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Frank Smith on John Bonham

Had John Bonham still been with us today, it goes without saying that he would be an elder statesman of rock in the same way that Jimmy, Robert and John Paul Jones are recognized to be today.

I imagine he would be retired from the music business and would be a sober and loving proud father and grandfather. He wouldn't have been flashy and capitalizing on his fame but would appreciate the genuine recognition for all that he'd accomplished.

I like to think he would be on his farm with Pat and family and perhaps, occasionally, sit in with bands to smash the skins for the fun of it.

Bonzo would also be taking an active interest in Jason's drumming, shepherding him along in drumming technique and in life.

Perhaps, in a perfect scenario, he would have done an experimental solo percussion-only album or two with Jimmy producing.

I also picture him sitting in with bands like Tool and other local bands that he respected.

Its nice to think that Bonzo would also would have sat in with aspiring drummers and given clinics at drum industry conventions.

If he were still with us today, he would cruise around town on his motorcycles and cars from his collection-occasionally showing off his latest acquisitions; a black Citroen GT and a Bugatti Veyron.

For one reason or another, Led Zeppelin would have disbanded in the mid-80's after the music business and fans no longer supported the world in which Zep existed.

Jimmy and company wouldn't want to have cheapened all they had built in the previous years and they would have quietly put the band to rest once it became obvious to all of them that they had outgrown their time.

The MTV generation would have put the band on a shelf while they danced to Michael Jackson. John Bonham in particular wouldn't have wanted to continue to seem to be a caricature of his old self and would have voted to disband Led Zeppelin.

Perhaps there would have been the occasional get-together when the time and situation felt right.

Live Aid and the Atlantic 40th show certainly would have been much better with John there behind the kit, of course.

So, it all came full circle in December 2007 when his son sat in for him. John would have been proud.

He was a man of his time.

I often wonder how he would have adapted and grown to fit into the twenty first century with plastic drums, drum machines, YouTube and auto tune. My gut tells me he would have adapted just fine while staying true to his organic drumming technique.

He is missed by legions of fans, friends and family each day.
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September 07, 1968 - The band fulfills some old Yardbirds dates in Scandanavia
September xx, 1969 - Jimmy Page is reported saying the second album will be harder than the first
September 19, 1970 - Led Zeppelin gross over $100,000 for two performances at Madison Square Gardens on the same day
September xx, 1971 - Jimmy Page is furious over a live Yardbirds release. It was forced off the shelves
September xx, 1971 - The band vacations in Hawaii
September xx, 1972 - Discussions to play various countries ends with a decision to play Japan again
September xx, 1973 - Jimmy Page considers a live release of material before releasing a new album
September 14, 1974 - Led Zeppelin and CSN&Y jam at an after party
September xx, 1975 - Jimmy meets up with Robert in Malibu, where he is staying on a tax exile
September 12, 1976 - Page and Bonham return to Switzerland and record a drum piece title Bonzo’s Montreux
September 08, 1977 - Page takes to the stage with other well knowns at a WEA records sales conference
September 15, 1978 - Zep road manager Richard Cole and Bad Company’s Simon Kirke get married in a double ceremony
September 17, 1979 - Promoter Fred Bannister forced into liquidation over Knebworth Sales with Led Zeppelin
September 18, 1980 - Jimmy reviews a new stage set up and technical details for the Eighties Part One tour at Swan Song offices
September 25, 1980 - John Bonham is found dead in Jimmy Page’s Windsor mansion by sound technician Benji Le Fevre
September 12, 2007 - It was announced at a press conference by Harvey Goldsmith that the remaining members of Led Zeppelin would reunite with Jason Bonham on drums.
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