He began his career with the Yardbirds in 1966. Two years later, Page formed Led Zeppelin. His powerful playing established the framework for classic tracks like "Whole Lotta Love," "Rock 'N' Roll," "Black Dog," "When The Levee Breaks" and "Achilles Last Stand." Remastered footage from several 1970s Led Zeppelin concerts has just been released on a 2-DVD set.
The Iraqi heavy-metal band Acrassicauda had problems playing their music under Saddam Hussein, but they didn't get death threats until after the American invasion. Two band members — and the filmmaker who made a documentary about them — talk with Fresh Air's Terry Gross.
Judas Priest has a new album out, Angel of Retribution, and is on tour this summer. Originally from Birmingham, England, Judas Priest pioneered the heavy metal sound in the 1970s and '80s. Lead singer Halford left the band in 1991, citing internal tension, and in 1998, he disclosed that he is gay during an interview on MTV. Nicknamed the "Metal God," Halford returned to Judas Priest in 2003.
Hetfield is one of the founding members of the metal band Metallica. The new documentary Metallica: Some Kind of Monster catches the band at a time of crisis, when their bass player quits and the group hires a "therapist and performance-enhancement coach" to help them sort things out. Also during the filming, Hetfield storms out and enters rehab.
Plant formally fronted the band Led Zeppelin. His new solo CD includes tracks he recorded before Zeppelin and after. It's called Sixty Six to Timbuktu. (The interview continues through the end of the show.)
Part I of Terry Gross's interview with filmmaker Penelope Spheeris. Spheeris talks about her new movie, The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: the Metal Years, a documentary about the heavy metal scene. She thinks stereotypes of the inarticulate and unskilled metal musicians are unfair -- though it's often true that they embrace a drug-fueled, self-destructive lifestyle.
Rock critic Ken Tucker has seen most of the heavy metal acts on the package tour's bill. He admires Metallica and the Scorpions; Van Halen has its merits, but he says Dokken and Kingdom Come are bland. Collectively, the bands' popularity shows that metal is a genre that should't be ignored -- though Tucker prefers to enjoy it from the comfort of his own home.
Film critic Stephen Schiff reviews the new documentary The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: the Metal Years. He says the compelling movie is a revealing look at how fans and musicians participate in the decadent culture of heavy metal music.