John Paul Jones AOL Chat 11/17/97
John Paul Jones Interview

Question: If you could jam with any musician(s) from any era who would it be and why?

John P Zep: John Bonham and Jimi Hendrix

John P Zep: I don't think I need to say why!

Question: What do you think were the unique qualities that Zeppelin brought to rock?

John P Zep: Musicality

John P Zep: diversity

John P Zep: power

John P Zep: let's see... a good stage show and commitment!

Question: What Zeppelin recording do you feel features your most creative bass work?

John P Zep: Oh, that's a hard one...Which one doesn't?

John P Zep: I hate false modesty!

John P Zep: "The Lemon Song" is famous, I quite like the bass lines that are tight in with Bonzo.bass lines, that is.Any live recording of "Dazed and Confused"

Question: did you help in the release of the new bbc release ?

John P Zep: Yes I did.Tapes were circulated and...we all made a decision on what best versions to use.We tried to get as much good stuff on as possible.

Question: How do the "younger" bands react when they find out you are producing their work?

John P Zep: Initially...they're terrified! but I think they get frightened that I might want to change them and that they might not be able to tell me what they want and what they don't want. hopefully, they find that I'm pretty sympathetic and that if I'm going to produce a band that i'll let their personality come out.

Question: Do you like any new artists?

John P Zep: Some songs from some artists, I think,Some of Radiohead, there's a single from the Eels that I like.I like some of the English drum & bass/jungle. I like bluegrass as well, at the moment

Question: If Page/Plant tour after their album is released...and they wanted you to join them...would you?

John P Zep: No, I think they've missed their chance now.

Question: Did the XYZ (former Yes and Zeppelin) project ever really exist?

John P Zep: No! It was pretty much a pressthing, I think.It was one of those things you read about and wonder, "Are they talking about us?"

Question: Did you make up the bass solo in the Lemon Song on the spot?

John P Zep: The word is improvise--And YES!

Question: What's the best thing about this Live at the BBC album?

John P Zep: It's teh sound of a young, enthusiastic band.It's a very raw sound. A cocky young band at the height of its powers. And John Bonham.

Question: Jonesy, on your upcoming solo album, is it going to be entirely musical? No vocals, or do you sing? And are you doing and No Quarter style jazz improv on it?

John P Zep: Entirely musical? Don't you mean instrumental?The answer is yes--it is instrumental --no vocals no guitar no jazz Pure Rock! (with some funny noises)

Question: you have such a smooth driving bass style who was your influence

John P Zep: A lot of bass players from a lot of different styles of music To name a few...James Jameson from motown,Duck Dunne (booker t & the mgs)and some of the great jazz players such as charles mingus John P Zep: and Scott LaFaro.

Question: Will we be seeing any professional live video i.e. Earls Court'75, Seattle '77 released in the future for public consumption.

John P Zep: it's always possible. Every now and again we feel we ought to look at this stuff some of it is good, some not so good

John P Zep: it would be nice to see some of it out there.

Question: I know that you have worked with Lenny Kravitz in the past do you consider him to be one of the most talented younger musicians today as i do?oh by the way you do realize you are the best bass player in rock music historyright?

John P Zep: Is that Lenny Kravitz writing in? if it is, i better say that he's pretty good too. he actually approached me by saying that his bass player left just before the MTV video awards he was trying to think of who to use and he said to me "why not call the guy i took it all from in the first place?"

Question: Tell us abou the new "Whole Lotta Love" video. I beleive some of the footage has never been seen before.

John P Zep: Yes, it certainly surprised me! There's a funny little bit where Robert and I seem to be doing some strange Martian dance together. Don't knwo where tehy found it. but it's a good video. i must be biased.

Question: what do you feel is your best performance on the keyboard?

John P Zep: oooh...There's a piano solo on "No Quarter" at one of the old Court shows that was particulary successful (Earl's Court, that is) I can't tell you to listen to the bootlegs --Robert will kill me!

Question: What do you think of the current state of rock?

John P Zep: Well, I don't know about America but in England it seems to be harking back to the 60s a lot.As I was on most of teh stuff on the 60s that they took it all form I can't say that I'm happy to hear it all again.

Question: What did it feel like in 1985 when you played Live Aid in Philly and at the end of 'Stairway' all 92,000 fans were singing along.

John P Zep: It felt like we hadn't been gone. Walking on stage was just like coming back home. It was very exhilirating.

Question: What were your thoughts on Hammer Of The Gods? We all know that Percy hated it.....

John P Zep: It's a very sad little book.It made us out to be sad little people. He ruined a lot of good, funny stories.

Question: will zep be playing at the atlantics 50 th anniversary John P Zep: There is no Led Zeppelin. And there's certainly no plans for any reunion of the 3 remaining members...that i know of.

Question: John Paul what was your favorite band that seemed a precursor to the Zep sound i.e.
Question: Cream , Traffic, Jefferson AIrplane, et al?

John P Zep: Possibly Vanilla Fudge.I know that sounds odd, but they really were extremely powerful plus they had a great stage show They had two great voices.And we became great friends --we supported them on teh first tour.

Question: Did "The girl I love" evolve into "Moby Dick"?

John P Zep: It kinda sounds like it, soesn't it? I think it must've. It was a Pgae riff.I must admit, I preferred teh "Moby Dick" verison as a riff.

Question: what advice can you give to the younger generation of musicians out there?

John P Zep: Keep your ears open. Listen to as much music as you can. Of all different types. And listen to the pother people that you're playing on stage with.Think not just how you should sound... but how the band should sound and work towards that.

Question: is richard cole's book an accurate account of all the partying on tours you guys did?

John P Zep: It's accurate about his partying! I don't think he knows who else was there with him!

Question: What is "Kashmire" about? And why the fascination with Tolkien's Lord of the Rings on the 3rd and 4th Zep albums?

John P Zep: That's a question for Robert. It's about a journey to Morocco but you'd get pretty lost if you went by "Kashmir".Robert was into all that fairy stuff.

Question: What kind of basses do you like to play?

John P Zep: I have my basses made for me by a guy called Hugh Manson John P Zep: he's just today delivered a 10-string abss which i will be using on the record and on the following tour.

Question: What do you consider to be Zepplins best album??? And would you change anything

John P Zep: You could always change things. I like Physical Graffitti a lot. but I like most of every album.There's a lot to like. But when you listen to your own music back you always think you could've done better but..make another album!

Question: why don't you play with PAge and Plant anymore? You would still make great music together

John P Zep: Their plans didn't include me.Although it did seem to include my music.

Question: Do you think Bonzo is the best drummer of all time?

John P Zep: Of all time, of all places. That's one of the nice things about listening to the BBC Sessions I get to hear him live and well recorded.

Question: Plant says "Kashmir" truely defines Zep.....Page says "Stairway"....what is your opinion?

John P Zep: "Stairway to Kashmir"? That would be a long track! They have everything that Zeppelin is about.They have similar dynamice to songs like "Baby, I'm Ginna Leave You" Things off the first album...That whole acoustic,heavy... journey, really It's hard talking about siongs in the abstarct I could play it for you!

Question: What is the meaning of Zoso?

John P Zep: Oh lord! I really don't know! Jimmy came up with it...He said it was something to do with Saturday...but we all chose our signs at dfifferent times. Bonzo and I got them from the same book Jimmy got his from who knows where?

Question: Do you have an ill feelings towards Page & Plant over the No Quarter tour/album? Did you WANT to be involved, whether they asked you or not? Did they ask you?

John P Zep: In the reverse order...No, they didn't ask me I woul;d've certainly thought about it at the time And it was hurtful, at the time we were very close but...time passes!

Question: Is it true what they say about playing Stairway backwards?

John P Zep: I should think it'd be very difficult!

Question: Why do you use Marshall guitar cabinets instead of Bass cabinets in your rig I didn't know that I did! With the last tour I did with Diamanda Galas? My 8 string bass was in stereo and teh bass head went through SWR bass cabinets and the high end went through Marshalls.

Question: How do you like the recently released Symphonic Zeppelin?

John P Zep: I haven't herad it...I've heard mixed reports And a lot of people have asked me over the last 10 years or so to do something similar I just couldn't bring myself to. I think we made the definitive version.

Question: What did you think of the Moog Cookbook version of Whole Lotta Love?

John P Zep: They got quite a good groove -- I thought it was hilarious. I thought it was a bit cowardly using real drums, though. I laos notcied that they used my solo from "All of My Love" from "25 or 6 to 4" John P Zep: so they've obviously been doing their homework!

Question: What age did you start playing the bass?

John P Zep: 14. I became professional at 16.

Question: What is your favorite Zep album cover? Favorite cover of all time?

John P Zep: The one with the wheel!

Question: have you ever been to the rock-n-roll hall of fame in cleveland ohio and Tell us more about your new project:

John P Zep: Blues based and acoustic rock but using a lot of computer processing and electronics over a live rhythm section

Question: Did you write the "Black Dog" riff?

John P Zep: Yes. I did.it came to me on a train coming back from rehersel at Jimmy Page's house. I'd been listening to a song on a Muddy Water's record called Electric Mud, which had a long, rambling blues riff and i thought i'd like to try something with a similar form

Question: What influenced you in writing the keyboard part for Stairway to Heaven?

John P Zep: Really, a reaction to what Jimmy was playing on acoustic guitar I think he had already started writing it with robert when they were away in their cottage in Wales and Jimmy had lots of different part sof it which we put together, the two of us at Hedley Grange

Question: What do you think of Jason Bonham ?

John P Zep: He's a good drummer, he reminds me of his dad a lot. When we played with him at the 40th Anniversary HE WAS THE ONLY ONE WHO KNEW ALL THE LICKS BETWEEN THE SONGS

Question: do you miss touring?

John P Zep: yes, that's why i went out with diamanda galas and that's why i'm going out as soona s my record is released.

Question: CD or Vinyl?

John P Zep: Cd's arent perfect but i prefer to hear my music without the surface noise and pops that vinyl used to have on the other hand, the artwork is more fun on vinyl

Question: What is your fondest Led-Zeppelin memory?

John P Zep: ummm... playing at the Boston tea Party for 4 and a quarter hours with 45 minutes' worth of songs now that's what i call improvising!

HubMeg: Anything you want to add John?

John P Zep: Enjoy the BBC Sessions! I wish Bonzo was here to hear them..