Led Zeppelin: one of the most famous and influential rock and roll bands of all time. The key word in there is influential. How many rock bands in 2013 do you suppose cite Zeppelin as a major influence on their sound? I'd say just about all of them, either directly or indirectly through their influences' being influenced by Zeppelin themselves.
But just as iconic as Zeppelin's sound is its brand. The band's legacy is all tangled up in its fantastical lyricism, its obscure album art and its mysterious symbols. Even the name is so iconic that it has inspired a legion of imitators, from similarly named tribute bands to active recording entities unto themselves who just like the way a certain pun on the name "Led Zeppelin" sounded.
Here are five of these other Zeppelins you may or may not have heard of before.
5. Red Zeppelin What started as a tribute to the Led variety of Zeppelin -- based around some guys who really enjoyed playing Zep songs and one member's red afro -- has since taken on a life of its own with their alter-ego project, Blue Horizon. These days the local Atlanta band records originals alongside their Led Zeppelin covers, becoming, like Pinocchio, a real band of their own.
Incidentally, in the stead of Blue Horizon, a new Red Zeppelin has emerged in Argentina. This one, however, sticks purely to Zeppelin covers.
4. Ded Zeppelin Ded Zeppelin seems like a pretty obvious pun, yet you might be surprised to find that its only use thus far has been by this Japanese instrumental-rock band. Very little information on the band exists on the Internet, and this YouTube clip serves as the lone documentation of DZ's existence.
That's actually a shame, because DZ's music is quite interesting, reviving good old-fashioned psychedelia in the sweetest way -- bright keyboard solos, heavily distorted guitars and all.
3. Lez Zeppelin Lez Zeppelin is a fairly well known and popular Led Zeppelin tribute band, so named because it's an all-female lineup. Aside from being participants in a wave of rock tribute bands with a similar all-female gimmick, the band itself is actually pretty talented.
Perhaps that's why they have been surprisingly and amazingly successful for a tribute act, taking the stage at Download Festival, Rock am Ring and Voodoo Fest just a hop, skip and a jump away from Houston over in New Orleans. They even performed at Bonnaroo one year, tricking many into thinking Led Zeppelin had reunited for the popular festival.
2. Fred Zeppelin Given his sense of humor, it should come as no surprise when I tell you that "Fred Zeppelin" was apparently a recurrent inside joke to both Frank Zappa and his family. What few know, however, is that Fred Zeppelin was also the name of Dweezil Zappa's first band as a young child with sister Moon Unit. Only short clips of the band float around among Zappa fan communities these days, however.
A part of me finds it incredibly ironic and funny that Dweezil Zappa, now best known as the leader of a tribute band dedicated to his father's music, used the name Fred Zeppelin for a band composed of original music, but I digress. Anyway, a new group has since taken up the name for its rightful use: a Led Zeppelin tribute band, of course.
1. Dread Zeppelin Easily the most famous band on this list, Dread Zeppelin is described by Wikipedia better than I ever could: "best known for performing the songs of Led Zeppelin in a reggae style, as sung by a 300 pound Vegas Elvis impersonator." With that decidedly unencyclopedic description, Dread Z. captures the essence of the bizarre band.
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This band, however, also performs its own original songs, such as "Big Ol' Gold Belt," seen in the video above. With all the weirdness, Dread Zeppelin is just impossible not to love, even if you consider the works of Led Zeppelin sacred ground beyond parody.