JIMMY PAGE & Inspiration

I spent part of today with Jimmy Page, someone who appears on everyone's list of the greatest rock guitarists of all time. We were talking, among other things, about his re-mastering of the Led Zeppelin double album PHYSICAL GRAFFITTI to be released this month in time for the 40th anniversary of its first release. But what struck me was that our conversation constantly turned to innovation and inspiration. Jimmy Page would repeatedly say that Led Zeppelin could have made the same sounding music over and over again but never wanted to. If some elements of the fourth album sounded a bit like Led Zeppelin 2, they would abandon that idea and move on. It was the definition of creativity. If you go to McDonalds you do not get the best hamburger you have ever eaten in your life, but you do get one which will, almost certainly, taste like the one you had yesterday and the one you can buy tomorrow. Some artists and writers are like that. A friend of mine who coordinates a literary festival complained that if she gets yet another new novel calling itself "the new GONE GIRL" she will go mad. Like McDonalds, some publishers only want to publish what they published before, and some musicians want constantly to rework their former hits. The fact that Jimmy Page absoliutely does NOT want to do that explains why in its fifth decade, Led Zeppelin still sounds fresh, as if every recording is in fact a live show.

Gavin Esler Interviews Jimmy Page