'DWTS' Season 19 Finale: Who Took Home The Mirrorball Trophy?

Collateral Damage From Robert Plant's Decision To Nix Zep Reunion

December 25th, 2008 5:00pm EST
Led ZeppelinSince the surviving members of Led Zeppelin reformed last December for a one-off show to pay tribute to late Atlantic Records founder and legend Ahmet Ertegun, the man who discovered and brought us some of the most talented artists of all-time (seriously, we really could use another Ahmet right about now-- but since the almighty dollar overshadows the need for actual talent we can forget that) and gave a handful of folks in England the greatest holiday gift ever, there has been a weekly story about the band going on tour. And not going on tour. But wanting to tour. And not wanting to tour. And going on tour. And not. Etc. Etc. (Side note: I could go on about Ahmet's greatness, but this isn't about that, so check out his Wikipedia page if you truly want to learn what good taste in music is all about.)

Plant Chooses Krauss, Not Zep

So, in a nutshell the end result is that the band allegedly had a blast playing together for their one-off show and they're all really itching to get out and tour. Only, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and Jason Bonham (who would be filling in for his late father, John, on drums) are psyched about a potential Led Zeppelin reunion tour, while Robert Plant is psyched about a tour with bluegrass hottie Alison Krauss. Nothing against Ms. Krauss, but, darlin' - you're playing second fiddle (get it?) to a living legend here. I mean, seriously, step up and be the proverbial wife who says, Go honey-- the boys need you right now more than I do.

But of course, Plant's non-participation isn't stopping Jimmy, John & Jason (we'll call them "J3" from here on out) from rehearsing and readying themselves for a Led Zeppelin tour that's not Led Zeppelin. They've been rehearsing singers to fill the universe-sized void that Plant leaves.

This isn't the first time we've been oh-so-close to a Zep reunion. Back in the mid-90s Page & Plant reunited for an MTV special that became a tour, but they blew off John Paul Jones and made a bunch of classic Zep tunes sound like the soundtrack to The Love Guru. And now Jones is in but Plant's out.


One of Zep's greatest: "Whole Lotta Love"




Bands That Have Tried Replacement Singers

Other bands have tried reuniting despite the lack of a key member (read: singer), but to go along with the reunion would take an act of God. INXS did it best. J.D. Fortune was pretty good (and they found him on TV!). The band wanted someone who could handle the songs and who had a voice like Michael Hutchence, and they got their man. But the age difference between him and the rest of the band made him stick out like a sore thumb and seemed kinda creepy. Journey did it well also, despite Steve Perry being alive. But The Doors of The 21st Century (oops, not supposed to call them that!) getting Ian Astbury from The Cult-- because he had silky black flowing hair and kinda looked like Jim Morrison? Or Queen featuring Paul Rodgers (this one still baffles me, it's like getting the singer from the Crash Test Dummies to fill in for Kristin Chenoweth on Broadway-- I mean, both are great on their own, but they're no Reese's Peanut Butter Cup when put together). Thank goodness Dave Grohl found success with Foo Fighters.

Bands That Won't Do Reunions

And what about bands whose members are alive, but have left the group and won't do a reunion? The New Cars? Really? It's 2/5 of The Cars with 1/5 Todd Rundgren, 1/5 Todd Rundgren's Drummer and 1/5 Some Other dude playing Cars Songs. Sounds like they're still old cars. I guess Ric Ocasek is holding out until he needs a new pair of Ray-Bans. And Smashing Pumpkins: that was like Paul & Ringo going out and calling themselves the Beatles.

And I'm not even going to get in to the Pink Floyd argument. I will only say this: Roger Waters solo tour = Pink Floyd. David Gilmour's Roger Waters-less version of Pink Floyd = good, but not nearly as great as Roger Waters solo (and then there's Gilmour playing his solo stuff with some classic Floyd mixed in, which I will also call great). But the lame handshake & hug at Live 8 had enough tension to hold up the Golden Gate Bridge.

Remember the 'new Led Zeppelin' was going to be Coverdale/Page - the (actually pretty good) collaboration between Page & Whitesnake/ex-Deep Purple singer David Coverdale? Ironically he's the one guy who may actually be on to something. If Robert Plant won't come back, and J3 aren't going to stop this nonsense (I mean really, whose to blame them? They want to go play music for people, music that they wrote), maybe Coverdale's idea of using multiple guest singers isn't such a bad idea after all. I mean, every rock band ever has covered a Zep tune or two in concert - even after they became big enough to sell out arenas and stadiums. So far Coverdale and Def Leppard singer Joe Elliott are interested. Bottom line is that the whole thing is one big Catch-22. Guys from a once-famous band that hasn't done anything in years want to tour and play the songs that made them famous, and the lead singer is still alive but doesn't want to. Who's right?


Pride & Joy:




Singers "Audition" For Led Zeppelin

But still, J3 forges on and has been auditioning lead singers to take on tour with them. Rumor has it Steven Tyler of Aerosmith tried out, but I guess he was just in the studio at the same time and they all thought it would be fun to mess with our heads ("Hey, that would be cool!" "No it wouldn't." "Yes it would." And so on.) Former Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell was also rumored to be taking over for Plant, but Cornell's days of making great music ended when Soundgarden broke up; and he says that a tour without Plant is "depressing." Paul McCartney calls it "a pity."

So, right now all signs point to Myles Kennedy getting the gig. Don't know who Myles Kennedy is? He's the lead singer of Alter Bridge. Don't know who Alter Bridge is? It's Creed with Myles Kennedy as their lead singer. Yeah, Creed with no Scott Stapp; no sappy or crappy hit singles. Yeah, Creed.

So if J3 decides to actually tour with Kennedy, that leaves Alter Bridge at home with no singer. And I've heard Scott Stapp hasn't been too busy since he released his solo album, Great Divide, in 2005. The disc was was targeted to ESPN.com readers, and it's not really a good sign when nobody in the biz will support your album, but ESPN will. Seriously, for six weeks before and after its release there were web banners all over ESPN.com promoting this turd.


What we're all missing out on"




Thankfully J3 confirmed that at least they won't use the name Led Zeppelin, (they'll just play Led Zeppelin's songs-- seriously, what's the difference?) and they'll just sound like your local Zep tribute band - but with a really killer guitarist, bass player and drummer and Myles Kennedy or some other lead singer who will probably try a little too hard to be Robert Plant.

Does Plant Care About His Fans?

There's only one guy who can fix all this. All the begging & pleading from fans is falling on deaf ears, and former bandmates have been given the brush-off through press denials. But yeah, you know who can fix it. Robert Plant. Unfortunately Plant doesn't care about the gazillions of dollars he'd get for a Led Zeppelin tour, which is good; but he also doesn't care about the fact that so many people, from so many generations, love the music of Led Zeppelin and would drop everything to see them live, just once or one more time; even if it is without John Bonham. The fans. His fans.

But the reality is that Plant would rather play music that would make the inbred kid in Deliverance smile big to show off his tooth. And J3 is readying to tour without him. What we really need here is the peanut butter and the chocolate. And if Plant doesn't come around and change his mind before J3 is ready to hit the road, then God help us: it just might cause a Creed reunion.

By Starpulse contributing editor Kevin Blair

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