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“Things change – within five years things are changing. So you’ve got to have your material mastered to that format to the way that you see it and hear it; otherwise, they’ll do it for you, and they’ll fuck it up. That’s what happened when Atlantic put out the first set of CDs. They were horrible! Absolutely appalling. And it was insulting because for Led Zeppelin, the criteria of it was always – and still is – quality.
“So here we are – we’re remastering the whole catalogue. Now, I know other people who are always going on about their remastering, but I don’t think it’s to the same degree that we are on this, all in one go. And we’re prepared for anything that’s to come, which is even higher resolution.
“But to make it into something that was quite sexy, if you like – you know, really attractive – because of the amount of live material that had come out, I could see a whole vision. I could see the journey, a beginning and an end. But I knew that if I started it – first of all, you’re convincing the other two, and at what point do you do that? How much time and effort do you even put in? So I thought, ‘You know, I’m just gonna do it.’ But it wasn’t daunting because I knew what the music was. It would have been daunting if I had been taking on somebody else’s catalogue or whatever.
“So in so much as that, I was thinking, ‘Well, what would somebody else do if I weren’t doing this? How would they approach it?’ I’m the one who’s got all the taste because I know the music; I was there more times than the others. I’ve got all of these points of reference, and I know how to counterbalance the Immigrant Song with another version. I know how to do this. I’m in the best position to do this, so let’s do it. Because if you do this, and if you manage to accomplish all of these companion discs, nobody’s done it. It’s unique. And I like that sort of challenge.”
The remarkable thing for me, based on what I’ve heard, is that it’s nothing I’ve heard before. I’ve heard the bootlegs; I know what’s out there.
“I wanted to make sure that what’s on the bootlegs that are out there, as best as possible, wasn’t going to appear on our stuff.”
It wasn’t anything that I recognized.
“No, you wouldn’t. You see how thorough the job is. You’ve got to get it right.”
In trying to find things that nobody’s ever heard, especially on the first album, were there any revelations? You have the live show, but I assume there weren’t any outtakes.
“No, there was just Baby Come On Home, which came out… “