Led Zeppelin are a band riddled with the kind of rock and roll stories that would make Spinal Tap blush. In fact, in many ways, the band are usually the source of most rock and roll legends and tales. One particular story, though, takes a darker turn as we revisit the time Jimmy Page was cursed by iconoclastic filmmaker Kenneth Anger.
The pair met when, in 1973, Page and Anger crossed paths at a Sotheby’s auction where they were both bidding on a manuscript from writer Aleister Crowley. Page was a huge fan of the writer and even went on to own the writer’s previous home known as Boleskine House in Scotland.
At that time Anger was currently working on a short film Lucifer Rising and was desperately in need of some music having already worked on the film for nearly seven years. He duly asked Page, who at the time was one of the biggest recording artists in the world, if he could contribute to the project’s score. Page agreed and, according to some sources, lent Anger editing equipment to use on the film.
Jimmy would go on to contribute nearly 20 minutes of spine-tingling music to the film, the kind of music that makes you pray to Satan for salvation but Anger was left, well, quite angry. Anger wanted 40 minutes of music and had a major falling out with Page over the lack of completion on the guitarist’s part. It went one step further when Charlotte Martin, Jimmy’s girlfriend, kicked him out of the basement in Boleskine.
Some years later, Anger would recall: “So Jimmy Page did some music instead. He’s a miser, which is a horrible thing. He wouldn’t even pay for lunch. So I said: ‘Isn’t it preposterous that you’re so cheap?’ And that of course insulted him. He was on heroin all the time – I hate all those druggies because their eyes get glazed and what they say is meaningless because they don’t follow through. I said: ‘OK, Jimmy, I need exactly 40 minutes.’ But he only gave me 20. I said: ‘What am I supposed to do, play it twice? I need 40 minutes! I need a climax! Like, [the film] is the end and the beginning of the world – you’ve gotta give me that big music!’”
This would lead to Anger and Page really falling out, and in turn, Anger publicly cursing Page and his girlfriend Charlotte. How successful the curse was on the multi-millionaire, highly regarded, guitar maestro is yet to be seen. Though many do attribute the bad luck which fell on Robert Plant as down to Anger’s curse.
Watch as Led Zeppelin’s 13-year-old Jimmy Page makes his first appearance on TV in 1957’s ‘All Your Own’
According to Anger: “He’s a multi-millionaire miser. He and Charlotte, that horrible vampire girl… They had so many servants, yet they would never offer me a cup of tea or a sandwich. Which is such a mistake on their part because I put the curse of king Midas on them. If you’re greedy and just amass gold you’ll get an illness. So I did turn her and Jimmy Page into statues of gold because they’ve both lost their minds. He can’t write songs anymore.”
So one of the weirder stories you’ll hear today ends with a director cursing one of the greatest guitarists ever to have walked the earth. Safe to say, he probably can still write a tune or two Kenneth, like this one.