Welcome to Dissected, where we disassemble a band’s catalog, a director’s filmography, or some other critical pop-culture collection in the abstract. It’s exact science by way of a few beers. This time, we sort through the best and worst of Bonzo, Percy, Led Wallet, and John Paul Jones.
Rock ‘n’ Roll 101: The Beatles are for elementary school. The Rolling Stones for middle school. Led Zeppelin for high school. The Doors for college. Reason being, you’ll learn the meaning of love by second grade, you’ll want to crumple up every piece of your homework around seventh grade, you’ll need to release your angst come sophomore year, and you’ll feel smart enough (and on plenty of drugs) to defend the lunacy of “The End”. Let’s go back to Zeppelin for a minute.
In high school, my friend and former writer of Consequence of Sound, Dave Moser, bought me a two-disc greatest hits collection of Led Zeppelin during our band’s secret Santa. (“Roffman will love this,” he told my drummer, who was then perplexed why he opted for that over some unnecessary Nirvana relic.) The thing never left my car, soundtracking every moment, from the time I peeled away from a few racist Davie boys to the night I drove over to my girlfriend’s house knowing I was going to lose my virginity that night.
Watch Cameron Crowe’s Fast Times at Ridgemont High. (Yes, I understand Amy Heckerling directed the film, but the writing’s all Crowe.) Mike Damone’s advice says it all: “When it comes down to making out, whenever possible, put on side one of Led Zeppelin IV.” Granted, I was always partial to the second half of Houses of the Holy in those situations, but it doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that Led Zeppelin represents the rock ‘n’ roll you’re meant to believe in as a teenager. We’re naive to ignore the musical perfection and hungry enough to enjoy the feels.
For that reason, above all, I can’t dust off Physical Graffiti or III without thinking about long drives, easy nights, and PBJ days. Whether you’ve lived that, are going to, or are currently… the ride is always the same and definitively worth it.