An Insider's View of the Birth of Led Zeppelin

Back Page Magazine sent over word that they just posted a great interview with Henry 'The Horse' Smith, who is a veteran roadie and road manager. During the interview they go into to depth about one of his highest profile gigs: Led Zeppelin and he was with them before they were even Led Zeppelin. Here is an excerpt.

BPM: So the first incarnation of The Yardbirds was in decline and Jimmy Page comes up to you and says what?

HS: The Yardbirds were nearing the end of the road and Keith Relf and Jim McCarty from that band asked me if I would work with a new band of theirs called Renaissance. A few days later, Jimmy comes up to me and asks me if I would work with him on a new band that he had not completely formed yet. I liked the idea that Jimmy was going more into a rock thing as opposed to what Renaissance was going to do and so I said yes to Jimmy.

BPM: So in essence you were going from an already established band with The Yardbirds to a band that was, at the time, Jimmy Page and nobody else. Did you feel that you were making a wise decision?

HS: No. (laughs) But I was 21 and stupid. It sounded like a good gig. Jimmy was always very kind to me and I knew (manager) Peter Grant's reputation so I said 'sure, I'm in.'

BPM: So you were on board before there was even a band?

HS: It was Jimmy's band. You could probably make a case for Led Zeppelin being the first ever boy band. Jimmy put the band together. He went out and handpicked everybody else. Robert and Bonzo (John Bonham) were in Band Of Joy but were still primarily unknown, and John Paul Jones was at the top of his game as a session musician but not known outside of that circle.

Check out the full interview here.

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