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This article was published 16/10/2010 (3903 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Jason Bonham has a whole lotta love and respect for the Led Zeppelin catalogue, but before mounting a travelling production to honour his dad, late Zeppelin drummer John, he checked with his mom first.
"I asked my mom and my sister. I said, 'I would like to do a show, it's very personal and I'm sure it's going to be sad for you.' Some of the footage I hadn't seen for 30 years, ranging back to when I was a kid," Bonham says.
His family gave him the green light to rock 'n' roll and Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience was ready to go, with Bonham handling the drum parts his dad made famous in the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s until his death in 1980, when Jason was only 14.
"The first night I got so emotional and called my mom in the middle of the show," Bonham says. "I was like a four-year-old saying, 'Look, Mom, they like me.' I got two-and-a-half-housand people to yell, 'Hi, Patricia.' She's so happy it worked out."
The seeds for the show were planted when Bonham played with the surviving members of Led Zeppelin -- vocalist Robert Plant, guitarist Jimmy Page and bassist John Paul Jones -- during a reunion show in London in honour of Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun.
After the concert, there was talk of a full-scale reunion and tour, but Plant didn't want to do it. Bonham, Page and Jones jammed together a few times and other vocalists auditioned for the job, but nothing came of it.
"There was a lot of talk; I probably thought it was a lot closer than it was," he says. "I went out and bought a Lamborghini. I was in dreamland.
"A year later, three or five times, I went to jam with Jimmy and John Paul, which is another period of my life I hold dear. Being in a situation where you are jamming with John Paul Jones and Jimmy Page, asking if you have ideas you want to work on. I remember driving home and thinking, 'Oh my God, you just jammed with Jimmy Page.' "
When the JBLZE stops at the MTS Centre Sunday, Page's parts will be played by Tony Catania. The band is rounded out by other relative unknowns: vocalist James Dylan (who sings for an online tribute band called Virtual Zeppelin), bassist Michael Devin (recently named as Whitesnake's new bassist) and multi-instrumentalist Stephen LeBlanc.
The multimedia show uses old videos, photos and magazine and newspaper clippings to tell the story of John Bonham and the legendary British band whose mixture of blues and hard rock is still worshipped around the world.
"I don't ever try to be John Bonham when I'm playing the drums. I try to be Jason Bonham, the guy John Bonham taught.
"He played with such emotion, too. Every night he was on fire. Every night was different; he was never mediocre," Bonham says.
The show was produced without the input of the members of Led Zeppelin, but Bonham has got the green light from Plant and is sure Page and Jones won't have any problem with him paying tribute to his father.
"I spoke to Robert about it and he was very funny. We were on a radio interview and the DJ did one of those trying-to-throw-me-under-the-bus things -- 'What do you think of Led Zeppelin going on tour without any of you?' -- and (Plant) said, 'Jason can do whatever he wants.' He said, 'He has my blessing as long as he has a smile on his face,' " Bonham says.
Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience
Sunday, MTS Centre, 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $45 and $69.75 at Ticketmaster