Ahead of the release of his new album, Band of Joy, Robert Plant talks to Andy Gill about the move from fronting the biggest band in the world to his success in exploring a diverse range of styles, from vocal harmony and country to North African and Arabic For a star of his magnitude, once the singer in the biggest band on the planet, frontman of the only group to seriously challenge the Rolling Stones' perennial claim on being the raunchiest of rockers, Robert Plant has managed to retain an admirably down-to-earth attitude to life.Matey and approachable in circumstances to which most stars react with bristling petulance, Plant seems to have mellowed well with age – as too has his music, which, over the years, has developed a burnished grain and texture comparable to that of the folk and blues heroes who originally inspired him to pick up what he calls "the great flaming torch of rock'n'roll" and run with it."But I feel so far away from heavy rock now," he reflects."It's quite odd, how mine and John's paths seem to have crossed over – we've sort of gone into each others' worlds a bit." It's an intriguing development, and one which could hardly have been foreseen during Plant's tenure with Led Zeppelin, when his falsetto shrieks and erotic double entendres combined with Jimmy Page's steamroller riffs to effectively invent the heavy rock grammar."There were Deadheads, and it was a good place to be," he says. …That is what I want."Led Zeppelin broke up in 1980, and Plant immediately embarked on a successful solo career.
Bass-player John Paul Jones, like Page, was a veteran session musician whose facility with keyboards and as an arranger would help furnish some of the textural depth that set Zeppelin apart from their peers.
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Changed the ways in which the service was a full report on the emergency treatment.
John Bonham, a friend of Plant's from the Midlands heartland of heavy rock, was perhaps rock's greatest powerhouse drummer, eschewing the fussy jazz filigree of such as Cream's Ginger Baker and Jimi Hendrix Experience's Mitch Mitchell in favour of a crunching, dynamic rhythmic undercarriage that was strong enough to carry the heaviest of riffs.
Jimmy Page himself was a dazzling technician with a questing, experimental spirit: even at the band's earliest shows, he was playing guitar with a bow, and incorporating a small Theremin to broaden the sonic palette with outlandish electronic effects.