Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin experience leads to tribute to his dad
The son of legendary Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham, tells Andy Coleman about his latest band and a tribute to his father.
Drummer Jason Bonham was disappointed that the historic Led Zeppelin reunion was confined to just one show.
Jason, son of the legendary Led Zep sticksman John Bonham, took his father’s place on the drum stool for the two hour 2007 gig at London’s O2 Arena which saw Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones recreate some of the magic of their heyday.
It was much more successful than the under-rehearsed, and much shorter, previous reunion at Madison Square Garden in 1988 when Jason also played drums.
‘‘I’d have liked it to carry on,’’ muses 44-year-old Jason, adding that it was hard for him to accept that the four musicians would play no more than one full show together.
‘‘I had a great sense of accomplishment just to get to that seat... but things are bouncing back now, things are going great,’’ he says.
The cause of Dudley-born Jason’s optimism is two-fold.
He has formed a new band with fellow Midlander, singer Glenn Hughes, and his Led Zeppelin-themed tribute show to his father John has proved to be a big hit in north America.
He tells me first about Black Country Communion, the act whose line-up is completed by Cannock-born Glenn and Americans, guitarist Joe Bonamassa and keyboardist Derek Sherinian. They play Wolverhampton Civic Hall on December 29.
‘‘I had a phone call from producer Kevin Shirley who suggested we go into the studio and make a good classic rock album. ‘We don’t overthink it, we just go in there and bash it out,’ he said.
‘‘From the moment it started I could tell it wasn’t just a jam session in the studio. Before we knew it the reviews were coming out and it was a real rollercoaster ride.
"I’m so proud – I don’t think I’ve ever had an album of my own that actually went into the English chart. It debuted at 13 so I was very, very pleased and overwhelmed.’’
One of the songs on the album, and a highlight of the live set, is Black Country Communion’s version of Medusa, originally recorded by Glenn’s band Trapeze. It was a favourite of John Bonham’s and he would often jam on the track at Trapeze gigs.
‘‘I’ll let you in on a secret,’’ Jason confides. ‘‘In the studio I bluffed my way through Medusa. I knew Glenn was so into it and I was like ‘yeah yeah, let’s do it’. I’d heard the song but I hadn’t really done my homework so I was looking over Glenn’s shoulder into the control room and getting guidance from the producer as we recorded it.
‘‘Recording the album was like a whirlwind but the more we play the better it gets.’’