John Bonham Used To Trick Audiences

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Led Zeppelin’s early live performances were shrouded in mystery, with the band even adopting the name “The New Yardbirds” for their initial tour. However, it was during these formative years that the mesmerizing drumming skills of John Bonham began to captivate audiences. Bonham’s talent and penchant for tricks not only impressed his friends and fellow musicians but also played a significant role in shaping his distinctive style. This article explores the fascinating anecdotes and influences that contributed to Bonham’s drumming prowess.

In his youth, Bonham forged a close friendship with fellow drummer Bill Harvey. Spending hours together in a caravan where Bonham stored his Ludwig green sparkle drum kit, the two friends would practice relentlessly, often drawing the ire of Bonham’s father. Harvey recalled their early encounters, stating, “We used to practice, and his dad used to go mad… He’d say, ‘Oh, it’s you two at it again. Clear off – get out!'”

Drumming Tricks and Unexpected Opportunities

Bonham’s willingness to sit in for his friend Harvey became the catalyst for some unforgettable moments. After Harvey had a falling out with his band, the Blue Star Trio, Bonham stepped in to perform a gig in his place. This unexpected turn of events led to Bonham’s impromptu collaboration with Harvey during a drum solo. The audience marveled at their drum duets, unaware of the hours of rehearsal behind the scenes. Harvey explained, “Everybody used to say, ‘How did they do that?’ They didn’t realize we had rehearsed it for hours… and it seemed like we were rivals, playing against each other.”

Influence and Technique Exchange

Harvey’s influence on Bonham’s drumming style cannot be underestimated. As a big-band fan, Harvey possessed skills and techniques that Bonham admired. Harvey revealed, “Even though John was a far better rock drummer than me, I had been brought up as a big-band fan and could play some things he couldn’t do.” This mutual admiration led to Bonham seeking guidance from Harvey. Intrigued by Harvey’s finger drumming technique, Bonham attempted to replicate it but ended up injuring his hands. However, this setback didn’t deter him, as Harvey shared, “He used that technique on ‘Moby Dick,’ which was one of the first drum solos he did on record with Led Zeppelin.”

The Legendary Legacy of Bonham’s Drumming

John Bonham’s drumming prowess continues to inspire generations of musicians. His innovative tricks and dedication to his craft played a vital role in shaping Led Zeppelin’s unique sound. Bonham’s ability to seamlessly combine influences from different genres and his collaborations with fellow drummers like Bill Harvey left an indelible mark on his drumming style. Through his virtuosity and willingness to push boundaries, Bonham established himself as one of the greatest drummers in rock history.