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Chad Smith Drums in Hallowed Home Where Led Zeppelin Recorded



Chad Smith has now walked in the footsteps of Led Zeppelin. "Holy Grail of drum sounds," the Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer tweeted today, along with a video that shows him and Queen drummer Roger Taylor playing in Headley Grange, a private English residence where Zeppelin made some of their most famous recordings in the early '70s. Smith was the first person to record drums there since his favorite drummer, Led Zep's John Bonham, 40 years ago, according to his management.

Headley Grange is where Jimmy Page came up with "Stairway to Heaven." More significant for drummers, it's where Bonham and engineer Andy Johns recorded "When the Levee Breaks," creating a sound that Queen's Taylor describes in the video as "like thunder" and "the benchmark" that "so many people strived for." Joining Smith and Taylor in the studio for the video is drummer Andy Gangadeen, who has played with British drum-and-bass duo Chase & Status as well as on Massive Attack‘s influential 1998 album Mezzanine.

The occasion for the drummers' Headley Grange spiritual homecoming was a five-day set of recording sessions last summer, organized by sample library Spitfire Audio. Smith, Taylor and Gangadeen were there to create a set of loops, breaks, beats and hits for other musicians to use in their tracks. They recorded using a variety of modern and vintage mics and preamps, along with a 24-track, two-inch Studer tape deck.

"To be able to just look up and see the way the stairs go, just to be in that space and play those notes and be in this same air, goosebumps, man," Smith says in the video. "It was amazing." When he arrived at Headley Grange, he kissed the floor of the hall.

Besides Zeppelin, other bands that recorded at this rural manor house in the '60s and '70s included Genesis, Bad Company and Fleetwood Mac.

The title for the clip says it's a teaser for NAMM, which is the National Association of Music Merchants trade show, held January 22 to January 25 in Anaheim, California. Let's hope for more glimpses of the Grail next week, then.

As for Smith's doppelganger, Will Ferrell, it's been a few months since the two rekindled their The Tonight Show drum-off with a Rolling Stones cover in Seattle. And they might not be done.

"I can't really expound upon details, but we have been talking about doing something [in 2015] that will combine music and comedy ­— a show," Smith recently told Rolling Stone. "It will benefit the charities that we're into. Plus, I think I need to redeem myself from how I was robbed of the Golden Cowbell. I don't want to burst any bubbles, but he wasn't even playing the drums, people! Shenanigans! Call the cops, I've been robbed! Yeah, so, it's not over." Guess this means they won't invite Ferrell to the Grange?

Watch the video below, and don't miss Luke Turner's recent Wondering Sound interview with Jimmy Page.



From: Wondering Sound
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This Month in
Led Zeppelin History

March 17, 1969 - A four-song performance is filmed for TV Byen in Denmark (aired on May 19, 1969)
March 21, 1969 - Zeppelin’s debut TV appearance on "How It Is"
March 25, 1969 - Filming session for the Supershow
March xx, 1970 - The band turns down many TV offers worth large sums
March 05, 1971 - Led Zeppelin started a 12-date "Thank You" tour for British fans, appearing at the clubs from their early days and charging the same admission prices as in 1968. The first show was at Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland where they played songs from their upcoming fourth album, including the first public performances of Black Dog, Stairway To Heaven, Going To California and Rock And Roll.
March 12, 1972 - Page and Plant rehearse some songs with the Bombay Orchestra
March 25, 1973 - Led Zeppelin finally release Houses of the Holy after production issues with the album cover
March 28, 1973 - Led Zeppelin released Houses Of The Holy in the UK. The album title was a dedication by the band to their fans who appeared at venues they dubbed "houses of the holy". Houses Of The Holy has now been certified 11 times Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for US sales in excess of 11 million copies.
March xx, 1974 - The band decide to release a double album due to the amount of left over studio material
March 29, 1975 - Led Zeppelin saw all six of their albums in the US Top 100 chart in the same week, alongside their latest album Physical Graffiti at No.1. Physical Graffiti has now been certified 16 times Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for US sales in excess of 16 million copies.
March 15, 1975 - Tickets for the Earls Court shows sellout within four hours
March xx, 1976 - Jimmy speaks with reporters mentioning the new album due out called Presence
March 31, 1976 - Presence is released
March 28, 1977 - Zeppelin arrive in Dallas, Texas to rehearse before opening the eleventh tour of the US
March xx, 1978 - Robert and John spend some time hanging around the Midlands
March 26, 1979 - Robert takes lead vocal at a Bad Company gig in Birmingham
March 04, 1980 - John Bonham makes a TV appearance on "Alright Now" with Bill Connolly
March 26, 2006 - Readers of Total Guitar magazine voted the guitar solo by Jimmy Page in Led Zeppelin’s Stairway To Heaven as the greatest guitar solo of all time. The 1971 track was voted ahead of tracks by Van Halen, Queen, Jimi Hendrix and The Eagles. On the 20th anniversary of the original release of the song, it was announced via US radio sources that the song had logged up an estimated 2,874,000 radio plays - back to back, that would run for 44 years solid.
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