Rock Rundown

It was 40 years ago today (September 25th, 1980) that Led Zeppelin's John Bonham died of pulmonary edema, which is fluid accumulation in the lungs. The legendary drummer was just 32-years-old, and found dead by Zeppelin sound technician Benji LeFevre and bassist John Paul Jones. The clinical cause of death was asphyxiation from vomit and an autopsy found no other drugs in his body. Bonham was cremated on October 10th, 1980, and his ashes were buried at Rushock Parish Church in Droitwich, Worcestershire.

Led Zeppelin was set to begin its next North American tour on October 17th, 1980 inMontreal. On December 4th, the band issued a formal statement announcing their split, which read: "We wish it to be known that the loss of our dear friend, and the deep sense of undivided harmony felt by ourselves and our manager, have led us to decide that we could not continue as we were."

Back in 2018 when pressed about Led Zeppelin's upcoming 50th anniversary, a somewhat somber Robert Plant explained to Mojo that Bonham's death still cast a long shadow, saying, "It's 50 years, but it's not 50 years -- it's 38 years of darkness for a family. So all that hullabaloo is great, and I'm sure there'll be some great things to come out of it. . . I really can't wait to hear (the archival releases) -- I might even get a free copy."

Bonham, who is regarded by most as the greatest rock drummer to ever sit behind a kit, got his start playing with Robert Plant in the Band Of Joy, and when invited by Plant to join Zeppelin, then called the New Yardbirds, he was reluctant to do so because he had just landed a steady gig playing with folk singer Tim Rose.

Robert Plant has always reminded fans and followers clamoring for a Led Zeppelin reunion that the loss of John Bonham goes far deeper than a band needing a new drummer in order to play: "Well, Bonzo and I, we'd been through so many things before the 'big time.' We kinda read each other like books -- we were like brothers. But in reality, and physicality, and spiritually, losing John, obviously we. . . everybody got together and said, 'This can never work again.' Our real concern then was to kind of protect (his wife) Pat and the whole family from this kind of surge of media stuff. And it's so debilitating really, and I experienced that a couple of years before that, myself. And to lose John was criminal."

John Paul Jones told us that when he and John Bonham first connected as a rhythm section, he knew immediately that history would be made between them: "When I first played with Bonzo, I immediately knew. 'Cause there's a lot of guitarists, and there's a lot of singers. There are less bass players, and there aren't that many drummers -- who are really good. And when a rhythm section recognizes each other, when you find each other, you go, 'Wow! Right! OK!' And Bonzo and I immediately recognized each other as we knew what we were doing, and we clicked."

Jimmy Page admitted to us that he knew from the beginning that the magic surrounding Led Zeppelin wouldn't last forever: "I said, basically around the time of the first album, it's all a race against time, and I think it is. It still is. It still is a race against time and trying to do good work and improve on what you've done. It's more difficult as you get older because you know your days are numbered, really. Within Zeppelin we had this amazing vehicle that we could continue and continue and just come up with amazing things -- which fortunately we did continue, and we did come up with amazing stuff. But I still thought it was a race against time. I had no idea how prophetic it would be with the loss of John Bonham."

E Street Band drummer Max Weinberg is no stranger to playing with power -- or nowadays, with his big band ensembles, with swing. He feels that John Bonham was capable of many different styles -- not least of which was swing: "Anyone would, I think, be hard pressed to disagree with me to say that John Bonham didn't swing -- incredible! You don't need to be a jazz or a swing drummer to swing. It's really about the lightness with which you play."

Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith told us that he became an instant Bonham acolyte the first time he heard him: "Bonham is the greatest rock drummer. He just is, hands down. Like as when people say Buddy Rich is the greatest drummer, technically, y'know, the greatest drummer ever? John Bonham, hands down, greatest rock drummer ever. Sound, he played those songs, everything he did was just, y'know, just felt good and it's just incredible. So for me, Led Zeppelin is my favorite band."

Jason Bonham has honored his father throughout his career -- not only subbing for him at such high profile Zeppelin reunions as the Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary concert in 1988 and 2007's concert at London's O2 Arena -- but also with his own band, Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Evening. He says his greatest regret is that he never got to play live with his dad: "We never got to that stage. I mean, I have a teenager now, and time and again, she drives me mad. Y'know, I never got to that point. My dad left me when I was. . . Y'know, my God, he was God to me. Every word he said was the gospel."

Jason Bonham told us that playing drums is what keeps him tied to his father who died when he was only 14: "I have a helluva lot to live up to. A lot of people say, 'What's it like, y'know, you're the son of John Bonham!' And I say, 'Y'know, what? It's kinda cool, 'cause he was such an icon in such an iconic band.' It just gives me enough get up and go to say, 'Y'know what, I just wanna make him happy and prove to him and show him that, Dad, you've handed me down a business.' Y'know, like some fathers they hand them down their work -- even though he wasn't there to hand it down to me himself, to me, I feel -- if anything -- he left me at such an early age, but he gave me a career."


Once again, Metallica's James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett have performed a duo version of the "Star Spangled Banner" for their beloved San Francisco Giants. Blabbermouth reported the pair performed the National Anthem virtually before the September 23rd match-up between the Giants and the Colorado Rockies.

This now marks the eighth time Hetfield and Hammett have done the pre-game honors, although this time marked the first not to be live and pre-recorded. Over the years, Metallica has also performed live prior to Golden State Warriors basketball and San Jose Sharks hockey games.

Deftones approached their new album, Ohms, from a different perspective this time around. The band's Chino Moreno told Australia's Music Feeds, "The whole thing with us, when we're making records, is that we're always trying to find different angles or ways of approaching what we do . . . The thing that we did a little differently on this record is we took a bit of a different approach to the guitars. We wanted to record this one pretty much live as a band. We didn't record to a click track or anything. It's just us, much like we were when we were younger, playing together in a garage without all this technical stuff — basically just us playing off of each other and trying to feed off the energy in the room. I think that really helped capture that exciting vibe for us, made it feel like it used to when we were kids."

Moreno says the difference between Ohms and their last album, 2017's Gore, is time. He said, "We've been friends for so long and been through so much stuff, so we took our time to cultivate that energy, whereas on Gore, we went in for these writing sessions and just tried to bash out songs, and the first songs that we made got kept, and that was the record. On this one, we stretched it out over a year and a half, so we wrote, then we'd step back and reflect on what we'd done, and then work on it some more. We really let the songs and the record grow without the weight or pressure of having to have it done at a certain time. I really feel that contributed positively to the way that Ohms sounds."

Ohms arrives at retail today (Friday, Sept. 25th).

Arcade Fire member Will Butler's solo album, Generations, is being released today (Friday, Sept. 25th), and although it was largely written between 2015 and 2019, the subject matter is very timely. It is relative to the global pandemic, as well as the topics of white privilege and racial inequality.

Since releasing his debut solo project, Policy, in 2015, Butler went to the Harvard Kennedy School of Government to study policy, and what he learned is very much integrated into Generations. White privilege is woven throughout the project, however Butler says he doesn't feel comfortable addressing the subject on social media. He told Spin, "I've thought about it, and I've felt like, ‘Should I be talking about this more?' It's just not my skill set. I'm dying to play shows and put together town halls and have weirdo activists open for me at shows, but that's all stuff that happens in person. I have a skill set that's pretty good at putting that stuff together. I learn a lot from other people talking online, but I don't have the toolkit for being online. Maybe I'll develop it if we stay in a pandemic for years and years. I don't have a perfect knowledge of the role I can play, but I have a sense of the role I can play in the world, and I try to focus on that."

Arcade Fire's plans to work on their next album was thwarted by the pandemic. According to Butler, they are still unsure what direction to take, saying, "It could be a punk record; it could be this kind of record. It just depends on once we get back together — god willing we'll be able to get back together at some point — it'll be pretty clear what we're good at playing and what direction it is, but there's kind of not a direction yet."

Arcade Fire's last album, Everything Now, was released in 2017.

Marilyn Manson has scored his first no. 1 Rock album on the Billboard charts with his new album, We Are Chaos. For the week of September 17th, the album sold 31,000 equivalent album units; 28,000 being from album sales. We Are Chaos also becomes Marilyn Manson's fifth total and consecutive No. 1 on Hard Rock Albums.

In other news, Marilyn Manson has released his new video for "Don't Chase The Dead." In the clip, Manson stars alongside Norman Reedus, who plays Daryl Dixon on "The Walking Dead."


Marilyn Manson has scored his first no. 1 Rock album on the Billboard chards with We Are Chaos. We Are Chaos also becomes Marilyn Manson's fifth total and consecutive No. 1 on Hard Rock Albums. In other news, Marilyn Manson has released his new video for "Don't Chase The Dead."

Smashing Pumpkins have released two more songs from their upcoming double album Cyr. "Confessions of a Dopamine Addict" and "Wrath" follow the previously released title track and "The Colour of Love."

According to Rolling Stone, the second episode of the band's new animated series, In Ashes, will serve as the video for "Confessions of a Dopamine Addict".

Cyr will be released on November 27th and will feature 20 tracks produced by frontman Billy Corgan. The record was made by the reunited lineup of founding members Corgan, James Iha, Jimmy Chamberlin, and guitarist Jeff Schroeder.