Robert Plant says Phil Collins was key to solidifying his career after Led Zeppelin, praising the Genesis drummer for helping “absolutely and admirably” as Plant learned how to work without his former colleagues.
Plant described how Collins provided support as he tried to turn a loose idea into something more meaningful in the latest episode of his Digging Deep podcast,
“At the end of the ’80s, I had no place to go; John [Bonham] was gone,” Plant said. “So, I formed the Honeydrippers. We used to perform around the clubs of England for no money, and I played with this great band; they were really good players. The driver of our van, his name was Big Dave, used to go to the front door of the club and say, ‘Who’s playing here tonight?’ And if anybody mentioned me, we’d just drive on. It would have to be ‘the Honeydrippers’ and then we could play our stuff.”
He became disillusioned with the idea after a while. “There’s only so many times you can play Gene Vincent songs to 13 people in the Limit Club in Derby,” Plant added. “I thought, ‘I really want to know if we can make a big sound that sounds big, without it being really, really, heavy and tough.’ So, I pulled a band together.”
“It was the first time ever I’d been away from the creche of Zeppelin; I really didn’t realize just how much patience and concentration you really need in a studio to get people to perform, give you something really, really important – because Zeppelin seemed to roll out in some kind of magical way. It was a real new twist. … I had to really bluff my way through it because I really didn’t know studio etiquette, after all that success in Zeppelin. I never really went behind the desk at all, except for to push the vocal effects on the Zeppelin tracks a bit more, here and there.”
Plant continued: “I was helped absolutely and admirably by Phil Collins, who came along and said, ‘John Bonham was probably the most important influence in my life. I’ll sit on that stool for you.’” He described Collins as “an absolute restrained powerhouse” on Plant’s 1982 solo debut Pictures At Eleven and its 1983 follow-up, The Principle of Moments.
The event took place at the Fox Inn in Stourton, England. As reported by Classic Rock Magazine, Plant sat-in with the rockabilly outfit on “One Night,” “Little Sister” and “A Big Hunk O’ Love.” Watch “One Night” and “Little Sister” captured by 1967mjt below: