Robert Plant is a living legend of the highest degree when it comes to rock and roll. For years, he helped Led Zeppelin earn a mythical status among their peers as the vibrant vocal force behind their powerful music — but he’s done so much more than that.
After Zeppelin’s eventual dissolution, Plant has remained incredibly active as a solo artist, touring the globe time and time again with his band, the Sensational Space Shifters. Yes, he’s performed Zeppelin classics in concert, but only as a complementary set piece blended in among his new material, which is heavily inspired by world music and intense rhythms.
“Well, to begin with, the substance of our live performance, it’s really varied. We use a lot of rhythm that is both sampled and played at the same time, so there’s a big, big leap towards mass rhythm. Some songs we use five or six hand drums, distorted through the P.A. So there is a lot of lot of exotica and a lot of lure coming from rhythm, and that’s coming from North Africa, or it’s coming from Bristol and Massive Attack. There’s a lot of varied elements in what we do, and you can hear it in the most recent records. It’s a kind of underlying loop, which is almost like a kind of cradle from which everything builds. It’s really pretty exotic. It’s in the moment.
So I just follow where that takes me.”
Plant seems quite content with where he is these days, and while that may mean no official Led Zeppelin reunion tours with Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones, you never know. And besides, even if that won’t ever happen, just catch a Plant solo gig and you may hear some of your favorites performed in a new format.
Happy 70th birthday, Robert Plant!