“Never talk to anyone in the band unless they first talk to you”: The rules journalists had to follow when interviewing Led Zeppelin

Some of them are real head-scratchers.

Back in the ‘70s, you had to be a lucky journalist to be granted access to Led Zeppelin’s inner sanctum. But even then, the band enforced a stringent set of rules you had to follow if you wanted to get your scoop.

As revealed by Classic Rock’s Steven Rosen – who spent the best part of a year pestering the rock titans’ label Swan Song Records for an interview – Led Zep had a set of five rules journos had to follow, which were laid out to him by the band’s publicist Janine Safer.

“She laid down five rules that had to be strictly adhered to while caught up in this travelling circus,” Rosen recalls.

“Rule 1: Never talk to anyone in the band unless they first talk to you. Rule 2: Do not talk to [manager] Peter Grant or [tour manager] Richard Cole – for any reason. Rule 3: Keep your cassette recorder turned off at all times unless conducting an interview. Rule 4: Never ask questions about anything other than music. Rule 5: Most importantly, understand this – the band will read what is written about them. The band do not like the press.”

Most of these five rules are fairly understandable coming from a band of Led Zep’s stature; they’d be keen to take all necessary precautions not to verbally put their foot in it, so to speak. By encouraging journalists not to speak to them unless spoken to, they could ensure they were as prepared as they could be for any curveball questions. Demanding journalists not speak to Peter Grant or Richard Cole, though, is a head-scratcher.

In other Led Zeppelin news, earlier this month, a 10 percent stake in the band’s music went up for sale. As the story goes, Peter Grant retained a 20 percent stake in the group, which he passed evenly to his children Helen and Warren upon his death. Helen Grant revealed she was selling her 10 percent stake.

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