The honest appraisal of John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin

John Paul Jones

It’s quite obvious that anyone who believes being in a rock band is easy is misguided. As much as it is a labour of love and many people’s ideal career, touring musicians lead a constant life of excess, weariness, and rinse, repeat. These elements are only amplified in a band the size of Led Zeppelin.

After The Yardbirds disintegrated in 1968, Jimmy Page looked for accomplished virtuoso musicians to occupy three key positions. Thus, Led Zeppelin was born. With the introduction of Robert Plant, John Bonham, and John Paul Jones—all of whom are real authorities in their disciplines—the guitarist was able to rise to the occasion. In British circles, all four members had attained varying degrees of notoriety. However, popularity and glory were imminent, with two seminal albums arriving in 1969.

Nothing gave each member greater joy than to perform their music. But on US tours, doing so every night might turn a dream into a nightmare. By the middle of the 1970s, Bonham had grown tired of playing in exhausting stadium tours all over the world and had made it clear on multiple occasions that he wanted to leave the group. His spiralling relationship with drugs and alcohol only made his homesickness and struggles with fame worse. Especially since he had a family at home.

Before the band went on tour, Peter Grant, the band’s manager, would always find a way to entice Bonham back to the group. He usually did this by offering him a cash reward or a brand-new Lamborghini. However, in the midst of the intense highs and devastating lows of being a rock star in the 1970s, money could not have prevented much of the band’s internal strife.

It was interesting to learn that renowned photographer Carinthia West, who spent a large portion of the 1970s and 1980s close friends with Mick Jagger and Ronnie Wood, never saw much of Keith Richards or Charlie Watts. She clarified that smoke and mirrors frequently make up the long-lasting familial bond in a rock band. The Beatles would have needed a lot of time apart to regain their sanity and positive memories of one another if they hadn’t broken up in 1970.

In the mid-to-late 1970s, Led Zeppelin began to show similar signs of disrepair, which ultimately led to Bonham’s tragic demise. While they were recording their last two albums, Presence and In Through The Out Door, the four members’ animosity towards one another reached a boiling point. The major rift appeared to split the band in half. Despite the fact that cracks showed up in every possible combination.

Page and Bonham were famous for their late night partying during this time. However, Plant and Jones seemed more dedicated to their studio work. They showed up for sessions on time and with unrestricted awareness. Page and Bonham would choose to record their parts during ineffective late-night sessions, passing like ships in the night.

While Led Zeppelin had a great rapport on stage, John Paul Jones revealed in a 2007 interview with Q that the band wasn’t all that cohesive off the stage. With reference to the two surviving members, Plant and Page, he said, “We get along fine.” We have never really socialised, that’s the issue. We never saw each other again once we turned off the road. Which I’ve always believed added to the band’s longevity and cohesion. We weren’t pals.

The majority of Led Zeppelin’s time together was spent getting along well. But rather than comparing his friendship with his bandmates to that of close friends, Jones seemed to compare them more to coworkers. “We weren’t a group that grew up together and achieved great success,” he remarked. “Jimmy assembled Led Zeppelin; it wasn’t manufactured exactly.”

Long before they formed Led Zeppelin, Jones first got to know Page while working together as session musicians. Looking back on this developmental phase, John Paul Jones continued, “We never socialised. Even though I’d see him in the studio every day.” “You weren’t supposed to book your friends for studio sessions back then.”

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