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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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This Month in
Led Zeppelin History

July xx, 1969 - The band play many festivals now on their third American tour
July xx, 1970 - Additional recording for Led Zeppelin III at London’s Island Studios
July 16, 1970 - Photographer Chris Welch films Led Zeppelin on his 8mm camera, some clips later used in the Whole Lotta Love promo video
July xx, 1971 - Untitled gets re-mixed in London
July 05, 1971 - A riot erupts mid-concert, forcing Led Zeppelin to stop after about 40 minutes
July xx, 1972 - After repeated bad press, Led Zeppelin hire their first publicity firm
July 20, 1973 - A last minute decision is made to film the remaining part of the tour
July xx, 1973 - Led Zeppelin is filmed over the three nights for their film that will emerge as The Song Remains The Same
July xx, 1974 - After viewing their 1973 filmed performance, it is apparent critical errors were made
July xx, 1974 - Mixing for Physical Graffiti at Olympic Studios
July 05, 1975 - The band meet in Montreux to discuss adding South America and Japan to the end of their North American tour
July xx, 1976 - Bonham and Page fly to Montreux, Switzerland to check out some new sound and drum effects
July 17, 1977 - The last ever performance of Moby Dick played at the Seattle Kingdome
July 24, 1977 - The band plays its last US date at the Oakland Coliseum
July xx, 1978 - Led Zeppelin are invited to perform at Maggie Bell’s Festival Hall show
July xx, 1979 - Led Zeppelin film their rehearsal at Bray Studios
July 04, 1979 - Led Zeppelin confirm a second date at Knebworth in August 1979
July 05, 1980 - Simon Kirke joins in on drums for an encore in Munich
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