SHED ZEPPELIN-Why God Doesn’t Like Reunions and Satan Couldn’t Give a Toss About Rock Music
What I Didn’t Want, Really Really Didn’t Want
My heart leapt into my mouth when I opened my morning paper a few days ago and read the headline: “Spice Girls Reunite!” Fortunately I didn’t pause before reading the rest of the headline: “But Only To Promote a Musical”. Had I paused I suspect my heart would have leapt out of my mouth and jumped into a corner before sobbing itself to death. It was a close call. But another comeback bullet had been dodged. On past occasions the outcome hasn’t been quite so rosy.
Drunken Office Workers’ World Tour
On these occasions, the bullet has found its mark with merciless accuracy. The return of The Nolans, Dollar and even Take That! Their exclamation mark, not mine. Though to be fair, if it hadn’t been there already I would have put it in anyway. The Take That! Comeback tour was fairly excruciating, but not unexpected.
Though it was a bit like watching a bunch of pissed up accountants doing what pissed up accountants do at the work’s Christmas party. But better to watch that than turn your attention to the nearly middle aged ladies in the audience trying to be screaming teenage girls again.
How To Reunite The Beatles.. Oh, That Joke Doesn’t Work Anymore
Hilarious as it is though, it’s not car crash crock rock at its finest. The award for best of that genre in recent years has to go to the Led Zeppelin reunion. Now that was unexpected, given than one of them is actually physically dead, rather than just metaphorically dead to the rest of the band, as in the case of Robbie Williams.
Yeah they invited him back for that one off charity thing at the Albert Hall, but you invite people you don’t like to functions all the time. You don’t seriously expect them to turn up. He did though, and now he’s back in the band.
I used to have a certain amount of grudging respect for Led Zeppelin, despite not liking most of their music all that much. There were two reasons for this. Firstly, their chutzpah. They founded a dynasty based on churning out a string of virtually identical songs. Album after album.
They didn’t even bother naming the first few albums, just numbered them one to four. A long line of rock clones and then a motion picture called “And the Song Remains the Same”, which I thought was delightfully cheeky. They might as well have called the film “We’ve Only Ever Written One Album And You Keep Buying It Over And Over, You Docile Twats”.
When the drummer’s gone, it’s time to move on
Secondly, they followed a fundamental rule and broke up when their drummer died. Killing your drummer is God’s way of telling a rock band that it’s time to stop. Though it’s a bit of a mystery why God keeps telling us things by killing us (His way of telling us to slow down) or giving us cocaine habits (His way of telling us we have too much money), or all the other ways the old jokes say He communicates.
He could just write it on the moon or in the stars or send a text or something. He is God after all; He can do anything He likes. Except be omniscient and omnipotent simultaneously, because they’re mutually exclusive philosophically speaking.
1966 and All That
So, God tells rock bands things, and some listen and some don’t. The Rolling Stones ignored the divine edict in 1966, and we’ve all seen how that turned out. Apparently you get one album’s grace if your singer dies. A respectful tribute is pleasing to The Almighty and he blesses it.
AC/DC found this out when they did Back In Black. But fail to leave it at that and his wrath is furious and terrible. As AC/DC also found out. Just listen to Sink The Pink. Biblically gruesome.
But Led Zep bowed out when the call came. Kudos to Led Zep. No, I’m serious, kudos to them. Never mind that Jimmy page penned the most pointless and irritating song in human history: Stairway To Heaven. A song about which there are many theories. Many tales of its satanic origins. The most popular of these concerns the tract which starts “If there’s a bustle in your hedgerow, don’t be alarmed now…”
Why would you be alarmed if there was a bustle in your hedgerow, should you be in possession of such a thing? You’d just assume it was a hedgehog or a badger or something surely? A hedgerow in your bustle, now that might be a bit disturbing. But for that problem to present itself, you’d have to be a 19th century lady of substance. Or possibly some extreme form of Lolita Goth. In either case, you’d be unlikely to be listening to Led Zeppelin in the first place. It’s utter nonsense. But the theory states that there’s a very good reason that it’s nonsense.
The Lure of Satan’s Toolshed
Spin the disc in reverse and you will supposedly hear the following: “Oh here’s to my sweet Satan. The one whose little path would make me sad, whose power is Satan. He will give those with him 666. There was a little toolshed where he made us suffer. Sad Satan.” Or something exactly like that. Sort of.
And maybe it does say that when you spin it backwards. I’ve never actually tried it. But for me there’s a problem with this hypothesis. The backwards version is an even bigger stream of bollocks than the forwards one.
If you are trying to covertly warp impressionable young minds into thinking Satan is cool – presumably that’s the accusation – then how is mentioning his toolshed helping to achieve that goal? Young and impressionable minds are swayed by many things, but I don’t think toolsheds are high on the list.
The demonic influences are easily traced by just listening to the thing. It sure sounds like the muzak from the seventh circle of hell to me. As for the lyrics, anyone in possession of an ounce of sense, or even an ounce of any other substance disapproved of by the authorities, will tell you it’s about drugs. I gather they were rather popular in the Seventies, which might explain the bustling hedgerows, or possibly even Satan’s toolshed.
Just Do What Exactly?
Ludicrous as this all is, there is a serious side. It did all lay the foundations for the Judas Priest back masking trial. Two young men blew their faces off with the same shotgun and the hapless Brummies were hauled before the American Courts. Allegedly, one of their songs had the subliminal backwards phrase “Do It” embedded in the lyrics.
Even if the human brain was capable if interpreting backwards messages – and psychologists have proved that it’s not – then isn’t “Do It” just a bit fucking vague? I find it a bit difficult to make the logical leap from “Do It” to “Blow your face off with a shotgun.”
No one appeared too keen to prosecute the leading sportswear manufacturer at the time on the basis that their famous slogan was really saying “Nike. Just blow your face off with a shotgun.” But then again the Nike Corporation didn’t have an openly gay lead singer.
Rob Halford gay! Campness infiltrating heavy metal? The rock fraternity was aghast. Which just goes to show how little people pay attention, particularly to things they really like. Just watch him perform “Grinder” with the lyric sheet in your hand and all will become sparkling crystal clear.
Anyway, whatever the moral majority’s reasons for pursuing this non case, it was very funny seeing Mr Halford playing all the other subliminal backwards messages buried in his work to the court. My particular favourite was “I ask for a peppermint, I ask her to fetch me one.” Case dismissed and no one has ever had to answer to this kind of nonsense since. Well done Judas Priest.
Musicians Struggling To Heat Their Spare Swimming Pools
Not so well done Led Zeppelin. Whatever their stated reasons may be, they’re reuniting for one reason only. To make shed loads of cash, even though they already have to carry their wallets around in wheelbarrows. The same reason Metallica shut down Napster, despite all their guff about helping struggling young musicians. Like you never made or received a mix tape in your life Mr Hetfield. Shame on you. Money is like cocaine, the more you have the more you want and both money and cocaine can turn the nicest of us into greedy, unpleasant bastards.
When Burlesque Goes Bad
Lots of people of a certain generation didn’t get to see Led Zep do a live concert, and will pay substantial sums of money to be able to truthfully say that they have. Except they won’t be able to say that; not really. When they turn up to the gig they’ll be seeing the dead drummer’s son and three old men who used to be Led Zeppelin.
I’d quite like to see Vampira and Betty Page live on stage. But I wouldn’t want to see them now. Not that I could because they both died before the comeback craze reared its ugly head. No, for better or worse, a time machine and a quick jaunt back to the 1950’s would be required.
Page, Plant and Jones should carry on doing what they’ve been doing to get by for the last thirty or so years. Because there are people who did see them back in the Seventies; people who have glorious memories of the occasion.
Memories that will be irrevocably tarnished by the fact that people are paying to gawk at a version of the band that’s been irrevocably crippled by age and death. Like knowing that people might have paid at some point to see an octogenarian Betty Page get her kit off on stage. Unless your tastes are very specialist indeed, it’s just plain old wrong.
© Copyright Michael Grimes 2013
Tags: 1966, 666, AC/DC, Accountants, Back In Black, Betty Page, Black And Decker Workmate, Christmas Party, Chutzpah, Cocaine, Dollar, God, Grinder, Homosexuality, John Bonham, Judas Priest, Led Zeppelin, Lolita Goths, Metallica, Money, Muzak, My Way, Napster, Nelson Mandela, Nike, Phone Sex, Robbie Williams, Satan, Stairway To Heaven, Take That, Teenage Girls, The 70's, The Albert Hall, The Beatles, The Nolans, The Spice Girls, Vampira
About thedailygrimeAt that awkward age - too young to be a grumpy old man, but just acerbic and downtrodden enough to have an opinion. Read it here.
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