Some fans might cock a skeptical eyebrow at the notion of an all-female Led Zeppelin tribute band. But Steph Paynes, the guitarist who founded Lez Zeppelin during 2004 in New York City, says that the actual Led Zep members are not among them.
"I have met them all now, and I've had some very special encounters with them," Paynes explains. "It was extremely meaningful to me. I didn't even expect they would know about (Lez Zeppelin) to the extent that they did, and the feeling was so warm and gracious.
"Y'know, I do this because I love it. I still don't consider it a tribute band; it's just music that I love to play. The fact that the members of Led Zeppelin realize the respect and authenticity and the love with which we come at this music is very satisfying and wonderful."
As it eyeballs its 10th anniversary next year, Lez Zep is keeping the love for all things Led going with a couple of special projects. The group is in the midst of recording its version of "Led Zeppelin II," and this weekend at the Magic Bag it will play each of Led Zep's first two albums in their entirety -- one each night -- which Paynes says is a unique but satisfying challenge.
"It's really fun, for the fans and for us, too, because playing an album is very different than just putting together a set of things from all over the place," the guitarist notes. "The songs fall in a different order than you might put them in otherwise, and then of course there's a bunch of songs that you might never play otherwise.
"They're both great albums, and it makes it really fun for everyone -- especially the hardcore Led Zeppelin fans -- to get an entire piece like that. It's like a moment in time, really."
Lez Zeppelin performs Friday and Saturday, Feb. 1-2, at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale. The group performs Led Zeppelin's first album on Friday and "Led Zeppelin II" on Saturday. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20. Call 248-544-3030 or visit www.themagicbag.com.
Send your thoughts and comments to