Bon­ham’s band not just a trib­ute act

The Record (Troy, NY) - - ENTERTAINMENT - By Lau­ren Hal­li­gan lhal­li­gan@dig­i­tal­first­media.com @Lau­renTheRecord on Twit­ter More in­for­ma­tion about Satur­day’s Juke Box Heroes Tour event at SPAC is avail­able on­line at spac. org.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. » Ja­son Bon­ham, son of leg­endary Led Zep­pelin drum­mer John Bon­ham, will be in the Spa City on Satur­day at Saratoga Per­form­ing Arts Cen­ter.

Ja­son Bon­ham’s Led Zep­pelin Ex­pe­ri­ence will open for Whites­nake and For­eigner at Satur­day’s SPAC show, the sec­ond night of The Juke Box Heroes Tour.

This is Bon­ham’s sec­ond con­sec­u­tive sum­mer tour­ing with For­eigner, a band that he was once part of dur­ing a three-year stint as their drum­mer.

Bon­ham and For­eigner’s man­ager go way back, he ex­plained. “He’s known me since I was four, and then man­aged me in my early ca­reer as well, un­til I caused him high blood pres­sure and heart prob­lems,” Bon­hamjoked. “We go way, way back.”

Be­ing where he is to­day, play­ing in the Led Zep­pelin Ex­pe­ri­ence and open­ing on a tour with For­eigner - all hap­pened to Bon­ham’s own sur­prise.

Start­ing the Led Zep­pelin Ex­pe­ri­ence band “took a lot of per­suad­ing,” Bon­ham said. At first he thought start­ing a Led Zep­pelin trib­ute act, af­ter hav­ing the honor of play­ing with the orig­i­nal mem­bers, was a ter­ri­ble idea.

Bon­ham came around to it, how­ever, af­ter re­al­iz­ing he could share a more per­sonal Led Zep­pelin story than any other trib­ute band. “There’s a lot of talk­ing in­volved, and sto­ry­telling and we show old home movies,” he said. “It be­comes a long, three hour very per­sonal jour­ney of grow­ing up around that.”

When Ja­son Bon­ham’s Led Zep­pelin Ex­pe­ri­ence was first asked to join For­eigner on the road for a sum­mer tour, he didn’t think that would work ei­ther, as the band would be go­ing on dur­ing day­light hours and play­ing a short set. Take away the big screens, and “It’s purely down to us play­ing the mu­sic to the best of our abil­ity,” Bon­ham said.

When the group did just that on the 2017 sum­mer tour, fans loved it. “Last year proved me wrong,” Bon­ham said. Ev­ery night at 7 p.m. - “I mean, who goes to a con­cert at seven o’clock,” Bon­ham said - con­cert-go­ers were there wait­ing and ready to see Ja­son Bon­ham’s Led Zep­pelin Ex­pe­ri­ence.

“It was very hum­bling to walk on the stage,” he said. “I had that English at­ti­tude of ‘ Yeah, well, I think it’s go­ing to be half empty, you know.’ And it was full ev­ery night. I was proved wrong. Ob­vi­ously the love for the mu­sic, the fans, are there. So, thank you, it was won­der­ful.”

Based on last year’s suc- cess, Bon­ham and his band are back at it again for sum­mer 2018. This time with Whites­nake in the mix as well.

Bon­ham is thor­oughly en­joy­ing his time on the road with For­eigner, and see­ing much more of the coun­try than he did in his early days of tour­ing. His wife will of­ten plan side trips in be­tween the shows. With a few days off in up­state New York af­ter the SPAC con­cert, Bon­ham is sure they’ll do some ex­plor­ing. “Ob­vi­ously the venue, when we first got there last year, that was a beau­ti­ful area,” Bon­ham said, but they didn’t have much down­time to check it out. “This time we’re go­ing to try to get in there and hang around awhile.”

Along with Ja­son Bon­ham’s Led Zep­pelin Ex­pe­ri­ence, Bon­ham has a hand­ful of other mu­si­cal projects, in­clud­ing one with Sammy Hagar and Michael An­thony and an­other with Joe Bona­massa and Glenn Hughes. “I find it re­ally re­fresh­ing to play with dif­fer­ent projects, dif­fer­ent peo­ple,” Bon­ham said.

So he keeps busy year­round, but for now the fo­cus is Ja­son Bon­ham’s Led Zep­pelin Ex­pe­ri­ence hit­ting the road with Whites­nake and For­eigner. “The bags are on the end of the bed all put out, ready to go,” Bon­ham said Wed­nes­day, just be­fore em­bark­ing on tour - and he’s ex­cited about it.

“I feel very, very priv­i­leged, blessed that I still re­ally en­joy play­ing drums,” Bon­ham said. “Un­til I can’t play, I’ll keep play­ing.”

PHOTO PRO­VIDED

Drum­mer Ja­son Bon­ham, son of late Led Zep­pelin drum­mer John Bon­ham, plays in Ja­son Bon­ham’s Led Zep­pelin Ex­pe­ri­ence, which will open for Whites­nake and For­eigner on Satur­day at Saratoga Per­form­ing Arts Cen­ter.

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