Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page talks about Jimmy Page (the book)

“I rather like to try something that somebody else hasn't done before, even if it's of epic proportions.”
- Jimmy Page

Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page has the golden touch.

Page's recent self-titled, limited-edition photo biography sold out prior to its official release, despite its price tag of £445 (about $685).

“Jimmy Page By Jimmy Page”
is a 500-page collection of images that the guitarist chose to represent his career. Released by Genesis Publications on September 27, the book - printed and hand-bound in Milan - was limited to 2,500 copies; the instant collector's item, bound in leather and wrapped in silk, is signed and numbered by Page himself.

The reclusive Page sat down to discuss the book with its photo editor, Dave Brolan, for Lid magazine; the issue is available to order from the magazine’s website.

Dave Brolan: How did you become involved with Genesis Publications?

Jimmy Page: I had actually bought one of their George Harrison and Ravi Shankar books, so I was aware of the quality that they strove for. I had seen some of their catalogue, so I fully understood the pure quality that was their benchmark - the printing, the binding, and everything else.

Dave Brolan: This is quite unlike any other book though.

Jimmy Page: I rather like to try something that somebody else hasn't done before, even if it's of epic proportions which, quite clearly with the amount of photographers and images that were going to need to be trawled in, this was going to be quite something.

Dave Brolan: It's entirely appropriate that you should choose to do a photographic book as the camera was there right at the beginning of your musical career and is always present in one way or another.

Jimmy Page: I liked the idea of doing something from the first shot where I was involved with music, curiously enough taken when I was a choirboy, by the choirmaster who was an amateur photographer... The whole point here is that it's a life in music and so I can see I'm really living it, the way that I was living it. Considering this starts off properly in 1958, or whatever, with the Tony Busson pictures, it's a bunch of kids that have got this rock & roll ethic in their dreams you know? Although those dreams don't necessarily translate beyond a front room in somebody's house, it's living that sort of dream their own way and you can see this attitude, I love those photos.

Dave Brolan: There were thousands of pictures for you to consider, how was the experience, seeing your life from a visual, rather than your more familiar musical point of view?

Jimmy Page: Well, I'll be perfectly honest, as you're collating the photographs
there does come a point where you say, 'Well I think I've finished for the day,' because, you know, I'm starting to look...(laughing) Well, you're aging in front of your eyes and of course people don't normally go through that so intensely.

Dave Brolan: How did you decide to caption some of the images?

Jimmy Page: The story behind a picture can sometimes be a little disappointing, rather than just looking at it and enjoying it for what it is and making your own conclusions, and I certainly apply that to listening to music too. I don't really want too much imagery around it, I don't want to see videos with music, I want to hear what was going on in the studio, the creative process. So I intentionally kept the written information minimal. There was a lot of reflection and thought about the captioning, but I really honed it down so that it didn't become boring to read it again the second time around. It's setting the scene.

Dave Brolan: Overall, do you think the book achieved what you set out to do, your original idea of a career in photographs?

Jimmy Page: What I was trying convey was the whole gathering of time and living, very passionately, my role in music, what became a career in music. And this illustrates all of that, so in those terms, it's a success.

See also: “Jimmy Page on Jimmy Page, the book” here.

Led Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin – Stairway To Heaven
The Song Remains The Same DVD
Madison Square Garden – New York, NY – 1973

Led Zeppelin – Kashmir
Led Zeppelin DVD
Knebworth Festival – Hertfordshire, UK – August 4, 1979