UPDATE from the Webmaster, February 2006: It is with great pleasure that I present you the first new Song of the Day in over 7 years! This is a special edition SotD - it is a re-introduction, of sorts. It was written by Jeff to explain the last 7+ years and gives you personal insight into the goings on in his life. It sets the stage for the rest of the Led Zeppelin catalog.
Song Of The Day LXXI (Special Edition V)
Two thousand, six hundred and fifteen. Two thousand…six hundred… and fifteen. That is how many days have passed since last I sat down to write about the music of Led Zeppelin. Seven years. Plus. To be perfectly honest, I actually never thought I would do this again. So what happened? Why did I just walk away for over seven years? Well, that in itself is a very long story. I’ll give you the (hopefully) brief version.
In the Fall of 1998 I had a
The music of Led Zeppelin was woven so tightly into the fabric of my personal issues that all it did was bring me pain. Everything I had done from a very early age was connected, in one form or another, to Led Zeppelin. I can’t speak for anyone else, but when I am in a position that brings heartache and pain, I choose to avoid that. To leave it behind. To clear it from my existence. The result was the music of Led Zeppelin was part of the trail of debris left behind in the dust as I chose to find a new, healthier path.
The new path was long and very difficult. There were times when I just didn’t feel like continuing the journey. Quite simply, it just hurt too damn much. Life wasn’t fun. There were endless black clouds with no light at the end of the tunnel. The events of
That day, and the long days afterwards, taught me a simple life lesson: Our time here is precious. It is very short. Everything that we experience happens in the blink of an eye. I decided then that I had to make amends with people who I had left on unfriendly terms. Part of doing that was getting a new computer, which I did. I was then on a mission: Find my friends. Make contact with as many people as possible. For the most part I found everybody. There are some people I still haven’t reconnected with, but time is still on my side in that regard.
In some cases, like Bruce Deerhake, Bill McCue, Jeremy Mixer and Jessica Kutch the reconnection was easy. They were so happy to hear from me. They made me feel wanted, needed, appreciated and loved. In other cases, like my ex-wife, the moment was chilly and unwelcome. But I forged on.
Fast forward to today and life has certainly turned around in a lot of amazing and fantastic ways. After spending many years feeling like David Helfgott during his most trying of times, I also discovered, like him, that ones passion for music can pull a person out of the deepest of holes. I began to rediscover music I loved as a younger man, like Jackson Browne and Bruce Springsteen, and I found newer, for me, bands that really hit that special button like No Doubt, Gov’t Mule and Warren Haynes solo. I found myself staring at a very ugly number: 40. As in; I recently turned that number. Not as scary as I imagined and I recently went back and did some fact checking with my doctor: Since 1998 I have gained all of two pounds. I attribute some of my good health now to my study of Martial Arts, which I have been doing for several years now. I still have my hair! (Thank You Lord!) And it’s still long! My health issues have improved tremendously and my doctors are impressed.
Through the help of a few key people, including one young lady in particular, I have found a peace and happiness that wears like a trusted blanket. In the case of my young lady friend she chipped away at the barricades that shielded me for protection and in doing so she managed to pour the hope back in my eyes I thought I lost so long ago. I found that one of the greatest things we have as humans is faith. And Es Paranza.
For years it always intrigued me as to just what the heck Es Paranza meant. Dig out your solo Plant albums starting with “The Principle Of Moments” and you’ll see that his record label was named: Es Paranza. It comes from the Spanish language, which is a language I have always found to be very intriguing and romantic. Through my young lady friend I have learned that Es Paranza means, simply, HOPE. Isn’t that perfect? Robert named his record label HOPE. I love that! Of course, hope is a wonderful thing. We all need hope and it also is how we make it through from day to day. The HOPE of tomorrow…
But on the page, hope is boring. It’s too simple: H-O-P-E. It doesn’t do anything. However, when translated into Spanish, it comes out so eloquently as Es Paranza. Perfect!
A short while ago I had an opportunity to listen to a Robert Plant bootleg. It was a small set of songs and was dated 1992. I had no initial interest in it but then I spotted a song that was on the release: “Girl From The North Country” by Bob Dylan. That song has always been one of my favourite songs. Not just by Dylan, but anybody. I had to investigate and see how Robert would treat this classic track.
I was instantly impressed. Robert’s voice was heavenly. He didn’t do the song very differently than Dylan, but that voice, his delivery, the subtle, special qualities that have always been trademarks of his, they were all present. I started to wonder: Hmmm…perhaps I need to give Robert a listen to. Having mostly ignored Zeppelin for the better part of seven years, save for the DVD and “How The West Was Won” when they were released, I felt a bit behind the game. I found a Plant solo show from earlier this year and again I was amazed at his vocals and his still amazing talent.
After spending some time reintroducing myself to the music and magic of Robert I was led down a path that took me directly to Jimmy Page. From there I went back even further, back to the days of Led Zeppelin. Nervously I listened to some of their music, wondering if old ghosts would make their presence felt. But I was okay. I could not only experience them again, but I felt, in a way, as if I were discovering this band for the first time. And I was. All over again!
Over the past several years I have received a lot of Emails from people who have found their way to Bruce’s Led Zeppelin site. Many have written to me about the Song Of The Day series and I cannot tell you how much it has meant to me to hear their comments and read their thoughts. It certainly has touched my heart.
Bruce has tried, as has Bill, to get me to start writing this again. I always declined. For one, it didn’t make much sense to write about something I wasn’t passionately immersed in, and two, I just had too much going on to focus on something I had spent many years avoiding. But life has a funny way sometimes. Upon my rediscovering of Led Zeppelin the desire to finally finish this series overcame me. And so…here we are. As I have been away for a long time I am not fully aware of a lot of things that have transpired between friends of mine in the Zeppelin community. I am aware a little bit, and from what I have heard I’d rather not know the gory details. I will say this: It is my hope that people who share the same passion, in this case the music of Led Zeppelin, can find it in themselves to realize the beauty and precious nature that life is and will hopefully one day reconcile.
As is my nature I have chosen to take the path that all of these people are my friends and I simply cannot and will not choose anyone over another. With that thought in mind it is my request that this series will continue and will be posted on multiple Zeppelin related sites.
I would like to extend my sincerest thanks to the many people who have touched my heart in one way or another since 1996. Special thanks must be given to the following: Bruce Deerhake for keeping the Song Of The Day alive on his website, and for his friendship and encouragement over the years. To Bill McCue for his friendship and enduring kindness. When I returned to the Internet and contacted Bill he almost leaped through the computer to welcome me back. That was so much appreciated. To Bradley Anderson for the many wonderful things he has taught me. I am not a computer wizard by any stretch, but thanks to Bradley the true power and ability of my computer has been unlocked. To Dave Gilyan; what can I say except…thank you! You have been most kind and have treated me to some very special privileges.
To Brett, Ed, Julia, Eric F., Susan H., Robin, JR, Grant, Connie, Rita, Jeff W., Eric B., Theolyn, Hugh, Linda, Ann Marie, Pouya- for saving my guitar at Zepfest ’97!, Annie & Buzz, Robin, rachel- lower case intentional, Tom, Philly Jack, Kate, Shelby…and Shelby’s son, John Paul Jr., Debra, Rainn- for her amazing talent and artwork, Jeremy- for taking a late night phone call and playing a special request!, Dave Lewis, Chris G., and Nech- for digging deep into the vaults, I give you all my heartfelt thanks. Thanks for your friendship and the ways you have all touched my life. And last, but certainly not least, the ever lovely Jessica. When we met she could have been the focus of Van Morrison’s “
I look forward to continuing this series and finally being able to finish it as I intended so many years ago. Thanks to all who have shared the ride.