By Brian Ives
Jimmy Page has been in the news cycle lately, both because he was a surprise guest at a recent Led Zeppelin tribute concert at Seattle’s Experience Music Project, and because he’s recently been quoted as saying that he’s working on a new solo album.
Which is what he told us over the summer; he said that, after completing a number of projects, including creating a new website, publishing a book, and the gargantuan task of overseeing the remastering of the Led Zeppelin catalog, he was now concentrating on new music.
“I’ve set the scene up now, for me to be able to do the thing that everyone wants me to do, and what I want to do, which is take all that energy that I put into everything else, focus that into the guitar. And that’s what I want to do.” When asked if that meant that there would be new music coming from him he responded, “New music, and to be seen playing.”
But now, he’s being a bit more specific, saying that he wants to make his return next year, but “I’m not thinking about singers, I’m thinking of an instrumental thing. I want to work with my strengths rather than my weaknesses. I want to work with myself, I want to get myself up and running and once I’m ready, I’ll think about whether I need someone to sing on the music… I want to be playing live again, but that won’t be until next year… I’d like to do Glastonbury. I could do a sort of karaoke night with Led Zeppelin songs.”
With that in mind, we thought we’d humbly suggest a few singers we’d love to see on stage with Jimmy (other than the obvious one).
Paul Rodgers — This one’s a no-brainer. He just performed with Page at the aforementioned Zeppelin tribute show, his band Bad Company used to be signed to Zep’s Swan Song Records, and, oh yeah, Page and Rodgers were bandmates in the ’80s group The Firm. Last year, Rodgers told us, “I’d always play with Jimmy. I don’t know about getting the Firm back together exactly, but I’d love to do something.” A live project where Page and Rodgers play Firm songs, as well as Zeppelin, the Yardbirds, Bad Company and Free would be pretty amazing.
Chris Robinson — The last time Jimmy Page toured, it was with the Black Crowes as his backing band, and frontman Chris Robinson was the perfect guy to sing not just the Zeppelin classics, but to dive into Page’s Yardbirds songbook as well. In fact, for this suggestion, let’s invite Page’s fell0w ex-Yardbird Jeff Beck as well.
Jack White — If you saw It Might Get Loud, you know that Page and White have some chemistry between them, and if you’ve heard White’s production work on albums by Loretta Lynn and Wanda Jackson, you know that he’s great at helping seasoned veterans make great additions to their catalogs. We think a White/Page project would wow fans. (And yes, their It Might Get Loud bandmate The Edge would be a great addition, but three guitarists might be a bit much, and he’s probably busy with his day job.)
Ann and Nancy Wilson — Are there any more enthusiastic Zeppelin fans than Heart‘s Wilson sisters? They blew the roof off of the Kennedy Center a few years ago when they were honoring Zep, and even Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones seemed blown away by the performance.
Doug Pinnick — The leader of Texas trio King’s X has incredible pipes and is a huge Zeppelin fan to boot. Plus, the fact that he plays 12-string bass guitar would add a decidedly new element to the older songs that Page might want to play live.
Dave Grohl — Well, we know he’s a Zeppelin fan, he has the tattoos to prove it. He’s performed with Page on stage before. Oh yeah, and he can play drums, so there’s that. Maybe Page can bring him and his fellow Foo Fighter Taylor Hawkins on tour, apparently, they’ve got some time off in the near future.