Date: Thu, 17 Nov 1994 11:55:05 -0500
From: "Brad Thomas - SLNSW Systems"
Subject: SMH review of P/P and NQ (pretty long)
The Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney) had an article on NQ and P/P:
(words pre and suffixed with _ should be read as in italics)
"Stairway to a new heaven"
The songs remain the same, but these rock legends are
on the way back, writes Susan Chenery.
Robert Plant, rock icon, and Jimmy Page, guitar god, are standing -
elaborately, nonchalantly bored - in the blinding flash of an
orchestrated camera ambush. Lights, strobe, kleig and flash being, of
course, the natural habitat of the man who spawned millions of lounge
room air guitarists and the man whose strutting, thrusting,
bare-torsoed, caterwauling _baby, baby, babys_ sent shivers down
millions of cheesecloth caftans.
It was sonic back then - _lemme get back, lemme get back_ - it was
seared into the collective subconscious. It was about sex, _baby
where I belong_ . No question. Such were the tender moments to the,
er, primal high notes of Led Zeppelin that it is estimated that over
a million American children were conceived to IT: _Stairway to
"Actually", said Robert Plant yesterday when this was put to him,
"when I go through the motions of conception these days I like
listening to Massive Attack"
There were moments at the press conference when Page, whose excesses
were legendary, appeared to have climbed that stairway to heaven and
was still having some difficulty getting back down. But they were,
after all, in flashback. Again. In Sydney, to promote their new
record and film of the same name, _No Quarter: Robert Plant and Jimmy
Page Unplugged_ - reworked versions of some of the greatest heavy
metal anthems of all time. Or maybe closing your eyes in ecstasy has
become a habit. These days when he plays, Page's eyes are still
closed in guitar hero ecstasy all right, but he is not staggering
across a stadium stage, he is sitting down and sewating hard. The
songs remain the same. And so do the hairstyles. With some
assistance, one suspects, from the colourist. Nevertheless, Page and
Plant seemed to be living testament to the fact that the exhausting
evils of drugs, groupies, trashed hotel rooms and God knows what else
do not necessarily guarantee premature decrepitude. Both relatively
unlined and relaxed, though crumpled, debauchery clearly has its
compensations. If you live, which many of their contemporaries did
not. "It is amazing what you can do with a good nights sleep" said
Plant, whose looks once made women faint, smiled winningly.
"Look, wew are old blokes:, said Plant, 47, when the word dinosaur
was mentioned, amid tittering. "You journalists are never short of
the old cliche, are you?"
Charming, intelligent, mischievous and sharply witty, Plant the
consumate performer obligingly became a self-parody of a rock star,
playing with the press, appreciating the surrealism of their sitting
in front of an audience, some of whose first sexual experiences were
soundtracked by them. "We are not real" he said grinning.
"Our first album was recorded in 36 hours", said Page the purist.
"Nowadays", said Plant, "it takes us that long to get into the limo.
No-one could get us down to the lobby to go to the next place. In the
end it could take hours to even get out of the car. Once we left New
York two hours after the crowd were getting ready for us to go on
stage in Philadelphia. We were still in the lobby in New York."
Those were obviously the days. _Kind woman I give you my arms_
Not, of course, that the quintessential rock star would admit to
remembering them too well. "I can't remember which tour was best",
said Plant. "But I do know I looked quite happy in about 1973,
wearing those shirts with the onion sleeves"
The film _No Quarter_ features Plant and Page playing their songs in
various exotic Middle-Eastern locations with indigneous musicians, a
new spin on old numbers. "They are not the old songs any more; they
are so different", said Page. Plant: "As soon as you get out of that
Anglo-Saxon world you have potential for sonic mystery"
There was also the potential not to have to go for the high notes, as
a member of the press helpfully pointed out. Plant, whose pipes are
still pretty damn good, replied in an answer calculated to mystify,
but linking the obligatory heavy metal high notes to the obligatory
painfully tight trousers. "You have to be incredibly careful about
using the whole idea of a high note as a kind of currency that makes
you more of a man. Sooner or later, heavy metal rockers have got to
take of their trousers to have a game of golf." Er, yes.
It took a photographer, ponytail, overly bright shirt to bring up
IT. Page leaned into his microphone. "I thought it was hilarious",
referring to Andrew Denton's recording of various artists, including
Rolf Harris's, versions, many mocking IT. "I particularly liked the
big, fat Elvis version", said Plant.
As they left the room you somehow knew that their hotel rooms would,
on this occasion, remain untrashed. _Lonely, lonely, lonely times_
Just my contribution to this wonderful list.