Back when I was a spotty pre-teen, Led Zeppelin made me nervous.
My cousin, who’s a little older and not nearly as much of a late-bloomer as I was, was really into heavy rock, and she attempted to spread the gospel to me. Unfortunately, I think she was wearing her scary, devil-encrusted Black Sabbath shirt at the time, and in my mind, all the bands she was talking about were immediately tarred with Satan’s brush.
Zeppelin included. I think she was trying to get me to listen to “All My Love”, from In Through The Out Door, which is no one’s idea of a paean to Lucifer, but I was having none of it, and for years I refused to listen to any Zep songs.
Except, for some reason, “Immigrant Song”. Maybe because the riff is just stupid and bludgeoning enough that it might have been written specifically for 10 year-old boys, I couldn’t get enough of this song.
Years later, when I finally had a suitable guitar, a nasty distortion pedal, and sufficient chops, I set out to cover the track. After getting over the sheer, dumb joy of playing the guitar riff for seven hours in a row, though, I realized that I was going to be undone by the fact that I was not Robert Plant. And how do you do this song without the big Viking battle cry?
Additional years passed, and then one day I was fooling around with guitars and vocoders (the devices that make those synthesized voices you hear on Daft Punk and Beastie Boys records) when it came to me in a blinding flash: I know! Robots! ROBOTS SINGING LED ZEPPELIN!!
Well, robots…and my friend, the excellent singer/songwriter Rick Starbuck, who ended up nailing the Plant howl throughout this track (thanks, Rick!).
In fact, once invited in, the robots kind of took over this song, delivering a kind of stiff, erector set funk that hopefully sets this version somewhat apart from the peerless original. It’s, well…you kind of have to hear it. Click that play button!
Anyway, I’d love to hear what you think – give me a yea or nay, as well as any other views you might have, down there in the comments!