KEARNEY — Note for note.
That’s how guitarist Paul Hammond describes the sound of Get the Led Out.
“It’s a faithful recreation or reproduction of Led Zeppelin’s iconic recorded music,” he said in an interview from California while on tour. “Basically, you get a rock show with professional rock musicians, dedicated to performing Led Zeppelin’s music, live in concert, as it was when you listened to it on vinyl records or cassette tapes — all the parts included.”
Hammond noted that his band goes beyond a typical tribute ensemble.
“A typical tribute band would include guys dressed like Led Zeppelin, kinda doing the live thing,” he said. “We are professional musicians who don’t dress up, but play all the parts exactly like you remember them, only live in concert on a big concert stage. That’s what sets us apart from other tribute or cover bands.”
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In addition to recreating the sounds, members of Get the Led Out perform on vintage instruments and vintage amplifiers.
“We use period correct and properly amplified guitars to get the sound and the tones that they used in those records,” Hammond said.
Central Nebraska audiences can experience the music of Led Zeppelin, courtesy of Get the Led Out, at a 7:30 p.m. show Thursday at the Merryman Performing Arts Center. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $30-$41.
Hammond, 54, grew up in the ’70s near Philadelphia, just as groups like Zeppelin reached their peak.
“I grew up while Led Zeppelin was still a band and was still being played on the radio,” he said. “That’s what I learned to play because it was popular at the time, along with Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Aerosmith, Jethro Tull, Lynrd Skynyrd — all the good stuff. So I learned how to play like the classic rock masters, but I also learned proper music theory.”
Hammond gathered all the necessary skills for a working musician like sight reading and performing different styles of music like jazz, classical and fingerstyle blues.
“That was great as a background for being able to play the music of Led Zeppelin,” he said. “Their music was so varied. It wasn’t just, oh, this is their style and this is what they played. No, they played with the influences that they had.”
Blues, fusion, jazz, funk, fingerstyle acoustic, classical — Hammond could find all these styles in the music of Led Zeppelin.
“Every record was different,” he said. “And that’s why there’s always something there for everyone with Led Zeppelin.”
Hammond considers Led Zeppelin as the forefathers of heavy metal music.
In performance, Get the Led Out often uses six band members to recreate songs like “Black Dog,” “Dazed and Confused” or “Stairway to Heaven.”
“With the advent of multitrack recording, you could lay down four or five guitar tracks at the same time,” Hammond said. “That’s what they did. To be able to do that live, you have to have a certain level of knowledge and expertise to not only perform and play your instrument, but to also decipher the music and understand what they did and how we can do it live.”
Hammond uses the word “authentic” to describe the show that Get the Led Out performs.
“That’s what sets us apart,” he said. “We’re doing it authentically and performing the parts the way they sound and not faking it. One thing I can definitely tell you is that we are not up there faking it. We’re all playing it as close as humanly possible so everybody who comes to the concert can sing along, play air guitar or play air drums to the greatest rock music ever composed.”
Why go to all the trouble to recreate the sound of Zeppelin when the recordings are so easily available?
“It’s a celebration of the music of Led Zeppelin,” Hammond noted. “Doing it the way audiences remember and recognize makes the music resonate with people more.”