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Music

Why did Dave Grohl reject Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page?

@SamWKemp

We’ve all been in situations when you think things are going so well and then, bang. you’re out on your arse. Rejection is an unavoidable part of romantic, platonic, and, as it turns out, musical relationships. Indeed, even stars rock stars as towering as Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page feel the frigid slap of dismissal from time to time; I guess it’s just surprising that, for Page, one of those knock-backs came from someone who was supposed to be his biggest fan: Dave Grohl.

In 2008, Foo Fighters filmed a concert documentary at Wembley Stadium called, rather unsurprisingly, Live at Wembley Stadium. For frontman Dave Grohl, it was a dream come true, not only because his band were headlining the biggest stadium in the UK, but because they got to perform alongside Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones and Jimmy Page – both of whom Grohl had been obsessed with from an early age.

The performance was a knock-out and sparked a collaboration between Grohl and the ex-Led Zeppelin members. Well, one of them. In 2009, John Paul Jones and Grohl teamed up with Josh Homme to form a supergroup called Crooked Vultures. They released one album and two impressive singles, ‘New Fang’ and ‘Mind Eraser, No Chaser’. Page, on the other hand, was left out in the cold. In 2020, the guitarist opened up about this, the touchiest of all subjects.

Posting a picture from the 2008 concert at Wembley, Page recalled how fun the show had been and explained how Dave Grohl had invited the members of Led Zeppelin to come to the US and record with Foo Fighters.

Page was all for it but never heard anything back from Grohl after that night. Meanwhile, John Paul Jones and the Foo Fighters frontman were getting cosy by a mixing desk. You can almost imagine Page’s little face peeping through the window of the rehearsal studio, his breath steaming up the glass as he calls out: “Dave? Dave, are you in? Its Jimmy. I-I-I’ve bought my guitar”.

As Page wrote in a post to his social media channels in 2020: “On this day in 2008, I performed at Wembley with Foo Fighters.⁣ ⁣During the post-O2 period, I had been playing new material with Jason Bonham and John Paul Jones at rehearsal rooms. ⁣I was asked to play with the Foo Fighters at Wembley. This was after the Led Zeppelin show at the O2 attended by Dave Grohl. John Paul Jones and I played ‘Ramble On,’ and Dave sang with Taylor Hawkins on drums.”

Adding: “Then Taylor swapped drums with Dave, and he sang ‘Rock and Roll’,” Page continued. “⁣Dave Grohl said: ‘You guys should come to the States and record with us.’ ⁣I didn’t hear anything more from Grohl, and John Paul Jones. Communications seemed to dim. The next I heard, they were promoting their new group⁣.”

It’s unlikely that Grohl really intended to ghost poor Page. Perhaps he was just intimidated, I would be. John Paul Jones, the humble keyboardist that he was, was always more approachable than the face-melting, occult-dabbling Page. Anyway, Grohl clearly respected the guitarist enough to praise him when he recalled the 2008 Wembley concert: “I couldn’t believe that finally the moment I had been waiting for — to sit on a drum stool, look to my left and see Jimmy Page, look to my right and see John Paul Jones — was actually happening,” he began. “Just being eight feet away from Jimmy Page as he played this classic song and shredded these classic leads is just so hard to explain. It’s almost as if I had fallen into a Led Zeppelin movie or something; it didn’t even feel real.”

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