Jimmy Page Addresses John Bonham’s ‘Scientific Methods’ On Drums
Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page recently attended an interview with Raised on Radio and talked about his late bandmate John Bonham. Page Reflected on John’s drumming style and detailed the technique that made him sound better, bigger, and unique.
John Bonham is still regarded as one of the most influential drummers in the history of rock music. His speed with single-leg drumming, his fast and powerful tempo have been looked up to by many drummers in the industry. Hence, Led Zeppelin quickly became an influential band altogether. The tragedy of losing Bonham at the peak of their career made the band lose hope for existing as Led Zeppelin in the future and sticking together.
The band didn’t see Bonham as just a drummer, and they couldn’t continue without their one quarter. However, no matter how long ago they disbanded, the band is still listened to, cherished, and appreciated not only by fans but also musicians. In a recent interview, Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page talked about their fourth album, ‘IV,’ released in 1971.
This album is possibly the most important record of the band as their hit track ‘Stairway to Heaven’ was the fourth track of the album. The last song, ‘When the Levee Breaks,’ is also an important song on the album, and Page was asked about its importance lately. He stated that Bonham’s powerful drumming influence is heavy in that song and began talking about his drumming technique.
As you can hear in the song, Bonham had a special way of tuning the drums to reach power because he understood the science of it. Page stated that because of his scientific understanding of the instrument, he was able to stretch the skin according to his target sound. This also helped him to reach the loudest and more efficient sound which Page described as Bonham’s ‘massive technique.’ He continued to talk about how the song came to be and revealed that they played it over and over again in a trance mood until they were satisfied with the end result.
Here are Page’s words about Bonham:
“John Bonham was an extraordinary drummer, we all know. The first thing that I’d like to establish about John Bonham’s playing, it was all done with the wrists. He knew how to tune his drums as a science. When he hit the drum, it would really project out of it because he knew how to tune the skin so that it would do that. It’s an acoustic instrument, and he knew how to make it as big as possible. He wanted his drums to sound really big. That was his massive technique.
He had a second drum kit that was set up. While we were doing something else, we were recording I think, and the drum kit was set up. He just went out and started playing the drums, and it was like immense, and it was like ‘Guys, we should try that number that we tried before that didn’t work out.’ The whole prospect of recording the drums in the hall, which manifests on ‘When the Levee Breaks’ was something that I could already hear in my head. Going in and I was thinking, ‘Well, I’ve got this really interesting concept of a riff which is something that goes with round and round. You can have like an intervention over the whole thing. We just played it over and over again in trance.“
You can listen to the interview and the song below.