Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Jimmy Page's Mother and a UFO
Don't know if they're related, but I experienced both on the same night many years ago in the Canadian mountain resort town, Jasper, Alberta. Don't recall the exact date but do remember it being after Led Zeppelin's In Through the Out Door was out, and shortly before John Bonham died, which places it in the late summer of 1980. I was working for a band called Sargent, who was booked in the local rock club for a week.
Our employers put us up in a duplex townhouse about a mile and a half from the hotel where the club was located. They also booked entertainment into the hotel's lounge. The one-man-band lounge singer guy was staying in the other side of the duplex from us.
One night after the show he tells us this incredible story. Seems he was playing Stairway To Heaven - a very courageous thing to attempt in a lounge imo - when a middle-aged lady approached him after and said, "Thank-you very much for playing that song. My son James wrote it." He said that she was very polite and low key but seemed genuinely appreciative.
We told the lounge guy that if she happened to come back, to please invite her downstairs where we were playing thinking it pretty unlikely that we'd ever hear of her again. Much to our surprise, she returned to the lounge and the singer brought her to meet us.
I remember she said her name was Patricia. She said she was on a holiday trip from Wales where she lived. She was soft spoken with a light accent; very clear, direct, and down to earth. Not at all pretentious but almost beaming with pride at the accomplishments of her progeny.
On break between sets, she told us stories about her boy, James. She always referred to him as James. She mentioned his two teen-aged friends, Eric and Jeff, who also had a passion for playing guitar. That would be Clapton and Beck. Apparently Eric's and Jeff's parents weren't keen on their musical activities and wouldn't let them practice in their homes. Patricia was fine with it, so the three of them would gather in the Page house to practice their guitars.
Patricia said that now, ie 1980, Page was very secluded and wary of people's motives toward him and his wealth. Seems lot of obscure relatives and other hangers on came out of the woodwork after he got famous. She said that he considered Stairway To Heaven to be his finest achievement as a songwriter.
She stayed for one of our sets and then said goodbye. We asked her if she'd like some earplugs - it was a small establishment and the volume was strong. She declined and had no problem with the loudness. I guess if you've seen Led Zeppelin a few times you get used to it.
I felt incredibly high and elated walking by myself back to the rooms afterwards. Everyone else drove. It was a beautiful, slightly cool night in the mountains. The air was fresh and crisp. Suddenly I noticed 3 brightly colored lights streaking across the sky. They could have been planes flying in formation except that I couldn't see any kind of craft, and they appeared to be going extremely fast. I remember that they were different, intensely bright, pastel colored lights. My memory has them as pink, yellow, and green. Their trajectory arched across the sky. I thought they might be missiles and half expected an explosion when they disappeared over the mountain range. There wasn't, nor do I remember any sound associated with them as they flew across like you'd expect from a plane.
So I continued walking home, grateful that the world wasn't ending just yet. I was about halfway there still buzzing from the contact with Jimmy Page's mother.
Led Zeppelin had more influence on me growing up then any other band. They were the main musical component of my High School cultural education. I was 17 when their film The Song Remains the Same came out. It was playing at a theater about 3 miles down the road from the house I lived in. Once a week, for 7 weeks, I'd go see it, usually with friends, but sometimes alone, informally experimenting with what, I later realized, was Timothy Leary's/Bob Wilson's neuro-electric reprogramming recipes. Later, when I discovered that Page appeared adept with Aleister Crowley's system of Magick, I wondered if these ad hoc shamanic adventures might have opened doors enabling receptivity to Magick. The person who introduced me to Robert Anton Wilson, Aleister Crowley, and Magick, was Bob Gregory who ran the lights for Relay.
When I got back to the band house the requisite winding down, socializing was going on. Everyone was still pretty excited. In all the hub bub, I had temporarily forgotten about the 3 UFOs until an announcement came on the radio saying that many people had called in to report strange lights in the sky.
The next day the news reported that a Russian satellite had fallen out of the sky, that this accounted for the lights. This seems a weak explanation to me as it's unlikely that a satellite would randomly split into 3 pieces appearing in formation and reflecting a different band in the light spectrum. Also, there was the distinct impression of an intentional trajectory.
Well, I have no idea what connection, if any, these two events have except they took place on the same night. Some researchers, like Kenneth Grant, connect UFO phenomena with the occult. I don't know. The jury is out on that one.