When many think about rock ’n’ roll, images from the days When Giants Walked the Earth come to mind. However, as we all know, a lifestyle of “sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll” is not a sustainable one. That being said, rock ’n’ n’ roll itself lives on. Five seconds of the guitar intro to “Stairway to Heaven” is more than enough for most to recognize the song. When “Bohemian Rhapsody” is played in a public setting, it’s hard for many people to not sing along. That’s the beautiful thing about rock ’n’ roll: it brings together diverse groups of people with a similar passion for music. It’s not just the guitar solos or drum fills: it’s simply the spirit behind it. So, what is that spirit?
For Jason Bonham, son of late Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham and a wickedly talented drummer in his own right, that spirit means using music as a healing remedy: literally. When I spoke to him before his Led Zeppelin Experience show at Murat, Bonham explained “the spirit, for me, is that even though I spent most of last night and this morning with my head in the toilet, I would never think about cancelling a show. I might have a bucket on stage [laughs], but if people come out to support me I just couldn’t cancel.”
When one first hears Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience, it may be easy for one to conclude that it is simply the son of a musician profiting off of his last name. However, the spirit of rock ’n’ roll could be felt throughout the powerful set. If audience members closed their eyes, vocalist James Dylan could trick even the biggest Zeppelin fan into thinking they traveled back to 1973 when Led Zeppelin rocked Madison Square Garden. While nobody can pound a drum quite like John Bonham, his son proves that the apple really doesn’t fall far from the tree. After countless intense drum fills, Bonham addressed the audience, admitting that he felt a bit under the weather but that “no matter how sick you are, rock ’n’ roll is a killer cure.”
While Led Zeppelin has been broken up since the 1980 death of John Bonham, Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience proves that good music can survive tragedy. As the packed theatre sang along to “Stairway to Heaven” and “Going to California,” it was evident that nothing can kill rock ’n’ roll.
Mike Contreras,musician and co-manager of Indy CD and Vinyl ,believes that by continuing to perform Zeppelin’s music for audiences Bonham is “keeping Zeppelin and his father’s legacy alive.” For Contreras, the spirit of rock ’n’ roll is rebellion. “That’s a broad statement,” he starts, “but whether it’s rebelling from your parents, from the establishment or your government, rock ’n’ roll has always been about being different, maybe even something dangerous.”
Throughout the years, the world of rock ’n’ roll has faced many ups and downs. From The Beatles taking over America to the deaths of so many legends such as Lennon, Bonham, and Hendrix, one thing has remained the same: the love for the music. As Jason Bonham put it: “I play from the heart. I don’t know another way to play it.” Musicians, bands, and groups will come and go. In the end, it’s the music that survives.