Kenneth Anger, for lack of a better word, is an angry person and not one to forget a slight. Many years after the 1976 curse he had gone on record indicating that he hadn’t let go of the Lucifer Rising soundtrack dispute. Anger's salvo of caustic energy seems to have stunted Jimmy Page’s creative growth and seal him into a permanent stasis of sorts. We'll never know for sure but it’s rather curious, don't you think?
It's common knowledge that Page is very keen on a reunion tour. John Paul Jones, ever the passive one, would surely be aboard. However, the self-professed golden god Robert Plant is a rock block, if you will. Since the late 70’s he's been in the driver's seat when it comes to the direction of the band. He could take it or leave it and has all the control because there’s no way they could do the band’s legacy any justice without all three remaining members involved. Interestingly enough, once Plant distanced himself a bit from Led Zeppelin he cultivated a successful solo career and has been by all accounts very happy. Why?
Plant often gets snippy when journalists ask him about another tour as Zeppelin. It's been estimated that a reunion could bring in over a billion dollars! Plant goes on about how he doesn’t want to be a ‘jukebox’ and that stadium rock on this level is overly commercialized soul-robbing rubbish, etc. Sure, he's got plenty of money and is in a much better position financially than many of the old bands from the 70's and 80's replenishing their bank accounts with nostalgia tours. However, these are not the real reasons he doesn't want to tour as Zeppelin again. And touring specifically as Zeppelin is a very important detail. Why?
There is a telling clue here and it’s related to one of the (many) sputtering almost-reunions the band had. Zeppelin got back together for the 1985 Live Aid benefit concert in Philadelphia. There wasn’t much time to rehearse and it was a decidedly poor performance, but Plant said he was drunk on it all and missed the rush of singing in front of a huge audience. It was such a feeling that they soon began rehearsing again but it all started falling apart after a couple of weeks as tension among them grew and they began to get on each other’s nerves.
Then it happened. Their stand-in drummer Tony Thompson (formerly of the band Chic) was involved in a minor car accident while being driven home from the pub one night. Apparently, this was seen as an omen by Plant. Remember of course that his 1975 car crash was the unofficial inception point of the Led Zeppelin Curse. After Thompson’s fender-bender Plant began to question the whole endeavor saying that nobody wanted to hear that old stuff again, etc. However, this completely contradicted the general consensus that, in fact, everyone wanted to see Zeppelin get back together. That particular failed reunion attempt is key because Plant’s apprehension, specifically triggered by a car accident, was indicative that he knew something was stalking the band. That little spurt of bad luck brought him back in time, back to the heavy fog that enveloped the band and took Zeppelin down. Plant was spooked, and the reunion was scrapped.
I think that playing the old music together for any longer than a single engagement scares Plant and for good reason. He’s done one-off performances for worthy causes (such as the aforementioned Live Aid concert) or for special occasions like tributes, etc. but has either refused to do a full-on reunion tour or when one was in the works it fell apart when he balked. I think he misses performing as Zeppelin but doesn’t want to pull that dark pocket of time forward into the now and I don’t blame him.
I won’t go into the specifics of brief Zeppelin reformations and reunion tour chatter that never amounted to anything because it’s all over the internet. In fact, it’s torturous for diehard fans because there’s so much ‘yes its happening, not it’s not’ talk out there that you wonder if the Curse itself is behind all of this. It’s such a tease and always ends up in a let-down which just rubs salt into the wound.
Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones don't need the money and it’s obvious they want to have fun and relive the 70's; play their old music and maybe some new stuff and just have a blast. Not Plant though and from the public’s perspective he appears to be an old stick in the mud about it. However, to be fair, there's some scary stuff he'd rather not reconstitute.
Some scabs you just shouldn’t pick at. We’ll never know the full story, but I can assure you that the thing he won't risk awakening, even for a billion dollar payday, is pretty intense. Jimmy Page on the other hand is willing to open Pandora's Box. This is because whatever has gotten its hooks into him is making life more uncomfortable now than what he remembers from the late 70’s. He’ll gladly take that risk to experience the old rush and get some relief from the ache of the curse.