Who's Coming With Me…

…to see Lez Zeppelin at the State Theater on Feb. 24?

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Girl group Lez Zeppelin rocks, with a twist
By Christian Wiessner
Mon Jan 30, 11:33 AM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Four women rockers who took on the music of Led Zeppelin are driving club audiences to a frenzy and, offstage, whipping up speculation over their sexual tastes with the name of the band: Lez Zeppelin.

“We have sort of a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy,” says Steph Paynes, lead guitar player and the “Jimmy Page” of the group. “It’s better to keep it all a mystery, and in the end it really doesn’t matter. What matters is the music.”

The New York-based quartet came together almost three years ago with the express purpose of covering songs by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members Led Zeppelin.

They’re among a small but growing number of all-female tribute bands Spin Magazine recently referred to as “Chicks with Picks,” and include the playfully dubbed AC/DShe, Cheap Chick and The Ramonas.

“It wasn’t like we decided just to do an all-girl cover band for the sake of it,” Paynes said in an interview. “It was strictly me lounging on the couch, listening to a Led Zep album and being in absolute ecstasy over the music. I can’t think of anything I’d rather be playing than this.”

Zeppelin’s brash amalgam of hard-driving rock, traditional blues and guitar-tinged ballads propelled the sale of millions of albums and made them one of the top bands of the 1970s. It disbanded in 1980 after the death of drummer John Bonham.

Paynes said the tribute group had been mulling a name for a week or two and when Lez Zeppelin was suggested, there was no question of them not using it.

ARE THEY OR AREN’T THEY?
With veteran New York-area musicians Helen Destroy on drums, Lisa Brigantino on bass, mandolin and keyboards and Sarah McLellan on vocals, the group is electrifying. But the question that consistently follows the band around is whether any or all of its members are, in fact, lesbians.

“Oh, definitely maybe,” Payne said. “There’s no question about maybes.”

“I was aware of what the name might suggest, but that to me was not a problem at all,” she added.

Paynes said despite the nudge and wink the band’s name conveys, their audience is not dominated by lesbians.

“There is some gay and lesbian following, but it’s mostly just a Led Zeppelin following. Male, female, in every age group,” she said before getting ready for a sold-out gig that night at New York’s Bowery Ballroom.

Her take on the group’s demographic was borne out at the show that night. As the band opened with a thundering version of “The Immigrant Song,” vocalist McLellan delivered the number’s trademark opening wail faithfully and sent the predominantly male crowd into a frenzy.

The audience, including a few amorous Sapphic couples near the front of the stage, did not differ noticeably from that in any other East Village club on a Friday night.

Paynes said she thinks many come to see if a group of women can recreate music with such a testosterone-driven sound.

“It was pretty daunting to perform this stuff live, even for Led Zeppelin,” she said. “Even they didn’t keep it going once John Bonham died.”

After a brief pause, she added, “I guess we’ve got balls.”

I Drowned My Downy Ball

Last night was my first attempt to use a Downy Ball. I failed at it. Miserably. I peered into the wash after spin and found the ball just at the bottom, still mostly full of the blue goo. I realize now that I threw it in the middle of the load, which would cause it not to work. You have to throw it on top so it can float. Der.

Last week, I was telling Jessica over lunch that I never see anyone famous anymore. I saw Ken Starr once and managed not to hocker on him. I see Clarence Page a lot but that doesn’t count because he works in my building. I’ve seen that tape of Jack Abramamoff walking down the street so many times that I think that I’ve fooled myself into believing that I’ve seen him in person. And by the way, it’s he who saw the hat on me and thought it was the coolest and stole it from me, not the other way around. Okay? I know it’s the exact same hat (it is, it really is), but trust me, ol’ Boris Badenov, he swiped it from me. Got it? Yeah.

You can’t really dust for vomit.

Anyway, so right after that lunch, that afternoon, I done seen Matt Cooper of Time Magazine getting on the Metro at Met-ro Center.

By the way, here’s one more technical hint regarding the XM To Go radios. Let’s say you’re doing a session recording and you have to leave, so you want to interrupt the recording. I had been doing this by yanking it out of the cradle. However, it appears to me that if you push the power button whilst it’s in the cradle, the XM is programmed to default itself out of session recording and into My XM. I was always concerned that interrupting a session recording would mess it up, but it appears to me to be in the programming even if it ain’t in the manual.

How’s that for some serious poo-poo?

Programming Note

Howard Stern is psychic, no? I was in the shower and an ad came on the radio for The Aristocrats, which I will be receiving as part of my Christmas stash, and I heard Gilbert Gottfried’s voice and began to wonder when the hell Howard was going to have Gilbert on the show.

Not a minute later, Howard said he’d be on this week.

Gilbert is my very favorite Stern guest. I can’t wait. Maybe he’ll recreate his Mel Blanc/Jack Benny tribute…

Me, Too, Actually

Jessica the Girlfriend and I were just trying to set the agenda for this weekend. The potential plan was to see Syriana, but I’m going to see her in sunny Maryland, and it’s not playing near her. The theater at Green Belt is playing Brokeback Mountain. Her stance on this subject is about right.

“I’m not really into seeing Brokeback Mountain. Not so much because they’re gay, but because they’re cowboys.”

We’ll probably end up staying at home and watching Glengarry Glen Ross from my Netflix queue.

Speaking of the movies, I just watched Howard Stern’s Private Parts again. It was worth seeing again, considering that I am knee-deep in Howard these days. I think I enjoyed it now more than when I saw it in the theater.

Now, a quick programming note: Due to technical difficulties (e.g., Yahoo! Webhosting SUCKS) I am once again starting from scratch. Archived posts should be up soon, tho.

A WordPress Theme Fix

If you’re running a WordPress blog with a presentation theme called Red Stripes 1.0 (such as the one at Ketchup Is A Vegetable), you might have a time issue. The post time might show up as one minute past the hour for every single post!

The fix: Go into wp-content/themes/redstripes. Open “index.php.” In the “Posted by” line, find “h:m a” and change it to “g:i a.” Save the file.

All yer post times should present themselves normally. 

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Through the Looking Glass

Just one more quick follow-up post about my now-deceased feline, then I swear, I am done blogging about dead pets for awhile.

I wanted to note that Alice went peacefully and beautifully, and that I am thankful for all the moral support I received from friends and fam. I was in the room with her when she died and couldn’t be more glad that I was. It made me feel good about the whole thing, to see her go from struggling to peaceful in an instant. I am feeling a little haunted, of course, with having to keep the door open sometimes so she can get to her litterbox and constantly feeling like I need to change her water or something. I reckon that will pass.

Anyway, thanks, everybody. She was a special girl, and I think we did right by one another.