JIMMY PAGE Reflects On LED ZEPPELIN I Album - "I Wanted To Have Something That Had The Full Breadth And Depth Of Orchestras, Through Guitar Music"
July 3, 2019, 3 months ago
In a new interview with Music Radar, Jimmy Page recalls Led Zeppelin’s first album as a lightning flash experience - “the whole album was done in 30 hours, so that’s pretty mind-boggling” - and his trusty Telecaster was the star of the show.
“The Telecaster was employed all the way through that album,” Page said. “It’s just a small little amp that I’m using, with a 12-inch speaker, and an overdrive box, and a wah-wah pedal at times. But it just goes to show the versatility of the Telecaster and what could be achieved with the minimal amount of equipment.
“By the time I’m doing Led Zeppelin I, there’s a whole landscape of guitarists that I’ve listened to, whether it was sort of blues or rockabilly, or a little bit of jazz or flamenco or classical, or whether it’s orchestras - I wanted to have something that had the full breadth and depth of orchestras, through guitar music.
“I wanted all of it on that first album. I wanted to do everything. I was going to throw everything I could do at that, because there was a great focus on guitar albums around that point, but I wanted to show [the guitar’s] total versatility on that [album] with that magical Telecaster.”
Page says he left the guitar behind when Zeppelin hit the road in 1969. In his absence, the guitar was stripped and repainted by a well-meaning friend, all but ruining it.
“In 1969, I go on tour and I leave my Telecaster behind with somebody who made ceramics and was also a bit of an artist,” Page begins, clearly pained by the memory.
“He was going to look after my house, because I’d had a break-in there and I’d had a guitar stolen, a Coral sitar, during one of the tours. So I was really nervous about leaving the house where we did all the rehearsals with Led Zeppelin and everything, and word had got around, so I thought, ‘I can’t leave the house empty. I’ll leave somebody to look after the house.’
“So I went off and did the tour, and the tour was absolutely amazing, as you can imagine. All of the Led Zeppelin tours were just getting more and more and more immense. The popularity of the band was just at such incredible levels. Each year that we went back, it just got bigger and bigger and bigger.
“So I came back and thought, ‘Oh, I’m so glad to be home,’ because I really enjoyed my home. My friend said, ‘I’ve got a present for you.’ I said, ‘Oh, what’s that?’ I figured it was going to be a bit of ceramics. He said, ‘A guitar!’ I looked at the guitar and I didn’t for one moment think it was mine.
“It was a Telecaster, but it had been painted with all these modulating lines, with very earthy colours, all over it. I said, ‘Yeah, where’s my guitar?’ He said, ‘Oh, no - that’s it. That’s my present. I repainted your guitar for you.’ I didn’t open the case. I didn’t wanna see it. Now, I would probably smash the guitar over his head, but as it was I was still so vibed out from the tour that the whole thing didn’t really fully connect. And, anyway, I was using a Les Paul at the time.”
Read the complete interview at Music Radar.