Light and Shade: Conversations with Jimmy Page

Light and Shade: Conversations with Jimmy Page

This “oral autobiography” of Jimmy Page, the intensely private mastermind behind Led Zeppelin—one of the most enduring bands in rock history—is the most complete and revelatory portrait of the legendary guitarist ever published.   More than 30 years after disbanding in 1980, Led Zeppelin continues to be celebrated for its artistic achievements, broad musical influence, and...

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Title:Light and Shade: Conversations with Jimmy Page
Author:Brad Tolinski
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Edition Language:English

Light and Shade: Conversations with Jimmy Page Reviews

  • Bill

    When I bought KISS's Alive! album I knew I wanted to play guitar. I was an ardent member of the KISS Army, and they were my first concert in 1977. I wanted to be Ace Frehley with that magnificent Les Paul slung low.

    My obsession lasted a while, but then I discovered Led Zeppelin. Man, you wanted to talk about obsession? Zeppelin took me through all the Good Times, Bad Times of high school and beyond. I was just about torn to pieces when I heard on the radio that the Montreal concert that would ki

    When I bought KISS's Alive! album I knew I wanted to play guitar. I was an ardent member of the KISS Army, and they were my first concert in 1977. I wanted to be Ace Frehley with that magnificent Les Paul slung low.

    My obsession lasted a while, but then I discovered Led Zeppelin. Man, you wanted to talk about obsession? Zeppelin took me through all the Good Times, Bad Times of high school and beyond. I was just about torn to pieces when I heard on the radio that the Montreal concert that would kick off their In Through the Out Door tour would not happen because John Bonham had died. I had his three circle symbol drawn on the back of my hand for days.

    The mighty Zeppelin: John Bonham, arguably the best drummer who ever lived; John Paul Jones, probably the most under-rated musician ever; Robert Plant, the quintessential Rock God presence and inimitable pipes to back it.

    And Jimmy. The mysterious wizard of it all, his playing technique at times sloppy as hell, but beautiful and tender when warranted. MY IDOL. (With that magnificent Les Paul slung low.)

    For many years after the fall of Zeppelin, the elusive Page remained so, rarely caught for interviews, and my hungry self could only satisfy my glimpses of the man in action through repeated viewings of The Song Remains the Same.

    Now, many years later, I play in a band with a bunch of great guys, landing the occasional gig, and I am comfortable with where my playing is at (which is a good balance of rhythm and usually overlong solos, using minor and major pentatonics, minor scale, relative minor, dorian, mixolydian. Yeah, I can use all of these and people will say, Man, you guys are AWESOME!, and I'll embarrassingly say, well thanks, we had a blast).

    To someone who doesn't play, I guess I look pretty good. But I know the truth. Jimmy Page was and is sheer brilliance and can draw out more emotion from a simple pentatonic bend than I could ever do with my bag o tricks. I'd be embarrassed to even pick up his guitar.

    This book was awesome for me. It is a compilation of interviews with Jimmy, and it steers away from the legendary decadence of Zeppelin's heyday. Instead, this is ALL about the music. Jimmy goes into lavish detail on his playing, and mostly about his production of those timeless albums. He has nothing but great things to say about his bandmates (especially Bonham. Jimmy was adamant that drums being the backbone of any band, they should be at the forefront, and this had a lot to do with his mic placements for Bonham's set, ensuring that the music was built around it, not merely as a backdrop).

    If you are a fan of Led Zeppelin, and want to know more about this guy and how the music came about, read this and you will give it five stars, like I just did.

  • Angela Adam

    Can't put this book down, if you love Led Zeppelin, you,ll love this book.

  • Stephen Tow

    I admit it. Jimmy Page is an idol of mine. I saw him play live once...in 1995 or 1996, along with Robert Plant on the Page/Plant Unledded tour. I bought scalp tickets minutes before the event, obtaining seats on the side of the stage with nothing between us and the band. Only about 20 feet of air separated me from the guitar player.

    At some point during the show, Jimmy and I had a moment. Our eyes locked in a "we get it" instant. It was, shall we say, pretty transcendent.

    So now that I have establ

    I admit it. Jimmy Page is an idol of mine. I saw him play live once...in 1995 or 1996, along with Robert Plant on the Page/Plant Unledded tour. I bought scalp tickets minutes before the event, obtaining seats on the side of the stage with nothing between us and the band. Only about 20 feet of air separated me from the guitar player.

    At some point during the show, Jimmy and I had a moment. Our eyes locked in a "we get it" instant. It was, shall we say, pretty transcendent.

    So now that I have established my man crush, let's chat about Brad Tolinski's excellent "Light & Shade: Conversations With Jimmy Page." Tolinski has been a long-time editor with "Guitar World," so he naturally focuses on the types of instruments and amplification Page used. "Light and Shade" does get a bit technical at times, especially for semi-bad non-musicians like me, but it also highlights perhaps the most underrated portion of Page's career: his role as a session man and producer.

    Tolinksi focuses on Page's enormous talents as an engineer, revealing him as a revolutionary figure in the studio. Kind of like Jimi Hendrix, Page is properly recognized as a virtuoso player, but his studio innovations were just as important to his band's sound.

    Throughout "Light & Shade," Tolinski intersperses interviews with commentary about different aspects of Page's life...his fascination with the occult, fashion sense, his time with the Yardbirds (as told by band mate Chris Dreja). In the end, as Tolinski puts it, this book "deepens the mystery" of this great musician...which should be the ultimate goal of any artist. "Light & Shade" is a must read for any fan of rock music, Led Zeppelin, or Page himself.

  • Pawel Szupryczynski

    I love Led Zeppelin, so the review is biased as hell :) Book gathers various interviews of the author with Jimmy Page over the years and chronicles his life. What I like about it, is how much it is focused on the music itself. It allows to understand story and evolution of Led Zeppelin's music over the years (and Jimmy himself), backstories of the albums and songs. The author goes sometimes very deep into technical analysis, to the level comprehensible only by m

    I love Led Zeppelin, so the review is biased as hell :) Book gathers various interviews of the author with Jimmy Page over the years and chronicles his life. What I like about it, is how much it is focused on the music itself. It allows to understand story and evolution of Led Zeppelin's music over the years (and Jimmy himself), backstories of the albums and songs. The author goes sometimes very deep into technical analysis, to the level comprehensible only by musicians (which I'm not), but it only proves ingenuity of Jimmy Page. It lacks juicy scandal stories from band life (whereas

    was full of it) yet Jimmy does not deny in the talks amount of drugs used over his life :D The book is also a bit less detailed about post-LZ era (solo career and various reunions with Plant up till 2007 concert), but is an interesting read.

    What can I say.. Led Zeppelin is still the best band in the world and I respect Jimmy Page even more after reading this.

  • Vishwanath

    Brad Tolinski is easily one of the most qualified people on the planet to interview Jimmy Page and the quality of content on Jimmy Page's music and guitar wizardry is unparalleled here. From the formative Yardbirds years to the dizzy heights of Led Zeppelin to the sobering 90s projects and the relevance Jimmy Page has in today's music - its all in here. Jimmy's interest and dabbles in metaphysics , Aleister Crowley and the dark side is all covered in an objective way that refreshing to read. Ori

    Brad Tolinski is easily one of the most qualified people on the planet to interview Jimmy Page and the quality of content on Jimmy Page's music and guitar wizardry is unparalleled here. From the formative Yardbirds years to the dizzy heights of Led Zeppelin to the sobering 90s projects and the relevance Jimmy Page has in today's music - its all in here. Jimmy's interest and dabbles in metaphysics , Aleister Crowley and the dark side is all covered in an objective way that refreshing to read. Origins of Led Zeppelin songs like “Friends,” “Immigrant Song,”, “Since I’ve Been Loving You” "Bron-Yr-Aur" - the list goes on, are covered in riveting detail. In true Brad Tolinski fashion, Jimmy's guitar rig across the years is also covered along with emphasis on solos. For example, jimmy's uplifting comments on the "Stairway to Heaven" solo -

    The conversations with Jimmy interspersed with interludes with commentary with key people familiar with that period of Jimmy's life are wonderful to read.

    If "hammer of the gods" was all about urban legend , this book sets the record straight.

  • Jason Fischer

    While fans of Led Zeppelin will get a lot out of this book, this series of interviews are a joy to read for anyone. Brad Tolinski is the editor of Guitar World, and he has brought to this book a technical sensibility missing in most other Zeppelin texts. Readers looking for scandalous rock exploits and tour horror-stories are advised to look elsewhere; Light and Shade is a book focussing first and foremost on Jimmy Page's craft and career.

    Music buffs are bound to get a lot of enjoyment from Toli

    While fans of Led Zeppelin will get a lot out of this book, this series of interviews are a joy to read for anyone. Brad Tolinski is the editor of Guitar World, and he has brought to this book a technical sensibility missing in most other Zeppelin texts. Readers looking for scandalous rock exploits and tour horror-stories are advised to look elsewhere; Light and Shade is a book focussing first and foremost on Jimmy Page's craft and career.

    Music buffs are bound to get a lot of enjoyment from Tolinski's access to the normally reticent Page. These candid interviews cover his career from the pre-Zeppelin days, right through to recent collaborations and the reunion concert.

    Towards the end of the book the interviews are rounded out with a detailed breakdown of Page's guitar collection, a look at his occult leanings and some other esoterica. The photos (I believe from Page's own collection?) are a nice touch. A thoroughly enjoyable biography, and recommended.

  • Shaun Ryan

    Not your typical rock star biography. This is all about the music, how it evolved, his early days touring the hard way, as a studio set man, with the Yardbirds, the forming of Zeppelin, how Page, Plant, Bonham, and Jones meshed and became, as Page puts it, "Four elements that made up a fifth," and his philosophy and goals post Zeppelin. Good stuff.

  • M.L. Rio

    This is an incredibly refreshing take on the whole genre of the music biography. Led Zeppelin and its extant members have always had strained relationships with the press, and it's not hard to see why: nobody really wants to talk about the music. All they want to do is rehash the Shark Incident and speculate about who was snorting what and banging whom. Frankly I couldn't care less about all that, so hats off to (Brad) Tolinski for making a break with that lurid tradition and sitting down to tal

    This is an incredibly refreshing take on the whole genre of the music biography. Led Zeppelin and its extant members have always had strained relationships with the press, and it's not hard to see why: nobody really wants to talk about the music. All they want to do is rehash the Shark Incident and speculate about who was snorting what and banging whom. Frankly I couldn't care less about all that, so hats off to (Brad) Tolinski for making a break with that lurid tradition and sitting down to talk to one of the most significant guitarists/producers in the history of rock about how he actually made music. Led Zeppelin naturally looms large and the backbone of the book is of course provided by Page himself, but some of the most illuminating soundbites are provided by those who tend to get overlooked: John Paul Jones and Chris Dreja, for example. It's a comprehensive, engaging, and well-balanced read, and my complaints minor. The making of

    is largely bypassed, for some reason, and the last chapter--which focuses on JP's personal interest in astrology--feels inconclusive and anticlimactic. However, it's not enough to undermine the overall impact of the book. An essential edition to any music lover's library.

  • Pete daPixie

    Not far off four stars. 'Light & Shade' really does feel like a cozy fireside chat with Jimmy Page. Brad Tolinski's 'conversations' with the Led Zep span his musical career from 1958 all the way to the publication year of 2012. As Tolinski is Editorial Director of 'Guitar World' mag, and has interviewed our axe hero many times over the previous twenty years, this is a very informative book, that makes a refreshing change from the usual format of rock biography.

    Young Jimmy's discovery of a di

    Not far off four stars. 'Light & Shade' really does feel like a cozy fireside chat with Jimmy Page. Brad Tolinski's 'conversations' with the Led Zep span his musical career from 1958 all the way to the publication year of 2012. As Tolinski is Editorial Director of 'Guitar World' mag, and has interviewed our axe hero many times over the previous twenty years, this is a very informative book, that makes a refreshing change from the usual format of rock biography.

    Young Jimmy's discovery of a discarded guitar, c1957, led to becoming a session musician in the early sixties, before joining The Yardbirds and eventually forming Zep in 1968. The rest, as they say, is mystery. Page has long kept the music media at arms length, so these intimate and revealing conversations make a good read. Perhaps the non guitar player may not appreciate the 'techie' aspects of the guitar modifications, recording and amplification methods, effects pedals, or the various alternate tunings employed in this track, or that 'live' performance. As well as a legendary guitar player, Page is a wizz of a record producer, so Tolinski is naturally interested in discussing these topics.

  • Tamahome

    See, I can finish books. I liked the interview parts. No so much the filler chapters. There's one all about his astrological sign, and one about his clothes. *sigh*

    My favorite Jimmy Page performance, Dazed and Confused live. Especially when he goes crazy on the guitar after 4 minutes:

    Led Zeppelin is now on Spotify by the way, so you can play their stuff for free. I like 'Tea For One'. Don't be faked out by the intro. The 2nd live Dazed and Confused on the

    See, I can finish books. I liked the interview parts. No so much the filler chapters. There's one all about his astrological sign, and one about his clothes. *sigh*

    My favorite Jimmy Page performance, Dazed and Confused live. Especially when he goes crazy on the guitar after 4 minutes:

    Led Zeppelin is now on Spotify by the way, so you can play their stuff for free. I like 'Tea For One'. Don't be faked out by the intro. The 2nd live Dazed and Confused on the BBC Sessions is good too.

    I think I prefer Ten Years Gone with Jimmy and the Black Crowes:

    Some quotes:

    "

    "

    "It's sort of obvious, but I've got to say John Bonham. I don't know if you've heard any of the bootleg tapes of, say, "Trampled Underfoot", when he's trying all these other rhythms and he's moving around so much on the ride cymbal. His independence was just second to none. All you ever hear about jazz drummers is their independence. He just pissed all over them."

    "

    "

    "

    Yes, it was done purposely. We wanted every part of the song to be important and have movement. There was no need to retreat to the security of having a big chorus in every song. If you emphasize one part of the song, it trivializes the rest of the music."

    "

    "

    "They were more like "unset" pieces. "Dazed and Confused" is the most obvious example. It had several triggers throughout the song that the band used to signal the next section. If we hit one of the triggers, you would know that you had to start shifting gears. But between each cue, anything could happen."

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