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Robert Plant in Kiev: “My Religion?”

Posted in: General,Interviews by Tom Beaudoin on August 27, 2011

Former Led Zeppelin lead singer Robert Plant, now well into the fourth decade of a beyond-successful solo career, who is — and now that he is 63 I think we are permitted to suggest this — transcendently establishing himself as a thoroughly generative and unendingly creative scion and wisdom figure of rock — as well as generator of continually new spiritual palettes and an object of persistent and contending spiritual projections — gave a press conference in Kiev on 30 July, during which he was asked about his religion.

As the video below shows, his reply includes the following:¬†”My religion? I’m one of the children of the sun.” Is he talking about the new age movement “Children of the Sun,” which describes itself as “embracing all religions and spiritual paths”? Or is it a reference to the “children of the sun” in the Zeppelin tune “Going to California“? Do we have here another iteration of rock’s tendencies toward pantheism and/or panentheism? (I ask this not by way of judgment, but out of a curiosity about the kind of spiritual lives that deeply experienced “secular” musicians and their fans put together.)

After this comment, Plant adds, “Yeah, why not,” and then something like, “’cause that’s where we came from.” Then follows a comment about the kind of music appropriate to sex (“music when you make love is a distraction”), followed by his observation, hard-won over six decades of musicianship, that “music is the sound of joy and glory.”

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I cannot help but notice the theological thread through the whole brief meditation: originary creative power (the sun), relationship (children), desire (making love), surrender and participation (music as joy and glory). (He concludes with a joke, “Or maybe when we make love, we could listen to [the 80s metal band] the Scorpions,” which sends him into a brief, knowing reverie, concluded by a laughing “fuckin’ hell,” and as he parts with the theme reluctantly, a meditative “yeah, yeah…”)

This can all be acknowledged and certainly celebrated, but without having to idolize Plant. Or rather, I would argue that fans (including me) should make of him the proper kind of idol. Like all of us, his inner

divergences come out in even the shortest of exchanges: in this interview, if you listen carefully, there is that little moment of the performance of “masculine” entitlement at the beginning, in which he makes a regrettable attempt at humor, when he patronizingly asks his assistant (“Marianne, darling”) where he should sit, and then jokes that she sleeps on her right side, for which you can hear him immediately apologize (“sorry”) to her, sotto voce.

Theology and music, for better and for worse, for richer and for poorer, are a closely knit pair.

Tommy Beaudoin, Hastings-on-Hudson, New York

6 Comments »

  1. He’s also singing a lot of gospel music with Band of Joy: Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down, 12 Gates to the City, In My Time of Dying, Good Night etc. During one concert with Band of Joy he said that he has always wanted to end a concert with this type of music because it says everything he really wants to say. He may be saying that he is one of the children of the “Son,” as in Jesus Christ. I doubt very much though that he would identify himself with organized religion, but then again, neither did Jesus.

    Comment by Bob — March 21, 2013 @ 11:47 pm

  2. i hope with all my sole that page plantand the gang have all seen the light witch is jesus christ theres nothing they could have done that he cant forgive god is awsomke and when i get too heaven i want too hear zep kicking nit out for christ i wish they would do a christian concert and get others too ncome praise the lord because god is in control god createde rock n roll and heavy metal and everything there is page is my favorite guitarist but if ive got too choose betweenh page and christ sorry jimmy your out of there

    Comment by Donald Mcpherson — April 19, 2013 @ 10:28 pm

  3. coould you emagine ozzy deeppurple arosmithe and all the rest of the rockers jamming for christ and god the father its ahigh you cant discribe the best rush ive evere had its not too late for people to turn there lives around come as you are stoned drunk gay it doesnt matter he loves you the way you are and youll loose the desire ton do those things as you go give thanks ohnor and praise too god the father and thank god for led zeppelin

    Comment by Donald Mcpherson — April 19, 2013 @ 10:33 pm

  4. i wish page would get back with mne or plant to start planing for the bigist concert event in history it should take a week or more liuke a revival rock n roll revival

    Comment by Donald Mcpherson — April 19, 2013 @ 10:34 pm

  5. Robert Plant has always said about religion – “Personal Choice.” As far as rock music always having the thread of pantheism; that is just a fancy name for paganism. But what people truly believes always comes out in their life, in their actions.

    Comment by Tim Spencer — May 30, 2013 @ 3:27 pm

  6. yes there are two paths you can go by but in the long run zep helped to bring me to the eternal love of christ my chains are gone i’ve been set free god my savior has ransomed me and in my time of dyin don’t want nobody to mone- except satin- caus i goin on up to the spirit in the sky- god bless jah

    Comment by cheif doug — December 23, 2013 @ 12:22 am

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