JASON BONHAM Talks 'Led Zeppelin Experience', Getting Sober

December 21, 2010

Izzy Presley of RX magazine recently conducted an interview with drummer Jason Bonham about JASON BONHAM'S LED ZEPPELIN EXPERIENCE — which celebrates the life and music of Jason's father, the legendary LED ZEPPELIN drummer John Bonham. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

RX: How soon after the [LED] ZEPPELIN reunion fell apart did [JASON BONHAM'S LED ZEPPELIN EXPERIENCE] start getting put together?

Jason Bonham: About two years after, really. A year after we did the show in 2007 I was working with John Paul [Jones] in 2008 and it was most of 2009 I was just moping around the house feeling sorry for myself when that thing kind of fell apart. It wasn't something that I really thought about. There was talk of it by my manager and by Annerin [Productions, the heralded company behind "The Pink Floyd Experience" and "Rain, A Tribute to the Beatles"] themselves, but I was not convinced. It wasn't until the end of 2009 when I went to see the "Rain" show and that was a polite response to before I said no. After seeing the "Rain" show and seeing some of the ideas they had in there, I started to think I can do this slightly different and it just started to evolve. It wasn't until about half way through this year it became something that I was very, very into 110%. I had to make sure it was OK with the others and I spoke to Robert [Plant] about it at length and my mom had given me footage that she would never let out of the house. It really did start to become something that was just more than just a concert, it became more of a personal thing and so far with the five shows we've done I can't describe the feeling I get. I wouldn't imagine this in a million years.

RX: How close were you to finding a different singer for ZEPPELIN after the reunion? There were rumors all over about you guys trying out Steven Tyler (AEROSMITH) and a few others.

Jason Bonham: Joe Perry had mentioned it in one of his interviews about Steven come over and sang but as far as I know and definitely know this, it was really just jamming and it was never, ever going to be called LED ZEPPELIN if it had gone any further. It had been talked about by John Paul Jones and a few of us now but as I know and it's my own thought that it never would have been called LED ZEPPELIN. There was a little bit of a harsh response from fans saying, "You can't have LED ZEPPELIN with someone else singing." Well, it was never talked about. I will say this; I had a great time jamming with Jimmy [Page] and John Paul and various different people and of course the greatest time of all was the two gigs.

RX: What was the turning point where you decided to get sober?

Jason Bonham: In England, and for all of us in my family, we all have a different place on where or what we think an alcoholic is. If you still have your family and your house and your car, [you are] doing well, and don't look like a homeless guy while drinking out of a paper bag; if all of those things are not happening to you and [you've] still got everything, the belief is there is nothing wrong with you. You can falsify and pretend and create like I used to that my world was perfect and be calculated that much and that was the demon alcohol. I would be so calculated that I would get everything ready to be done by noon so I could drink; any piece of work, everything done and cleared up so I could have a drink. The hardest part for me to come to reality with, it was that I didn't drink every day. So to me it was like, "Am I really an alcoholic? I don't drink every day, I don't drink in the morning, and I don't have the shakes." I had talked to a few people who had tried to get in the rooms way before and heard the stories and thought, "I have nothing in common with that story. None of that is my life." I got off the ladder at a different place. They say that they called it "the yets." I didn't kill someone on my bike, I didn't kill someone with my car, I didn't kill anyone yet. That's what did it. I actually felt pretty lucky. The statistics aren't great, they are horrible, but I am OK with it. I think you have to be ready. I think you gotta want to think you want to do it. You can't think you have to do it and you have to want to do it.

Read the entire interview from RX magazine.

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