Dread Zeppelin

Dread Zeppelin

Dread Zeppelin is an American band best known for performing the songs of Led Zeppelin in a reggae style as sung by a 300-pound (140 kg) Las Vegas Elvis impersonator. Over the years they have also performed songs originally by Elvis Presley, Bob Marley and The Yardbirds. The group toured extensively around the world during their tenure with I.R.S. Records.

The nucleus of Dread Zeppelin, bassist Put-Mon (Gary Putman), drummer Cheese (Curt Lichter) and guitarist Jah Paul Jo (Joseph "Severs" Ramsey), were from a Pasadena, California group called The Prime Movers. Signed to Island Records in 1986, The Prime Movers had some success in the UK with singles "On The Trail" and "Dark Western Night." The late Stuart Adamson of Big Country contributed his trademark E-Bow guitar to "Dark Western Night" and another Prime Mover song, "Strong As I Am," was featured in Michael Mann's motion picture thriller, Manhunter.

When The Prime Movers ended in 1989, Jah Paul Jo hatched the idea for a new group that would call itself "Dread Zeppelin." Aside from the three original members, the band recruited guitarist Carl Jah (Carl Haasis) and 300-pound Vegas-era Elvis impersonator Tortelvis (Greg Tortell). The band supposedly met Tortelvis when he rammed his milk float into the back of the band's car. Longtime graphic artist for The Prime Movers, Bryant Fernandez, was brought in as conga-man Ed Zeppelin.

The concept for Dread Zeppelin may be less bizarre than it seems. Notably, Led Zeppelin did make a recording which reflected a prominent reggae influence, the 1973 song "D'yer Mak'er." Also, the band frequently performed Elvis Presley songs in concert, often presented as a medley which occasionally flirted with self-parody. (Led Zeppelin met Elvis briefly in 1974 after attending one of his concerts in Los Angeles.


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