photo & text by nacrowe
during my 1990s childhood in SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, there were two songs i remember hearing on the ALTERNATIVE ROCK station 106.7 KROQ and having absolutely no clue who sang them. in those days there was no SHAZAM app or internet and the only way to learn was if the DJ felt like mentioning it. the first song i learned years later was NIRVANA's haunting "SAPPY." the other was STONE TEMPLE PILOT's laid-back, harrowing cover of LED ZEPPELIN's "DANCING DAYS" on the ENCOMIUM: A TRIBUTE TO LED ZEPPELIN (ATLANTIC, 1995) tribute compilation.
that cover in particular is probably one of SCOTT WEILAND's great performances and showcases a charisma and preternatural ability to shine when the focus very much is on him and his voice. he comes off both assured and insular and transforms a celebratory anthem into something entirely different, something excruciatingly introspective. i should also mention that guitarist DEAN DELEO has some righteous slide work on the track which only heightens that haunting, reflective vibe.
when revisiting this compilation recently, i was struck by the quality of other vocal performances by the likes of LINDA PERRY (4 NON BLONDES), SHANNON HOON (BLIND MELON) HENRY ROLLINS (ROLLINS BAND) and DAVID YOW (THE JESUS LIZARD here collaborating with HELMET), which all point to the dynamic and versatile quality of the songwriting and the poetic lyricism of JIMMY PAGE and ROBERT PLANT. just the fact that this material can be interpreted convincingly by such disparate artists is pretty remarkable. that is not to say that there arent some forgettable, less-than-stellar duds from the likes of HOOTIE & THE BLOWFISH, SHERYL CROW, CRACKER and DURAN DURAN, remember this was put out by ATLANTIC RECORDS with largely its then-current roster of artists. maybe this was a calculated effort to draw attention to LED ZEPPELIN's back catalogue as PAGE & PLANT where reestablishing their recording and touring career at the time as a duo. could be that this compilation was a marketing ploy, but with the solid aforementioned contributions, i dont believe it was a fruitless exercise in the least.
ENCOMIUM is definitely worth checking out if you are a LED ZEPPELIN aficionado or even a fan of SCOTT WEILAND or SHANNON HOON. definitely two captivating performances by the two at a point in their creative careers when they were firing on all cylinders. REST IN PEACE to both.
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