I'm stuck on this one, 'cause I can't remember where the amplifier was. See, we didn't just record Bonzo in the hall, we sometimes had him in the main room, as well. I can't remember if "Custard Pie" was like that; I think it probably was. Now, I said earlier that when we recorded with Bonzo in the hallway, John Paul Jones and I were both there as well, listening to our amps through the headphones. GW: Yes. JP: Yes, okay, but there were songs that were done in the main room. GW: With everyone together. JP: There was all different ways of doing things. We even did stuff on the lawn! [laughs] GW: So what was so special about recording with Ronnie Lane's and the Stones' mobile units? JP: It was just good to be able to go somewhere and stay there. There are a lot of studios like that now, where you can actually go and stay and record. So we just found this house. It was really damp, I remember. On the third occasion we didn't want to stay there at all! GW: It was musty? JP: Yeah, yeah! No heating and all. Anyway, the amp sound on this album isn't one of my favorites. It was all right at the time. "Achilles Last Stand" (Presence) Recorded November/December 1975 at Musicland Studios, Munich, West Germany GW: You mentioned that this track was a pleasant surprise for you. JP: Yeah, 'cause I hadn't really heard the album for ages. That's one record I thought was good at the time. But you know, it didn't really sell all that well. I guess we'd gotten to that point. The thing about this album is that it was done after Robert had this accident. His leg was still in plaster. I thought it was sort of iffy that it would heal properly. So there was a certain amount of uncertainty there. GW: The band wasn't in a good frame of mind? JP: I'm not saying that. I think once we started doing it, it was all right. But you can tell there was tension about it. "Achilles Last Stand" is so intense - it just doesn't let up. GW: There are many overdubs on the song. JP: Actually, there are only like two to that, basically. There's sort of this descending scale in it. I remember John Paul Jones saying, "This won't work. It's impossible. You can't get a scale to do what you want." And I remember saying, "_Believe me,_ I know what I'm doing!" [laughs] I thought the solo was good on that one - it's really singing out. When I listened to all these things back again, I thought to myself, "My God, that solo says a hell of a lot to me. What was going on there?" GW: What amps were you using? JP: Marshalls. I was definitely using Marshalls then, I remember that. GW: And for guitars, it was still Les Pauls? JP: I think so. Yeah, rightly or wrongly, I was using Pauls on all that. GW: Did you still pull out the Danelectro, or some other odd guitar? JP: I used a Strat for "For Your Life." GW: You can hear ghe vibratio arm on that. JP: Yeah, that's right. That's a Strat. GW: When doing overdubs, did you use the same guitar you recorded rhythm tracks with, or did you switch guitars around for tonal variety? JP: Well, let's put it this way: even though I said I used the Les Pauls a lot - and I did use it a lot - I still had an army of guitars to play with. "In The Evening" (In Through The Out Door) Recorded in November/December 1978 at Polar Studios, Stockholm, Sweden GW: This album, unfortunately, was to be the band's last recording. In retrospect, does it sound to you like any kind of definitive statement? JP: Oh, no. Not at all. I think you'd have to go back to _Physical Graffiti_ for that. None of them are real definitive. This one I'm putting out _now_ is definitive. As a last album, well... obviously we would have liked to have done more. GW: It was the band's first studio recording after a bit of an extended break, during which time punk had exploded in England. Did that have any effect on you? JP: Well, "Wearing And Tearing" was done then, but, as you can imagine, the song really couldn't fit the album. Yeah, that was done as a sort-of really energetic punk-type thing. But, I think, just as _Presence_ was a guitar album, this was an album that featured far more keyboards. GW: John Paul Jones was more involved here. JP: Yeah. Well, as far as the writing, he was. He'd gotten this Yamaha GX-1, and he was one of the first guys to get one. And obviously he was really into it 'cause he came up with some great stuff. GW: You use the bow in the beginning of the song. JP: There's a bow, yeah. I like drones and things like that. And there's a Gizmotron on it as well. Remember that mechanical device? It's like a hurdy-gurdy type of thing, an electronic wheel. You'd hold it near the bridge and depress whichever strings you wanted. It kind of rolled the strings. Lol Creme of 10 C.C. invented it. I think it never took off and was a financial disaster. I used it on "Carouselambra," as well. GW: The beginning to the solo to "In The Evening" is so forceful. It sounds like you're breaking in a door. JP: Yeah, that's me, with the bar really super-heavily depressed at the start of the solo. I just held the bar down and let it come up real fast. GW: You literally can hear the springs on the vibrato bridge. JP: That's right. It's coming through the amps. You hear those things that you normally wouldn't hear. A bit of a shock tactic. It's outrageous, and I wanted people to say, "What the hell is _that_?" That's what I was going for - "What the hell is _that?"

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