Jimmy Page On His Early Sessions: “I Took The Bit In My Teeth And Went For It”

Led Zeppelin’s live CD/DVD document of their 2007 one-off reunion show isn’t the only thing their fans have to be excited about: a new book compiling interviews with Jimmy Page will also be out in the next few weeks. Light And Shade: Conversations With Jimmy Page has been put together by Brad Tolinski, the Editorial Director of Guitar World, Guitar Aficionado and Revolver, who has interviewed the press-shy Page more than any other journalist.  He talked to Page about all the phases of his career; of course Led Zeppelin is extensively covered, but the subjects neither start nor end with Zep.

Before Page formed Led Zeppelin, he joined The Yardbirds.  But before that, he was one of England’s top session guitar players: he played on records by famous artists (The Rolling Stones, Joe Cocker, Lulu, Brenda Lee, Tom Jones) and lesser-known acts as well (Neil Christian & The Crusaders, The Nashville Teens, The Mudlarks). (Check his official full sessions discography here.)

In an exclusive excerpt of Light And Shade given to CBS Local, Page told Tolinski that he started getting more and more session work as rock and roll became more in-demand. But he soon ended up doing sessions in a variety of genres.

“I was still very young—most of the guys doing sessions were twice my age—but they needed a kid from the streets to play on the rock-oriented dates. But soon I started playing on all sorts of things, including acoustic guitar on folk albums and rhythm on jazz sessions. It’s quite terrifying now, when I think of all the things I did, but I took it on. I took the bit in my teeth and went for it. It was a great apprenticeship.”

Light And Shade: Conversations With Jimmy Page will be released October 23. Celebration Day, the live document of the 2007 reunion, will be out November 19.  And Page will add another chapter to his life story on December 2 when Led Zeppelin receives the Kennedy Center Honors alongside Buddy Guy, David Letterman, Dustin Hoffman and ballerina Natalia Makarova.

Brian Ives, CBS Local 


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