Robert Plant has said in a new interview that the conversation about reforming Led Zeppelin “doesn’t really go on” between him and Jimmy Page.
Plant spoke to Mojo Magazine alongside Alison Krauss for a cover story in the October 2021 edition of the magazine to promote their new album “Raise the Roof.”
In the interview, Plant said it “starts to look sadly decrepit” when musicians remain in bands for “20 years, 30 years, 50 years … it’s like people hanging onto a life raft, or staying in a comfortable place.”
“Talking to me, somewhere along the line, everything goes back to the biggest thing that ever happened to me,” Plant said. “From your angle, you have to see it like that, but there ain’t nothing really there apart from speculation.”
When asked if Plant still talks to Page about Led Zeppelin, he said that “we’re 41 years into it now. It’s a very charming question, and it comes in all languages! But the conversation doesn’t really go on now, because that spaceship has [departed].”
“It’s obvious that that [‘Raising Sand’] is so different, and also has its own huge power and intensity and goodwill, that’s the key. It’s the thing that carries great joy, and that’s what makes it tenable,” he added.
“Pro-rata,” Plant said, “with the amount of time I’ve got left, however long that is, every day is like 10 days for all I know, so I can’ t waste, I can’t tarry, with anything that isn’t the proper ticket. Otherwise, I shouldn’t be doing it at all.”
Plant has been revisiting his musical archives during lockdown
Despite his comments about the viability of future work with Led Zeppelin, Plant did hint that he’s open to releasing more unreleased Led Zeppelin material after going through his musical archives during the pandemic.
“There’s a load of stuff that’s unheard,” he said, “from every era and period and combination of musicians that I’ve worked with.”
When Mojo Magazine pointed out that fans would be particularly interested in unreleased Led Zeppelin material, Plant replied: “Well, they should be! And maybe they would be, but what condition they’re in, I don’t know.”
“Also, how do I really know how good anything is? I just know it’s there,” he added. “I should get a call sooner or later … but don’t worry, there’s a guitarist I know, a Capricorn, who’s probably got 10 times more stuff than I have.”
Page, it’s worth noting, is a Capricon and has taken on the role of the band’s archivist in recent years having spearheaded the re-release of Led Zeppelin’s albums with unreleased music.
‘Raise the Roof’ was recorded in late 2019 and early 2020
Plant’s new interview also clears up a mystery that has emerged since the announcement of “Raise the Roof”: When was it actually recorded?
It had been unclear whether the album included cuts left off “Raising Sand” or whether Plant had secretly gone to the US to record it during the pandemic. Billboard reported that “representatives declined to answer when the songs for the new set were recorded.”
But Mojo reports that the new album was recorded “mostly across ‘two rapid visits to Nashville’ either side of Christmas 2019.”
This fits with two bits of evidence that emerged about the recording of “Raise the Roof.” Firstly, Plant was photographed at Nashville International Airport preparing to fly home to England with Tony Iommi in early December 2019:
And Lucinda Williams told Uncut Magazine in its May 2020 issue that she had recently returned from a recording session in Nashville with Plant, Krauss and T Bone Burnett for their new album.
Williams’ involvement in the album was confirmed in the press release announcing its release which noted that she contributes backing vocals on “Can’t Let Go,” the first single to be released from “Raise the Roof”.
Plant’s career has had ‘so many terrible moments in it’
Elsewhere in the interview, Plant said he has had “many terrible moments” in his career.
“I’ve had a career with so many terrible moments in it,” he said. “Just rubbish, a lot of it. In the eighties, I was trying to convince people that I still had something going on, pompadouring around in leather pants with a mullet, when really I wanted to join the Angelic Upstarts!”
“I was free to fail,” Plant said, “I wasn’t a free transfer exactly, the label stuck with me, but I was a man out of step with what was going on. I’ve got so much to be apologetic about.”
He went on to say he only managed to “grow up” around the time of his 1993 solo album “Fate of Nations”.
A second Band of Joy album isn’t on the horizon
Any fans hoping for a second album from Plant’s solo project Band of Joy may be left waiting for a long time, however.
Last year, Plant’s website said that the song “Charlie Patton Highway (Turn It Up – Part 1)” from the “Digging Deep: Subterranea” compilation was the first track to emerge “from the soon to be released album Band of Joy Volume 2.”
Days later, Plant discussed the song in a BBC radio interview, saying “it’s just the three of us. There’s Buddy, Marco Giovino on drums and myself and it’s one of about 13 pieces from that session that is hidden away in my cupboard.”
But when the topic of a second Band of Joy album came up with Plant in the new interview, Mojo reported that he “winces at the notion of reconvening to complete it.”
Is Plant blocking Led Zeppelin releases?
Plant’s Mojo Magazine interview was published around the same time that photographer Ross Halfin, a close friend of Page, suggested that Plant was to blame for a lack of live Led Zeppelin releases in an interview.
“It has to be agreed by all of them. It’s the same as Pink Floyd, it’s a band agreement and you’ve got certain band members that think it interferes in their solo career,” he told The Vinyl Guide podcast as he promoted his new book “Led Zeppelin Vinyl.”
Later on in the same interview, Halfin claimed that Led Zeppelin planned to play 30 shows following their December 10, 2007 reunion show in London. “I heard they were meant to do 30 shows and I heard that they were meant to play like a week at the Forum for a few days, Madison Square Garden, Sydney, India, China. Unusual places. London.”
“And then let’s just say that one band member wouldn’t do those shows,” he said. “That’s all I’m going to say. Flatly refused. Wouldn’t do them because it affected their solo career. I do know the idea was to tour and then someone wouldn’t tour.”