Tuesday, March 1, 2016

On This Day 02 March

The guitar is "my weapon, my means of communication, my world."
~Jimmy Page, Sofia Bulgaria 1998
1998 02 March On This Day Page & Plant in Sofia, Bulgaria
  • 1968 The Yardbirds - Southampton, England  at  University of Southampton, West Refectory
  • 1973 Led Zeppelin – Copenhagen, Denmark at K.B. Hallen
  • 1985 The Firm – Wichita KS at Kansas Coliseum
  • 1998 Page & Plant – Sofia Bulgaria at Winter Sports Palace
1973 Led Zeppelin, Copenhagen

Transcript of BNT (Bulgarian National Television, state-run) and NTV (New Television) interview of Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, translated from Bulgarian. 

Let's start with a joke. Have you stopped eating little girls for breakfast, as you were accused back in the 70ies?

RP: "Stopped eating them? At least before lunch, that is not a good idea. Only for supper."

Making music today, how do you prevent yourself from taking part in Rock's grand manipulation as you call it, or do you take part?

RP: "Basically, we still do what we have always been doing: making music for ourselves, regardless of changes in fashion and style both in Europe and America, and we seem to remain deaf for them. And we still carry on with that combination of techniques, styles and texts which we have always considered our own. In this respect, we do not bother at all that we could be manipulating or manipulated in our music. We are very very happy people because we are still happy with what we are doing."

I know you don't like questions about the past, but do you still feel you belong to the beat generation?

RP/JP: "Yes, absolutely beat."

That feeling for self-destruction, why is it so inherent to the big ones of this generation? How could one get out of the Bermuda triangle "on the road - drugs - Zen Buddhism"?

RP: "Oh how did we survive? Again, we were lucky because both now and then we had a fantastic feeling of achievement. And this is totally separate from success. You know you write great music and you play it well, and this is a fantastic feeling which does not push you towards self-destruction. But when you get success added to it, you get a rather strong cocktail which esily makes you drunk. This combination is poisonous. The more successful you become, the more remote your previous life seems to you. So you get a huge vacuum between success and your human nature. There's a big lonesome street, and people tend to become very lonely, agressive, nervous, to get upset about reality or the past. This is the danger that pushes towards self-destruction: if success overcomes achievement."

JP: "This does not concen us very much. But you mentioned suicide. Another thing in this industry is the great pressure, beyond all limits. What Robert was talking about, that great euphoria, that huge amount of adrenaline. It not only pumps the audience, it also fills you up to explosion. The audience shout and fill you up to explosion. You'd like to open the stopper, but even backstage you can't get relief, and there is no escape from music. Anyway, we have a big advantage: in the end of the day, when the euphoria is gone and the lights are off, home, home to come back to. England, our marvellous home. This is the balance."

Your music resembles Shakespearean drama: few refrains, compositions with inceptions and finals. Shakespearean drama is against kings and authority. In your music, what do you fight with, if you do at all?

RP: "Now, it's 29 years of making music. So if there is a battle, the enemy has changed many times. There had been a lot of enemies. Most important to all people in showbiz is negativity and sadness. Otherwise a show is supposed to relieve you. Because when you go and listen to Elvis Presley or Bob Marley you expect to go through a new experience, to make you feel good. For my part, I have tried to write lyrics which on one side are fairy tale, romantic and alternative, but at the same time they talk about the political problems which we've been facing in the 70ies. Music can talk about everything, but it's like a fairy tale, it should not be direct. As far as the enemy is concerned, he really often changes, often he is within ourselves."

Is that the greatest enemy?

RP: "No no, not at all."

You mentioned politics. Rock, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal are generally described as left oriented, against the bourgeois order. Are you yourselves left politically?

RP: "Probably more left than right."

JP: "Yes, left from the centre."

RP: "I wouldn't like to be someone making an amateurish talk about politics. Every country has it's own political tradition. You can't have somebody from the outside to teach you. I know my own country."

JP: "I'm always on the side of the oppressed."

Is there anything that would make you change your guitar for a gun?

JP: (terrified) "Oh no. But it would be different if the guitar would explode in my hands. Because it is my weapon, my means of communication, my world."

Does music have to carry a big message?

RP: "It depends, depends on the passion of the message, on the passion of perception. But of course it could."

What is your music message?

RP: "It's anybody's music message. We are trying to make music for people to celebrate. And you will see that tonight also here in Bulgaria people will celebrate." (And hell we did - M. T.)

In No Quarter, you use a lot of Indian and African motives. Are you trying to redeem the white man's historical guilt?

RP: (laughing and repeating the question for JP) "Where did you take this question from? I mean, it is a question but ...I don't think we are white, and I don't think we represent the white. Whatever we are, we've been in touch for too long with so many cultures, we've mixed in so many customs that I dont think we are English any more. But if there is guilt, we all have to go back to religion. But we don't have enough time for this now."

Yet what do you think about the Bible saying, 'Do not make yourself an idol', you yourselves being the idols for more than one generation?

RP: "I believe that's true, and that God is the Creator. And that He is so abstract that there can be nothing between Him and myself. So all these terms like idol, amulet, etc, they are artificial and I am not responsible for them. We are just entertainers. Many years ago, people like us, the troubadours, travelled from town to town, told jokes, brought news. Musicians are always, all over the world, an extension of ... of ourselves."

Are you still looking for the Angel with the broken wing?

JP: "No, I've found it."

Could you touch it, or was it just in your imagination?

JP: "No no, I really did, I really did."

♪  Full set  (Page & Plant, Sofia Bulgaria 1998) YouTube (thank you Jad!)

♪ Mage Music 1 playlist at YouTube
♪ Mage Music 2 playlist at YouTube
♪ Page & Plant playlist at YouTube

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