Dinosaur rock: It looks as if the members of Led Zeppelin, the Chicago Bears of heavy metal, are getting back together (or as together as they can: drummer Tony Thompson replaces the late John Bonham). Guitarist Jimmy Page, singer Robert Plant, bassist John Paul Jones and Thompson reportedly gathered recently in a European recording studio, and there are already rumors of a giant stadium tour next summer. The band had broken up after Bonham's death in 1980, and Page and Plant had not only sworn to lay the band to rest, but also steadfastly refused to play any Zep material in their solo concerts.
Page is still committed to the Firm, which will perform at the Capital Centre March 19, and Plant has toured under his own name and with the Honeydrippers. But the new lineup is the same that performed what was supposedly a one-time-only gig at last summer's Live Aid concert. While the Firm just released its second record, neither the Firm's albums nor Plant's fine solo albums have sold in the kind of numbers a Led Zep reunion album would undoubtedly net. A recent band biography, Stephen Davis' "Hammer of the Gods," became the biggest-selling rock book since Dave Marsh's Springsteen bio "Born to Run," even making it onto the New York Times best-seller list.
Another great Brit band of yore, the Faces, will be getting back together for what band members insist is a one-time-only fundraiser sometime this spring. The band included Rod Stewart (now a solo star), Ron Wood (now a Rolling Stone), Kenny Jones (with the Who after Keith Moon's death), Ian Maclagen and Ronnie Lane. Lane, whose career has been halted by multiple sclerosis, was the catalyst for 1983's ARMS benefit concerts that brought together all the Yardbirds guitarists (Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Page). As with funds from those concerts, moneys raised here will go to MS and AIDS research. Duran Duran's John Taylor will substitute on bass for Lane. Springsteen's Title Song
Yes, Bruce Springsteen is writing the title song for Paul Schrader's new film. Actually, he already wrote one using that film's original title, "Born in the U.S.A.," but using it would typecast the film before its opening scene. The new title/song is "Around the Corner to the Light of Day" and the story reportedly deals with a brother-sister rock band called the Barbusters (say, that sounds like a catchy title, too, and it would fit marquees better). The film stars Michael J. Fox, lately seen lip-syncing in "Back to the Future," and Rockville girl gone rocker Joan Jett, who also gets to sing the song. Jett, who has recently switched from MCA to Epic, will be one of the stars at tomorrow night's Drive Aid concert at Radio City Music Hall, along with Aerosmith, the Somebodys and Nils Lofgren, another local favorite with Springsteen connections. Lofgren, also on Epic, has begun a series of acoustic shows Tuesdays at the Roxy.
Also on the Boss Beat: news of a new Springsteen record. Unfortunately, he's not actually on it, but 13 of his songs are. The album is Rhino's "Cover Me" and includes some Springsteen favorites that have never appeared on his own albums (excepting the bootlegs, of course). Among them: Patti Smith's "Because the Night," Southside Johnny's "Hearts of Stone," "Love on the Wrong Side of Town" and "Talk to Me," and Dave Edmunds' "From Small Things (Big Things One Day Come)," which could be a summary of Springsteen's career.
There's one more Washington-Springsteen connection made here with "Fire," sung by Bethesda's Robert Gordon. Gordon, who now lives in New York, has had an off-and-on career, and in recent years his face has probably been more exposed than his voice, thanks to television commercials for Cinemax and, especially, for Budweiser (the rockabilly cat at the movies insisting "This Bud's for you").
Gordon, who will be at the Roxy March 1, also appeared in a modern motorcycle film, "The Loveless," which had little exposure. "I'm glad it was brief, actually," Gordon says. "I had a lot of fun doing it but it changed quite a bit in the editing room." He reports that while he's still doing much of his roots repertoire, he's also got a lot of new material, "more of a rock 'n' roll-type sound. Obviously I'm known for a lot of that rockabilly material, but I haven't recorded any of it for a couple of years. I guess that's what people will say until I get a new record out."