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INTERVIEW OF ALEX COLETTI, MTV UNPLUGGED/UNLEDDED PRODUCER Mtvmail: Alex Coletti, producer of UNLEDDED is here with us.... ACEFACE3: Greetings Geeks! Alex your main man who knows all..about Unplugged is here with us tonight to answer all of your in depth and personal questions. I now turn over the mike to Mr. Coletti. Welcome. Question: So Jimmy Page's and Robert Plant's royalties have run out? Coletti: I don't think they have to worry about paying the cable bill.. Mtvmail: JoeyD5052: Question: What's your favorite Zep song? AColetti: Actually, my fave zep song is "hot dog", and they did a version while we were in wales Mtvmail: G peabody: Question: Did Robert and Jimmy have the idea to film in all of the areas that they did? Or was it Aubrey Powell's doing? I assumed Robert hand picked Powell since they have worked together in the past on some of Bert's videos. ACEFACE3: check out tubescan when the next Unledded airs. AColetti: Robert did hand pick Aubrey (Po as he's called). I think the locations were Robert's idea for the most part. Mtvmail: Jonesmc: Question: When is the Unleded album being released? AColetti: As of our last conversation, November 8th, but I may be off by a day. Mtvmail: AUWING: Question: what are some other upcoming performances? AColetti: we're currently trying to book some shows. I'd really like to do nine inch nails. AColetti: who would you like to see? Mtvmail: Bumsk: Question: How long did it take for you to put this project together? AColetti: the whole thing started last september over lunch with Robert. Then we got Jimmy involved (Bill Curbishley, the band's manager did that and deserves most of the credit for pulling this off). the actual shooting took the entire month of August, and September (or Zeptember) was editing and re-mixing. The show wasn't completed until last weekend. Mtvmail: Clcluna Question: what was it like working with jimmy and robert? AColetti: They're a fun pair, very different people, though. One says "black" and one says "White", but musically they are always in agreement. They bring out the best in each other. ACEFACE3: You did some traveling for this production, didn't you Alex? AColetti: Yeah, i got a few freak miles. Several trips to London for meetings, rehearsals, etc, then Morocco and Wales for remotes, and back to London for the studio shoot. ACEFACE3: Marakesh?? AColetti: Yeah, it's a special place for them. It's where "Kashmir" was written, and lots of other stuff. Mtvmail: Jonesmc: Question: Were the extra musicians in Unleded in a specific group? AColetti: Well, the bald banjo player is actually Porl Thompson from the Cure. The bass and drums (Charlie and Mike) are from Robert's band. Then the strings on stage right are from London, and the others were a mix of Moroccan and Egyptian musicians we found living in London. ACEFACE3: This Sat. check out the Led Zep Rockumentary at 1P then the Unledded at 1:30P EST.on MTV of course! Mtvmail: Meow Paw: Question: Tell us something funny that happened during the taping. AColetti: In Morocco, Jimmy and Robert were going up this mountain by bus, in the middle of nowhere, and this kid walks by wearing a Led Zep t-shirt. Robert jumped out and gave him a big thrill...Also, if you saw a very old dog during the Wales portion,that was THE "Black Dog. ACEFACE3: Was Stairway to Heaven considered?? AColetti: We (MTV and management) wanted "Stairway", but Robert wasn't into it. I think it was too obvious. Mtvmail: King Bloz: Question: What other artists have you worked with in the past? Any favorites? AColetti: I've done all the unpluggeds...A few faves, SOul Asylum, R.E.M, LLCool J, Pearl Jam... Mtvmail: Bob AU: Question: Will there be a tour coming from this reunion of sorts? AColetti: They're planning on a tour, but anything is possible at this point. ACEFACE3: MTV's Rockumentary on Zepplin will air Sat. 8P est. followed by the Unledded at 8:30P. Mtvmail: Bumsk: Question: How did you manage to get Plant and Paige together, when they had always said that they wouldn't get back together? AColetti: I think a lot had to do with timing. Also this wasn't a reunion as much as a new beginning. Also, Bill can be very influential. Mtvmail: BRAINBONE: Question: Why did they(Plant and Page) choose to infuse the Zep musci with the Middle Eastern flair to such a degree? I felt it sort of diffused or defocused the feel of the original music. At times it was like Led Zep played by an Arab band in some weird nightclub. AColetti: I think they always had those influences in the music, but never the opportunity to actually work with those musicians. I also think they would have been bored with the same arrangements. Question: Why are they rearranging some of thier classics? ACEFACE3: Alex your musician of sorts....know any Zep tunes? AColetti: I think they would have been bored other wise. That was the challenge they had to rise to Sure, I spent most of High School trying to be Jimmy Page. "Over the hills and Far Away" is fun to play. Mtvmail: JoeyD5052: Question: Any new bands remind you of the amazing rock of Zep? AColetti: Pearl Jam comes closest, cause they're more than just hard rock. Zep always had an underlying groove that PJ has as well. Mtvmail: Karen 128: Question: Any thought about John Paul Jones joining them? AColetti: I thought about it all the time. I think he would have liked it as well, but I think Robert and Jimmy had to re-learn how to be a duo before they could be Led Zep again. Mtvmail: BDaisy: Question: WHY DID NIRVANA UNPLUGGED TAKE SO LONG TO BE REALEASED? AColetti: I think everyone was very sensitive about when to release that. On the one hand, we knew the fans wanted it, but on the other it seemed right to let some time pass out of respect. Mtvmail: G peabody: Question: Which unplugged made you the most nervous, as in will we pull this off? AColetti: Good question. I think the rap one (LL, Tribe , De La Soul) was risky, but it paid off. Mtvmail: Rockinguy: Question: Are there any songs that we did'nt see last night that were performed? AColetti: You betcha. "When The Levee Breaks" in wales was amazing (legal issue), also "WHat is and What Should Never Be" and "The Rain Song." Mtvmail: BRAINBONE: Question: How do people get to be in the audience at Unplugged events? Maybe some seats could be lotteried off or something... Otherwise it seems to be an elitest offering for people with connections. AColetti: We try to get FANS in there, so we go through fan clubs and radio stations. ACEFACE3: And check out Red Alert on MTV online for tickets. AColetti: Of course, there are guests of the bands and MTV, but we're really sensitive to creating a vibe, and that means hardcore fans. Mtvmail: JoeyD5052: Question: What did you think of Pearl Jam unplugged? AColetti: Amazing. I wasn't a huge fan back then, and they blew me away. Also, that's my guitar Mike is using and throws in the air at the end of the show. Mtvmail: Vibralux: Question: I would like to know the planned date for the showing of Bjork Unplugged. AColetti: That was the 1st unplugged mtv Europe produced. I haven't seen it yet, but I'd like to it here before the end of the year. Mtvmail: Pontneuf: Question: Any plans to get R.E.M. back for another unplugged? AColetti: I'd love to. There's alot of material on the last two albums, although they seem to be in a rock and roll mode now, so we may have to wait awhile. Mtvmail: BDaisy: Question: DO YOU THINK UNPLUGGED ACOUSTIC SONGS ARE BETTER THAN THE REGULAR SONGS? AColetti: I like to hear songs the way they were written, before all the overdubs and studio stuff, but better is in the ear of the beholder. Mtvmail: BRAINBONE: Question: WHERE WAS THE NO QUARTER "VIDEO" SHOT? AColetti: That was in Dolgoth Wales, just across the road from Robert's farm. It was raining really hard, but the trees were so dense that you don't really see it. It was pretty treacherous. Mtvmail: Bumsk: Question: Mr. Coletti: Do you view these amazing reunions, i.e. The Eagles, Zep, as challenges and if so..what's your next challenge? AColetti: They definitely are challenges, often more for the management to negotiate the deals...I think it's great to see old mates reunite, but only if they've still got it. Personally I'd kill to get The Clash back together, but that has to be PLUGGED! Mtvmail: GoodBad: Question: Plant seemed very concerned with his physical appearance. Was he? AColetti: I can't speak for Robert, but wouldn't you be? Mtvmail: MARY VIEW: Question: Did you get a chance to ask Robert what he does in his spare time? AColetti: He plays tennis a bit, but since we had no spare time on this, I don't know. Mtvmail: GFL104: Question: How did they decide on what musicians to include, such as Porl Thompson? AColetti: Robert was very happy with Charlie (his son-in law) and Mike. Jimmy rang up Porl, and Ed Shermore, the keyboard player did all the string arrangements as well. Mtvmail: LTLBOOZER: Question: How much is everybody making off of this? AColetti: BaZillions!!! (except for me, of course). Mtvmail: ADAMX1041: Question: Jimmy Page looks stoned all the time, is he? AColetti: Jimmy is in GREAT shape. He's pretty health conscious, and always very coherent. I, on the other hand... Mtvmail: Tastybrea: Question: during the taping...did page and plant appear to have the magic they once possessed in the 70's? AColetti: Yeah. I've seen them both solo, but when they're together, man is it magic. I didn't see them in the 70's live, so this was a special treat for me. Mtvmail: Clcluna: Question: Who was that beautiful moroccan singer? AColetti: Nashma, who I believe was in the film The Sheltering Sky. Mtvmail: BRAINBONE: Question: How about George Harrison with/without Clapton....????!!! AColetti: How about another question... ACEFACE3: the fun story you told about Robert getting out of the bus..... Did that have to do with No Quarter? AColetti: No, that was in Morocco...No Quarter was in Wales. Mtvmail: BFDempsey: Question: Why wont MTV do an Unpluged type concert with Jimmy Buffett? AColetti: Right after John Denver. No, I don't want to dis Jimmy, but what's the point? He's already Unplugged, and in case you haven't noticed, he's not a very big MTV artist. Mtvmail: QuidProQo: Question: Was Johnny Cash any type o' influence other than the old bluesters w/ Jimmy & Robert? AColetti: I don't know, but HE ROCKS! Mtvmail: ADAMX1041: Question: Did the Middle Eastern Content have anything to do with the current Iraqui situation? AColetti: If it did, I'd avoid Wales for a while too... Mtvmail: Mi Angelo: Question: Did you think that Jimmy Page aged as bad as Keith Richards.... I did. AColetti: Not at all (sorry, Keith). I'd like to see you in 20 years... Mtvmail: LELNurse: Question: any regrets? AColetti: Regrets, I have a few, but then again too few to mention. No, seriously, I would have liked to see Jonesy up there, and I guess there's always a song you want to hear, but overall, it was perfect. Mtvmail: Leitweigh: Question: Did Robert make any comments regarding Jimmy's work with David Coverdale, whom he has openly dissed in the past? AColetti: David who? Mtvmail: Bumsk: Question: Did any tensions arise during the production? AColetti: Not between Robert and Jimmy. There's always a bit of stress on a show this big, but they got on fine. Mtvmail: QuidProQo: Question: I grew up w/ Zep.......and any time i heard anything that might of been different i thought was non-music....now I'm hooked on the blues....what does the former members of ZEP listen to now? AColetti: Robert listens to alot of current stuff, as well as old blues and Middle eastern stuff. AColetti: Jimmy likes Madonna. (kidding) Mtvmail: CapCooley: Question: Have you ever approached Van Halen about unplugged? AColetti: Yeah. Eddie is very particular about sound as it relates to tv, but it might happen next year... Mtvmail: Steph1051: Question: How come Bob Dylan never releases an Unplugged when there was so much talk of one? AColetti: Well, funny you should ask. We're currently kicking the idea around. Mtvmail: Danshel: Question: I really liked the Middle Eastern and South Asian elements of last night's show. Any chance of getting some more West meets East on MTV? AColetti: It's up to the bands. We can't force them to play with other musicians. Mtvmail: BRAINBONE: Question: Ever think of doing unplugged from other unique locations instead of the same old Question: studio(sony?)? Like at historical(not colonial) places Fillmore? Wintergarden? Montery? Hollywood Bowl? A coffee house? Top of the Sears Tower in Chicago? Gilligan's Island? AColetti: Sure...locations are hard, because to produce tv properly, you need certain conditions. Also, the visuals shouldn't become more important than the music...at least on Unplugged. That said, I would like to shoot on location when it makes sense. Bruce in Asbury park... Mtvmail: Bumsk: Question: Is there talk of another Hip Hop unplugged AColetti: Yeah, but it's so hard to top the first one. Also is it better to do a hip hop show that's unplugged? Mtvmail: QuidProQo: Question: as a musician, we wanna know ZEP's roots....please answer AColetti: Robert's are blond, and Jimmy's have a touch of grey. I don't know...ask them. It's all in their music, you're smart...you figure it out. Mtvmail: LMcAndrew: Question: Who would you really like to get on Unplugged that you haven't had yet? AColetti: The Stones would be great...Prince, The Dead, Nine Inch Nails, Kiss... Mtvmail: GoodBad: Question: Didnt one artist actually show up to an unplugged session with only electric guitars? AColetti: Yeah...the first show was Squeeze. I guess the title wasn't clear enough. Mtvmail: ROLLO RAY: Question: Can you tell us about the three (in) one guitar Mr. Page was playing? AColetti: Ovation made that. It's a mandolin, 12 and 6 string. Most are made with the mandolin on top then the 6, then the 12, but Jimmy's goes mandolin, 12, then 6. Mtvmail: Cowskull: Question: I saw Plant wearing a shirt with Jesus on it - any comments?? AColetti: Yeah, I can tell the difference between the two, can you? Mtvmail: LesClaypo: Question: Is Pearl Jam unplugged ever coming out on CD? KISS UNPLUGGED? I'm not sure to laugh or cry at that one.... AColetti: That's not entirely up to us. The band and the label have much to do with it. At the moment, PJ is concerned with their new album, so it may be a while. Mtvmail: Voodoowho: Question: Since tributes are becoming so big. Any plans for a multi band tribute unplugged? AColetti: Not particularly...who would you do a tribute to? Mtvmail: LELNurse: Question: What group do you like the best? AColetti: Currently, SOundgarden (another great unplugged idea)...all time, The Clash. Mtvmail: John0714: Question: When the song with the girl backup singer was origionally recorded by LZ, did LZ band members record all the instruments or was it more like last night? AColetti: Well, Sandy Denny did the original back up vox, but she passed away a few years back. I was 10 when they recorded that, so I couldn't tell you who played on it. Mtvmail: Wildplace: Question: If the show is called "unplugged", why are any electric instruments allowed? AColetti: Well, on Unplugged, no electric instruments are allowed. Since we had Jimmy Page,it would be a sin not to let him play some electric, that's why we called it Unledded. Mtvmail: FUN2BEME: Question: Who was the first band ever to do an unplugged? AColetti: Squeeze (actually just 2 of them) did the pilot with Jules Shear and Syd Straw. Mtvmail: RAINMAAN: Question: How large is the crew that works on Unplugged? AColetti: Probably about 50 people come show date. The staff itself is very small. (three or four) Mtvmail: MTUDOR: Question: Ever thought of getting MeatLoaf to do an Unplugged? AColetti: No, but I'm getting hungry. Mtvmail: MrStipe9: Question: Do you know the size of howard sterns private parts? AColetti: No, but I hear he's definately Unplugged. Mtvmail: Leitweigh: Question: Can you tell us about any Unplugged shows that are in the works that you are persoanlly excited about? AColetti: Well, I'd love to get NIN, Soundgarden and the Black Crowes. Nothing is definate yet. Mtvmail: MARY VIEW: Question: What is the single best song of all th unplugged's that you have heard? AColetti: Probably one of three..."Fall On Me" by R.E.M., "Throw Your Arms Around Me" by cROWDED hOUSE, and "Black" by Pearl Jam. Plus all of last nite. Also..."Where did you sleep last night" by Nirvana has to be one of the all time great moments. Mtvmail: Oceansong: Question: What happened to plant's hand in NO QUARTER? AColetti: He was using his effects on his lap. Mtvmail: Mi Angelo: Question: Mr. Coletti, can you tell us your credentials? I never heard of you. AColetti: Well, I'm a nuclear physisist by day, as well as an astronaut. And who are you? Mtvmail: Zepmeister: Question: What was the worst part of working with Page and Plant? AColetti: Saying good-bye...(aww) Mtvmail: BRAINBONE: Question: Why don't they release a boxed set of Unpluggeds unedited as far as including all the material that was recorded as both a CD set and as a Video library? AColetti: I'm currently working on such a project, but permission from artists and labels is a major freakin drag. I hope to release a single cd this year, with more to follow. One day though... Mtvmail: AndrewL50: Question: Would you be interested in working with the surviving Beatles and doing and Unplugged, and if so, how would you approach the lack of John? AColetti: I think Jimmy Buffet could take John's place...no, actually that's a tough call. Would we do Nirvana without kurt? Mtvmail: Leitweigh: Question: Does anyone in the organization talk about Jimmy's connections with the occult? AColetti: We took a blood oath over a pentagram not to speak about it. (kidding) Mtvmail: Thrilly: Question: How do you sleep? AColetti: On my side usually. Not very well, though. Thanks for asking. Mtvmail: NestaMarl: Question: Will the album include songs which were not broadcasted during the tv special ? AColetti: I hope so. They're currently working that out. I'd count on a few. Mtvmail: Leitweigh: Question: Did Jimmy or Robert share any old studio tales with you? AColetti: Not really. I heard some great stories from the crew however. (not suitable for your eyes) sorry. Mtvmail: ADGOLD: Question: How do Jimmy and Robert seem to be getting along, after all their past differences? AColetti: Great. I think it's like a marriage. They're currently on their Honeymoon. Mtvmail: CHERUBFAC: Question: How did Kurt Cobain seem during Nirvana's Unplugged show? AColetti: He was really nice. After the show, we went into the control room to watch it back, and he asked if we could put any shots of him smiling in, because people say he doesn't smile enough. That explaing the close up at the end of "about a girl." Mtvmail: Zepmeister: Question: I heard Plant on an MTV interview yesterday say the following-"...Tody there's all this CRAP, such as Genesus..." Has he lost his friendship with Phil Collins or does he just dislike Genesis? AColetti: I don't know if he and Phil were ever friends. I have a friend named Phil however. Mtvmail: Poor Tast: Question: Why not produce Unplugged using artists who regularly play acoustic: Beck, Kristen Hirsch, Sebadoh, Daniel Johnston,etc? AColetti: There's alot more...Luka Bloom, Billy Bragg, we can't get to everyone, but we're tryin. Mtvmail: BDaisy: Question: ANY CHANCE OF GETTING HOLE UNPLUGGED? AColetti: That's an interesting title. Maybe we could get the hole plugged.That would solve it. ACEFACE3: Alex thanks for joining us. AColetti: Well, thanks for letting me ramble on...see ya! Mtvmail: Thanks, Bye. ACEFACE3: Unledded will air this Sat. 1:30P est.

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