Led Zeppelin drummer's son plays to similar beat

Thu Dec 23, 2010 4:03pm EST
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By Dean Goodman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - There's no sugar-coating the death of John Bonham.

The wild Led Zeppelin drummer choked on his own vomit after downing 40 shots of vodka in 1980, a demise that brought one of rock's biggest bands to a premature end.

His son, Jason, started following in his footsteps -- both as a rock drummer and as a drunken rabble-rouser. When he turned 32 years-old a dozen years ago, he felt it was only natural that he should die at the same age as his father.

"I would be the party animal, wanna smash things up or throw a TV out the window because Dad had done it," Bonham recounted in an interview with Reuters.

"Just past that 32 stage, I very much nearly drank myself to death ... I remember thinking it was kinda funny: This is my year."

But with the support of his patient wife of 20 years, Jan, Bonham got back on the straight and narrow. He toured with veteran rock band Foreigner, formed his own band, and went on the road in North America this fall in an authorized multimedia tribute labeled "Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience."

The tour grossed $2.1 million after playing 38 cities and cracked the top 50 of trade publication Pollstar's annual top tours list. Bonham is expected to launch a second leg in the spring, although details have not been announced.

The "Experience" show saw Bonham lead a band whose faithful covers of such songs as "Whole Lotta Love" and "Dazed and Confused" were interspersed with his heartfelt recollections and old home movies. On tunes such as "Moby Dick," Bonham played along with concert footage of his father, replicating his monster drumming style.   Continued...