Ever since the three living members of Led Zeppelin confirmed earlier this month that they’ll be reuniting for a gig at the O2 Arena in London on November 26, the rumor mill has been rife with speculation that the band — frontman Robert Plant, guitarist Jimmy Page and bassist John Paul Jones, with Jason Bonham filling in on drums for his late father, John — would follow the appearance with a full-blown tour.
But that won’t be happening, Plant told British music mag Uncut.
He told the mag that November’s concert — in honor of Ahmet Ertegun, who signed the band to Atlantic Records in 1969 and died last year at the age of 83 (see “Atlantic Records Co-Founder Ahmet Ertegun Dies” ) — will be a one-time deal: “There’ll be one show and that’ll be it,” he’s quoted as saying. The benefit concert will also feature performances by other Atlantic artists past and present, including Who’s Pete Townshend, Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings, Paolo Nutini and Foreigner.
“We need to do one last great show because we’ve done some shows and they’ve been crap,” Plant said.
The group disbanded after John Bonham’s death from alcohol poisoning in 1980. Plant, Page and Jones performed at Live Aid in 1985 (with Phil Collins and Chic’s Tony Thompson tag-teaming on drums) and at the Atlantic Records 40th anniversary show in 1988 with Jason Bonham; they also performed at Jason’s wedding. Page and Plant joined forces for two albums and a world tour in the mid-’90s and have performed together sporadically over the years.
However, Plant asserted that there will be no tour after the forthcoming show. “Not for me,” he told the mag. “But I can’t speak for anyone else.”
The singer said he’s actually looking forward to bringing his music career to a close. “I know I’m getting on,” he said. “When I do come back from touring, I’m shocked to find a lot of my mates tend to be going to bed far too early, and that means I should probably be doing the same. Maybe I should stop having a good time and get old.” The singer recently collaborated with bluegrass artist Alison Krauss on an album called Raising Sand, which comes out next month.
Plant’s comments came just days after Foo Fighter frontman Dave Grohl apparently volunteered his services for just such a tour. After saying that he plans to sneak his way into the long-sold-out London show, the former Nirvana drummer added that he wouldn’t mind manning the kit for Zep if needed.
“[I am] at their beck and call,” he told British music weekly the New Musical Express, adding that if he were asked to play with the Zeppelin, “What the f— do you think I’d be saying? I’d say, ’Hey [Foo Fighters bandmates] Chris [Shiflett] and Taylor [Hawkins], let’s take a little break for a few days, I’ll see ya later!’ But I don’t expect that to happen.”
Grohl further acknowledged that Jason Bonham is the perfect choice to replace his father: “Jason should be the one. Everyone knows that. He’s a f—ing phenomenal drummer.”
Grohl’s publicist did not confirm the NME quotes specifically, but noted that he’s heard the drummer express great enthusiasm at the prospect of playing with Zeppelin.