Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page Reveals Why Band Refused To Make ‘Miserable’ Documentaries

by Clayton Edwards
Robert Plant and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin (Photo by Jay Dickman/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

If you’re a fan of classic rock, you know that most bands have been the center of at least one documentary. Most of those don’t really focus on the music. Instead, they dig into the sordid details of the band members’ lives. They show how things happened behind the scenes. However, you may have noticed that Led Zeppelin has never taken part in one of those until very recently. Becoming Led Zeppelin premieres at the Venice Film Festival this weekend. In a press conference for the film, Jimmy Page explained why the band never wanted to take part in a documentary in the past.

Led Zeppelin is one of the biggest bands in the world. So, it’s no surprise that several people approached the band to make a film in the past. They passed on all of them, according to Variety. However, Jimmy Page said that all of those offers had been “pretty miserable.” He wanted nothing to do with them. Page told the crowd of assembled press, “They’d want to be concentrating on anything but the music, and consequently I would recoil immediately from that sort of thing.”

However, the upcoming Zeppelin documentary is all about the music. Jimmy Page said, “It’s everything about the music and what would make the music tick.” That’s not all that sets Becoming Led Zeppelin apart from other music documentaries. Page noted that the film contains full versions of songs instead of short samples followed by “talking heads,” discussing things. Compared to other music films, Page said this is, “something in a totally different genre.”

How They Pitched the Film to Jimmy Page

Bernard MacMahon was one of the minds behind the film. He described Becoming Led Zeppelin as “part-musical and part how-to guide for aspiring musicians.” Allison McGourty served as producer and director on the film and co-wrote it. They pitched the movie as a “complex storyboard of the band’s timeline.” They made a physical copy of that storyboard and placed it in a leather-bound book. They gave Jimmy Page that book to show him what they wanted to create.

When Jimmy Page saw the leather-bound storyboard, he knew this pitch was different. He saw how accurate, deep, and well-researched it was. About it, he said he realized, “They’ve really done it. They really understand what it was about.” Page went on to say that he couldn’t wait to see how it turned out or if it happened.

Becoming Led Zeppelin will screen 12 times over the course of the festival for both audiences and the press. However, all of the tickets for all of the screenings are sold out. The rarity of the documentary with its deep look into the history of one of the biggest bands in history has made it one of the most popular and in-demand films at the festival.