I am not the smartest man, nor am I the dumbest. But there are times that something so glaringly obvious hits me square in the middle of the forehead that I wonder how far away I am from the depths of stupidity. The latest entry causing me to question my intelligence is my recent realization that I like Jimmy Page.
This is not to say that I didn't like Page or Led Zeppelin. My earliest introductions to heavy metal/hard rock included plenty of Zep', however I was never a huge fan. So I never cultivated much appreciation for Page's skills.
The other day, during my lazy weekend, I was downloading something length and decided to throw on some tunes while I waited. I pulled up my folders and Led Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti caught my eye, so I cued it up. I clicked through some of the more familiar tracks and suddenly these tracks weren't quite so familiar. There was more subtlety than I remembered, more ambiance to the production and Page exhibited far more technical skill than I ever remembered.
It's literally been over a decade since I had given any Zeppelin a critical listen and the more I listened, the more I realized that I had never given them one. Or, perhaps, that my ear has matured enough to appreciate Page and Zep' in ways I never did before.
To be fair, I cut my teeth on punk (the real punk: Sex Pistols, Misfits, DK -- not that pop punk crap of today) and early metal. I was into anything loud, aggressive and fast. As I began to become more interested in learning to play an instrument, I cultivated an interest in the neo-classic guitarists. Sure there was plenty of listening to Zep' anthems like Stairway or Kashmir, but I just never gave them the credit due.
Too many guitarists credit Page with influencing their playing to not take notice of his playing. From heavy pure rock songs like Black Dog to complex instrumental work like Bron-Yr-Ur he proves his guitar knowledge and taste again and again. What I had thought was sloppy picking or off time playing was calculated and brilliant.
So, to all who have in the past chided me for scoffing at Page's guitar playing, I apologize. Man. I am such a putz sometimes.