‘He was always dad’: Jason Bonham remembers life with Led Zeppelin legend John Bonham

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Though Jason Bonham had just turned 14 when his famous father passed away in 1980, he still has fond memories of growing up around Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham.

In fact, the memories are uniformly fond. The elder Bonham may have had a reputation as one of the 1970s’ most gonzo rock stars. At home, however, it was something different. “Someone said to me: ‘Don’t you have any bad memories of your dad,’ and I was like: ‘No,'” Bonham says in this Classic Rock 101 clip. “They said: ‘Isn’t that weird?,’ and I’m like ‘No.'”

Instead, Bonham’s recalls a doting father who loved to show off his kid’s blossoming talents as a young drummer — just like dear old dad.

“I started playing drums from about the age of four or five,” the younger Bonham says. “I actually don’t remember being taught, but I’ve watched old movie footage where I’m playing as a child. I remember being woken up in the middle of the night, dad would wake me up and say: ‘C’mon and play drums for my friends.’ I’d come down stairs in my pajamas, and he’d put the jukebox on. I’d play ‘All Right Now,’ something from Bad Company or Free — or the Stones. He was just very proud. He was always dad, this loving father figure.”

Bonham has two more dates left on a summer tour with Heart that features his Led Zeppelin Experience, a tribute to the music his father made with Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones.

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