If I could jam with any guitarist…
it would be Jimmy Page. My first memories of hearing Zeppelin trace back to way before I even started played guitar.
To be quite honest, it took me a while to truly appreciate and understand the rock n roll mysticism that surrounds Jimmy Page and Led Zeppelin. I’m a 90’s kid and when I started playing guitar at 9 years old, I immediately wanted to learn riffs by Incubus, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, and The White Stripes. That was “my” music I discovered by listening to KROQ on the way to school everyday. I was hypnotized by their riffs and melodies and big, loud guitars. I wanted to rock out like they did. Led Zeppelin was music I liked and was somewhat familiar with, but it was older rock music. I didn’t feel like I discovered it, my parents did, so it was already part of my soundtrack growing up.
As I began to grow as a musician and music appreciator, I started delving into the history of a band. I began to ask myself questions: “Why does Pearl Jam sound the way they do? Why does Jack White play the way he does? Who did Brandon Boyd look up to when he was learning how to write a Song using imagery?”
The more I delved into the history on the bands I discovered in my early years of playing guitar, the more I found that these bands were influenced by Led Zeppelin. Whoa. That was when I went in headfirst into who the hell this band really was, and what their guitar player was all about.
Of course, 9 times out of 10 when you’re learning about Zeppelin, you’re gonna start with Stairway. It’s beautiful, it’s melodic, it tells a story, it’s got peaks and valleys and a killer guitar solo. In a word, it’s iconic. Jimmy Page has a magical ability to write iconic rock guitar riffs. Then you begin to dig into the riffs of Zeppelin: Whole Lotta Love, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Black Dog, Heartbreaker, Rock and Roll, Immigrant Song, Good Times Bad Times.
His riffs make you want to belt your heart out; make you want to scream; make you want to grab your guitar (or air guitar, not judging); and just play.
Page’s big rock guitar riffs are unlike anything else. Raw passion and feeling ooze out of each song. You can practically hear the sweat on the strings and fretboard when he plays on those records and live albums. Then you delve into his acoustic guitar work. For me, The Rain Song is the most beautiful piece of music I have ever heard. I’d want to jam with Page just to pick his brain on how one gets to that space to write a song so moving and beautiful.
What truly inspires me every time I listen to Zeppelin is Page’s touch and ear when it comes to playing an acoustic and electric guitar. He plays both with a different sense of grace. He can be delicate and harsh, but it’s always tasteful in the guitar groundwork he creates. He allows the song to breathe. His solos – conversational – lift and demand attention. Not just because they are loud, but because they are played with purpose. He tells a story. His guitar playing in accordance with the sonic space within a song inspires me everyday when my bandmate Jenny Pagliaro and I write songs in our band, Roses & Cigarettes. His guitar playing constantly reminds me to play with purpose, passion and grace.
He’s a player of emotional storytelling…and that’s why I’d love to play with him one day. Thank you for all your lessons Jimmy!
Roses & Cigarettes News!
The band plans to release an acoustic EP and new full-length album in 2018. Visit their website to find out more info.
Check out Spotify for their current album, R&C Debut Album.
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Thanks to Angela for this deep dive into why she would pick Jimmy Page and for joining us for this edition of Just One Question.
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