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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

April 24, 1969 - 2nd US Tour begins (1st as headliners) at the Fillmore West
April xx, 1970 - Robert comments about the violence in the audience near the end of the fifth tour
April 04, 1970 - Jimmy Page performs White Summer/Black Mountain Side on the Julie Felix BBC show
April 16, 1970 - Whole Lotta Love was certified Gold in the US after selling over a million copies. The single had peaked at No. 4 on the US singles chart. In the UK, Atlantic Records had expected to issue the edited version themselves, and pressed initial copies for release on December 5, 1969. However, band manager Peter Grant was adamant that the band maintain a "no-singles" approach to marketing their recorded music in the UK and he halted the release.
April xx, 1971 - Untitled is rumored to be released this month
April xx, 1972 - Recording sessions for Houses Of The Holy at Stargroves and Olympic studios
April xx, 1973 - Led Zeppelin rehearse their new stage show in preparation for their huge 1973 US Tour
April xx, 1974 - Swan Song concentrates its efforts on signing new acts
April xx, 1975 - Jimmy does some mixing at Electric Lady studios for TSRTS soundtrack
April 19, 1975 - 51,000 tickets sell in two hours for three nights at Earls Court, two added dates see another 34,000 tickets sold
April xx, 1976 - The band decide they will release their film to theaters
April 30, 1977 - Led Zeppelin breaks the record for the largest attendance for a single-act show in the Pontiac Silverdome with 76,229 in attendance
April xx, 1978 - The band hold a meeting, this time with Robert, to discuss Zeppelin’s future
April 03, 1979 - Page, Bonham and Plant jam with Bad Company again in Birmingham
April 27, 1980 - The band rehearses at Rainbow Theater for an upcoming European tour
April 26, 1988 - James Patrick Page III’s birthday. He is named after his father is the only son of Jimmy and Patricia Ecker. Jimmy spoke of his son saying: "He is wonderful. He has made a big difference to my life."
April 21, 1998 - Page and Plant released Walking Into Clarksdale.
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