Myles Kennedy, who briefly rehearsed with Jimmy Page and Led Zeppelin, said he’d be working at a shoe store if it wasn’t for Page. Greta Van Fleet Break Silence On Robert Plant ‘Insult.’
He told Premier Guitar, “‘Whole Lotta Love’ – probably one of the most important riffs of all time in my opinion. I remember the first time I heard it very well. I was probably about 13, and I was playing football with my little brother in the backyard.
“And we had the boombox, so we used to call our stereos, our portable stereos back then. And we had the radio blasting on our favorite rock station, and that riff came on the same afternoon that I heard ‘Eruption’ too. So ‘Eruption’ came on I think a little earlier, going into ‘You Really Got Me.’
“And then a few hours later, I hear ‘Whole Lotta Love.’ And it was a game-changer. I hate using that term, but it really was. It informed me where I wanted to go in life and from that point forward, I was starting the journey.
“Within hours, I went and grabbed a tennis racket, and started air-bending. That was a thing back in the ’80s where you would take a tennis racket and you’d pretend like you were playing to your favorite song.
“So I’m sure I played to that song and a number of other big artists in the day and prior. And it was wonderful because it helped push me somewhere and gave me a purpose. A few years later, I was probably 14 or so, and I was on a camping trip with my family, and my stepdad was listening to me talk about, ‘Oh yeah, I’m going to do this air-band show!’
“My friends and I were putting together these little shows where we’re pretending like we’re playing, and I was so excited. ‘The show is gonna be great!’ And my stepdad is building a fire and he kind of stops what he’s doing, he turns around, looks at me, shakes his head, and he says, ‘Son, why don’t you just learn how to play for real?’
“And I was like, ‘That is genius, dad! Thank you for the wonderful advice!’ And so from that point forward, we worked out a deal – we had a few horses and he said, ‘I’ll give you a dollar for every stall you clean.’ So I spent nine months cleaning horse manure.
“I saved up for my first guitar, which was an Ibanez DT250 – and it’s the X-series, very metal-looking guitar. But I was a little rocker kid, so it was perfect. And from that point forward, no one ever saw me once I got that guitar.
“I locked myself away learning riffs like ‘Whole Lotta Love,’ learning ‘Rock & Roll’ by Led Zeppelin, a little of Judas Priest. It was just a very important moment when I heard that riff – when I heard ‘Whole Lotta Love.’ And keep in mind I’ve been trying to play that riff for 30-plus years, and I still don’t have that magic sauce that Jimmy [Page] has.
“But I’ve never heard anybody play that riff quite like Jimmy Page. There’s something about the reckless abandon, there’s just something about the swagger that he has when he performs it. I love that part in ‘It Might Get Loud,’ the movie about the guitar, where I think it’s Jack White and The Edge sitting there, and then Jimmy Page picks up the guitar and starts launching into that riff.
“And you can just see it in their faces, it’s just like – it’s priceless, it’s actually a really beautiful moment. I guess they’re saying with just their expressions what all of us feel, which is like you’re just in awe of this genius.
“If it wasn’t for ‘Whole Lotta Love,’ I probably would have been a shoe repairman. Who knows? So, thank you Jimmy Page for writing one of the greatest riffs of all time.” Ultimate-Guitar transcribed his comments.