Fixing Zep’s Tour Plans

Musexpo’s U.K. debut began with an off-the-wall documentary about how to fix the music business, but the second day of the conference apparently had more to do with fixing Led Zeppelin’s tour schedule.

A month ago, the band’s original frontman Robert Plant seemed to have put a stop to the speculation about a reunion tour by making it clear he wasn’t interested. But bassist John Paul Jones sparked it up again by saying Zep could work without Plant, adding that the other members had already auditioned possible replacements.

The latest on Led Zeppelin’s future, which came from an interview Jones did with BBC Radio Devon, couldn’t have arrived at a better time for Musexpo.

It broke on the second day of the Oct. 27-29 gathering at London’s Cumberland Hotel, which had the band’s former promoter, Harvey Goldsmith CBE, on a panel called “Global Keynote.”

Rather than just talking to the 200 or so delegates in the room, Goldsmith’s views on the Led Zep situation were broadcast to the nation courtesy of BBC Radio Five, with Musexpo getting regular name checks.

Goldsmith was characteristically up-front, and said “hopefully” he’d be involved with any live work the act undertook. But he doubted a reunion is as likely as it’s being reported.

He also said he doesn’t believe touring the world would be the best strategy.

“I certainly don’t think they should do a big tour, because I can’t see the point of it,” he said. “I just think it’s a lot of talk, I think it’s wishful thinking. Whether they all come together and do something in the future, they may. 

“I think some of the band really want to go out and do it and other parts of the band need to understand why they’re doing it, and if there’s no compelling reason to do it, then they shouldn’t do it,” Goldsmith added.

“I think that there is an opportunity for them to go out and present themselves. I don’t think a long rambling tour is the answer. … It’s a question of whether they want to do it, and you’ve got to want to do it. Otherwise it’s done for the wrong reasons, and when things are done for the wrong reasons, they don’t work.”

Goldsmith was one of a large number of music business heavyweights Musexpo founder Sat Bisla and his team lined up for the conference’s European debut. Musexpo has been running in the U.S. for the last three years.

Final attendance figures haven’t been released, as the self-styled “United Nations of Music & Media” hadn’t completed by press time.

Other panelists included Aussie promoter Michael Chugg, German promoter Ossy Hoppe, Sire Records chairman Seymour Stein, EMI Music A&R guru Nick Gatfield, Sony Music U.K. and Ireland chairman and chief exec Ged Doberty, punk rock pioneer Tommy Ramone, CAA agent Emma Banks and Kilimanjaro Live chief Stuart Galbraith.