Robert Plant Says Heritage Bands Look “Sadly Decrepit” When Playing Live

"It's like people hanging onto a life raft," the former Led Zeppelin frontman said in an interview

Robert Plant heritage bands quote sadly decrepit live old bands interview Robert Plant, photo by Debi Del Grande
Robert Plant, photo by Debi Del Grande

    In a new interview, former Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant claimed that bands who stay together too long look “sadly decrepit,” when playing live.

    Plant sat down with MOJO to discuss his upcoming album with Alison Krauss, the collaborative Raise the Roof, and why he decided to pen original music with her. He explained it’s fun to write songs with a fellow musician where you’ve “got nothing to lose” because there’s no expectations. That’s when he felt compelled to compare it to the work of his peers.

    “The good thing about Alison and I is that we’re a couple of kindred spirits,” he told the magazine. “Most musicians form a band, then they stay in the band until it’s over — 20 years, 30 years, 50 years, whatever it is — and it starts to look sadly decrepit. It’s like people hanging onto a life raft, or staying in a comfortable place.”


    To be fair, Plant “covers” nearly 60-year-old songs by Led Zeppelin on the regular. Plus, his band reunited several times — in 1985, 1988, 1995, and 2007 — after breaking up in 1980 following John Bonham’s tragic death. So is it someone’s age, their appearance, the songs they’re playing, or simply their decision to perform with their original bandmates that makes heritage bands so awkward to watch in Plant’s eyes?

    Several years ago, Plant swore he would never reunite with Led Zeppelin again if the offer presented itself, namely out of fear that their old age could squash their legacy. It’s a pretty bleak stance to take, and hopefully one that’s proven wrong by the simple fact that if you can still play music passionately, surely it can’t be hindering your legacy in that negative of a way. He’s since instructed his kids to share his unreleased archive of music for free when he dies.

    If Plant is worried about tarnishing Led Zeppelin’s reputation by playing with his former bandmates, then at least he’s found another way to set the record straight for younger listeners who never got to see them live. Becoming Led Zeppelin, an officially authorized documentary about the band that’s directed by Bernard MacMahon, has finally been completed and will be announcing a release date sometime soon.


    Editor’s Note: Join us in the fight to protect live music by picking up our new original shirt. A portion of all proceeds go towards independent music venues in their recovery efforts.

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