Drummer Jason Bonham is playing it coy when it comes to the newly unveiled Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience. While tour dates have been announced, mum's the word on the players. Bonham, son of John who was Zeppelin's drummer, refuses to say who else is part of the band.
“Some of them are known people, and I wouldn’t want anyone to make a pre-judged idea of who these people are until they hear them on the first night,” Bonham told Rolling Stone.
All we know for sure is that Robert Plant will not be front and center, despite Bonham having played with the original line-up at a gig a few years ago.
Bonham said, “I’ve had many a talk with Robert over these last couple of years about why we didn’t carry on. He said to me, ‘You were great all night and I love ya and your dad would be so proud of you, but Led Zeppelin was John. We had something very, very special and I’d like to keep that part of my life very, very special.’ I dug what he said, but at the same time I wanted us to go on.”
Plant aside, Bonham did a batch of rehearsals with Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones back in 2008. Rumors had Steven Tyler and Alter Bridge vocalist Myles Kennedy both sitting in with the trio.
Bonham won't even confirm or deny those reports: “It was magical days for me, jamming just for the fun of it. People have said that [Tyler and Kennedy joined in] and I’m not calling them liars. There were certainly other people involved that were famous and very good in their own way. We talked about touring, but I don’t think it was ever going to be called Led Zeppelin. No one person called it off. It was just a kind of ‘we agreed to disagree’ vibe.’ There was no uproar or anything.”
And Bonham hasn't written the idea totally off: “I never say never. If they made the call I’d swim there if I had to.”
Though he'd never really wanted to go the tribute band route, the math wasn't adding up to have a new incarnation of Zeppelin. Bonham was also concerned about protecting his own creative outlets while pursuing the Zeppelin tour idea. One side project he's involved with, Black Country Communion, includes former Deep Purple bassist Glen Hughes and guitarist Joe Bonamassa. That group also has tour plans on the horizon.
Bonham confessed that it was hard to make it all work out just so: “This was a tough one for me, because I never imagined myself doing something like that. The people that put on the Beatles tribute show RAIN approached me, and made me realize that I could do this while continuing to feed my own creativity and not feeling like a sell-out.”
Of Black Country Communion, Bonham admits that he'd “love to play Zeppelin songs like ‘Lemon Song’ and ‘I Can’t Quit You Baby’ with them. I’d also love to do the Deep Purple Tracks ‘Burn’ and ‘Highway star.’”
Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience gets underway on October 8 in Dawson Creek, British Columbia and ends up back in Vancouver, BC on November 29. Along with his five-piece band, the show will also feature archival video and stories from Bonham's own Led Zeppelin experience.
October 08 – Dawson Creek, BC – Encana Events Center
October 09 – Prince George, BC – CN Centre
October 12 – Edmonton, AB – Northern Alberta Jubilee
October 13 – Red Deer, AB – Emmax Centre
October 14 – Calgary, AB – Southern Alberta Jubilee
October 16 – Regina, SK – Brandt Centre
October 17 – Winnipeg, MB – MTS Centre
October 19 – Minneapolis, MN – State Theatre
October 20 – Milwaukee, WI – Riverside Theatre
October 21 – Merrilville, IN – Star Plaza
October 23 – Montreal, QUE – Metropolis
October 25 – Quebec City, QUE – Grand Theatre
October 27 – Hamilton, ON – Hamilton Place-Great Hall
October 28 – Kitchener, ON – Centre in the Square
October 29 – Toronto, ON – Sony Centre
October 30 – Rochester, NY – Auditorium Theater
November 02 – Boston, MA – The Orpheum
November 03 – Red Bank, NJ – Count Basie Theater
November 04 – Englewood, NJ – Bergen PAC
November 06 – Philadelphia, PA – Merriam Theater
November 08 – New York, NY – Nokia Theatre
November 13 – Jacksonville, FL – Florida Theater
November 14 – Melbourne, FL – King Center
November 16 – Houston, TX – Verizon Theatre
November 21 – Riverside, CA – Fox PAC
November 23 – Los Angeles, CA – Pantages Theater
November 26 – Portland, OR – Schnitzer Concert Hall
November 27 – Seattle, WA – WaMu Theater
November 29 – Vancouver, BC – The Center PAC