Robert Plant Calls New Comp ‘A Collision Of Time And Ideas’


Robert Plant isn't looking at his recent solo compilation, Digging Deep, as being a straightforward greatest hits collection. Plant spoke to Spin about the double-disc package, and explained, “I look at these songs and see what the story was around them, because I was like a babe in arms in 1981 when I started crafting (my solo debut) Pictures At Eleven. I knew how to be a frontman in the '70s. But the beginning of the '80s was a totally different zone for all of us musicians from the previous time. There were new musicians, there were new thought processes. And there was a new way of dealing with relationships. We had to keep pushing to the left and to the right of a common language for a certain kind of eloquence or a certain skill. I was trying to mix it up.”

Plant went on to say, “It’s certainly not a 'best of' — (it's more) a collision of time and ideas. . . A reference to some emotion or some power or some energy. (These songs have) been lying side-by-side with their old comrades for 20 years, 30 years. How are they going to feel when they come face-to-face with something 20 years younger? Putting something from 1982 with a song from 2006, or putting a Band Of Joy track next to an enlarged emotional moment from Rockfield Studios, from that to Peter Gabriel‘s place (Real World Studios). . . all very different crew members, different participants, different links in the magic, and so then it all takes on a whole different personality when it’s a new bedfellow lying on each side of it. So, the context is crazy. It’s a mind bomb, really. I’m really pleased with the fact that they do sometimes live really usually well together. And sometimes it’s like a real curve. As is the journey.”

Plant spoke about his post-Led Zeppelin musical path, which has now spanned four decades: “Carrying on from 1980 onwards, I think I’ve been pretty agile. I haven’t been around for any length of time in anything at all, really, because I think it’s always remarkable. . . the more open you become as a sort of. . . contributor. . . the windows swing open and fresh air comes in. The color of the whole thing will change constantly, and it has done for me.”

Although Plant was enthralled with the power and the promise of Zeppelin as a creative force — he admitted that his muse was always feeling the consistent tug from world music: “I think the glorious confines of being in a four-piece band for a long time — it was magnificent at times — but also, the very idea of actually working with anybody else and finding what. . . another angle musically could be, was not on the cards. Y'know, we wanted to present ourselves as a combined unit, and as time went on from about 1975, or 6 onward, I started feeling. . . Y'know, there was a lot of North African music that was intriguing me all the time; since my first trip to Morocco in '72. And I knew that there was a possibility to work, and to work in many different areas.”

Robert Plant On The Confines Of Led Zeppelin :