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SCHOOL WHERE THE SUBJECT IS...ZEPPELIN

IT’SA LEDUCATION By MARK FIELDEN

GRAB your double-neck guitar, crank up your amp to 11, strut your stuff in your embroidered satin suit and bash out some of the finest riffs ever written.

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Yes, rock gods Led Zeppelin, the masters of Seventies excess, are staging their delayed reunion gig at London’s 02 Arena a week on Monday. Witnessing their first concert for 19 years should be amazing enough. But fans are lining up to learn the band’s musical secrets — and live like their heroes — during a “Zep school” training weekend at a country hotel in the three days before the show. Organisers are considering a range of wild fun — including an elementary course in flinging TVs out of upper-storey windows — a staple of rock bad-boy behaviour. They won’t even discuss some of their plans so as not to spoil the surprise. But I can tell you that the £750-a-head event in Oxfordshire features a themed gourmet menu, including Red Snapper — after an outrageous story involving a Zeppelin groupie in Seattle. It is followed by Jack Daniel’s ice cream, surely guitarist Jimmy Page’s favourite flavour. Each day

ROCK ON . . . it’s back to the days of guitarist Jimmy Page, top, and singer Robert Plant, below, for a Zep weekend at the Fallowfields Hotel, right

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STAIR-RAY. . tutor Fenwick with gues up to 20 guests will learn to play from veteran rockers like Mike Hurst — once in a band with Page — and Clem Cattini, twice considered for tragic drummer John Bonham’s job thanks to his session work with Led Zep bassist John Paul Jones. Bonham suffocated on his vomit after a heavy day’s boozing in 1980. On Saturday night would-be rockers get the chance to show off their skills on stage, alongside a topflight Led Zeppelin tribute band.

STRUM ON DOWN . . . Sun man Mar

Special guest is the blues singer Maggie Bell, due to share the bill with Plant, Page and Co in London. Mike, a producer who discovered T Rex star Marc Bolan and singer Cat Stevens, said: “Led Zeppelin are iconic — they are one of those bands who represent an era. “They are pulling together for their first concert in nearly 20 years so — what with the connections between us as musicians — it seemed a perfect time to hold this event. We arranged for the tribute

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band Boot-Led Zeppelin to play on the Saturday night. Then at least people will get the full experience, because I don’t pretend to be able to sing like Robert Plant. “They come with lights, costumes and everything, so it’s going to look good. The gig will be as authentic as we can get it. It’s gonna be fairly deafening. “People get an awful lot of nostalgia for this sort of rock as opposed to the anodyne stuff there is around now. The weekend should

be a tremendous experience.” Also on the team are guitar tutor Ray Fenwick, ex-Spencer Davies Group and Ian Gillan Band, plus bassist Colin Farley who made his name in Eighties’ band Cutting Crew and was briefly a member of punk outfit The Damned. A spokesman for organisers RockMasters added: “Whether you’re a budding Bonham or an enthusiastic novice, this event can only help your playing. “Our supergroup will take over the whole lavish hotel to ensure that no ‘civilians’ get in the way of the rock ’n’ roll antics. And all equipment and instruments are provided. “Needless to say there is a wellstocked bar, the drinking and storyswapping go on late and the music doesn’t stop. “Guests can of course bring their partners — or indeed groupies — to join the fun.” RockMasters can’t promise to let you ride a Harley-Davidson down the corridors, like Zeppelin are said to have done. But they can arrange motorbike transfers from London or Oxford. Just one problem, though — the hotel doesn’t have a swimming pool. So you’ll have to find somewhere else to park your Cadillac. Q RockMasters’ Zep weekend runs from December 7 to 9 at the Fallowfields Hotel in Kingston Bagpuize, Oxfordshire. See rockmasters.net.


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