Robert Plant was interviewed by Howard Stern on October 17 as part of his promotional tour for his new solo album “Carry Fire.”
The Howard Stern Show interview with Plant is available to listen to in full here, and the show published some written extracts here. We listened to the show and brought together the most interesting sections of the interview:
On drug use in Led Zeppelin
Stern asked Plant whether he’s against drink and drugs after John Bonham’s death and the effects they had on Jimmy Page. “No, no I’m not,” Plant said. “Drugs, I have no interest in.”
Stern asked if Plant never had any interest in drugs. “I did a little bit, yeah. But it got in the way of joy.”
“The pressures were what they were,” Plant said.
“Their own free time was their own free time. And it always was like that,” Plant said. “That was one of the reasons why we actually did maintain some sanity throughout the real crazy days because we didn’t spend all our time … we didn’t live together off the road or anything like that. I used to see Bonzo a lot but we’d just be in the pub.”
“Geographically, me and Bonzo lived where we always lived,” Plant said. “So that was that. I didn’t follow anybody’s private lives. So whatever Jimmy was doing, I didn’t really know about it until we started the next record.”
Plant on his current relationship with Jimmy Page
“Look, how many times have you been married? I see all relationships as being the same sort of thing. You are on it or you’re off it. You’re good, you’re bad. You never lose faith in people but you move into different places in your life.”
“We meet in a bus shelter just outside London now and again. We’ve both got macintoshes on.”
When Led Zeppelin stole The Who’s food
“I looked a little bit like Roger Daltrey but a bit taller. Sorry Roger! We went to see Tommy at the Fillmore, Zep. And it got to the point where it was time for an encore or something like that so we jumped in the cars and we went to Max’s Kansas City.
We walked in the door and they said ‘wow, you’re early!’ And we said ‘yeah, yeah, it was an early show.’ So we went in and ate all the band’s food and ran away.”
On Led Zeppelin winning a Grammy award and being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Plant was asked what his thoughts are on winning a Grammy Award for “Celebration Day.” “Well I’ve never had any other ones, actually. 300 million albums later I think we got one Grammy.”
What about being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Does Plant care about that?
“Yeah, because I could play guitar with Neil Young in the gig thing. We did, I think, ‘When The Levee Breaks’ or something. We were all playing guitar. I was better than Neil Young as a guitarist. I ran out of ideas after three minutes. But for that time it was great.”
On meeting Elvis Presley
“He knew that we were selling tickets faster than him and he wanted to know what kind of phenomenon this was … when the room was suitably full … when the room was buzzing with anticipation, the door opened and this guy just, I don’t know what the word is. It’s not sashay, it’s not slink … he just grooved his way through the people.”
Plant on his songwriting process
“I always write things down. I’ve got stuff written all the time. I’m going to write after I’ve met you two guys now I’m going to go write a lot of things about life.”
Plant was asked whether he carries a notebook all times. “Yeah. Innuendo, double entendre, anything that’s interesting.”
On whether Plant listens to music while having sex
“I can’t handle music. It’s got to be Richard Burton quoting from Shakespeare.”
Plant says he would ‘never’ write an autobiography
Stern asked Plant whether he’d ever write a book. “Never,” Plant said. “Because it’s so good and it’s so funny.”
Stern asked Plant why he wouldn’t write a book about his life. “Because it hasn’t finished yet, cheeky,” Plant said, “where’d you find this guy? It’s all good. It was great. Sometimes it was prematurely great.”
Plant wants his own radio show
“I thought maybe I can do something like this. I could be really absurd and ask those fucking stupid questions to people. Do you always have people in and do this? Because that’s the good thing.”
Plant hates the ‘whoring’ of promoting his album
“I hate the whoring aspect to this, though,” Plant said. “There’s a lot of ways to polish a turd. There’s a lot of different things that you can do.”
On being a rockstar
Stern’s co-host Robin Quivers remarked that Plant was a rockstar. “No,” Plant said. “I was just a lucky guy with a lot of limos outside that I didn’t book.”
“We meet in a bus shelter just outside London now and again. We’ve both got macintoshes on.” HA!!
Life is but a song. I may be in your head or not but it is always in your heart.
Though he was very resistant it was all worth it for that little tidbit about struggling to hit the high note on the first line of Over the Hills and Far Away “Many Nights I’ve Loved..”
Planty will always be a Rockstar. The very best.
Robert had the strongest voice I’ve ever heard live and since I’m 67 years old and grew up in Hudson County which is just ouside NYC I was lucky to see over 300 groups between 1967-1982….BEST LIVE BAND I EVER SAW!!!!!!
Incredibly smart and witty chap!
It’s curious how all the really incredible recordings were always made during the early drug days. None of the great albums from the 60s and 70s would have been possible if it weren’t for the ultra cerebral mindset that was present at the time. To deny it is to protect your human ego. The alcohol use, however, was just as dumb as it is today…. Sure, it’s easy to drink , get stupid, and enjoy the old recordings time and again. But you don’t make music like Zep did without a very heady influence. Youth is essential as well. But let’s just admit how important the cerebral mindset was back then.
Youth is both smart and stupid, cerebral if you can get it..