Jason Bonham and his mother, John Bonham’s widow Pat Bonham, recently watched a screening of the upcoming film “Becoming Led Zeppelin” about the origins of Led Zeppelin.
Speaking to the Appetite for Distortion podcast in an episode released on June 7, Jason Bonham gave his initial impressions of the film, explaining that the newly unearthed audio of his father’s voice sounded different to how he remembered it.
“I recently watched the documentary … the making of Led Zeppelin. I got to see a preview of it before it goes to whoever is going to release it. And the weirdest thing for me was hearing my dad’s voice because I knew, when … basically it goes from birth to Led Zeppelin II for each member. So, you … of course, Robert is narrating his own story, Jimmy’s narrating his own story, John Paul Jones is narrating his own story.”
“So when it came to [John Bonham], I looked at my wife and think ‘How are they going to do this?’ And at that point I had to squeeze my wife’s hand because all of a sudden it started and you’re like ‘Err’. And all I could think was I don’t remember him sounding like that. And that was really weird,” Bonham continued.
“I was convinced that maybe the tape they were using was slightly too fast, as if they … through transition, through the years it had worn. Because it was late just the tiniest, tiniest bit.”
“After it, I remember I said to my mum, ‘You’ve seen the thing?’ She went ‘Yeah’. I said ‘Did you think that was dad’s voice?’ And she went ‘You know what, I thought it was a little different too.’ So I was right because I was worried, that I was like, how do I not remember him sounding like that? But later there’s other bits that you go ‘OK, yeah that’s him’ but there was a couple of parts where I was like I think just through the years the tape had worn and it needed to be adjusted slightly slower for his timbre and his voice.”
LedZepNews reported in May that the film is complete but is still looking for a distributor. “Becoming Led Zeppelin” was promoted in a document provided to distributors at the Cannes Film Festival which took place on May 17-28 in Cannes, France.
The film premiered at the Venice and Telluride film festivals in September but no announcement of a release has been made.
Several reviews criticised the 137-minute film for being too long. The Hollywood Reporter called the film “an overlong but essential, joyous portrait”.
The Wrap said in its review that “if you’re a diehard fan, you’ll probably glory in what the film delivers and wish there were more of it; if you’re not, you may find yourself power-chorded into submission sometime before the 2-hour and 17-minute running time comes to an end”.
Robert Plant distanced himself from the film in interviews published in November. He told Vanity Fair that he was only “minorly” involved in its production. “I’m fully aware of all this, but it’s really hard to get romantic about it—despite the fact that it changed my life and allowed me to mature and to move through the sphere. I’m not very good at reminiscing,” he continued.
In a separate interview with Variety published around that time, Plant also said that it’s “very odd … to see a group of people try to bring some perspective to it now,” adding “I’m not sure it’s not just too vast to be solarized and polarized like that.”
You can watch a clip of Bonham talking about the film below:
The full episode is available on YouTube here: