Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Behind The Thunder : An Exclusive Interview With Drummer Jason Bonham Of Black Country Communion

The name Bonham has been synonymous with powerful heavy rock drumming for over four decades. Ever since John Bonham burst onto the scene when Led Zeppelin exploded with the release of their debut album in early 1969, the mold was cast. That of an explosive thunderous drummer who when needed, sounded like cannons being fired, yet still was capable of subtlety and grace when the occasion called for it.

It was that power which helped propel the British rock legends to massive fame and fortune,and into legend in the 1970's. That amazing talent led to him being generally recognized as one of, if not the best heavy rock drummer in history decades after his tragic passing at the age of 32 in 1980.

Born in 1966, the world at large got its first glimpse of a young Jason Bonham with the release of the Led Zeppelin film 'The Song Remains The Same' in 1976. Appearing alongside his father, drumming on a scaled-down kit, it was a foreshadowing of things to come.

By age 17 he joined his first band Airrace, and in 1985, he joined Virginia Wolf, recording two albums and touring the U.S. supporting The Firm. In 1988 the Bonham legacy came calling twice, as first he joined guitarist Jimmy Page for his 'Outrider' album and tour, then in May he took over the drum spot as the remaining three members of Led Zeppelin reunited for the Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary concert in New York City.

The next year saw him forming his next band Bonham, whose Zeppelin-inflected debut release 'The Disregard of Timekeeping' spawned the hit single "Wait For You", its attendant video being a mainstay on MTV during the period. Despite such success however, the band's next album 'Mad Hatter', released in 1992, failed to meet expectations, leading to their disbanding shortly thereafter.

The 90's also saw him hook up with legendary British blues rock belter Paul Rodgers, drumming on all tracks of the Grammy nominated 'Muddy Water Blues: A Tribute to Muddy Waters', leading to an appearance at 1994's Woodstock II with Rodgers and guitarist Slash. Two other solo projects transpired, 1997's 'In The Name Of My Father -The Zepset' and 'While You See The Sun', both of which having connections to his late father. The first featuring the songs of Led Zeppelin, the latter seeing Bonham once again appearing alongside his dad via sampling on several tracks.

In 1999 Bonham joined Indianapolis based blues rockers Healing Sixes, recording the Kevin Shirley (Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Iron Maiden, Joe Bonamassa) produced 'Enormosound' which was released to critical acclaim in 2002. Leaving the band in 2003, he soon found himself invited to join English hard rock legends UFO. During his tenure with the band they released a studio album 'You Are Here' and a live DVD 'Showtime', both of which were very well received. During this time, from 2004 to 2007 and part of 2007 to 2008 he also found himself playing live as part of a reconfigured Foreigner.

In December 2007 his profile was heightened immensely when he once again filled in for his father at the historic Led Zeppelin reunion show at London's O2. Demonstrating that he is the only rightful heir to the drummer's stool, if and when that band might choose to reunite again, it was an affirmation of his ability to rise to the occasion and do justice to his father's legacy.

Recently we had the wonderful opportunity to catch up with Jason to discuss the powerful new album he has recorded with vocalist Glenn Hughes, blues guitar god Joe Bonamassa and keyboardist Derek Sherinian, collectively known as Black Country Communion. In a band filled with masters of their craft, his drumming on the record stands out as a robust example of classic British rock power, and is a performance which would surely make his dad proud.

In part two of our exclusive series of all the members of Black Country Communion, the topics covered include not only his thoughts on the new album, the tour he's embarking on his own next month, The Led Zeppelin Experience - a multimedia tribute to the band, and most of all his late father John, living with the legacy of being the son of one of rock's all time great drummers, and more. Read on as we have a chat with one of rock's true powerhouse drummers, Jason Bonham....Click here for the exclusive interview.

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