Michael Des Barres Shares How Jimmy Page Gave Him The Detective’s Masters


In an interview with Ultimate Classic Rock, Detective’s Michael Des Barres recently talked about their short career and relationship with Led Zeppelin’s record label Swan Song Records.

Detective consisted of the actor and singer Michael Des Barres, Tony Kaye, Michael Monarch, Bobby Pickett, and Jon Hyde. The band didn’t survive for long and disbanded in 1979. With their four-year career together, they debuted strongly with their self-titled album released in 1977 under the Swan Song Record Label owned by Led Zeppelin.

Led Zeppelin also appreciated the debut album, and Jimmy Page had stated that it should have even received more recognition. Even though they had a spark to continue, they disbanded after releasing two more albums because the band members were heading in different directions.

The vocalist Michael Des Barres recently talked about releasing their debut album on Swan Songs and their experiences working with Led Zeppelin’s label. The singer said that the label gave their masters, meaning their original recordings of the songs back. The process was easy since Jimmy Page’s lawyer called the singer and asked if they wanted the masters back, and Michael agreed.

The musician recalled the story:

“I got a phone call. And it just happened out of the blue. It’s perfect, Jimmy Page. The whole Swan Song culture was unlike any other in the music business because it was run by four members of the greatest band in the world, who had a lot on their minds, and Peter Grant.

In a sense, it was a magical moment from the very beginning, and getting them back was as magical as getting signed, I think. Because it’s a very interesting time for music like this to come out in the world. What happened was I got a call from Jimmy’s lawyer saying, ‘Listen, Jimmy would like to give you the masters back of Detective.’

According to Michael, this was a generous move and continued to tell how much money and effort the band had spent to create and then release their live record. Even though it was a promising debut, he agrees that it should have received even more recognition due to the band’s financial and musical efforts.

Des Barres continued:

“Which is so incredibly generous. We were always pretty close because of a million reasons. Page was with Miss Pamela. I knew him from Silverhead. They would come to see us play. It wasn’t as if he signed me to Swan Song without knowing me. So his attorney called and said, ‘Michael, do you want the masters?‘ Of course, I want them. And then Jon Hyde’s sister, a wonderful, smart businesswoman, took over. And here we are. We made those two records back to back, loved them.

We did a live record, which is also going to come out, which nobody’s heard. But in terms of being able to enjoy the moment, that was difficult because one was under the cloak of drugs, and that minimized its enjoyment. It didn’t take it all away. Some moments were absolutely magic, and fortunately, we captured them in the studio.

But there were also a lot of issues. We spent an enormous amount of money on it. It was a million-dollar record, literally, and in those days, that’s a lot. We sat around waiting for the muse to come, doing various substances that did not improve matters. So this reissue to me is a rebirth of rock ‘n’ roll in my spirit.”

You can listen to their album below.