A couple of quick interviews, separately, with Jason and Zoe Bonham after Led Zeppelin received a lifetime achievement Grammy at a luncheon in Los Angeles on Feb. 12, 2005. It was not the right time or place to get too deep and intrusive. I needed some sound bites so that I could rush out and start my story, and I’m sure they had better things to do. Click here for a much deeper sit-down interview I did with Jason in 2010. (The above photo with the siblings is from the band’s 1995 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction.)
HOW DO YOU THINK YOUR FATHER WOULD REACT TO THIS KIND OF AWARD?
I’m sure he would’ve been ecstatic about it. He never really liked the award ceremonies in the old days. Zeppelin, they wouldn’t show up. Or if they did, they’d make one helluva mess of the dressing room or whatever. Make an elaborate entrance at least. No, I think he’d be very proud. Times have changed. The music speaks for itself and I just think that will always remain, the music.
OBVIOUSLY LED ZEPPELIN NEVER GOT A GRAMMY AT THE TIME. IS THIS TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE?
I’m proud that they’ve been recognized. They didn’t need one of these for everyone to know how important they were. You can ask any band in modern rock ‘n’ roll music who is the most influential band. And it would be probably be the Beatles or Zeppelin. And a lot of the time Zeppelin’s one of the most influential. The best Beatles stuff was the not-so-successful stuff when they went a bit weird and AWOL! It’s so nice to be recognized for us, and my family and my mum. They didn’t need to be shown how great they were. 25 years on, it’s madness. Who’d a thought it? I don’t think they ever thought it at the time. But I think they realize it now.
HOW OLD WERE YOU WHEN YOUR FATHER DIED?
Five, so I can’t remember too much!
WAS HE INTO AWARDS? DID YOUR MOTHER TELL YOU?
I’m not sure. Probably. He was known for big celebrations!
HOW DOES IT FEEL FOR YOU, TO GET THIS RECOGNITION FOR YOUR OLD MAN?
It’s totally overwhelming. The whole crazy thing about it is it’s a lifetime achievement award and he’s not there. It’s sad.
SUCH A SHORT LIFETIME TOO
Yeah, exactly. It’s just crazy that the legend lives on.
DO YOU KEEP IN TOUCH WITH HIS BANDMATES?
My mum does, yeah. I see them at events and weddings and things like that.
HOW LONG ARE YOU IN TOWN FOR?
I live here. I’m a musician … I sing and play guitar. I’m actually going to put a band together because the stuff I’m doing is very much like the Pretenders.
Here’s the man of the moment. I happened to be in Birmingham in June 2018, just a day after this very physical Bonham statue was quietly unveiled in his nearby hometown of Redditch, so I jumped on a train to see it for myself. It was beautifully sculpted by Mark Richards. On an earlier UK trip, I visited Bonham’s grave, which you can see listed in this story.
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