Robert Plant’s Stage Advice That John Paul Jones Couldn’t Apply
Led Zeppelin became a prominent member of the music industry in 1968. Although they only had a 12-year active career as a band, they managed to leave a great legacy that many bands have taken as an example. Perhaps if their ‘one-quarter‘ hadn’t passed away tragically in 1980, the band would have continued to produce and remain active as Led Zeppelin.
The tragedy hit them in September 1980 when John Bonham passed away after consuming more than a liter of vodka and going to sleep. His death was ruled as accidental as he choked on his vomit in his sleep. The band’s bassist found him, and his death deeply scarred the band members. Led Zeppelin’s members decided to move on with their solo careers and leave Led Zeppelin as John’s legacy.
They later reunited a couple of times for certain events, but they didn’t continue their careers together. Jason Bonham replaced his father in drums in those reunions. The band’s reluctance to continue was understandable because they had a special unspoken bond as a band, and once John left, this bond was partially gone. John Paul Jones described this bond in an interview in 2020, and how because of his connection to the drummer, he failed to apply Robert Plant’s stage advice.
Why Didn’t John Paul Jones Apply Robert Plant’s Advice?
Robert Plant constantly advised Jones to move forward on stage with his bass guitar. He wanted Jones to be at the front and shine, just like Jimmy Page and himself. However, the bassist would move forward briefly and then get dragged behind to where the drummer was because he couldn’t stay away from Bonham.
In the interview, he stated that he needed to feel the drums and be close to the drummer to play well. Although he tried to stay at the front as Plant advised, he couldn’t help but move back. This routine and their positions on stage were established with the connection and communications they shared with each other.
Here are John Paul Jones’ words:
“I need to be close to the drums. I need to be able to feel the drums, and I know Robert always used to say to me, ‘Come out to the front of the stage,’ and I’d say ‘Oh yeah, okay.’ So I’d start at the front of the stage, and then I’d move back through the first song, I was back by the drums again, by the end of the first number. I like to see the drummer.
You’ll notice in the film, there’s a lot of communication between us by looks and gestures. Not so many signals but, when you’ve been in a van a long time, you know what’s gonna happen, what’s coming, and whether it’s gonna go this way or that way. Sometimes you want to just tighten up, and sometimes you want to hold back.”
You can watch the 2020 interview below.