Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Guest Post: Frank Smith on John Bonham
Had John Bonham still been with us today, it goes without saying that he would be an elder statesman of rock in the same way that Jimmy, Robert and John Paul Jones are recognized to be today.
I imagine he would be retired from the music business and would be a sober and loving proud father and grandfather. He wouldn't have been flashy and capitalizing on his fame but would appreciate the genuine recognition for all that he'd accomplished.
I like to think he would be on his farm with Pat and family and perhaps, occasionally, sit in with bands to smash the skins for the fun of it.
Bonzo would also be taking an active interest in Jason's drumming, shepherding him along in drumming technique and in life.
Perhaps, in a perfect scenario, he would have done an experimental solo percussion-only album or two with Jimmy producing.
I also picture him sitting in with bands like Tool and other local bands that he respected.
Its nice to think that Bonzo would also would have sat in with aspiring drummers and given clinics at drum industry conventions.
If he were still with us today, he would cruise around town on his motorcycles and cars from his collection-occasionally showing off his latest acquisitions; a black Citroen GT and a Bugatti Veyron.
For one reason or another, Led Zeppelin would have disbanded in the mid-80's after the music business and fans no longer supported the world in which Zep existed.
Jimmy and company wouldn't want to have cheapened all they had built in the previous years and they would have quietly put the band to rest once it became obvious to all of them that they had outgrown their time.
The MTV generation would have put the band on a shelf while they danced to Michael Jackson. John Bonham in particular wouldn't have wanted to continue to seem to be a caricature of his old self and would have voted to disband Led Zeppelin.
Perhaps there would have been the occasional get-together when the time and situation felt right.
Live Aid and the Atlantic 40th show certainly would have been much better with John there behind the kit, of course.
So, it all came full circle in December 2007 when his son sat in for him. John would have been proud.
He was a man of his time.
I often wonder how he would have adapted and grown to fit into the twenty first century with plastic drums, drum machines, YouTube and auto tune. My gut tells me he would have adapted just fine while staying true to his organic drumming technique.
He is missed by legions of fans, friends and family each day.