‘I have not been approached to fill in for Robert Plant on the Zeppelin tour, but that isn’t to say I won’t be,’ singer says.
By Chris Harris
Photo: MTV News
<P>Former <a href="http://www.mtv.com/music/artist/soundgarden/artist.jhtml">Soundgarden</a>Soundgarden and <a href="http://www.mtv.com/music/artist/audioslave/artist.jhtml">Audioslave</a>Audioslave frontman <a href="http://www.mtv.com/music/artist/cornell_chris/artist.jhtml">Chris Cornell</a>Chris Cornell has spoken out for the first time about rumors that he's been asked to fill in for <a href="http://www.mtv.com/music/artist/plant_robert/artist.jhtml">Robert Plant</a>Robert Plant on a proposed <a href="http://www.mtv.com/music/artist/led_zeppelin/artist.jhtml">Led Zeppelin</a>Led Zeppelin reunion tour. The trek would feature original guitarist Jimmy Page, original bassist John Paul Jones and Jason Bonham taking over on drums for his late father, John Bonham.
Cornell has been mentioned — along with <a href="http://www.mtv.com/music/artist/foo_fighters/artist.jhtml">Foo Fighters</a>Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl, former <a href="http://www.mtv.com/music/artist/van_halen/artist.jhtml">Van Halen</a>Van Halen frontman <a href="http://www.mtv.com/music/artist/hagar_sammy/artist.jhtml">Sammy Hagar</a>Sammy Hagar, <a href="http://www.mtv.com/music/artist/white_stripes/artist.jhtml">White Stripes</a>White Stripes mastermind Jack White and <a href="http://www.mtv.com/music/artist/alter_bridge/artist.jhtml">Alter Bridge</a>Alter Bridge's Myles Kennedy — as a potential Plant fill-in. Plant has already said that he wouldn't take part in the tour.
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"I have not been approached so far to fill in for Robert Plant on the upcoming Zeppelin tour, but that isn't to say I won't be," Cornell told MTV News. "I've heard that from about 200 people now, and it might be one of those situations where it's just an online rumor or it might be true. But if you see anyone from Led Zeppelin around, let me know. I think I should actually fill in for Jimmy Page on the Robert Plant/ Alison Krauss tour."
Cornell's denial comes just a day after <a href="http://www.mtv.com/music/artist/aerosmith/artist.jhtml">Aerosmith</a>Aerosmith guitarist <a href="http://aeronewsdaily.com/blog/2008/10/31/aerosmith-guitarist-says-page-trying-to-motivate-plant-to-return-to-zeppelin/" target="_blank">Brad Whitford confirmed reports</a> that frontman Steven Tyler recently met with Zeppelin for an impromptu jam session. "They did it for fun," Whitford said during an appearance on the syndicated show "Todd N Tyler Radio Empire." "I actually think Jimmy wanted Steven to come over and play a little bit because I think he was trying to light a fire under Robert."
Rumors of a Zeppelin reunion tour have abounded since the iconic band played <a href="/news/articles/1576186/led-zeppelin-give-fans-a-whole-lotta-love-at-reunion-show.jhtml">a single reunion set</a> last year at London's O2 Arena. <a href="http://www.mtv.com/music/artist/twisted_sister/artist.jhtml">Twisted Sister</a>Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider added fuel to the fire last month when he revealed that the group was thinking of touring, with or without Plant.
<a href="http://newsroom.mtv.com/2008/10/13/another-led-zeppelin-rumor-almost-debunked/">According to Snider</a>, the rest of the band told Plant, " 'We're all rehearsed, we're ready to go. Here's a gazillion dollars on the table. If you don't do it, we're going out with this kid [Myles Kennedy].' "
"And he can sing the sh– out of Zeppelin," Snider added. "They're going to hope that Robert, at the last minute, will go, 'OK,' and step in."
In a recent interview, Jones told BBC Radio Devon that a new singer was being sought to take over for Plant. "We are trying out a couple of singers," he said. "We want to do it. It's sounding great, and we want to get on and get out there."
But Jones insists that he, Page and Bonham aren't interested in finding a Plant clone. "It's got to be right," he said. "There's no point in just finding another Robert. You could get that out of a tribute band, but we don't want to be our own tribute band. There would be a record and a tour, but everyone has to be onboard."
Of course, even if Zeppelin were to approach him, Cornell might be too busy to take over vocals for the band. His upcoming <a href="http://www.mtv.com/music/artist/timbaland/artist.jhtml">Timbaland</a>Timbaland-produced solo LP, <a href="/news/articles/1596730/chris-cornell-debuts-timbaland-produced-track-on-tv-show.jhtml"><i>Scream,</i></a> will be released within the next few months. Cornell told MTV News last month that some of his fans might consider <i>Scream</i> something of a departure, but he doesn't see it that way.
"It makes me happy that there's this perception that I have a group of fans that I'm now sort of throwing a curve at and what their reaction will be," he said. "But I've been in this situation so many times already. When I put out [1999's] <i>Euphoria Morning,</i> my main goal was to create an album that sounded like nothing I'd done in Soundgarden, and I did that. I also had that with Temple of the Dog, where I showed up with songs that weren't necessarily riff-based. And then, of course, the pairing of me and members of <a href="http://www.mtv.com/music/artist/rage_against_the_machine/artist.jhtml">Rage Against the Machine</a>Rage Against the Machine had everyone sort of speculating about what that would sound like.
"It feels like I've done this so many times that when it's presented to me as being a departure, I feel that's a misconception," he added. "I feel like that's my theme at this point."</p>