Monday, December 31, 2012

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Happy New Year from Mage Music

Everything is energy.

The light our eyes perceive is energy, although it is an incredibly small part of the electromagnetic spectrum - a tiny little range of energy somewhere in the middle of the immense spectrum between radio and gamma rays. An infinite range of energy exists beyond human knowledge - energy that humans have not imagined and likely will never identify.

Vision and hearing are two of the processes that humans (and other beings) employ to perceive and use energy in very narrow and specific ranges within the infinite spectrum of possible energy that exists.   Magick is another such process. Just like with vision and hearing, some humans can perceive a greater range of Magick than others, and some can use the energy better than others.

Everyone can access the energy of Magick

...but there are vast differences in the ability to use Magick effectively. The difference is power, which from the human and Magickal standpoint we can understand to be the rate at which humans convert energy into use in some way. With the Magickal process, more power means more success in converting the energy of Magick into reality within a given time.

We all have at least a little bit of Magick in us.  Anyone who wishes to can generate sufficient desire, will and some sort of ritual to create Magick to some degree.  Not all can be Mage level, but still this does mean...

You can create Magick.

May you walk in the Light 
find the Magick in your life in 2013

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Magick Muscle

"...improvisation onstage...where the real magic takes place".
                               ~Jimmy Page [1]

Mage Music 32

Improvisation is creating something new on the spot, seemingly without preparation, practice - or even thought. If there is one thing that Jimmy Page is known for, it is his incredible improvised solos.

Improvisation is composition, two sides of the same coin. One takes place over time, the other in the moment. Composition is the creative act of making up something new that has not existed before. If creating something that wasn't there before isn't Magick, it would be hard to understand what could be.

Emphasis on “seemingly”
Just playing any random combination of new notes won’t do it, of course. A musician comes up with great improvisation based on music that has been played before and what is known to work. A first time guitarist is not likely to come up with much more than noise because practice and more practice is needed until the instrument is a seamless part of the creative process rather than another obstacle to it. Thus although the inspiration may pour out from the soul (or, according to Mr. Page – out of the ether [2]) it helps if the musician can perform so well that conscious thought is not involved and the mind is free to create. For this, muscle memory is required.

Muscle memory is a very cool thing. It's what lets you tie your shoe and what totally screws things up if you think about tying your shoe. It’s what allows you to get the forkful of spaghetti in your mouth instead of in your eye. It is what allows an artist to not have to think about the how of creation and instead allows the creation to flow freely.

Automatic behavior
Ouija boards, automatic writing, improvisation, Magickal ritual: They all work best when there is no conscious control of the tools involved. We say that practice “teaches” muscles to perform without conscious control, but what is really happening is that repeated behaviors, ones that are corrected each time in aiming for ideal results, are cemented into different neural pathways than the ones used when learning to perfect them. As the repetition occurs, the brain’s direction of these performance tasks are moved from working (conscious) memory to parts of the brain that handle other automatic tasks, such as breathing, walking, and feeding yourself with silverware (or chopsticks or any other tool), and in doing so free the mind from the need to pay attention to the physical processes involved.  By relegating these tasks to automatic behavior systems, the conscious mind can be involved with other things.

Interestingly – or perhaps unsurprisingly - some of the areas of the brain involved with muscle memory are the same as those involved with ear worms and other behaviors that we have no control over. That limbic system comes into play again, the more primitive part of the brain involved with emotions and emotional behavior. Scientists think that the limbic system plus the other adjacent parts of the brain involved with muscle memory evolved to free us for thinking so that we could use tools for survival purposes such as building shelter and hunting – and the creative processes.

Magick Muscle
A Mage must perform ritual without allowing the ritual to become an obstacle to the desired results. A musician, too, must perform solos without allowing the musical instrument to become an obstacle. Muscle memory frees the Mage Musician to perform the creative arts that result in Magick.

It is muscle memory, too, that allows the musician’s signature sound to remain consistent over time, so that we recognize who it is that is wielding the guitar. It is muscle memory that allows the guitarist to recognize when he is playing outside his identity, outside the ideal that inspires him and that he strives to bring to the light.

"Well, I'm not trying to be flippant here, but I just play the guitar, don't I?", says Jimmy Page in an interview in Guitar World magazine, October 1988. Indeed.

Suggested listening: Outrider (studio album) as well as the Outrider tour.  Forget the vocals, forget the rhythm section.  Just listen to that guitar.

*“The whole improvisational aspect, the riffs coming out of the ether ... it was a magical vehicle collectively soaring into the stratosphere.” Jimmy Page, as quoted by Cameron Crowe in the notes for 
The Song Remains The Same (Remastered / Expanded) (2CD) reissued version, 2007.

Thank you Sue C for the muscle memory suggestion.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Ear Worms

I just can't get you out of my head...
     ~ Kylie Minogue, Coldplay, etc.

Mage Music 31: Ear Worms
Mage Music 31

A few weeks ago I couldn't get the chord progressions of Kashmir out of my head. I would wake up in the middle of the night hearing them: up scale, down scale, one phrase at a time that never led to the next, just that same one phrase over and over.

It's not just Kashmir - last week it was Stairway to Heaven.   There's been other songs too:  For instance, just thinking about the chorus for Your Time Is Gonna Come threatens to worm it into my head. Jimmy Page's opening riffs in Tea For One is another example.  Oh, there's many, many more of them.  I'm pretty prone to this phenomenon.

I think you know what I'm talking about: Ear worms.  Fortunately for me, it's most often Led Zeppelin - not, say, a fast-food chain jingle.  So I don't mind it at all… well, not much.

Ear worms? Not something that Khan has inserted in your ear (actually a Ceti eel, not a worm) for his amusement and the re-education of prisoners, but rather a bit of music that is stuck in your mind, a brief phrase or two that you have no control over.  Music you hear in your head, not in the outside world, music that you may even be surprised to discover playing and replaying in your mind, that showed up there unbidden, uncontrolled and often unappreciated and unwanted.

According to some quick research I've done, ear worms are pretty common, although some people never get them or only experience them infrequently.  At the other end of the scale, research has found that musicians seem to experience them a lot, much more often than non-musical people do.

According to Wikipedia, ear worms are common enough that they "may be distinguished from brain damage".  In case you were worried about hearing things that no one else can hear.

Out! Out damn worm!
Scientists who've looked into ear worms have a good idea what's going on in the brain and where it's happening (quite a few places at the same time it turns out, but that's a story for another day).  Science still can't tell us why it is that even one exposure to a bit of advertising jingle that you weren't even conscious you were hearing can end up repeating itself over and over and over in your head without your wanting it to, never ending until something breaks the cycle. It can be like a twitching eye - nothing you seem to do will get rid of it, and you hope it'll just go away eventually before it drives you crazy.

One of the problems with ear worms is that we recognize the pattern as a musical phrase, but there's no context and there's never a climax.  Instead of the music moving on it goes back, like a stuck record (for those who have no experience with LPs, you'll just have to use your imagination). Let's just say there's never a musical statement of conclusion, which, after the crazy-making repetition, is an integral part of the torture.

And getting rid of them?  Not so easy.  Ear worms aren't like habits, since they aren't settled or regular tendency or practices that we really do have control over that are just hard to give up.  And therein lies the problem - if you get an ear worm you don't want to hear, what can you do?

Sorry, this is not a blog about getting rid of ear worms.  You can try listening to some other compelling music (but that doesn't always work)... or just be patient.  No one has ever died from ear worms.  Gone crazy maybe....

Making lemonade
You know what Mr. Plant says about squeezing lemons.  If you get them, you don't need to complain, you instead make use of them.

Wired Magazine had an article almost two years about learning languages  using ear worms.  The idea is that ear worms are compelling and if you can hook onto that, you can learn certain things more quickly*. Results have been mixed, but that doesn't mean the concept couldn't work - give advertising agencies a few more years and they'll have it figured out.

When you've been infected by an ear worm the musical loop you are trapped in is actually resonating in deep parts of the brain that are interconnected in ways that don't occur with language and conscious, logical thought.

The primitive, "reptile mind" part of the brain doesn't have anything to do with the conscious, "logical" part of the brain.  The former has to do with survival on a very basic level, the latter on, well, thinking.  This is a Good Thing:  When the zombie pops out from behind a wall, you don't want to stop to think about it, you want some survival instincts taking over to get your butt out of there.  When panic sets in the reptile mind, the survival part of the brain, is turned on and the part of the brain that deals with conscious thought is literally turned off.  I believe if you've ever encountered a zombie (or it could be a spider, snake or an in-law), you will know just what I mean.

But here's a really interesting fact:  Although the primitive parts of the brain cannot directly connect with the parts of the brain that control logical, conscious thought, music can indirectly bring that connection about.

This is prime territory for learning and for exploiting by advertising agents.  It is also why music can be used as ritual for Magick.

When we hear music, we're also feeling it with our bodies.  It resonates with our guts and our bones and worms its way into our souls.  Add the will and desire of a Mage, and you can see how Magick will result.

There is no YouTube playlist this time.  It would just be too cruel.

More about ear worm foreign language learning:  "Listening to melodious music puts users into a relaxed state of alertness, the 'Alpha state' the ideal condition for learning. The sound patterns of melodies, with rhythmic repetitions from a mesmeric male voice who speaks the English and a native speaker for the target language, 'worm' their way deep into the memory, permanently burning into the aural cortex -- an area of the brain from which words can instantly be recalled."  Note from Mage Music:  Results may vary.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Magick Begins – and Ends – Here

“Cogito ergo sum”   
~ René Descartes

Mage Music 30

Everything is possible in the infinite scheme of things, but from the very finite human viewpoint, there are limitations:  Beginnings and endings, and sideways constraints, too.  Magick is a way of tapping into the infinite but it isn’t infinite itself – possibilities may be endless, but human restrictions still apply.

Magick begins here – or not
The Magick equation always begins with desire.  Desire provides the fuel of emotion, which can either cause a conflagration that lights the world or go pfft – not even a spark.  Without powerful desire there is no Magick… but not just any desire will do.

Hope (wishing) is nothing. It doesn't bring enough power to fuel the Magickal process. Hope is just a statement of preference. On the scale of desire and will, hope carries little weight. The most painstakingly performed ritual will be empty and without impact if hope is used to power it.

Belief (faith) can be a powerful thing, but it isn't good enough for most Magick. That's because belief falls well short of knowing. Disagree? You may believe someone is in a room because you saw him enter and haven't seen him exit, but you don't know unless you open the door and look inside. The person you just saw go into the room might have walked right out a back door. Belief carries more weight than hope on the scale of desire, but nowhere as much as knowing.

Knowing leaves no room for uncertainty - it is about reality for the one who knows. Knowing is about personal identity and relationship to reality. Knowing carries 100% weight on the scale of desire. Knowing is what enables Magick to change reality.

To know is to manifest
To do Magick is to replace one reality with another.  To do Magick a Mage must know the desired to be the actual reality – not believe it, not hope it.  In a sense, this means that the undesired reality that exists and is known must be made "unknown" in order for the new reality to manifest.

This means that during the Magical process, a Mage cannot think about the existing reality, for part of unknowing something is to not focus on it. You know about "don't think about pink elephants"?  That’s what it takes, and to not think about something, to not even thing about not thinking about something, to not even acknowledge the possibility of the old reality is a tough job.

But it can be done and it is done. Anyone with sufficient desire and will and attention to ritual can do Magick. If it was easy, of course, there wouldn't be a special term for those who can do it. "Mage" is a title about ability and success, not a description of those who try.

Magick ends here
The killer of Magick is doubt. When doubt enters into the equation, balance is destroyed and Magick cannot manifest anything.  The most powerful will and the most painstakingly performed ritual will be undermined by the smallest doubt. To doubt is to not know.

Unfortunately, doubt is insidious and lives in us all somewhere, in some form.

Ritual:  Doubt destroyer
The thinking mind is the Mage’s albatross, since thoughts can lead to doubt.  Strong emotion displaces thought by engaging a primitive, survival-oriented part of the brain that literally shuts down the critical thinking facility of the human mind.  It's an On/Off switch:  Powerful desire, guided by a Mage’s will, provides strong emotion that bypasses thought.  Without thought there is no possibility of doubt.

Ritual is the key to Magick – it is the catalyst that transmutes desire and will into the new reality.   Music is the language of emotion - not thought - and as such it is one of the most powerful and accessible forms of Magickal ritual there is.  It uses the seduction of sound to focus the power of a Mage’s desire and will.

There is no room for doubt:  The human mind is hard-wired for emotion and for music.  And, of course, this means that it is wired, also, for Magick.

Future post: Ear worms

YouTube Playlist:  For Your Life

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Magick Equation

"...light and shade and a certain dramatic tension..."                                                             ~ Jimmy Page, Chris Welch interview
Mage Music 29

This is a briefer post than usual because I've gotten caught up in a deadline for another project that is demanding extra time.  However, the point of this post - that the balance between equal things does not mean sameness - is one worth giving some serious thought to.  The concept applies to much more than music or Magick.

I'm no mathematician  but the above equation looks right to me for a start in describing Magick.  The beauty of an equation is that it clearly describes a relationship of one thing to another.  The use of the equal sign (=) indicates that the things on either side of that sign are equivalent.  This does not mean the things on either side of the = sign are the same - what would be the use of an equation like a=a?   So this is an initial thought on what an equation for Magick might look like, though it's probably not complete - I don't know how to include the requirement for the purity and clarity required of the components on the left side of the equation.  Still, it looks like a decent start - fairly clear, simple even - but that doesn't make the process easy.

In plain English: Desire plus Will, plus Ritual (in some amount) equates to Magick. The (n) is the level of action of ritual.  Performing no ritual action at all could still result in Magick, but unless the desire and will part are very strong, the Magick will likely be puny.  A very powerful Mage could pull it off, of course.

For most of those who practice Magick,some ritual is necessary.  Very powerful and well performed ritual (the n would be a high number) can make up for low d or w

Why the equation?
I've been spending time lately thinking about the balance required in life, in plain good music, and in Mage Music.  When Jimmy Page talks about light and shade, he's also talking about balance between them.  The best contrast adds up to a balance - for example, if there's a lot of light, then a small but powerful contrasting dark will balance it, or vice versa.  Equivalent in impact, but not the same.  It is the amount of contrast between the dark and light that creates the tension:  More contrast, more tension, as long as there is balance.

Evenness is blah.  I'm not sure how to include that in my equation - maybe someone else can help out here. I just know that introducing strong contrast makes balance harder to achieve, and it's risky business.  And I know that when the contrast teeters on the edge, when the tension is highest, sometimes Magick slips through.

YouTube Playlist - Communication Breakdown

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Lif Strand: Happy Thanksgiving

Lif Strand: Happy Thanksgiving: Every day is a day when we can give thanks for something.   I'm thankful for my family, friends and supporters, my health,  my won...

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Rambling On with Celebration Day Thoughts

Celebration Day movie report 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012.  I just got back to the motel room after having seen Led Zeppelin: Celebration Day (LZCD) at a theater in Albuquerque, NM.  I had been waiting for this with the kind of anticipation and excitement that I last felt as a kid at Christmas.  Now that it's over, I feel like I've had about 50 cups of espresso.  My cheeks are sore because apparently I was grinning from ear to ear the whole two+ hours of the movie, and I keep feeling like I want to cry.

What a totally awesome and profound experience LZCD is. I am so grateful that I got to see it (at last!), so happy I have the opportunity to see it over and over on the DVD that I pre-ordered and that will come in the mail in the next few days.  I am also so very thankful that Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and Jason Bonham gifted the world with the music of Led Zeppelin one last time.

I hadn't expcted to feel quite as emotional about seeing the movie as I did.  After all, I was in a movie theater not a real concert, and there weren't thousands of people around me sharing their energy - just a small and very restrained audience this evening.  Just about everyone was grey haired, including me - but I was clearly the worst behaved one there.  I bounced in my seat like it was 40 years ago, little squeals of pleasure leaking out of my mouth.  Every time Jimmy Page smiled, I smiled.  Every time his guitar wailed, I melted. Every time the O2 audience cheered, I couldn't help but cheer - but quietly, darn it.  I was dazed and confused because I kept forgetting I was in a theater, five years after the actual event.

Commemoration, Proclamation, Solemnization

Every Led Zeppelin concert has always been its own unique experience, each providing  valuable clues as to the musical vision of the individual performers as well as the band itself.    LZCD is no exception.  The movie is a true celebration of the band that was, while not trying to duplicate the past.  As with all of the more than 600 other performances, this concert, too, was its own unique experience - but unlike the others, this one was a recapitulation (a musical term - a musical theme repeated in an altered form and the development is then concluded).

And this is why I keep feeling I want to cry.  Led Zeppelin has not been a band since that awful day in 1980 when the world lost John Bonham.  I know that in my head.  I have no reason to doubt Jimmy Page and Robert Plant when they say that there will never be another tour as Led Zeppelin.  But what stabbed me in the heart was the unavoidable fact that the 2007 concert was not just a tribute to Ahmet Ertegun, not just a great, fun showing off of extraordinary musical expertise and partnership - it was also, finally, a good-bye to all of us from the band that was Led Zeppelin.

O bittersweet music!

If there were going to be tears, they would be a mixture of sadness and joy, because the O2 performance was not just an ending, it was a joyous celebration of the artistic achievements of what many of us consider to be the world's best rock band, arguable a musical group worthy of being considered an example of the best of the best of any musical category.

Each of the 16 songs (14 set, 2 encore) was performed in the here and now of 2007, fully embracing the limitations and the added experience of the passage of nearly 30 years.  It was glorious music - not the music of 1968 or 1980, but the music of who and what Led Zeppelin was in 2007 - still extraordinarily emotional, complex, pure, simple, mysterious and Magickal.  It was an expression of the What Is of that music in that time and that place that could not have existed without what had come before it.

I might have chosen a few different songs - but this set list was about Page, Plant, Jones and Bonham, not about me or you.  What is important is that these songs were picked carefully by these musicians to make a statement of their choosing, something like This is who we were and this is who we still are.  No one like us then, now or ever again - ain't it grand!  

And then it was over

If I had not already known the set list, I still would have known that the last song was being played when I heard the opening notes of Kashmir.  Still the most mysterious and meaningful Led Zeppelin song, this 2007 version might actually have been the best performance of it, ever.  No Egyptian ensemble, no orchestra, just a few extraordinary musicians making Magick right there on stage.

For oh yes, there was Magick - there can be no doubt about it hearing what I heard.  Let me put it this way: My reality was absolutely changed.  I was pulled out of myself into another place and time.  My awareness of Self was replaced - willingly, with permission - by  music that filled up the vacancy that had been created.  It made me another person.  It changed who I am, if only for those hours.

If that isn't Magick, I don't know what is.

And then they were gone

And so, when the lights came up and the noise of commercial movie theater Muzak replaced the music of the gods that had filled my heart and soul for the past two hours, I was a conflicted emotional wreck: Happily high and miserable at the same time, mourning the end of something monumental while bouncing out of my skin from having been exposed to the music of the masters.


Because the movie is not even yet released for purchase as of the date of this post, I am not providing YouTube links to any videos of LZCD except what has been officially released.  Please support Led Zeppelin by buying the music, not just watching on YouTube. The choices below reflect differences in media format, content and packaging.

Officially released by Led Zeppelin on YouTube

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Do What Thou Wilt

The choice is always yours

Mage Music 28

The Universe is bigger than the gods that humans cast in human form with human characteristics that are larger than life.  The reality is that the Universe is infinite.  For humans in physical form, that should mean that the Universe is profoundly and fundamentally unknowable, since physicality is a subset of the infinite and subsets don't encompass the whole - that's just the way it is.  But the human condition is more than physicality and if everything is a holograph of the Universe (a basis for Magick), then subsets are in a sense the whole and then humans can know something of the infinite.

The Universe is always offering
The Universe has no constraints (infinite, remember?) and does not hide anything.  Like a lighthouse's beams that shine out in the gloom, the Universe sends a message of What Is for any being capable of receiving it. Anyone capable of choice could receive the message - it is transmitted in an infinite number of forms - but not everyone makes the choice to do so.  Having the choice is part of the gift of being human in the first place.

Choice is a part of being alive.   No one is forced to heed the warning beam of a lighthouse.  Eyes can be shut, ears can be covered.  Refusing to choose is a choice, too.

Choice is so fundamental to being human that all our mythology and learning sagas are about it (the Garden of Eden being one of the more familiar examples) and most of our best music embodies it, because the choice offered by the Universe is always basically the same:  To remain the same or to open to enlightenment, to allow self to receive the message of What Is.

Magick in music
Some artists have chosen to be messengers.  Receive, transmit:  That's what an artist who is a messenger does.  The message is a truth that the artist chooses - be it a statement about the human condition (most common) or about the infinite.  In choosing to convey the What Is message an artist's job isn't to tell the Universe what to transmit, it isn't even to provide meaning to the message - it is simply to translate the message as captured into whatever medium the messenger speaks with:  Words, paint, stone, music.

Magick is what happens when the artist has got it right.  Whether or not you hear the Magick in music is not simply about whether the artist has got it right, though - it's about your choice to open or not to the message of What Is.

Do with that what you will.

YouTube Playlist - Do What Thou Wilt 

Individual songs

1967 Jimmy Page/Yardbirds, White Summer (studio) Little Games

1969 Jimmy Page/Led Zeppelin, White Summer/Black Mountain Side (studio) Album: Coda

1969 Jimmy Page/Led Zeppelin, White Summer/Black Mountain Side (live) Fillmore West San Francisco January 10, 1969

1969 Jimmy Page/Led Zeppelin, White Summer/Black Mountain Side (live) L'Olympia Paris, 10/10/69

1970 Jimmy Page/Led Zeppelin, White Summer/Black Mountain Side (live) Royal Albert Hall

1970 Jimmy Page/Led Zeppelin, White Summer/Black Mountain Side (live) Julie Felix show April 26

1977 Jimmy Page/Led Zeppelin, White Summer/Black Mountain Side (live) Cleveland, Ohio - April 27, 1977

1979 Jimmy Page/Led Zeppelin, White Summer/Black Mountain Side (live) Knebworth

1993 Page & Coverdale, White Summer/Black Mountain Side (live) Osaka Coverdale/Page Dec 20 1993

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Kashmir Deja Vu

The more things change, the more they stay the same. 
                                      ~Alphonse Karr (1808-90)

Mage Music 27

The language of thought is language of words, but the language of experience is language made of music. Music immerses the listener in states of being.  Words tell stories, music lives the story.

Music infused with Magick raises the stakes. Truths can be conveyed that have never been imagined before, and can blast open even the most tightly protected hearts.  

Kashmir has brought forth Magick through music over and over again.  Time changes all, yet the essence of Kashmir is always the same. 

I can take you there, Robert Plant sings. Where? 

Kashmir is the experience of the essence of Led Zeppelin. Kashmir shares the heart and soul of a place that does not exactly exist yet you recognize. The language of music infused with Magick invokes the fifth element that Jimmy Page, Mage Musician, created with the desire, intention and ritual of Magick.

Let it take you there.

Please forgive the brevity of this Mage Music post - life happens!

YouTube Playlist - Kashmir Déjà Vu 

Individual songs

1975 Led Zeppelin, Kashmir (studio) Album: Physical Graffiti 

1975 Led Zeppelin, Kashmir (live) Madison Square Garden 02-12-75 

1975 Led Zeppelin,  Kashmir (live) Pacific Coliseum, Vancouver, Canada 3-19-5

1975 Led Zeppelin, Kashmir (live) LA Forum 3-27-75

1975 Led Zeppelin, Kashmir (live) Earls Court 5-24-75

1977 Led Zeppelin, Kashmir (live) MSG 06-07-77

1979 Led Zeppelin, Kashmir (live) Knebworth 1979

1995 Page & Plant, Kashmir (live) Irvine Meadows, Irvine California, 10-03-95

2007 Led Zeppelin/Jason Bonham, Kashmir (live) O2

Monday, October 29, 2012

Jimmy Page NEWS: Remastering back catalog

Peter Mensch, the manager of LED ZEPPELIN guitarist Jimmy Page, told the U.K.'s Sunday Times that the legendary axeman is holed up in a west London studio "remastering every LED ZEPPELIN LP."   More....

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Alchemy: Led Into Gold (Part 5) Jimmy Page in the 21st Century

…from a juggernaut to a dragonfly in a moment...
~ Roger Taylor (Queen) UK Hall of Fame Induction of Led Zeppelin

Mage Music 26

Jimmy Page has been criticized for appearing to back off from music after the turn of this century, particularly compared to Led Zeppelin band mate Robert Plant, who was putting out albums and touring. That appearance would, of course, only be true if Mr. Page was simply a rock guitarist - but of course he is so much more than that: Besides the private and personal inner world of Mage, beyond composer and performer of music that is his public face, Jimmy Page has also always been the complete artist. Arranger, producer, engineer, dreamer - Mr. Page’s vision encompasses a complete experience, whether it be song, show, album, band or career.  Jimmy Page's interests are widespread, his passion is for perfection in all areas of his creations; given Mr. Page's well-known compulsion for perfection of detail, anything he produced would have to be hands-on, not just something he signed off on.

Add ingredients and mix well
Jimmy Page continued to keep his performance skills - and his public presence - honed by appearances with other musicians from 2000 on, while simultaneously working on other projects that required his time and attention. He produced the Led Zeppelin DVD of 2003 (choice concert material from over the years) and also in 2003 How the West Was Won (the "ideal" 1972 Led Zeppelin concert complied from the Los Angeles Forum and Long Beach Arena shows of that year). In 2007 Mothership was released, as was the remastered Led Zeppelin: The Song Remains the Same. During this time Jimmy Page also continued his work on behalf of two Brazilian charities dedicated to the welfare of the poverty-stricken children of Brazil, and was involved with more events (including ceremonies in which he received and presented awards) outside of performing music than most people are aware of - all of which required, and benefited from, Jimmy Page’s personal touch.

The biggie of 2007, of course, was the Ahmet Ertegun Tribute Concert, better known as the Led Zeppelin O2 reunion. Not quite a reunion without John Bonham, of course, but Bonzo’s son Jason seemed to channel his father, allowing the three surviving members of the band to definitively demonstrate that the Led Zeppelin legacy was not only alive but vitally alive, and the talents of the Mage Musician still as powerful as ever.

Cook until done, serve when ready
It is instructive to note that Jimmy Page has always been committed to "everything in its own time - and only in its own time”.  This may explain why, in January of 2010 when asked about a DVD of the show, Mr. Page said, "I can't give you an answer on that” - yet we now know that just a year later he was involved in production of the movie, surely a task that was not spur of the moment. It has been made quite clear in the 2012 press conferences that prefaced the Led Zeppelin: Celebration Day movie release that Led Zeppelin would not be reuniting to tour as a band again. The full reasons for this will likely be revealed – if ever – well in the future, when the time is considered right and not a moment before.

Meanwhile, Jimmy Page forged on with new projects, including the 2008 Beijing Olympics closing ceremony (Whole Lotta Love with Leona Lewis), the It Might Get Loud documentary, a Genesis Publications limited-edition photo autobiography Jimmy Page by Jimmy Page, and a website at, the latter two being fully controlled by Mr. Page, focused and concerned, as always, with the details.

Soul food
Ironically, the more Jimmy Page has seemed to open up to the world, the more mysterious he has become. While it is true that he has made his work more accessible and available, and while he has been willing to talk more about the music in terms of how it was done, the life of Jimmy Page as expressed by Jimmy Page remains limited to his life as a musician. Brad Tolinski says in his just published book, Light and Shade: Conversations with Jimmy Page, that Mr. Page considers creating music to be a transcendental endeavor.

We know this to be true by the music we hear; by his preference, however, the inner life of the Mage Musician may only be revealed through his work, not through words.  In 2011, Mr. Page released a sweet but fleeting solo piece on his website, called Summer's Day. His comment about it was simply:  "I had a day off."

(Note: Led Zeppelin will be presented with an award for lifetime achievement in the performing arts on December 1, 2012. The 35th Kennedy Center Honors medals will be presented at a dinner at the State Department and will be followed the next day by a reception at the White House and a performance at the Kennedy Center. The event will be taped for a television broadcast on Dec. 26 at 9 p.m. on CBS. It is unknown at this time whether the Led Zeppelin/Jason Bonham band will perform.) 

YouTube Playlist - Alchemy: Led Into Gold (Part 5)
Individual songs

2001 Page & Fred Durst & Les Scantlin, Thank You (live) MTV Europe Video Music Awards

2001 Page & Plant, Baby Let's Play House (live) Montreux Jazz Festival

2002 Jimmy Page, Dazed and Confused (live) with Paul Weller band, Feb 09, 2002 Royal Albert Hall, Children's Cancer Trust benefit

2005 Jimmy Page, Whole Lotta Love (live) NY Stock Exchange

2006  Led Zeppelin UK Hall of Fame Induction by Roger Taylor of Queen  (live)

2007 Led Zeppelin/Jason Bonham, Nobody's Fault But Mine (live) O2 Concert

2008 Jimmy Page, Kashmir (live) Kashmir chords

2008 Page, Jones & Foo Fighters, Rock and Roll (live) Wembley Stadium

2011 Jimmy Page & Donovan, Sunshine Superman (live) Royal Albert Hall

2011 Jimmy Page & Roy Harper, The Same Old Rock (live) Royal Festival Hall Onstage at 2:40

2011 Jimmy Page, Summer's Day (studio) unk - featured on 08/12/11

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Alchemy: Led Into Gold (Part 4) The 1990s

The colours, the textures, the tones; the blood, the flesh, the bones ...
                    ~ Jimmy Page, On This Day 14 October 1994

Mage Music 25

Alchemy is not an overnight-wonder kind of Magick. It is a process of methodical experimentation that takes time to not only perform – which is actually the last step in the process - but to think, design, experiment, analyze and rethink, and then reattempt the Work - repeating until the Magick has created the new reality. Alchemy is not a Magick for the weak-willed or undisciplined. It does not provide immediate gratification. It is unforgiving: Either it is performed perfectly or there is no Magick at all. “Almost” is not nearly enough for Alchemy.

Yoda: "Do or do not. There is no try."
Jimmy Page seemed to come out of the 1980s with a renewed enthusiasm for reincarnating himself. Mr. Page appeared onstage with numerous bands during that time, essentially auditioning while having a good time.

He was seeking a combination of musical components that would recreate or reinvent the Magick he had found so successfully with Led Zeppelin. The problem, of course, was that accomplished musicians of the caliber of Mr. Page would be already involved with established bands and not interested or able to experiment outside their comfort zones. These musical egos wouldn't want to have their own music challenged by proximity of a Master Mage who wasn't looking for musicians to musically follow or to be followed by, but to collaboratively engage in the a creative Magickal process that follows the Mage's vision.

It takes 100% to be successful in Magick. Trying doesn't make it – doing is all that counts. Of course, Yoda knew that just any old action – the “do” part – doesn't raise a spaceship out of the swamp; it has to be the perfect action. And the only real way to learn the perfect action is by trying - experimenting, testing, over and over and over until the perfect action is discovered - and then there is no more “try”. Luke had already received training, he knew what to do. He’d fallen into try and Yoda knew that. Believe me; even Yoda didn't raise a spaceship the first time he made the attempt.

And Jimmy Page wouldn't find the perfect components for post-Zeppelin musical Magick right away, either.

You can never go back 
In a 1993 MTV Most Wanted interview, Jimmy Page said of David Coverdale: "…within the creative side.... he's as passionate about the music as I am.” Coverdale had decided to retire, but the invitation to work with Jimmy Page was a rare opportunity not to be ignored and Coverdale tossed thoughts of retirement out the window.

In that same interview, Mr. Page admitted he had been totally uninspired prior to that point. The Whitesnake singer was a mature and accomplished musician whose abilities could help break Mr. Page out of his musical (and Magickal) stasis. Jimmy Page’s need was for artistic co-creators, strong musicians who would contribute to the music and thereby the Magickal process yet who would submit to the Mage’s Magickal vision.  David Coverdale was not only available, but qualified. 

“It was nice to present ideas - some pretty off the wall, chord sequences and things,” Jimmy Page said. “David would get an immediate grasp on them, and come in exactly with the right emotional factor, the right passionate factor.”

The subtext, given the post-Zep work Jimmy Page had done by that point with Robert Plant, was that the Page/Plant collaboration wasn't a viable solution. After David Coverdale took his musical rejuvenation back to Whitesnake, the disharmony of the musical goals of the two former band mates of Led Zeppelin became obvious. This is not surprising - Robert Plant had been going his own way musically for more than a decade. His voice and his musical vision had changed. Performing reworked versions of Zeppelin classics within Jimmy Page’s vision was no longer compelling to Mr. Plant - as the mid-1990s Page/Plant musical product clearly shows.

If nothing else demonstrates the impossibility of recreating successful alchemy with changed components, it is the music of Page and Plant in 1990 and in the subsequent No Quarter years. They couldn't go back. It couldn't be Led Zeppelin, and even if it was good music it wasn't Magickal. As Robert Plant put more of himself into the music, Jimmy Page increasingly seemed to fade. He seemed be in a holding pattern, an accompanist rather than a creator. By 1995 Kashmir had changed so much from the original vision that none of the Magick was left.

Change happens
Whether you want it to or not, nothing stays the same. The alchemist must make constant, if minute, changes in the process to account for every factor that is no longer the same as it was the last time the process was performed. The second round of Page/Plant collaboration that resulted in Walking Into Clarksdale revealed the beginnings of Jimmy Page’s finding his Magickal power again.

Sometimes, however, it pays to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Sometimes it takes radical change to forge ahead.  Jimmy Page had the desire and the will to change and so rather stay with something good musically but not pushing the Magickal envelope enough, the quest continued.

Although many fans decried the Page/Puff Daddy partnership, we know that Jimmy Page has been attracted to working with soundtracks in the past.  And although the musical presence of Mr. Page in this version of Kashmir is not obvious, the chance to play with a visual component adds a new twist to the Work - there is a strange scent of Magick to it. Kashmir and Godzilla? Who could have imagined it, yet it seems to fit its purpose.

Ultimately, even when a Mage is in a place that feels wrong, with sufficient desire and intention he will return to what feels right if he will allow the Magick to lead him. Although Jimmy Page continued to experiment with new partnerships into the next decade, the most Magickally touched of the Work still rested in the Music Mage himself. Behold the Master performing Domino: Rhythm and the Magick through the voice of a guitar. The Force was with him.



Future posts:

Led Into Gold (Part 5) Jimmy Page in the 2000s
The Chicken/Egg quandary (the neurophysics of music)


YouTube Playlist - Alchemy: Led Into Gold (Part 4) Jimmy Page in the 1990s

Individual songs

1990 Page & Plant, Wearing & Tearing (live) Knebworth
1993 Page & Coverdale, Absolution Blues (studio) Album: Coverdale/Page
1994 Page & Plant, Kashmir (live) No Quarter: Jimmy Page and Robert Plant Unledded with the London Metropolitan Orchestra & Hossam Ramzy Ensemble
1995 Page & Plant, Kashmir (live) Irvine Meadows, Irvine California, 3 October 1995
1995 Page & Plant, Thank You (live) Irvine Meadows, Irvine California, 3 October 1995
1996 Page & Plant, Thank You (live) Japan
1998 Page & Puff Daddy, Come With Me (Kashmir) Soundtrack, Godzilla
1998 Page & Plant, Whiskey From The Glass (studio) Album: Walking Into Clarksdale
1999 Page & The Black Crowes, What Is And What Should Never Be (live) US Tour
1999 Jimmy Page, Dazed and Confused (live) NetAid
1999 Jimmy Page, Domino (live) NetAid

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Led Zeppelin: Celebration Day & other news updates

Web Results for Led Zeppelin: Celebration Day
Led Zeppelin's "Celebration Day" comes to Charlotte | Vibes
In December of 2007, legendary rockers Led Zeppelin came together for a one- night-only ...
News Results for "Led Zeppelin"
Led Zeppelin's reunion was 'really tense'
Led Zeppelin's reunion was 'really tense'. Oct. 15, 2012 03:37 PM Bang Showbiz. Led Zeppelin were ''really tense'' when they reunited for a one-off gig in 2007. The surviving members of the group, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and Robert Plant, performed ...
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Led Zeppelin's 2007 reunion concert at 5 Utah movie theaters this week
Salt Lake Tribune (blog)
Many rock concerts are history-making, but the most notable of the past decade has to be Led Zeppelin's reunion in 2007. The British juggernaut took the stage at London's O2 Arena on December 10, 2007 to headline a tribute concert for Atlantic Records ...
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Mid America Talent Presents: “Led Zeppelin's Celebration Day”
Minnesota Daily
Mid America Talent Presents: “Led Zeppelin's Celebration Day” A LIVE re-creation of Led Zeppelin's London O2 Arena reunion concert featuring some of the Twin Cities most talented musicians: Billy Thommes, Al Bergstrom, Troy Norton, Wain McFarlane, and ...
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Led Zeppelin Celebration Day Press Conference
Alert icon. Loading... There is no Interactive Transcript. Published on Oct 11, 2012 by UnitedStationsRadio. October 9, 2012 - Museum of Modern Art, New York City Led Zeppelin Celebration Day Press Conference courtesy of United Stations Radio Networks ...
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Led Zeppelin comes to the silver screen this week in Cape
Oct 15, 2012 -- 12:36pm. You can enjoy Led Zeppelin in concert on the silver screen for two shows only this week in Cape! Wehrenberg Theaters is bringing their two-hour long, December 2007 concert in London to the movies Wednesday at 7 PM and 9:40.
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DVD Review: Led Zeppelin, 'Celebration Day'
New York Daily News
When the three surviving members of Led Zeppelin took the stage at London's O2 Arena in December of 2007 — 27 years after playing their last show under their sainted name — they had to live up to a legacy of muscle and finesse barely matched in the ...
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New York Daily News
Zeppelin film gives fans something to celebrate
Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Maybe you were stuck with tickets to canceled shows in 1977 and 1980, or maybe you weren't even born then but discovered Led Zeppelin through the radio or mom and dad. Whatever the case, when three-fourths of the band reunited at London's O2 Arena ...
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News Results for "Jimmy Page"
Jimmy Page on another Led Zeppelin reunion: 'I don't see it'
(Rolling Stone) -- At one point in "Celebration Day," the new film of Led Zeppelin's 2007 reunion concert in London, the camera stays long and tight on Jimmy Page's hands as they execute the introduction to "Stairway to Heaven" on the six-string neck ...
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Jimmy Page: “L.A. Was Like Sodom And Gomorrah!” « 98.7 KLUV
By mreal197
In stores next week is "Light And Shade: Conversations With Jimmy Page," a book taken from several interviews that Led Zeppelin's leader did with Guitar World's Editorial Director Brad Tolinski over the years. It's not "Hammer Of The Gods" ...
98.7 KLUV
Jimmy Page Says Led Zeppelin Took Two Years To Watch Celebration Day ...
Jimmy Page told NME that he and the rest of Led Zeppelin took two years to watch the footage of their 2007 reunion show, and three years to get it ready for release. At the London premiere of the Celebration Day, Page said: "It was important that if we ...
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Jimmy Page: 'It took two years for us to watch reunion gig footage' – watch
Jimmy Page says it took two years before he and the rest of Led Zeppelin sat down to watch the footage of their 2007 reunion show, and another three years before it was ready for release. Speaking to NME at the London premiere of Celebration Day, Page ...
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News Results for "Robert Plant"
Artisan News Service
Last week many outlets focused on the Led Zeppelin vocalist Robert Plant being testy at the press conference for Celebration Day, which hits theaters tomorrow, and aside from calling an Associated Press reporter a schmuck, many haven't had first hand ...
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Robert Plant Snaps On Journalists: 'Stop Asking About Led Zeppelin ...
Robert Plant is sick and tired of fielding questions about a potential Led Zeppelin reunion. During a press conference to promote their newest concert.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Led Zeppelin: Celebration Day news updates

Not much news at all now! This will probably be the last post until something actually *new* comes up to link to.

News 1 new result for Led Zeppelin: Celebration Day
Led Zeppelin's NYC Celebration Day Premiere Set 2 Pictures
Monsters and
By M&C Oct 12, 2012, 19:09 GMT. Jimmy Page arriving at Celebration Day Led Zeppelins New York City Premiere.Picture copyright by. Jimmy Page arriving at "Celebration Day" Led Zeppelin's New York City Premiere.Picture copyright by Marco Sagliocco ...
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Monsters and

News 1 new result for "Led Zeppelin"
'Celebration' week for Led Zeppelin fans
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Musicians Jason Bonham, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones attend the "Led Zeppelin: Celebration Day" premiere at the Ziegfeld Theater on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012 in New York. Photo: Dario Cantatore, Associated Press. Camera Star Tribune ...
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Blogs 1 new result for "Jimmy Page"
High Art, Low Blues, Brad Tolinski interviews Jack White and Jimmy ...
By michelle
Jimmy Page: The key is you don't want to copy the blues; you want to capture the mood. On III, we knew we wanted to allude to the country blues but, in the tradition of the style, we felt it had to be spontaneous and immediate. I had this old Vox ...
Guernica / A Magazine of Art...

Web 1 new result for "Robert Plant"
Robert Plant Snaps On Journalists: 'Stop Asking About Led Zeppelin ...
Robert Plant is sick and tired of fielding questions about a potential Led Zeppelin reunion. During a press conference to promote their newest concert.