If you were at all aware of or connected to the Sunset Strip music scene of the 80’s and 90’s, you’ve definitely heard of today’s choice for Music Video Monday: Dread Zepplin. As these were the days before things like “soundcloud” or “YouTube” or even “the internet”, you probably had to live in Southern California to actually be connected to that scene, though, so we’re going to assume that this reggae-infused, Elvis impersonator-led Led Zepplin cover band might have flown under your radar.  So here’s a little about the band before we dive into the awesome sauce that is “Black Dog”.

Dread Zepplin – A Brief History

Bassist Put-Mon (Gary Putman), drummer Cheese (Curt Lichter) and guitarist Jah Paul Jo (Joseph “Severs” Ramsey), were a part of a Pasadena, CA band called The Prime Movers from 1986-1989.  The Prime movers had some success with two UK singles and having one of their songs featured in Michael Mann‘s motion picture thriller, Manhunter. When The Prime Movers broke up in 1989, the trio joined guitarist Carl Jah (Carl Haasis), conga player Ed Zepplin (Bryant Fernandez) and 300-pound Vegas-era Elvis impersonator Tortelvis (Greg Tortell) to form Dread Zepplin.

Dread Zepplin combined reggae with Led Zepplin, a mixture that is not that strange, really given that Plant, Page and Co. themselves admit to reggae influences and even recorded songs like D’yer Mak’er which was a single from their massively successful “Houses of the Holy” album.

What DOES make the Dread Zepplin sound fairly unique is lead singer Tortelvis, a slightly…rotund Elvis impersonator whose voice gives every song by the band a very Presley-tinged tone to it. The entire combination may seem outlandish and odd, but it actually works quite amazingly well, especially when coupled with Dread Zepplin’s stage presence and showmanship in a live setting. And while the band’s makeup may have changed drastically over the years (Put-Mon is the only member to have performed on every recording and in every live show over the years.) the sound remains the very much the same.

Dread Zepplin has released 16 albums over the years, branching out from their Other Zepplin roots to cover many other artists, as well as recording original songs of their own. Although they may have never received the huge commercial success of their namesake, Dread Zepplin has actually developed a large cult following and received huge amounts of recognition for their work over the years.  Even this particular shout out from someone you may recognize if you know Led Zepplin:

Dread Zepplin – Black Dog

Although there are many music videos we could have chosen to introduce/remind you of their work, choosing a live performance of “Black Dog” seemed to be the best representation of what it is like to be in the audience and just letting the Dread wash all over you.  Enjoy!

Check out the official Dread Zepplin WEBPAGE for all the latest on their live performances and to check out some of their other music.

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Keep on rambling on, Froggies!