Jimmy Page, Black Crowes Discuss “The Greek”

After much speculation, former Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page and the Black Crowes have released a concert album, “Live At The Greek,” featuring 19 tracks from one of their joint shows last fall via the online distributor Musicmaker.com.

Page and the Crowes gave fans a sneak peek at the concert record by offering a pair of free digital downloads on the Musicmaker.com Web site over the last two months, including a cover of Zep’s “What Is And What Should Never Be” (see “Jimmy Page, Black Crowes Offer Free Zeppelin Download” ).

On Tuesday, Musicmaker.com began offering “Live At The Greek” through a variety of formats. Visitors to the site could opt to purchase the entire double-disc set or custom select their own tracks for a disc that Musicmaker.com will manufacture and send to the buyer.

The site has also made all the individual tracks from the album, recorded at the final Greek Theatre show in Los Angeles on October
19, 1999, available for sale through individual digital downloads directly to the purchaser’s computer.

Page and the Crowes’ six-night, three-city North American tour grew out of a benefit gig they played together last June in London to raise funds for Action for Brazil’s Children’s Trust, a charity that Page has involved with for several years (see “Jimmy Page Taps The Black Crowes For Charity Gig” ).

“It was a great night,” Page said of the charity performance at the Cafe du Paris. “Lots of other people came down to play as bands and whatever, but our moment was so fleeting and brief. And it was just a tease, really, because we played so well and it was just over in no time.

“But
Pete [Angelus, The
Black Crowes'] manager, had the presence of mind to give me a call some time later and say, ‘Hey, you know, that was really good in London, and I’ve got a hold on Roseland and the Greek Theatre, what do you think?’

“And I said, ‘Well, I think it’d be great, because all of a sudden now we’ve got a chance to do a proper set.”

“And get a little deeper into it,” [RealAudio] added Crowes singer Chris Robinson.

The positive vibe lead to last fall’s sold out mini-tour, which included a three-night stand in New York City and another pair of sold-out shows at L.A.’s Greek Theatre.

By the time the tour had rolled into the West Coast, Page and the Crowes had decided to definitely record one of the final two gigs, although they admitted to having forgotten all about the tape machines that were
running until they were
approached backstage by the sound engineer.

“I don’t even really know until after the show,” Robinson said, “and Kevin [Shirley] came back[stage] and was like, ‘Holy sh**.’”

“We went, ‘Yeah, that’s right, we did record it. Thank goodness,’” Page recalled.

“Which is a good way to go about it,” Robinson added.

“All in all, there were six dates, three of which were in New York City,” Page said, “and the thing was just building at such a rate
that we [realized], ‘Yeah, we’ve gotta [tape a show].’ Even though
it’s dicey and you’re flirting with danger to actually record it.

“Especially for me, I’m the worst,” the guitarist continued. “One mistake and I’ll know and it’ll register in [my mind], and the next one will happen and it’ll start compounding. But that went out the window. It was just fantastic.

“What it was, was one of those nights where everything just gelled beautifully. One of those magical nights, so it was just tremendous.” [RealAudio]

With the album out now, Page and the Crowes are in discussions about possibly restaging the tour this summer, and there is also talk about huddling in the studio to work on a few tracks.

But for now, Page and The Black Crowes are happy that their collaboration
spawned such a live recording,
a format that they consider has been woefully overlooked or relegated to second-class status in recent years.

“A live album has become, like a lot of things, just some contractual obligation that a lot of bands have,” Robinson said. “And you know what? That’s no reason to put out music. There’s no reason for that, and I’ll let other people do that.

“At a time when people took music more seriously, live records were important because you couldn’t hide [from the listener]. There you are, man. It’s you. Like Humble Pie ‘Rockin’ The Fillmore,’ that’s a great [album], one of the best live records.”

“B.B. King ‘Live At The Regal’
[and] James Brown ‘Live At The Apollo’ are
two other just classic albums,” [RealAudio]
added Page.

For more information on how to obtain or download Jimmy Page and The Black Crowes’ “Live At The Greek” concert album, visit Musicmaker.com.