John Bonham Quotes Interview

Quotes on Bonham

Mick Bonham

"There was nothing, and no one who was going to stop John from playing."
Source: Mick Bonham Book

"John was a rough, there's no doubt about it. He was always getting the cane."
Source: Mick Bonham Book

"His main aim was to blow the other drummer off the stage."
Source: Thunder Of Drums

"When he left school the headmaster said "John wouldn't even make a good dustman" and yet in the local paper, he wrote what a tremendous pupil he had been."
Source: Mick Bonham Book pg 16

"John had been so impressed when he saw The Who's drummer, a young Keith Moon, for the first time on TV, that he began to experiment with fashion."
Mick Bonham Book - Interview from 1973

"I only say John a few times that year because Led Zeppelin played 139 gigs throughout 1969, and only 33 of them were here in the UK."
Source: Mick Bonham Book

Jeff Ocheltree (Drum Technician)

"There was anger and a bitterness that was starting to form in him. In interviews he was never ever asked questions about his playing, about the time signatures or patterns he used. In fact he was never asked any intelligent questions. I used to spend days and nights with him at the Rainbow Bar & I remember him saying to me, "These idiots don't know anything about drums. All they want to know about is the gossip." In fact John listened to Max Roach, Alphonse Mouzon, Elvin Jones, and a lot of fusion and jazz drummers. That's the thing that gets me about John Bonham - everybody thinks he was into big drums and hitting them real hard. Bonham was into swing and playing with technique. I once heard Jimmy Page play a Django Reinhardt tune at a sound check, and John played along."
Source: Thunder Of Drums

"He always had six cars at a time and he changed one of these cars every month. He was a car salesman's dream. He'd come in and buy a Ferrari, a red AC Cobra and an Aston Martin."
Source: Thunder Of Drums

Bev Bevan (Personal Friend of John's)

"John said, "If he plays one more disco record, we're having him" ... Nicky put on the Jackson Five, and we grabbed a soda siphon each and absolutely drowned him is soda water!"
Source: Mick Bonham Book- Talking about DJ friend Nicky at the Elbow Room in Birmingham

"For every drink he bought the band and me, he had six... He had a little tray of Brandy Akexabnnders... within the space of an hour he may have had 24 of these things."
Source: Thunder Of Drums

Jimmy Hendrix

"That drummer of yours has a right foot like a pair of castanets!"
Source: Thunder Of Drums - To Robert Plant after a Led Zeppelin concert

Phil Collins

"I waited until about 10pm when the group came on stage. Within the first few minutes I was dumbstruck by the drummer. He was doing things with his bass drum that I'd never seen or heard before - the last two beats of a triplet, something I've stolen and do whenever possible."
Source: Mick Bonham Book

"John's boots were just too big for anyone to fill though. He was unique."
Source: Mick Bonham Book - Talking about the Led Zeppelin reunion at Live Aid in 1985

Dave Grohl

“You have to play with dynamics to make it sound good. That’s the beauty of what John Bonham would do. You could see that he wasn't destroying his drums all the time. And when he did, it would jump out at you. It’s all about picking those moments. In doing that, you have to give yourself some room to go up and down.”

Nicky James

"When it came to bullshit, John could stand with the best of them."
Source: Mick Bonham Book - Nicky James from 'The Nicky James Movement'

Charles Shaar Murray

"Bonham's solo: it's a tight, densely-packed cross-weave of interesting rhythms which includes an astounding number of variations without ever losing its basic beat. It just keeps on coming, and it's cohesive enough to stand up as a piece of music, and simultaneously varied enough to keep the listener from nodding out. Many light years away it is from the usual random collection of redundant percussion exercised. It goes into three sections: drums with sticks, drums with hands, and a rather attenuated electronic drum exercise before a return to the main theme with he sticks."
Source: Thunder Of Drums - Charles Shaar Murray's review of Zep at Earls Court 1975