November 18 [8:35 EDT] — Led Zeppling bass and keyboard player John Paul Jones ruled out a Zeppelin reunion at next Spring’s Atlantic Records 50th Anniversary celebration. His comments came during a chat on AOL yesterday (November 17), though he did leave the door open a tiny, tiny crack. “There is no Led Zeppelin,” Jones told the 800-odd fans on hand for the event, “And there’s certainly no plans for any reunion of the three remaining members… that I know of,” he added.
Drummer John Bonham died in 1979. The survivors — Jones, singer Robert Plant and guitarist Jimmy Page — have only played together a handful of times since Bonham’s death, including a previous 40th Atlantic anniversary celebration, Live Aid, the 1995 Hall of Fame induction ceremony and Plant’s daughter’s birthday party. Bonham’s son Jason played drums.
The past couple of years have seen a number of reunion reports including a rumored concert in England in memory of the band’s late manager, Peter
Grant, and the pending Atlantic show. Jones’ manager had previously told the Detroit News that Jones was considering Atlantic’s request. But the bassist made it clear during the AOL chat he was still not happy with his former bandmates for getting together to record 1994’s “Unledded” and tour without him. One fan asked Jones if he’d accept an invitation from Plant and Page to join them on the road for their next tour, Jones responded, “No, I think they’ve missed their chance now.”
Plant and Page are currently recording a second album together, this time with producer Steve Albini, and they again plan on touring. Jones is working on a solo album, also due out early next year and also plans to perform live to support the release.
Meanwhile Atlantic is set to release “Led Zeppelin: BBC Sessions,” today (November 18), a 2-disc live set containing two previously unheard covers of Eddie Cochran’s “Something Else” and “The Girl I Love.” Also making its debut is a video called
“Whole Lotta Love,” a collection of material compiled by the band featuring previously unseen footage, live performances from Royal Albert Hall (1970), Earl’s Court (1975), Knebworth (1979/1980), French TV, plus some 8mm footage from their personal archives.
Just days before the release of the retrospectives comes the news that Rainer Ptacek, the beneficiary of last summer’s benefit CD organized by Robert Plant, has died in Tuscon, Arizona. As reported by MTV News in July, Ptacek, a songwriter, guitarist and dobro player with a cult following on both sides of the ocean, was diagnosed with a brain tumor earlier this year. Plant, who has used Ptacek’s talents on solo records, rounded up the likes of Jimmy Page, PJ Harvey, Dave Pirner (Soul Asylum), Evan Dando, Emmylou Harris, Warren Zevon and others to record Ptacek songs for a CD released by Atlantic. The funds from the project went towards medical bills.
Ptacek, a transplanted European and the father of three, died from
cancer of the nervous system November 12.