Jimmy Page: The reality of [Led Zeppelin] is that it came out of the ashes of the Yardbirds disbanding [in 1968]. I knew I wanted to form my own band at that point and what material I wanted to do. And from the point of having no band at all — no Yardbirds, no nothing — to actually going [forward] with determination and getting in touch with Robert [Plant] and going through the whole game plan with him. Because if he hadn’t got it, I would have been looking for somebody else. But it came together relatively quickly. The Yardbirds break up in July. I’m probably doing this in August. John Bonham and John Paul Jones come in at the last minute, so the group suddenly solidifies pretty quickly. From that point we go to my house to rehearse. All of this sort of stuff people don’t really know. Not just the fact that we rehearsed in my house, but that we played some dates in September in Scandinavia [as the New Yardbirds] to really get used to all this material. We then go in and do the album in October, and by the end of the following January, we have broken America. It’s a handful of months and that’s what is so astonishing out of all of it.
You mention going through the game plan for Led Zeppelin with Robert Plant soon after meeting him. You obviously had a concrete idea of what you wanted to achieve with the band before the individual parts were in place.
Jimmy Page: Yes. If you look at the whole blueprint for it — you make sure you get right the decisions on who is going to be in it. You don’t try them out and then see if somebody doesn’t look right and get rid of them. No. You get a firm commitment from everybody and then you do some concerts beforehand so you are limbered up enough to be able to do the album. And it was an independent album, too. It wasn’t funded by a record company. It’s the same blueprint for now. But now it takes so damn long. In those days you could be really speedy and efficient.