Once again, author Greg Prato ventures into the world of oral narrative biography with his latest book on Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham. The format is one Prato has crystallized and gotten down to a science: He interviews musicians who may offer insight into the subject being discussed and then takes the transcribed content, assembles it and produces the book.
Here he gathers a variety of drummers including Brian Tichy and Corky Laing. Including them makes perfect sense. Tichy is not only a huge Bonham fan but organized the Bonham Bash, an annual gathering of drummers who all dug the hell out of John and would celebrate his passing by playing some of Zep’s classic songs. Laing, too, is an obvious choice, since much of his style was based on Bonham’s unique approach.
But there are also interviews here with a lot of drummers who really would hold no interest for any fan of Bonham and certainly not anyone buying this book. Derrick Bostrom (Meat Puppets), Brendon Cohen (Vision of Disorder), Richard Christy (Death), and David Lovering (Pixies) are all interviewed here. It’s hard to imagine any Bonham fan really caring about what these players—though all good enough in their own right--might have to say about the late Zep drummer.
Additionally, it would really help the flow if Prato could provide some historic background on Bonham: His background, training, early bands, style and influences.
The oral narrative is in Prato’s wheelhouse, and he does it well. It would just be refreshing to read something new in one of his books
In the third paragraph in the author’s intro, he writes
“Since Bonham’s tragic death in 1980 at the age of 32, rock drummers have become more and more technically-proficient—in fact, some would say too proficient, due to metronome-perfect studio fine-tuning and quantified beats (as it is now easier than ever to slice and dice tracks).”
What he should have said was quantizing beats, not "quantified" beats. It’s kind of an unforgiveable mistake, and one he should never have made.