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Jimmy Page Discusses His New Solo Album, 'Outrider,' and More in 1988 Guitar World Interview, Part 1

Jimmy Page Discusses His New Solo Album, 'Outrider,' and More in 1988 Guitar World Interview, Part 1

They're present in order to prevent Outrider from being nothing more than stiff competition for Joe Satriani.

Further, leave the single-note runs to Yngwie Malmsteen -- Page is more interested in creating tone, texture and atmosphere with his chunky riffing. Indeed, the stuff he plays here is as thick as Arnold Schwarzenneger's torso, as shimmery as a mirage in Death Valley.

The chunky sounds and rhythmic interstices of the instrumental "Liquid Mercury" parallel the shapes and segments of modern art, while the banshee overdubbed guitars of "Wanna Make Love" swoop and soar like the Blue Angels. And lest we forget that Page's sensibility is rooted in electric blues, there's the sizzling extemporaneous "Prison Blues"; then there's the delicate "Blues Anthem," which is neither bluesy nor anthemic.

For the LP's crowning moment, Page has conjured up "Emerald Eyes," an exquisite watercolor wash of acoustic and electric guitars, made even more resonant by the subtle colorations of a Roland guitar synth.

Forget the muffed solo on "Stairway To Heaven" during the Led Zeppelin reunion portion of the Atlantic 40th Anniversary Concert -- it was probably merely a case of stage fright for the high-strung guitarist. Outrider offers undeniable proof that Jimmy Page hasn't forgotten how to play his instrument. The virtuosity found throughout the LP's nine tracks formidably perpetuates the purely musical side of Page's legendary status.

But what of the less tangible side of his legend? Is Page still willing to inhabit the territory of his mythic cachet? An introvert and a loner (the album could have just as accurately been titled Outsider), Page has a longstanding distaste for the peripheral stuff that accompanies stardom -- particularly the interviews.

But wanting to get his solo career off on the right foot , the veteran artist gritted his teeth and agreed to do whatever his label, Geffen Records, deemed necessary.

Thus, dutifully but grudgingly, he has entered rooms to face his inquisitors, their tape recorders capturing every halting attempt at openness, every pregnant pause, every hermetic "mmm." He has to do it, but he doesn't have to like it.

In order to get the most out of Page, Guitar World assigned not one but two journalists -- English writer Max Kay and yours truly -- to squeeze the very last drop of blood from the stone. Kay met with Page in the London offices of his accountant -- finding him "depressingly normal" -- while this reporter visited with the guitarist at the tail end of an apparently arduous week of interviews in his Beverly Hills hotel room.

During our conversation, Page lit a succession of Marlboro Light 100's while doing his best to be cordial and cooperative.

Tall and somewhat ungainly, he looked and behaved more like a long-haired English bureaucrat than a guitar hero, and 'his responses were peppered with pauses, nervous laughter and mumbled codas. The one aspect of the man that seemed in keeping with his reputation was a surliness that lurked ominously just below the surface of his demeanor – a sort of Loch Ness Monster of latent hostility.

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