Over eight years since Led Zeppelin‘s celebrated one-off reunion concert at London’s O2 Arena, drummer Jason Bonham still feels the band will reunite again. Bonham, who currently tours with his own tribute to the band called Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience, subbed for his late father John Bonham, for what proved to be Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, and John Paul Jones‘ sole full-scale reunion concert since John Bonham’s 1980 death.
Jason Bonham spoke to Vanyaland.com regarding his feelings on a new Zeppelin reunion, explaining, “In my heart of hearts. . . I do believe we will play together again. It remains to be seen if it will be in public or privately, but I do think we will play again. What made the O2 so perfect was the preparation. Every other time, we really just got together in an afternoon and gone over a couple songs and that was it.”
- Bonham, who admitted that the 2007 reunion, since chronicled on the band’s Celebration Day CD and DVD, was a dream come true for him on several different levels: “For the O2, we blocked out rehearsals for six weeks; Monday through Friday four hours a day. A lot of it was talking as well about how we wanted it to be. We did the first three songs, so it was like clockwork, like a first-turn crash in a car race. If we can get past the first turn scot-free, then the rest of the gig will be great. That was very important to all of us to be comfortable on those three songs — and it worked. It really did, and it shows in the show.”
- Jason Bonham first took the stage as Led Zeppelin’s drummer on May 14th, 1988 at the Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary Concert at Madison Square Garden, and later that year, hit the road as Jimmy Page’s drummer for his one and only solo tour behind his Outrider album. Bonham recalled that era as a confusing and immature period for him: “At that point I wanted a comparison (to my father) offstage as much as onstage, which I look back now, is very disrespectful. If I could get any kind of similarity, whether I’d be drunk and disorderly and boisterous, without knowing full details, I just thought that’s what the character was. I remember Jimmy saying, ‘I think you’re copying the wrong John. Your Dad, bless him, was this sweet kind of guy who didn’t really like to tour, he didn’t like being away from his family. He wasn’t getting wasted just because he wanted to go and get wasted.’ You’re 20 years old, you’ve got the world at your feet and everyone is comparing you to John Bonham; you can get a bit cocky. But I wouldn’t have had it any other to make me the person I am now.”
- Bonham went on to say: “I totally agree with (Robert, Jimmy, and John’s) thinking at the time (regarding a Led Zeppelin reunion then), I believe if I’d have been put into that situation with that much money — I would have been dead. I would have never got to the point where I needed to get and get sober.”
- Jason Bonham, who lost his father when he was only 14 years old, felt as though his whole life had been building up to drumming for Zeppelin on December 10th, 2007 in London: “But for me, as I said, it was a huge, huge honor to play. And all I was concentrating on the night, ’cause I knew there was that many people there — I was just concentrating who was on the stage. I just wanted to impress my mates here, my dad’s friends.”
- Bonham told us that following the Zeppelin reunion show, he was astounded by the accolades and support he received from fans: “It was just a little bit hard to comprehend. The next day, when the press was so unanimous of ‘the greatest return that could ever be,’ that’s when it kind of got very emotional for me. That was hard, to suddenly. . . ‘Wow, I did it.’ And watching the clips back on YouTube, I’m amazed I pulled it off.”
- John Bonham died on September 25th, 1980 of pulmonary edema, which is fluid accumulation in the lungs. He was 32-years-old.
- Led Zeppelin — with Jason Bonham on drums — last performed on December 10th, 2007 at London’s O2 Arena. The show marked the band’s first full concert since their final show with John Bonham on July 7th, 1980 in Berlin.
- Prior to that, Zeppelin had performed public mini-sets on July 13th, 1985 at Live Aid in Philadelphia’s JFK Stadium, and again — with Jason Bonham — on May 14th, 1988 Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary Concert at New York’s Madison Square Garden, and during Zeppelin’s 1995 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
- Following the 1988 Zeppelin reunion gig, Jason Bonham went on to serve as Jimmy Page‘s drummer on his tour in support of his debut solo album, Outrider.
CHECK OUT Led Zeppelin with Jason Bonham on December 10th, 2007 performing “For Your Life” live in London: