banner ad
banner ad
banner ad

LIGHT & SHADE by Brad Tolinski the most complete and revelatory portrait ever published of legendary guitarist and Led Zeppelin mastermind Jimmy Page

| 16 October 2012 | Reply

For more than fifty years, guitarist/composer/producer legend Jimmy Page has had a major influence on contemporary music, most obviously via his groundbreaking work with Led Zeppelin, which dominated the seventies and continues to resonate decades after. While still in his teens, Page and a small handful of musicians helped introduce American blues to England, sparking a revolution. In the early sixties his virtuoso guitar work was in such high demand for studio sessions that it’s estimated it can be heard on sixty percent of the records recorded in Britain during that time. Considering his many accomplishments and rich history, it’s surprising that the mind and artistry of Jimmy Page have been largely uncharted until now.

In LIGHT & SHADE: Conversations with Jimmy Page (on sale October 23),Guitar World editor in chief Brad Tolinski offers an enlightening and definitive look at the musical life of this rock-and-roll genius. Sifting through well over fifty hours of conversations with Page that touched on everything from his early years as England’s top session guitarist (working with artists like the Who, the Kinks, Burt Bacharach, and Eric Clapton) to his wild years in Led Zeppelin and post-Zeppelin projects, which include his appearance at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, LIGHT & SHADE provides the most complete picture of the media-shy guitarist ever published, much of it in Page’s own words.

Tolinski did his first interview with Page in early 1993. Despite the legend’s reputation for reticence they hit it off, and Tolinski made it his goal to induce the famously private man to speak with him in great detail about his long, storied career as often as he possibly could. As it turned out, over the course of two decades Page did just that. “Led Zeppelin’s incredible body of work has made them one of the bestselling bands in modern history, second only to the Beatles, and Jimmy is one of the most significant musical figures of the twentieth century,” Tolinski says. “So in all our time together, I never ran out of music-related matters to discuss with him.” LIGHT & SHADE puts aside the rumors and hearsay to examine the art behind the extravagant image. The book is also peppered with “musical interludes” that feature Page conversing with other guitar greats, including his childhood friend Jeff Beck, hipster icon Jack White of the White Stripes, and classic-rock vocalist Paul Rodgers.

In the book, Page discusses:

* What is was like becoming England’s premier session guitarist at the age of twenty

“It’s quite terrifying now, when I think of all the things I did, but I took it on. I took the bit in my teeth and went for it. It was a great apprenticeship.”

* His vision for Led Zeppelin

“I wanted artistic control in a vise grip, because I knew exactly what I wanted to do with the band. In fact, I financed and completely recorded the first album before going to Atlantic. It wasn’t your typical story where you get an advance to make an album-we arrived at Atlantic with tapes in hand. The other advantage to having such a clear vision of what I wanted the band to be was that it kept recording costs to a minimum. We recorded the whole first album in a matter of thirty hours. That’s the truth. I know, because I paid the bill [laughs].”

* The experience of composing “Stairway to Heaven”

“My sharpest memory of working on ‘Stairway’ was Robert writing the lyrics while we were hammering away at the arrangement. It was really intense. And by the time we came up with the fanfare at the end and could play it all the way through, Robert had eighty percent of the lyrics done. It just goes to show you what inspired times they were. We were channeling a lot of energy.”

* His role in Led Zeppelin

“Many people think of me as just a riff guitarist, but I think of myself in broader terms. As a musician I think my greatest achievement has been to create unexpected melodies and harmonies within a rock-and-roll framework. As a producer, I’d like to be remembered as someone who was able to sustain a band of unquestionable individual talent and push it to the forefront during its working career.”

* Led Zeppelin’s fabled decadence

“Those really were the days of pure hedonism. L.A. in particular was like Sodom and Gomorrah, but it always had that vibe, even going back to the golden age of Hollywood in the twenties and thirties. You just ate it up and drank it down. And why not?”

*Working with Robert Plant post-Zeppelin

“We spark off each other in such a brilliant way. I’d missed Robert’s voice and the working relationship. He’d certainly missed my guitar and that very aspect of inspiring each other. It was really fortunate that we still had that ability to conjure up that spirit after fourteen years. The chemistry was immediate.”

And more:

*The experience of working with luminaries such as the Kinks, Burt Bacharach, and Jeff Beck

*Life on the Led Zeppelin private plane Starship

*The strange experience of being an English hippie in the American south in the mid-sixties

*How his time with the Yardbirds served as a laboratory of sorts for him

*The real story of how the band settled on the name “Led Zeppelin”

*What he sees as his greatest achievement as a producer/engineer

*The other musicians of that era that Page believes had a vision of the future

*The key difference between Led Zeppelin and their contemporaries: the band was constantly “moving the music”

*Why Led’s fourth album had no title and no mention of the group on the album cover

*If there’s truth to the rumor that George Harrison inspired “Stairway to Heaven”

*The song on the fourth album that he sees as the culmination of all the ideas he’d been developing since the band’s first album

Likely the closest Page will get to penning his life story, LIGHT & SHADE is an essential read not only for Led Zeppelin fans, but also those who want a first-person view of one of the most important musicians of our era.

Light & Shade: Conversations with Jimmy Page

by Brad Tolinski

Crown Publishers * On sale: October 23, 2012

$26.00 * 320 pages with 21 black-and-white photographs * ISBN: 978-0-307-98571-2

Category: News

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

Leave a Reply

Please verify you\'re a real person: * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

banner ad
banner ad