by Carey Rutherford
Jimmy Page would be proud.
For those who may have forgotten, he was not simply the heroin-addled Cromwell-obsessed lead guitarist of the ’70’s rock ‘n roll gods, Led Zeppelin; he was also their creative leader, their producer, the force behind their formation, and preceding that, a successful session musician, appearing uncredited on many pop tracks and in some tours (like Tom Jones’ “Live in Las Vegas”) in the ‘60s.
40 years later, Alex Whitcombe is working on sharing his Dreams of Reason:
“In 2006 we released a 12 song album called ‘Slave’s Desire’ as an independent. We’re still indie-ish, but we were given a distribution deal, so instead of pinning it directly to the band, my business partner (Jeff Bikas) and I set up a record label (Blackstream Records) so that if there is no Dreams of Reason at (any) time, we can still promote bands and sign bands, and get the word out there.”
And in the meantime, play a little rock ‘n roll .. . .
“I initially picked up a guitar because I just wanted to get into a punk band: Green Day was huge (laughs); I was 14. So I started doing that and then it was like, ‘Okay, there’s got to be something more.’ I went to a guitar teacher at one point, and I gravitated to Led Zeppelin, and said I wanted to learn how to play like Jimmy Page, and he said ‘You’ve gotta learn Page’s influences to play like him.’ I had heard my Dad’s blues records. So (the teacher) taught me all of the blues artists that influenced Page, instead of showing me a Led Zeppelin song, which ultimately gave me that Jimmy Page vibe I was after.
Really, seeing the Tea Party, . . . really put it to the next level for me. It was something on a completely new level: I’d never seen a band like that, (with that kind of) musicianship, and that really sold me on music and that’s why I do what I do today.”
Don’t worry, though: they’re skipping the heroin-addled part, which also, as Alex says, “eliminates the 25 minute guitar or drum solos.”
“If you talk to bands from Vancouver (where the band originates), certainly everyone will appreciate a Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath or even a Metallica influence. In mainstream parlance (yes, he said ‘parlance’) we talk about Pearl jam and Stone Temple Pilots because people are more aware of them as radio bands, right?”
And so, with the release of their first CD on a major label in September, Radically Poetic, the obvious question is, how’s it going?
“The reception has been phenomenal: we go out on the road, we sell albums, and merchandise, and people come to the show (6 sold out shows in Calgary so far). I feel there’s a strong group of people who crave Real Rock n Roll. It’s not sugar-coated. It’s a little bit raw and rough around the edges.”
THAT sounds like a rock band talking, now!
“There’s a mystique about (these influences), too. Look at a band like Zeppelin and they’re mysterious: you don’t see those hordes of paparazzi and (journalists and groupies) like from the past. There’s some of that now, but there’s an element of surprise in their music, and a mystery, which is missing from today’s culture.. . . . I’m making an attempt to pay homage to that tradition.”
Excuse me for being corny, but, with another show at the Blind Beggar Pub on Saturday night, . . .