Happy birthday, Jimmy Page! To mark Page’s 73rd birthday today, it seemed a propitious moment to post the interview I conducted with Page in December, 2014 for our regular An Audience With… feature.
Hope you enjoy it.
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By Jimmy Page’s standards, 2014 has been a surprisingly busy year. He has overseen the launch of a lengthy Led Zeppelin reissue campaign, published his autobiography and even teamed up with designer Paul Smith for a range of limited edition Zeppelin scarves. Next year, he promises, there will even be the prospect of new music. “Time sometimes passes quite quickly,” he tells Uncut. Page will be 71 in January, but he looks in remarkably good shape. With his bronze tan, white ponytail and wide smile he resembles an old school Hollywood star recently returned from the south of France. Dressed in black, and taking occasional sips from a glass of sparkling mineral water, he is animated as he answers your questions on subjects ranging from deep Zeppelin album cuts to the prospect of a Yardbirds reunion, his formative musical inspirations and his extraordinary session work from the 1960s. Page even responds to Robert Plant’s claim – in these very pages – that he suggested reuniting with his former bandmate for an acoustic project… “It’s just spin,” says Page. “I don’t think it’s productive in any shape or form to what he’s doing or what I’m doing. Now on with your questions…
Reliving all of the wonderful moments from this cannon of music, which moment took you by surprise the most?
Michael Des Barres
A lot of it you think, ‘Well this might possibly happen, that might possibly happen.’ But I’d say as far the manifestation of it went, it was getting the first gold disc for Led Zeppelin, for Led Zeppelin 1. You were fully aware of gold discs and things like that, with artists that you were personally endeared to along the way, American artists. Suddenly everything that we’d done, all the work etcetera etcetera, we had broken America I know, but the fact is that gold disc I was so symbolic to everything for me, that was a major thing. It would have been a surprise if I had thought about it a year earlier maybe, because I wasn’t still in The Yardbirds, do you see what I mean?
Would you please show me how to play ‘Black Dog’? It’s been bothering me for a long time.
Well, I’ll have to then if Brian’s asked! What are the chords for “Black Dog”? It’s in A, and then it sort of goes to an E chord but then while it’s snaking around it, it has some sort of little triplets that take you back into the A. So, yes, it’s tricky. You just have to sort of know how to count it.
Is there one guitar you’ve had that you feel is more magical than the rest?
I think most people would think it’s a 59 Les Paul because I bought that from Jed Walsh who insisted that I buy it off him in 1969, and I go into the second album with that. So “Whole Lotta Love” is done on it, and I also played it at the 02. Same guitar. I’m pretty loyal to my guitars you know, but then they’re pretty loyal to me to. But there are a number of guitars. There’s also an acoustic guitar that all of the first four albums were written on. So I mean that’s quite an important one. But as far as the one that people got to see then it’s the 59 Les Paul. How many guitars do I have? I don’t know. I don’t know! But I think the answer to it is, more than I can play at any one point in time. Even though I do have double necks so I can try and play more than at one time!