Zeptember: Kevin’s Top Ten

Let me begin by stating that anyone who reads this post most likely knows more about Led Zeppelin than I do.  That being said, apparently, no one in the band is actually called Led Zeppelin.  Just some cool name for a band.  Same concept used in Steely Dan, Fleetwood Mac, Kalvin Klein, and Helly Hanson.  Even though I listen to a fair amount of music in the same time that Zeppelin reigned, this band doesn’t receive regular visits from me.  To prepare, I listened to all the albums this band published (ever) over the course of last week, and am glad to say I found a few songs I really enjoyed and several that I recognized.  Though this band didn’t win a place in my top favorite bands, I do greatly respect the bands method of naming albums with band name followed by number in chronological order, making organizing, remembering, and sorting very easy.  Now let it begin, my top 10 Zeppelin’s!

10. Rock and Roll
This song wonderfully represents those that call the genre by the same name home.  The beats, fading of sounds and lyrics all bring me back to a time when music was about enjoying life.  Not today’s garbage that swears and complains about the man holding us down.

9. Stairway to Heaven
Great song, just have heard it way too many times.  Having this song so high up on the list has done enough damage, I will refrain from analyzing it any further.

8. Immigrant Song
Whenever listening to this song I am thinking about Jack Black singing it in “School of Rock,” not sure why because I have heard it in many different settings other than a C movie.  Right when the needle hits the vinyl, I am hooked in.  No stalling or building up just goes straight to full throttle.  Also, has to be one of the coolest chorus’ in a song.

7. All My Love
Not the usual love song, but, the lyrics do indicate some sort of emotion from whoever is the lead singer in this band.  The noises make the song for me; in fact, an instrumental version of this song would probably put it up a few more spots on the list.

6. Misty Mountain Hop
“Packing my bags for the misty mountains where the spirits fly.”  Sounds awesome, count me in!  I have found a new song to listen to when headed up skiing.

5. Ramble On
The starting really reminds me of “Life Less Ordinary,” by Carbon Leaf.  Compared to other Zeppelin songs, this one seems a little mellower, which provides a nice break when only listening to Zeppelin for a week.  Ramble on…

4. D’yer Mak’er
Not much to say other than it works for me.

3. Kashmir
Remember that scene in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” when Kashmir is played in the guy’s car?  This song has its own class regarding how to start a song: slow, gradual, hard, Kashmir.  I just love those first 30 seconds and can listen it over and over and over.

2. Fool in the Rain
The rediscovery of “Fool in the Rain,” I would describe as the best outcome from Zeptember.  For those that do not know, I keep a running list on my phone of songs I like that I hear when out and about.  I try to include lyrics, but, mostly it just has words to describe the song, making it difficult to find the name later on.  “Fool in the Rain” has been on the list for a while, and it was nice to stumble upon it Wednesday night.  It doesn’t sound like a Zeppelin song to me, but, it certainly is my favorite.

1. LZ 129 Hindenburg (Luftschiff Zeppelin #129)
This beauty was a true Zeppelin, and had the name way before the band ripped it off.  Born on March 4th, 1936, this 800 foot dirigible could take 150 people across the Atlantic at a cruising speed around 90 mph.  She was like nothing else ever built, and remains one of the largest things that ever flew.  Although hydrogen gas is the lightest element on the periodic table, it’s really explosive.  Filling an 800 foot long balloon with explosive gas proved to be a bad idea.  The craft blew up in a spectacular 37 seconds a little over a year after it made its first flight.  Maybe someday these luxury liners of the sky will return, just make sure they are filled with helium.

Zeptember: Matt’s Top Ten

Honestly I was never THAT into Zeppelin. I had a little phase in junior high like every kid that likes rock and roll does, but it mostly consisted of my playing my burnt Zeppelin live album that “the Paine” gave me over and over and over and over again. In those few months, I was ALL about Led Zeppelin. I remember this one specific instance where we were taking my brother to the airport at like eight in the morning and I stuck that CD in the car stereo and everybody was like, “Do we have to listen to this?” I was just really confused why no one wanted to rock. It rocks!

My Zeppelin collection is pretty sparse, consisting now of only I, III and IV, so these are just the top 10 that I’ve enjoyed listening back to over the last week.

10. I Can’t Quit On You Baby
One thing that really came back to me listening to all these songs again was just how much I miss jamming. More specifically how I miss just playing the drums. This song just grooves like I could never groove. By the time I was done playing this song we’d be be playing 260 BPM. Plant’s lyrical rhythms also really add to that as well. Each line is delivered just a little bit later, and that latency just has you sitting on the edge of your seat.

9. Rock & Roll
I’m not going to try to pick obscure songs to be cool, so this is just one of the great songs that I loved growing up. Since I’ve been doing a lot of research on recording and how to become a better engineer etc., one of the things I noticed about these recordings is that a lot of the songs are spaced very openly. You can tell it’s just drums/bass/guitar/ vocals. Except this one. Just a wall of rock.

8. Communication Breakdown
I have a soft spot for the ones we performed obviously. This is one that I was always just exhausted after. My right leg would just be burning by the end of the song because of the constant kick drum, not to mention it was the end of the set usually, so I was just going as nuts as I could possibly go. John Bonham must have calves the size of my waist.

7. Four Sticks
I don’t even know what John Bonham’s doing here. Like I sit down and listen to it over and over again. I’m pretty sure it’s more than just him playing percussion, but then I tell myself it’s John Bonham, stop trying to figure out what he’s doing. It’s impossible. Just listen.

6. Black Dog
I never struggled more playing the drums than whenever “the Paine” broke out into a jam with this song. I couldn’t wrap my head around how Bonham played that slow, subdivided groove to a riff with so many notes. Maybe he couldn’t figure out how to play a faster groove so he just played a “fuckin’ money beat”. Maybe he was being teased from another band who had “label interest.” Who knows.

5. Misty Mountain Hop
So Plant saw a bunch of hippies in a park, he didn’t know what time it was, so he stayed a while. Then it got dark. So some homeless guys told him to get in a line. This line was for tea and fun. Then the homeless people told Plant to go in to a deep self-examination. Then he warns people that if they go in the streets, they better open their eyes. Or they might be hit by a car or something. This song is weird. But it rocks.

4. Out on the Tiles
I love unison bass/guitar riffs. Especially when they span odd measures. This is also an example of something Bonham does that I could never do no matter how much I practiced. I had to buy a double bass pedal to be able to play triplets. Bonham just gets drunk and plays them all day long. Maybe I should have been drinking.

3. Immigrant Song
This song was always really disappointing to me, because of how much I didn’t really enjoy III that much. I started listening to it and was like, “Yeah this rocks!” But only to be disappointed by the next 40 minutes and 33 seconds of my life. I’ve grown to appreciate the album more, but I still am a little disappointed every time I hear it.

2. Good Times Bad Times
Dun Dun. Dun Dun. Dun Dun. Dun Dun. Is there really anything else to say. This is really the epitome of Zeppelin. Rockin’ guitar solo, sweet bass fills, in your face and technically intricate drums, and Plant being, well, Plant. One thing I love about this song is the harmonies on the verses. I wish they did more of that.

1. Stairway to Heaven
You know what? Fuck it. I’m putting it as my number one because it is. One of my proudest memories of the Defenestrators is how we practiced the shit out of this song for what seemed like months. I loved playing the keyboard flute, and I loved even more coming in with that simple, yet powerful, tom fill (biggest regret is missing that cue, but I couldn’t hear anything! I swear!) It’s a shame it’s so over played, but at the same time that just reiterates how great of a song it really is.

I can’t wait for “Who knows?” tomorrow!


Good news everyone, I’ve finally got the webcomics aspect of the site mostly working! This took a while, since I basically had to learn PHP and all sorts of fun backend stuff that most real websites just hire out to professionals. If you didn’t already know, the main reason we moved from Da Morgue Dot Org to here is because John and I wanted to get started on this webcomic. And now we have. Now I just have to keep inking and coloring these babies. For the rest of my life…

As a bonus, the image you see here is one of two deleted scenes from our inaugural strip. What do you think? Pretty cool, eh? We made that. Now you could make that, I don’t know, your iPhone wallpaper.

Zeptember: Colin’s Top Ten

From as long as I’ve been rockin’ I’ve always loved Led Zeppelin, but for some reason I’ve never thought of them as one of my all-time favorite musical artists.  I guess the thing that always kept me from truly embracing them was that they always had this God-like status, and you never really got a sense that their music was very personal.  But then again, when you look at their incredible body of work, thinking of them as gods doesn’t really seem like the most ridiculous thing in the world.  Anyways, lets get started.

10. Bring It On Home
If you want to get to the heart of Led Zeppelin’s sound, you’ve got to start with the blues.  This song starts as a nice little cover of Willie Dixon’s “Bring It On Home” until Jimmy Page’s subdued strumming gives way to a piercing guitar riff and then it just turns in to all out rock warfare.  And that’s pretty much the Zeppelin manifesto in a nut shell: taking the blues and making it huge.

9. Out Of The Tiles
There aren’t too many rockin’ songs on Led Zeppelin III, and that’s kind of what makes it great.  But on “Out Of The Tiles” they really just go for broke, sounding like a chugging locomotive of rock that’s just on the brink of careening off the tracks.  Sorry, I promise not to make any more bad “rock” analogies.

8. Going To California
I felt like I needed to throw in one of Zeppelin’s folkier numbers, just because it’s kind of hard not to love it when these guys would sit down with their acoustic instruments and lay down some softer jams. It’s just a really nice little song about meditating on the roads less traveled, and it’s a nice break from all the heavy hitters featured on Led Zeppelin IV.

7. What Is And What Should Never Be
Robert Plant has never been a great lyricist, and he definitely shows it on this song with lyrics like “You will be mine by taking our time” and “Baby baby baby baby”.  But it doesn’t even matter when you’ve got such a great jazzy groove supported by John Paul Jones’ lingering bass lines.  And then when Bonham comes in, laying his delicious toms all over Page’s power chords, it’s welcome to Rock City: Population You.  Wait, dammit.

6. You’re Time Is Gonna Come
When you think of Led Zeppelin, they’re not the kind of band that you expect to just burst in to three part harmonies.  Then again, I guess the swelling chorus of “You’re Time Is Gonna Come” is more like a sing-a-long as Sean pointed out, and a pretty mean-spirited one at that.  Most of all though, the really remarkable thing about this song is it showed that even on their first album, Zeppelin could find ways of sounding huge and anthemic without the aid of an electric guitar.

5. Immigrant Song
The first memory I have of this song was that it was featured in some skate video I bought as a youngster.  One time I was watching it and my mom walked by and she was like, “Hey, that’s Led Zeppelin.  Good song.”  This was a little conflicting, since all I could ask myself was “How could my mom be into something that sounds so ridiculously badass?”.  But that’s the reality of Zeppelin, our parents grew up with them just as much as we did, and somehow that makes sense.

4. Ten Years Gone
When I first started thinking of the songs for this list, “Ten Years Gone” was not one that I thought had much hope of making the top ten.  But I’ve just been listening to it over and over again the last few days and I can’t seem to get my mind off of it.  It’s just got this great world-weary quality, as if it was written on the road at the end of a long tour from which there seemed to be no end.  There’s a whole host of different guitar sounds that Page uses on the track, and it’s a great example of the way he could use the instrument to convey a whole range of different colors and emotions.

3. Over The Hills And Far Away
So yeah, I really like this song, as do Sean and John.  Maybe we should have vetoed “Over The Hills And Far Away” instead of “Stairway”, since it might very well be the most irresistible song in Zeppelin’s discography.  It contains the loud and the quiet, the soft and the heavy, the introspective and the all-encompassing qualities that made up Zeppelin’s sound, and I’m glad I was able to take part in a half-way decent cover of it.

2. Ramble On
As you can probably tell, I really like it when Zeppelin songs start out all quiet and mysterious and then just bowls you over with some mindblowing guitar riff.  Well for me, “Ramble On”‘s pretty much the king of those kinds of Zeppelin songs, and they do it all while combining the classic bluesman mentality with Lord Of The Rings references.  Go figure.

1. Good Times Bad Times
I hate to reduce Led Zeppelin to one of those bands that peaked on the first song of their first album, but I can’t help it when the band sounded so damn explosive in this early state.  Really all of the band’s trademarks are there: Plant’s unmistakeable howls, Page’s monster riffs and blues-inflected licks, Jones’s wandering basslines, and John Bonham giving what is probably my favorite drum part in any song ever.  You put all these elements together and you’ve got one hell of a stone cold groove, as well as an impressive start to a ridiculously influential career.

Well, that was a lot of fun while it lasted.  Anyways, I’m just throwing this out there, but how would everybody feel about Whovember?  Just an idea.

Zeptember: Sean’s Top Ten

I’m assuming we’re all sticking to the “Stairway to Heaven” is disqualified rule, even though no one has officially mentioned it. If that is indeed the case, then these are my ten favorite Led Zeppelin songs. It was damn near impossible to narrow it down to these ten, since I had around 50 songs that I thought were competitive. I had to make some deep cuts and these are the ones that survived, so try at least not to worry about the order they’re in.

10. All My Love
The song that inspired my recent foray back into Led Zeppelin, it’s kind of amazing just because it’s a slow, synth-driven song by Led Zeppelin. That seems weird, doesn’t it? But that’s kind of the reality of In Through the Out Door – songs that don’t quite seem like what Led Zeppelin would be doing. Unlike “Carouselambra,” the other great song from that album, “All My Love” is exactly the right length to stick with you and somehow also leave you wanting more.

9. Kashmir
Can a song survive on just one great guitar riff? Probably, but “Kashmir” is not that song. Because, even though the “Kashmir” riff is one of Led Zeppelin’s most well known, its not just the guitar that makes this great. It’s one of a handful of songs the band recorded with strings and horns, adding a suitably epic feel to the number. What I really love about it are the lyrics, an aspect of music I don’t spend much time thinking about. If I had seen “Kashmir” written before hearing it, I would have thought it was some quality poetry. Or a crappy poem. I’m not that great a judge of poetry.

8. Rock and Roll
Legend has it that while frustrated recording the tremendous “Four Sticks,” Led Zeppelin accidentally jammed their way into this diddy. Suitably titled, “Rock and Roll” draws from the history of the genre and amps it up, making the song among the most rocking I’ve ever heard. It also the first Led Zeppelin song I heard, or at least remember hearing. I remember listening to it on Colin’s portable CD player and remarking that I recognized it from a car commercial. That’s kind of a shitty association, but it got me to where I am today.

7. In My Time of Dying
I’ve always liked a good slide guitar, and its hard to get it better than Led Zeppelin’s version of “In My Time of Dying.” I wanted to include long songs on my list, since I really do love most of their long songs, even this one, which I believe is their longest. Early this year I heard the Bob Dylan version of this song, which is a totally different, more traditionally blues experience. Led Zeppelin takes the song and jams all over it until nothing’s left. It’s pretty amazing. And it ends with coughing and joking. They’re people too.

6. When the Levee Breaks
Yeah, that’s right, another blues cover. As John pointed out, the drums and harmonica do this song an amazing favor. The drums are gigantic, it’s no wonder bands like the Beastie Boys were drawn to sampling them. The reverb or whatever that’s applied to the harmonica makes it sound different from any other harmonica ever. Let’s not forget the guitar part, which is no slouch, with plenty of interesting effects piled on top of it as well. And in the middle of it all is Robert Plant, doing his thing as possibly the greatest lead singer in rock. It all comes together on “When the Levee Breaks.”

5. Good Times Bad Times
This is the first song on the first Led Zeppelin album and I like to keep that in mind when I hear it. I think if I had never heard the band before, if this was something entirely new, it would take me about a minute of “Good Times Bad Times”  to declare I will buy ever single album these guys put out. Since we’re paying tribute to the 31st anniversary of John Bonham’s death, I would be remiss not to point out that the man played the kick drum and hi hat with just one foot. Listen to the song again. I’m not a drummer, but that’s madness!

4. Over the Hills and Far Away
This is kind of like “Stairway to Heaven” if it was a little less ambitious and popular. Wow, that sounds much more negative than I meant it.  “Over the Hills and Far Away” is one of those songs that makes the world a better place. How about that? It’s an emotional, beautiful song from the group that’s considered the inspiration for heavy metal and hard rock. It’s not just one of my favorite Led Zeppelin songs, it’s one of my favorite songs.

3. Babe I’m Gonna Leave You
Ah, time for a gentler little tune. Or is it? “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” starts gently enough, with a delicate flurry of guitar and then some soft vocals. But at the halfway point, the song explodes. Drums and bass drive the song, the guitar gets heavier and the vocals become screams. This is another song that covers a shorter, simpler tune. In this case, it’s a Joan Baez song that simply sticks to guitar and vocals. That’s what makes Led Zeppelin so special. They make it a journey.

2. Ramble On
This is probably the Led Zeppelin that first comes to mind for me… And a lot of people. The Lord of the Rings references, stupefying guitar and amazing bass and drums all add up to something that no one else ever did or ever will do. I love how the acoustic guitar gives into the electric in this song, it’s another great example of the kind of journey a quality Led Zeppelin song can take you on.

1. Bron-Y-Aur Stomp
Led Zeppelin does country. I can’t really explain why I like this so much, or why it’s easily my most listened to track from the band. Certainly the guitar of Jimmy Page is partly responsible, from the craziness of the intro to the simpler verse, it’s undeniably great. Certainly John Bonham’s percussion is a partly responsible, featuring drums you can’t help but tap along with, as well as spoons and castanets. Certainly John Paul Jones’ bass is partly responsible, since he so beautifully accompanies, nay, matches, the skill on display from the previous two. Certainly Robert Plant’s vocals are partly responsible, since this is the most sing-a-long Led Zeppelin got this side of “Your Time is Gonna Come.” I guess they’re all responsible. And when you put them together, they can’t be beat.

Zeptember: John’s Top Ten

I love to let the led out and I had a blast revisiting one of my favorite artists to make this list, so I hope you have your share of good times reading this post.

10. Boogie with Stu
Leave it to Led Zeppelin to take a completely typical blues progression and make it their own. John Bonham’s drums are repetitive yet infectious with that big echoey sound he was so well known for and guest pianist Ian Stewart wows with the same kind of honky tonk he often brought to Rolling Stones recordings. I also find it interesting that it’s one of the few recordings to feature Robert Plant on acoustic guitar while Jimmy plucks away on a mandolin, really makes ya wanna boogie!

9. Misty Mountain Hop
I think you’ll find more than a few of my picks contain some of Bonham’s biggest beats and this is no exception. Carried by a chunky rhythm and John Paul Jones’ effortlessly cool electric piano it moves along in it’s own unique and funky Zeppelin style. Naturally Plant impresses with his soaring shrieks and Lord of the Rings lyrics and Page… Well Page is Page, nuff said.

8. The Song Remains the Same
Somehow the first Zeppelin cd I owned was The Best of Zeppelin: Latter Days Vol. 2 and seeing that this marks the opening of that compilation it has a special place down in here (points to chest.) It was songs like this where I couldn’t even begin to wrap my mind around all the different ideas that must’ve been floating around in Page’s head. Here we have a song constantly changing tempo, different parts and instrumental breaks and propelled by an army of guitars all individually doing something unique and compelling. The band couldn’t be any tighter on a song that would be too complex for any non-prog rock band of the time, it’s really something.

7. Since I’ve Been Loving You
One of the most powerful blues recordings I can think of. All four members bring so much technical skill to the song but even more passion. Page delivers in my opinion one of his all-time best performances as he more or less solos through the whole seven minutes. Of course Plant delivers one of his iconic, possibly improvised vocal performances and I can’t get enough of it.

6. Bron-Y-Aur Stomp
Sometimes it’s the simple things in life that you cherish the most, at least that’s how I feel about Bonham’s bass drum. One of Bonham’s most basic percussion parts makes this song undeniably catchy. On the other side of the spectrum you have Page playing what sounds like a very intricate acoustic guitar part and Plant delivering a greatly executed melody, I just want to sing with them!

5. Trampled Under Foot
I remember when that horrible Finger Eleven song “Paralyzer” came out and I said “It’s just a ripoff of Take Me Out by Franz Ferdinand.” Then I remember being reminded of Take Me Out’s similarity to Trampled Under Foot and then reading that Trampled Under Foot was inspired by a Robert Johnson song. All that aside I like to think it was the Zeppelin rendition that so firmly buried itself in the minds of others who just couldn’t help but rip it off cause well, it’s rock bliss. You can thank John Paul Jones for providing the funk with a clavinet performance that could make Stevie Wonder weep and the rest is pure ZeppelinFinger Eleven really sucks though.

4. Immigrant Song
If the Norse gods ever come down from Valhalla to rock our world this will be their theme. With Plant’s catchy howls and lyrics about vikings this is an iconic Zeppelin tune built around one of their best riffs. It’s a song that marches along at a perfect rock pace and one of the songs that would best define the sheer power of the hammer of the gods.

3, Houses of the Holy
Maybe it says something about one’s affection for a song when they can say they’re hooked in the first three seconds. At least that’s how I’ve always felt about the riff that dominates the song “Houses of the Holy.” It’s so simple and yet so Zeppelin with the distinct sound of the guitar, bass, drums, and vocals. There’s not much to say, because there really isn’t much to it, it’s rock and roll pure and simple.

2. When the Levee Breaks
: I think it’s apparent at this point that a great Bonham beat is a sure fire way to hook me. In the way of “Bonham beats” this has to be one of his best and biggest. I think it’s Bonham’s strive for simple, raw, power over complexity that has made him my all-time favorite rock and roll drummer and this is one of my favorite Zeppelin tracks. In addition to this, “When the Levee Breaks” also contains some of the most badass harmonica that’s ever been captured, I mean it sounds like a god damn freight train! Page and Jones drone on with a western style guitar and bass and Plant brings the swagger, an excellent finale to possibly Zeppelin’s best album.

1. Over the Hills and Far Away
What can I say? It holds such a dear place in my heart after playing and recording it in The Defenestrators. It has that whimsical acoustic first half that eventually launches into a rocking great riff. I heard John Paul Jones interviewed on the radio once where he stated that this was his favorite Zeppelin song to play live and I can completely understand, it’s such a great example of the group’s ability to play off of each other. This maybe a Page driven song but it also highlights Zeppelin’s ability to work together as we all should as passengers of starship Earth.

It’s tough to dissect one of your favorite bands but I’m satisfied with my choices. The only song I felt bad about cutting is “Friends” one of my favorite examples of “Experimental Zeppelin”. If I had to name my favorite Zeppelin album I’d probably go for the surprising yet honest choice of Led Zeppelin III. It was the first Zeppelin cd I bought after their greatest hits and shows so many sides to the band. It has their acoustic side, their bluesy side, their rock side and everything in between, that’s the way I like my music.

Welcome To Zeptember

With summer finally behind us, it’s about time we actually start posting on a semi-regular basis, and what better way to lead us into that than a theme week followed by the post orgy that is Shocktober.  This year our theme of choice is that of the mighty Led Zeppelin, a band that we all hold pretty near and dear to our hearts.  Unlike Beatles week we don’t really have something as awesome as Beatles Rock Band to do it on honor of (though we can keep hoping for Zeppelin Rock Band).  But hey, Zeptember’s a pretty cool name, even if it’s not completely original, and I can’t wait to see what everybody’s favorite Zeppelin songs are.

So this is how I think this whole thing should work out:

  • Tuesday: John’s Top Ten Led Zeppelin Songs
  • Wednesday: Sean’s Top Ten
  • Thursday: Mine
  • Friday: Nancy’s
  • Saturday: Who Knows!
Maybe Kevin can figure out something to do, though I’m not sure Kevin knows what a Led Zeppelin is.
I wish I could think of a Led Zeppelin pun to end this on, but not that many of their lyrics are very memorable.  So, uh, let’s hope our songs don’t remain the same.