In bookstores now is Light and Shade: Conversations With Jimmy Page. While much of the book, understandably, focuses on Led Zeppelin, the book also touches on his projects from the past few decades, including his collaborations with Whitesnake’s David Coverdale (in Coverdale/Page), Bad Company’s Paul Rodgers (in The Firm) and Robert Plant.
Page took some flak for his collaboration with Coverdale, as Whitesnake had pulled more than a few tricks out of the Zeppelin playbook. But Page says their 1993 album “was the best I’d played since the days of Led Zeppelin” — in his mind, it was better than what he did in The Firm, or on his 1988 solo album Outrider . Coverdale/Page was the first project he worked on after finishing Zeppelin’s self-titled box set, which came out in 1990.
“After the release of the Led Zeppelin box, there was a good nine or ten months of inactivity, although I was chomping at the bit to play again. During that time, there was a feeling among my management and those of John Paul Jones and Robert Plant that we were going to reunite in some shape or form. We weren’t really sure whether we were going to plan the ‘legendary tour that never happened’ or record a new album, or do both.”
“Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be. So after that frustrating interlude, my next option was to consider recording another solo album. I began to search for a singer. I waded through scores of cassettes, but none of them even gave me the inspiration to get on the phone and call a manager. Then my own manager at the time called and asked whether I had ever considered working with David. I said, ‘That’s interesting. He’s a damn fine singer. Let’s see how we get on socially.’ I figured that if we couldn’t carry on a conversation, there would be no way we’d be able to write together. As it turned out, we got along famously.”
That project, however, only lasted one album, because after that Page reunited with Plant (but not Jones). “I was on my way to Los Angeles to rehearse with David Coverdale for a tour of Japan, when Robert’s management asked me to pop in and see him in Boston. Robert said, ‘I’ve been asked by MTV to do Unplugged, and I’d really like to do it with you.’ I agreed. It was a great experience, because it gave us a chance to revisit some numbers and use that same picture with a very, very different frame.” That Unplugged led to a full-on Page/Plant tour, which led to another album (1998’s Walking Into Clarksdale).
Light And Shade: Conversations With Jimmy Page is out now, and features several interviews conducted with Page over the years by Guitar World Editorial Director Brad Tolinski.
— Brian Ives, CBS Local