Most of my memories of the K-Mart in town stink with the smell of new shoes. This phenomenon was caused by the toy and electronic sections sharing a wall with the shoe racks. Maybe my mom bought me shoes there, but I certainly bought a bunch of toys there; Transformers, Centurions, GI Joe, and He-Man if you need to set your calendars. Also, set your calendars to 1984, when on a trip with my grandma* I bought the Honedrippers album.
I couldn’t tell you how I knew that The Honeydrippers were made up of ex-Led Zeppelin members, especially since I wouldn’t properly listen to a Led Zeppelin album for another couple of years. But I did know, and I knew that somehow that knowledge made this album more alluring. Also, as a fourth grader, I knew that this album was a bit goofy. Have you seen the video for “Sea of Love”? Imagine: Robert Plant with a Bowie-Perm-Mullet sideways glance, a hairy Guido in a black Speedo marking time with vibraphone mallets, A young girl covering up her Mediterranien and nude tits with a guitar during Jimmy Page’s solo, two young actors in their best 80’s duds in love. Totally goofy, even in 80’s context.
Up until recently, every project done by a Led Zeppelin member was either unexplainably goofy or indefensively crappy. There was a handful of hardly impactful soundtrack moments by John Paul Jones. Robert Plant bounced from desperately modern sounds to desperately retro R&B tributes. John Bohnam’s remains were barely in the standard 10-10-6 nutrient ratios of even the most rudimentary fertilizers. And Jimmy Page, who surely should have been the star pupil of Led Zeppelin University, teamed up with
Puff Daddy, which is similar to a healthy Romaine lettuce salad teaming up with calf diarrhea.
As a kid I didn’t know that the former members of Led Zeppelin should hold themselves to a higher standard. As a young adult I bought the Coverdale/Page album and wore sackcloth for a week in sadness and shame. Now? I can’t believe the seeming coolness of their latest projects. John Paul Jones played gigs with The Duhks(A Canadian bluegrass band that I love, but you don’t have to like), and Gillian Welch and David Rawlings(musicians that I love dearly
and you have to love, too, under penalty of music law). Jones is also playing in Them Crooked Vultures, a band that sounds like a twenty-times-better Stone Temple Pilots but with an even-more sonic debt to, ahem, Led Zeppelin. Robert Plant made an album with the out-freaking-standing Allison Kraus, which sounds alright by itself until you further qualify it as a gender-twisting rockabilly album with Marc Ribot playing guitar. Yes, that album is that awesome.
Your move, Jimmy Page. I don’t think this documentary with Jack White and The Edge will cut it. We need an album. And I heard Puff Daddy is way busy. So busy he changed his name. It’s been done right now, twice. Good luck.
*while my parents were still married, we spent the night with my Grandma every year during their anniversary. We would be treated to a matinee (a far cry from the low-brow fun of the drive-in), a trip to Bonanza (same parenthetical comment, but against Mr. Quick, a local cheap-o burger joint), and some sort of toy/treat at the K-Mart. It certainly wasn’t the only time we saw are grandma Carney, probably not even the only time that week, but super good times.