The year 1971 marked one of the best selling albums worldwide. That’s right, Led Zeppelin IV. In September, Zeppelinites will be buying their stairwayto ZEPPELIN heaven, purchasing a golden ticket to a rock event to remember. The 9th ANNUAL WHOLE LOTTA LOVE – LED ZEPPELIN CELEBRATION.
LED ZEPPELIN is one of the most influential bands in the world and has drawn in a rock legend in his own right. Jeff Martin, known for THE TEA PARTY and his new band, 777. Jeff Martin talks up a Whole Lotta Love with Monique Budd.
‘Hiatus’ is a word not known to Jeff Martin. Currently in Canada on THE TEA PARTY’s reunion, Martin opens with what he’s up to now. “We got together and they have very big shows here in Canada. I’ll be here for four weeks. Then I fly back home. Then I’ve got some producing to do before I start rehearsing for the WHOLE LOTTA LOVE – LED ZEPPELIN CELEBRATION. No, I don’t have a time off!”
It’s not everyday you get to have Jeff Martin’s undivided attention. I have one question to ask for his devoted Australian fans. Will you be bringing THE TEA PARTY reunion to Australia? “We are in control of our destiny. I’m very committed to 777, which is my new band in Australia and a record we’ve just put out. I’ve got a lot of solo things and producing things to do. I know Jeff (Burrows) and I and Stu (Chatwood) are all anxious to bring the band back over to Australia. It’s just the case of perfect timing.”
The producers of the The 9th ANNUAL WHOLE LOTTA LOVE – LED ZEPPELIN CELEBRATION have had Jeff Martin in mind for the show for years with scheduling being the main obstacle. Martin explains how he came to join the cast of Australia’s finest rock musicians for the spectacular event. “I did work with the producers, on the LET IT BE show at the Sydney Opera House. I just found them to be very professional to the highest standards. Their commitment to authenticity and they way that everyone was treated. When it was time to come out, the producers gave me a call. LED ZEPPELIN’s music has had a big influence on what I’ve done in the past. It just really made sense to me. It will be fun. Most of what I do, I like. I’m having fun doing it. It’s less stressful. I’m only have to do five songs. I love to go on the road, on tour.”
As mentioned, Martin will be performing five songs. I probed Martin for which of the five songs he has chosen. “When they asked me to do this, they gave me first choice. I picked the five most important LED ZEPPELIN songs to me. I’ll tell ya one of those songs is an acoustic LED ZEPPELIN song.”
The 9th ANNUAL WHOLE LOTTA LOVE – LED ZEPPELIN CELEBRATION has a stellar rock cast. One would think a duet/duo may be in the works. Martin expresses how he feels about sharing the stage. “I don’t really know, we haven’t really decided yet. The rehearsals are at the end of August. So I’m sure some of the situations will come up, they always do. I’ve always been a fan of collaborating with other musicians, especially out of the blue. I love those things that aren’t really what they’re supposed to be. When I did Rockwiz, I performed with TINA ARENA. Anyone that would of thought that JEFF MARTIN and TINA ARENA could go together; would have shaken their heads. That’s not gonna work, and it did! It was the most successful duet song on Rockwiz. These things can happen.”
Martin recollects his first LED ZEPPELIN experience. “My first experience, it was a dare. It was in my first year in high school. I really hadn’t listen to LED ZEPPELIN at all. I was more into new wave and all that, like THE CURE and ECHO AND THE BUNNYMEN. My father instilled me with a good education and a fond appreciation for the blues. I was kind of a blues guitarist, but in the closet, ‘cause nobody knew. If any of my friends found out, that was not cool. I remember my first year in high school. You weren’t cool if you listened to LED ZEPPELIN. You were a stoner with a bad haircut.
This one kid that was a couple of years older than me and he came up to me with a cassette tape. I was this guitar player and I had this reputation. He came up with this cassette tape of LED ZEPPELIN and he said ‘if you’re such a great guitar player you can learn this guitar solo’. I took the cassette home. I listened to it and it was really the first time I listened to LED ZEPPELIN. I liked it! I just thought ‘cause the guitar work, it was just like playing blues but a bit sloppier. I found that there was something kinda dangerous about it. That I was really attracted to. My father came home from work and came right down stairs while I was practising in front of the stereo. Ripped out the tape of LED ZEPPLIN and put BB KING in the cassette player, said ‘That’s BB KING. Boy play that!’
We all have a favourite LED ZEPPELIN song and it’s not hard to guess Martin choice. If you love THE TEA PARTY’s song The Bazaar, that may give you a clue. “I think the one song that struck a chord with me, wasKashmir. I already had an interest as a teenager in music from the Middle East. When I heard LED ZEPPELIN incorporate that Middle Eastern melody into rock ‘n’ roll, I was well, this is perfect! Rock ‘n’ roll is sexy and dangerous. So basically that song really affected me and what THE TEA PARTY did. We took it much, much further. And rock ‘n’ roll was born!”
The 9th ANNUAL WHOLE LOTTA LOVE – LED ZEPPELIN CELEBRATION commences this September nationwide. Martin gives his point of view of what can be expected. “Great musicianship, that’s for certain. An absolute authentic, respectful show. I stake my reputation on it! There won’t be a LED ZEPPELIN fan that will walk out of the concert not thinking it was just magic!”
After the ZEPPELIN’s Whole Lotta Love has been spread across Australia, there will be much more in the works from Jeff Martin. As mentioned, there will be no break. “In October I will be doing another solo acoustic thing in Australia. Doing more bluesy type music. Playing the Sydney Blues Festival, I’m one of the headliners for that. Also my band 777 is going to do a couple of shows in Sydney and a couple of shows in Melbourne as well. So October is pretty full for me and then I’d like to take November off.”
Jeff Martin’s parting words. “Everything is going really well with the reunion, the reformation of THE TEA PARTY. I will do my best, I promise my best to bring the band over.”