Geddy Lee on why “heavy metal didn’t suit” Led Zeppelin

Both Led Zeppelin and Rush made names for themselves by pushing the boundaries of rock and roll and creating a sound that is so unmistakable that it is impossible to mimic, despite what critics of Greta Van Fleet might tell you. 

As well as creating incredibly expansive music, and featuring some of the greatest rock musicians in the history of the form, both outfits are also noted for the fantastical edge that they imbued their music with, drawing on a wide range of literature to create sprawling fantasy epics that nerds of all creeds can fully immerse themselves in. 

Led Zeppelin are famous for their music’s mythical and esoteric aspects, with frontman Robert Plant drawing on a host of Northern European mythologies that augmented the magical essence of their music. In addition to this, Plant also had a penchant for referencing the work of the master of fantasy, J.R.R. Tolkien, the mastermind behind The Lord of the Rings and Middle Earth with the fan favourites ‘Misty Mountain Hop’ and ‘The Battle of Evermore’ two of his most famous homages to the author.

As for Rush, literature also played a significant role in informing their sound. Their late drumming maestro Neil Peart was the group’s primary lyricist, and over their career, he utilised many different genres of literature to bring their colourful sound to life. From a range of mythologies influencing their classic records, Permanent Waves and Moving Pictures, to the Objectivism of Ayn Rand having a defining impact on the track ‘2112’, this lyrical variety meant the band never went stale.

Unsurprisingly, Led Zeppelin were one of Rush’s most significant influences, and over the years, frontman Geddy Lee has showered praise on Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and Co. When speaking to Classic Rock in 2021, he recalled witnessing the English band during their pomp after the release of 1971’s Led Zeppelin IV, and explained why the term “heavy metal” didn’t suit them. 

Lee said: “I had the pleasure of seeing them on the Zeppelin IV tour at Maple Leaf Gardens. If I’m not mistaken, they opened with ‘Black Dog’, and I remember being completely blown away by its heavyocity. It’s a great riff song, but to have the confidence to play that fucking riff and just let it draw out, and then Robert Plant steps up and does his lyric thing back and forth. I mean, nobody did that. Nobody had the courage to do that.”

Elsewhere, Lee explained why the term “heavy metal” never fully accounted for the expansive work of Zeppelin, opining that the band were so much more than plainly a metal band.

He asserted: “The phrase ‘heavy metal’ didn’t suit Zeppelin. It didn’t suit them because they were so much more than a heavy metal band. Yeah, they had a sound that constantly surprised. They used influences and they took chances that other heavy metal bands just would not conceive of, maybe sparked by Robert Plant’s lyrics.

“He had that Tolkienesque majesty about his lyrics, and people don’t like that about his writing, but I do. I love the imagery that he uses. And it is the combination of the way Jimmy’s acoustic guitar is used and the presence of that blues background. It gives their music much more depth than your average heavy metal band,” the Rush frontman concluded.

Follow Far Out Magazine across our social channels, on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Source link

Leave a Comment