Nobody could have predicted the effect of John Bonham's drum introduction on 'Good Times, Bad Times,' because no matter what he'd played in before, he'd never had the chance to flex his muscles and play like John Bonham.
We were lucky in the days of Led Zeppelin. Each album was different. We didn't have to continue a formula or produce a certain number of singles. Because, in those days, radio was still playing albums. That was really good.
The fourth album encapsulated some remarkable music that was really groundbreaking. We were able to have something like 'When the Levee Breaks,' which, sonically, was very menacing. But then you had the flip side: something like 'Going to California,' which is really intimate.
The whole thing about 'The Rover' is the whole swagger of it, the whole guitar attitude swagger. I'm afraid I've got to say it, but it's the sort of thing that is so apparent when you hear 'Rumble' by Link Wray - it's just total attitude, isn't it?
I wanted to emulate music from America - young punks playing rock n' roll is what it was. I read part of Keith Richards' autobiography, and it was totally parallel with me, learning from American records.
Playing in my early bands, working as a studio musician, producing and going to art school was, in retrospect, my apprenticeship. I was learning and creating a solid foundation of ideas, but I wasn't really playing music.
From meeting Robert Plant, John Bonham, and John Paul Jones, teaming up, rehearsing, playing selected gigs outside of Britain, coming back into Olympic Studios to record the first album, and then going to America, which we crack open like a nut with the debut record - all that happened, literally, within months.
How many guitars do I have? I don't know. I don't know! But I think the answer to it is, more than I can play at any one point in time. Even though I do have double necks, so I can try and play more than at one time!
The passing of John Bonham... Let's just put it... Before we say, 'the passing of John Bonham,' the introduction of John Bonham on the first album and 'Good Times Bad Times,' it changes drumming overnight.
I can understand why we got bad reviews. We went right over people's heads. One album would follow another and would have nothing to do with what we'd done before. People didn't know what was going on.
In the Led Zeppelin shows of the Sixties and Seventies, it was the same numbers every night, but they were constantly in a state of flux. If I played something good, really substantial, I'd stick it in again.
I love playing. If it was down to just that, it would be utopia. But it's not. It's airplanes, hotel rooms, limousines, and armed guards standing outside rooms. I don't get off on that part of it at all.