Jimmy Page Discusses His New Solo Album, 'Outrider,' and More in 1988 Guitar World Interview, Part 1
Here's the first part of our interview with Jimmy Page from the October 1988 issue of Guitar World magazine. Stay tuned for part two later in the week. The original story, which started on page 42, ran with the headline, "Jimmy Page: Dawn of the Solo Era."
In his twenty-five-year career, the fiery B-bender has always aimed his guitar firepower from within the context of a group. For the first time this fall, he'll be comin' at you with a solo tour.
In this candid conversation, Page reflects with two GW correspondents on the role of the guitar in all this as his one true, abiding passion.
What does it take to reinflate a legend? If the legend in question is forty-four year-old Jimmy Page, the answer is twofold.
By choosing to launch a solo career after twenty-five years as a professional musician, Page was accepting the burden of proving 1) that his celebrated virtuosity was undiminished, and 2) that he could once again locate the source of the molten, mystic magnetism, the X factor that had lifted Led Zeppelin from the congested realm of mere competence to the ozone of transcendence.
One of the wealthiest figures in show biz, and a new daddy to boot, Page could have been perfectly justified in resting on his laurels, retiring to his estate in the Berkshire countryside and living out his days in baronial splendor, his reputation only slightly tarnished by his feeble final foray with The Firm.
That would have been the simpler course -- but it wasn't what Page had in mind. Did the guitarist feel he still had something to prove? You bet your B-bender he did.
In order to stage his return, Page first needed to make a record -- not the sort of task one normally chooses to undertake when one has a pregnant wife at home. No problem. Page's studio, the Sol, is right on the grounds of his estate; what's more, he was happy to take a non-obsessive approach to recording, working one day, kicking back the next.
Page's pre-production approach was just as casual; after having his initial set of demos for the album stolen, he chose not to prepare at all. Instead, he'd walk into the studio each workday with a willing heart and an open mind, simply picking up a guitar and jamming with whatever rhythm section happened to be in the room.
The rock and blues material on Page's first album was created in just this sort of devil-may-care fashion.
The music on Outrider sounds anything but casual, however. Its first side dominated by authoritative rockers , its second by blues-infected smokers, the album shows that Page remains one of rock's pre-eminent riffmeisters, rhythm players and pyrotechnicians.
And while the songs are less striking than the riffs that hold them together, that isn't the point here. Outrider is a showcase for the sounds of Jimmy Page, no more, no less.
You get three vocalists -- John Miles and his generic metallisms, Chris Farlow and his classic Brit -blues angst and solo artiste Bobby Plant on one track (the aptly titled "The Only One" ) -- with each supplying the lyrics to the tunes he sings.
Again, so what? Apart from Farlow, whose intensity matches that of Page, the vocalists merely take up a slot on the track sheet, along with the various overdubbed guitar parts.