Jimmy Page is calling from the countryside outside Reading, where he moved in the early stage of the pandemic. This is almost home territory for Page. Six miles east of Reading lies Pangbourne – the Berkshire village where Led Zeppelin were born in 1968. Back then, Page invited Robert Plant to his riverside home and the pair bonded over a shared love of “Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You”. Today, though, Page describes his move to the country as “cathartic”. “I can walk out and about in nature without necessarily bumping into people, really appreciating things for what they are rather than what they were.”
For our 300th issue, Page has agreed to revisit his personal highlights from the last 25 years through the prism of his previous Uncut encounters – beginning in April 1998 with the release of Walking Into Clarksdale, continuing through the Led Zeppelin reunion at the O2 in 2007, the remastering programme seven years later and beyond. “I am an Uncut reader,” he says. “Three hundred issues is quite an achievement. I’ve seen so many things change when it comes to print media, but Uncut has done so well and I compliment you on that. There’s a hardcore of music fans who really care about their music, and Uncut is part of that. Those fans are still there and I am one of them.”
Zeppelin’s lengthy afterlife has allowed Page to re-present this indomitable body of work in new ways – the latest of which, a documentary, premiered at last year’s Venice Film Festival. Meanwhile, he has also found time to curate other elements from his career – from his esoteric Lucifer Rising soundtrack to a joyous live document of the Yardbirds in their imperial phrase. And new music? As we discover, Page confirms that, for sure, something will be forthcoming… sometime.
Yet for now Page is happy to wander back through the last quarter of a century – the duration of Uncut’s lifetime in other words – and relive some of his illustrious highs. Page is relaxed and engaged. He thinks carefully before answering each question but is soon taken up by enthusiasm of whatever subject he is discussing, peppering the conversation with “Goodness gracious me” as he hits his stride. But he’s never casual, focusing on the question at hand and politely cutting off further inquiries when he feels he’s made his point.
“Let’s get started, then,” he says. “And see where this goes.”