You missed your chance to see Led Zeppelin. The famed English rock band knocked it out of the park between 1968 and 1980 with nine official records, some live releases and compilations, and shows in venues that ranged from theatres to stadiums, but called it quits following the death of drummer John Bonham in 1980. Yes, there have been a few reunion sets, including the 1985 concert for Live Aid and a London performance in 2007, but an official reunion tour is just a dream.
Your opportunity to see Led Zeppelin in all their glory, from Bonham’s epic drum solos to Jimmy Page’s searing guitar work, will have to come from YouTube instead. There is, however, a next best thing, which comes in the form of a tribute band called Get The Led Out, which recreates Led Zeppelin’s sound as heard on their records. Led Zeppelin was a beast both live and on LP, yet their studio work included layers of instruments and overdubs not heard in performance. Get The Led Out, returning to Durango Friday at the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College, will bring you the Zeppelin that you know from rock radio, including keyboards and multi-guitar parts.
Band members are real students of Led Zeppelin, diving into the styles of Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, Page, and Bonham, and digging into what inspired the four to first pick up instruments. Zeppelin is, after all, a gateway band, capable of leading you down the rabbit hole of the first wave of American blues music. It’s important to know the history of who you are covering, but also to know what made the members of Zeppelin tick.
“In order to play like Jimmy Page, you couldn’t just play the blues or rock guitar. You had to learn how to play Celtic-folk. You had to learn how to play funk. You had to learn how to play jazz. You had to learn how to play metal, so I went to school properly, as far as music theory and technique,” said Get the Led Out guitar player Paul Hammond. “And then, of course, to play like Jimmy Page, sometimes you have to throw all that out the window. It’s so innovative. Very exciting time to be a young guitar player. I didn’t just copy Jimmy Page; I learned his influences. So, I went back and listened to the old blues guitarists like Blind Blake, Robert Johnson. I learned his influences and how to play like them.”
Ultimately, what this band is doing is a community service. For the lucky few who caught Led Zeppelin, this band brings up great old memories, and for the others who know Zeppelin from radio, Get the Led Out is a chance to catch something that time and space won’t allow. For those who wouldn’t know Led Zeppelin from Hootie and the Blowfish, Get the Led Out is an introduction to the work of what some people would call the greatest rock band of all time.
“Our audience ranges from the age eight to 80. So, we will see three generations of families coming to see the show, to show their kids what the music was about, where the original was. We keep that alive. We’ve had fans that had seen Zeppelin back in the day come to our show, and they’re never disappointed,” said Hammond. “It’s a rock concert. It’s been great fun, and an excellent project, and people get that. When people see us, they know we’re really putting our heart and soul into the music. The whole catalog is amazing. I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times. I still like playing Stairway to Heaven live. So, I guess I got the right job.”
Bryant Liggett is a freelance writer and KDUR station manager. [email protected]