Led Zeppelin Icon Fires Bandmate For Sad Reason


Led Zeppelin icon Robert Plant discussed how he had to fire an entire orchestra while recording, Calling To You, a track off of Plant’s 1993 solo album, Fate of Nations. Alternative Nation transcribed his comments.

Plant: I had just met this guy named Michael Lee, who was playing with The Cult. Well, I had been blessed playing alongside some spectacular drummers. I mean, really, all the way through – Richie Hayward came with me for about five to six years after leaving Little Feat, Phil Collins helped me on my first two solo albums, put his stuff on one side and kicked the rhythms together on the first two records. You know, just all the way, all the time there were great drummers and Michael Lee was spectacular. Lee stayed with us through – I spent a couple of years working with Jimmy Page again but an Egyptian Orchestra and these bunches of pre-sets and Michael [Lee] came through that. Lee had the capacity to drum with the right amount of passion and verve but at the same time, Michael was a very, very clever drummer.  It was really good, Charlie Jones, the bass player so it was really happenin’; we were going places.

Plant continues:

On this track, Calling To You, I wanted to create drones underneath the track, I wanted to create sort of a shimmering, discordant, drone anatomic key of the song. We hired a bunch of classically [trained] Indian musicians who put a blanket on the floor, much to Mickey’s most amusement [in reference to Michael Lee], as he popped his head around the door. They are sitting in a circle with a shehnai and [inaudible], trying to play to an eight, twelve-time signature and we were there for about three hours or so, while these musicians that just came from the Deccan were struggling.

Plant concludes:

Plant: So we got the drone but they just couldn’t play, they weren’t able to read the musical elements of the riff. So interestingly, we had to thank them and off they went, that didn’t work.