Jason Bonham has found tapes that could contain unreleased Led Zeppelin mixes, but he hasn't played them yet

Jason Bonham performs on stage with Sammy Hagar
(Image credit: Tim Mosenfelder/Getty)

Led Zeppelin have kept their back-catalogue in order, with frequent remasters and reissues arriving whenever an opportunity for improvement or change in media occurs.

So with that in mind, it’d be fair to assume that there is no more unreleased material and we’ve heard everything Led Zeppelin would like us to. That is, unless, there’s a box sat in storage containing some of John Bonham’s old reel-to-reel tapes.

That’s exactly what Jason Bonham has discovered, as he revealed to The Vinyl Guide podcast during an appearance earlier this week. Listen to the full interview below.

“Believe it or not,", says Jason, "Dad didn’t like to play at all, at home. He had no recording equipment. We’ve got his old Revox two-track and that was literally just to be able to play mixes when he came back from the studio, they’d make another reel [for listening].”

“I know I found a whole bunch, a box of tapes - reel-to-reels - at home, last time I was there. But I need to get the machine up and running and hook it up, which … I’ll save that for YouTube, like ‘Let’s get this thing up and running. Let’s find out if we’ve got anything that hasn’t even been released yet.’ 

“Because they’re all unmarked, that’s the best of it. Or they’ve just deteriorated. They might just … you put them in the machine and it just erases them the moment you press start. I think they had to do that when they were doing the Knebworth mixing. 

“They only had the U-matic tapes and they had to bake the tape to preserve what was on there.”

Jason goes on to reveal that he and his dad shared a love for The Police and Stewart Copeland. "I turned my dad onto Outlandos d'Amour…He was like ‘What are you listening to?’, and I went ‘The best drummer in the world - he’s better than you!’

“I was really cocky with it. He went ‘Well play it then, let me listen!’. He ended up snagging that copy off me and he literally wore it out. That got him into Stewart Copeland’s playing, then soon enough Reggatta de Blanc came out and he bought it before I had a chance to get it…

“He took me to see The Police at the Birmingham Odeon and got me backstage to meet them. So it was the greatest moment. 

"Then fast-forward to last year and I’m on tour in Chicago. Sting was playing on a day off we had and my friend said ‘Do you want to go and see him?’. He knows him, and I haven’t seen him since 1979, I was a little younger then. 

"I walk into the dressing room and he says, ‘Jason! You haven’t changed a bit!’. It was hilarious. So that one vinyl moment led to so many different memories and stories. I tell people [about the blue vinyl] as part of the show.” 

Elsewhere in the interview, Jason recalls Led Zeppelin’s 2007 reunion show, as well as the band’s impromptu reunion at his wedding in 1990, confirming that there was no advance plan for the surviving members to jam with the newlywed. 

“It definitely wasn’t planned because one, if we would have planned it, I definitely would have made sure that my drums were on stage and not somebody else’s…I probably would have stayed a lot more sober if I’d have known that was going to go on at the end of the night.”

Jason Bonham is touring his Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Evening throughout the spring and summer, taking in Australia and New Zealand as well as 15 dates across the US. For a full list of tour dates, click here.

Stuart Williams

I'm a freelance member of the MusicRadar team, specialising in drum news, interviews and reviews. I formerly edited Rhythm and Total Guitar here in the UK and have been playing drums for more than 25 years (my arms are very tired). When I'm not working on the site, I can be found on my electronic kit at home, or gigging and depping in function bands and the odd original project.