It’s easy to get caught up in the modern era of rock and roll and find it a little tame, a little clinical, perhaps even a little boring. But while many of us may think it’s because today’s stars are all too genial, it’s actually because yesterday’s rock stars were too outlandish to be matched. One forefather of rock and roll antics were the empirical rockers Led Zeppelin.
The mythology surrounding the band knows no bounds but there’s one story in particular which had us spitting out our figurative coffee. The legend/myth of the mud shark and the groupie. More notorious than all the Led Zeppelin legends put together the story, as it’s told, begins in America’s [sacific North West at the Seattle Pop Festival, July 27th 1969. After finishing an all-around humongous set the band retired to Edgewater Inn.
One of the notable things about Edgewater Inn is that it is so close to the water guests can actually fish from their windows. From here the details are not only a little cloudy but, if true, are high on our lists of totally unacceptable behaviour and is something we do not condone in any way, shape, or form.
However, we continue: according to Hamer of the Gods, a biography on the band which allegedly got a lot of its info from the band’s road manager Richard Cole, “A pretty young groupie with red hair was disrobed and tied to the bed,” wrote author Stephen Davis. “Led Zeppelin then proceeded to stuff pieces of shark into her vagina and rectum.” We don’t know about you but the last sentence made us feel a little bit dirty inside, and not the good kind.
But, fellow Zep fans, you may feel slightly better to know that the truth of the incident is a little less Led than it first appears. Many different versions of the incident are floating around out there: many have their fingers firmly pointed at Richard Cole as the man with the mud-shark, while the band Vanilla Fudge have also ‘claimed’ the incident. Their drummer, Carmine Appice, suggested the girl in question was part of his group and had tagged along with him, even saying that keyboardist Mark Stein had film of the incident.
The buck likely stopped with Led Zeppelin though as the band were staying in the same hotel at the time and their connection to Cole. While the entire band were in the hotel only John Bonham has been rumoured to have been around for the incident. So, did Led Zeppelin actually use a mud-shark in a sexual act? Probably not. But the main point here is how thankful we are that they didn’t.
Watch as Led Zeppelin’s 13-year-old Jimmy Page makes his first appearance on TV in 1957’s ‘All Your Own’
So, yes, it is very easy when looking at today’s rock and roll stars to feel a little jaded by the drugs, the swagger, and the smashed tv sets in hotel rooms. To find them too plastic, too rounded, and too safe.
But isn’t it just lovely that they aren’t shoving bits of sharks into ‘groupies’? And that, at least somewhat, this kind of behaviour is being acknowledged and stopped?
We think we prefer the new way to the old.