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Interview

An Interview with Stephen Davis, Author of "LZ-'75: The Lost Chronicles of Led Zeppelin's 1975 American Tour"

Photo of Led Zeppelin

Band Photo: Led Zeppelin (?)

Stephen Davis is the author of rock biographies "Hammer of The Gods," "Walk This Way," and "Watch You Bleed." His latest book, "LZ-'75: The Lost Chronicles of Led Zeppelin's 1975 American Tour" (reviewed here) takes the reader into the backstage world of touring with Led Zeppelin during their prime, highlighting the good, the bad, and of course, the decadent. Below is an interview with Stephen.

An Interview with Stephen Davis, Author of "LZ-’75"

Stephen Davis is the author of rock biographies "Hammer of The Gods," "Walk This Way," and "Watch You Bleed." His latest book, "LZ-’75," takes the reader into the backstage world of touring with Led Zeppelin during their prime, highlighting the good, the bad, and of course, the decadent. Below is an interview with Stephen (review of "LZ-’75" coming soon).

David S. Grant (Rockstar_Scribbler): How did you come to write this book?

Stephen Davis: LZ-’75 originated in some notebooks I kept whilst covering Led Zeppelin’s 1975 American tour. When it was over, I filed the notebooks away, and then lost them – for 30 years. In 2005 I found the notebooks and realized a compelling story could be told about Led Zeppelin in its absolute prime – the biggest band in the world, then...and now.

David: Given this book focus on one specific year, how did your approach and/or writing style change (if any) versus your other books which typically span a band's career from start to present?

Stephen: Writing about one specific year in LZ-75 was a departure for me in that it brought the big picture into sharp focus and made it smaller, and more fun to write, and hopefully to read. It also allowed me to inject my own experiences into the narrative, something I've only very rarely done before.

David: What is your favorite story from the road that you revisited in LZ-’75?

Stephen: My favorite parts of LZ-’75 are the encounters with the people in Zeppelin’s entourage: roadies, groupies, managers, technicians, cocktail waitresses, flight attendants on Starship 1, the band’s private jet. The legendary writer William S. Burroughs plays a role, as well as Iggy Pop
and other luminaries of the age.

David: Can you hint at any great revelations that are in LZ-’75 that will entice Zeppelin fans to buy this book?

Stephen: LZ-’75 hopes to reveal the reality behind the great touring bands of the Classic Rock era, a reality that combined glamour and exaltation with grueling travel, dislocation, homesickness, and the pressure of being in the moment, and utterly brilliant, every night. At the end of the book, thereader might feel some of the emotional exhaustion of spending a year with Led Zeppelin under difficult and sometimes painful circumstances.

David: How is this different than Hammer of the Gods? Why do people need this book?

Stephen: LZ-’75 is a much different book than Hammer Of The Gods, the latest editions of which cover five decades, from 1965 to the present. LZ-’75 describes Led Zeppelin’s adventures in 1975 alone, the apogee of its flight, the booming record industry’s biggest act, and the hottest band on
the planet. The focus of the book is very different, with much new reporting, photographs, and interviews – all new.

David: How did you get the assignment to go on the tour?

Stephen: As a reporter and journalist, I was invited to cover Led Zeppelin’s 1975 tour by a friend of mine who worked for the band. I enlisted photographer Peter Simon to shoot the band in California, and some of his images have become iconic. For LZ-’75, he went back to his archives and produced forty new, eye-popping photographs of Led Zeppelin, published here for the first time.

David: What do you want readers to get out of LZ-’75?

Stephen: The whole point of LZ-’75 is to draw the reader into the day-to-day workings of Led Zeppelin on the road. LZ-’75 follows the band from its rehearsals in London to the early shows in Europe before embarking on an American tour that used theatrical displays – laser lights, fog, special effects – for the first time in the band’s history. Readers will feel the band freezing in Chicago, snowed under in New York, buffeted by fierce winds as they fly around the country, soaked by downpours in California, threatened by deranged fans, guarded by F.B.I. agents, and valorized by the millions who attended their concerts. The story then follows Led Zeppelin as they return to England for the biggest shows of the band’s career, and then to the Greek island of Rhodes, where Jimmy Page and Robert Plant took their families on vacation. A terrible car accident almost killed Robert Plant and the band’s future is at stake. But Led Zeppelin redeems itself by making some of the hottest music of its career. All this is detailed with new reporting and insights, as LZ-’75 chronicles Led Zeppelin during the tumultuous, epochal year of 1975.

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David S. Grant (aka Rockstar_Scribbler) is the author of several books including Rock Stars, Happy Hour, and Corporate Porn. For more information please go to www.rockstarbooks.net or www.davidsgrant.com. You can also follow David on Twitter @david_S_grant.

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1 Comment on "An Interview with Stephen Davis, Author of LZ-'75"

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1. Jonnyb writes:

Stephen Davis has been caught stretching the truth, manufacturing stories throughout his writings. O certain British rock magazine wrote an article on this guy a few years ago pointing out how he manufactured stories about Guns 'n Roses. His 'Hammer of the Gods' was a joke. This is all my opinion of course, but this man couldn't write an accurate historical recounting unless he manufactured some BS in there.

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