MusiquePortraits et Interviews

Lez Zeppelin, The female Power du Hellfest 2014Lez Zeppelin, The female Power of the Hellfest 2014

Elles sont 4 et sont fans de Led Zeppelin. New-yorkaises, le 21 Juin 2014, c’est la première fois qu’elles jouent au festival du Hellfest.

Le 21 Juin 2014 à Clisson, avec Kelly et Guillaume (Galerie 3L1C), mes complices avec qui nous avons organisé l’exposition des PinUps Dark Metal durant ces 3 jours de festival du Hellfest 2014, nous rencontrons Steph Paynes, la guitariste du groupe Lez Zeppelin. Voici l’interview…



Lez Zeppelin reprend l’ensemble des oeuvres du groupe mythique du presque même nom.

Depuis 2005, le groupe est composé de : Sarah McLellan au chant (rôle de Robert Plant), Steph Paynes (guitare, en lieu et place de Jimmy Page), Helen Destroy (batterie) au rôle de John Bonham, Lisa Brigantino à la guitare basse, mandoline et synthé (John Paul Jones).

Steph Paynes m’embrasse 🙂 Photo de Guillaume Haar


Leur premier album sort en juillet 2007, en collaboration avec Eddie Kramer.


No matter. Listening to the music of Led Zeppelin as a band, and Jimmy Page as a one-man wrecking crew on guitar, is never underwhelming, and always rewarding. Steph Paynes, who so expertly plays those legendary licks, explains why.

Few rock bands have inspired as many generations of air guitarists, as many black magic-dabbling hippies and heavy metal heads, as many tall tales involving groupies and trashed hotel rooms, as Led Zeppelin. But beyond the dragon suits, beyond the stairways to heaven and pockets full of gold (Acapulco gold!), beyond the hair, always, was the music. The legend would be nothing without it, and Led Zeppelin the rock archetypes would be nothing without Led Zeppelin the band. Just consider for a moment other dinosaurs of the day (Iron Butterfly, Vanilla Fudge etc.) who trudged loudly and inevitably into extinction.

It is for these reasons that Lez Zeppelin guitarist Steph Paynes wants to make one thing perfectly clear: Her New York-based quartet is not trying to be the legendary hard-rock outfit after which it is named (the exception being the slight but intriguing tweak of one letter – more about that later). Furthermore, she says, the band is certainly not trying to fool anyone into thinking that it is as great, or as ground-breaking, as the original.  is a tribute band devoted to performing the music of its idols, yes. But it’s a tribute band with a healthy sense of perspective.

“Just aping a band is what most tribute bands do,” says Paynes over the phone from New York, where she’s preparing for a U.S. tour that brings Lez Zeppelin to the Middle East Downstairs on Saturday.  “They play everything note for note and dress up as the people, and the idea is, if you just squint a little bit, you’ll think it’s really . But that’s never gonna happen because no one’s ever going to capture them completely. For us, it was never really about that (illusion). It was about loving this music and approaching it the way a classical musician would approach playing a symphony.”

In fact, part of what has made Lez Zeppelin – which also includes Sarah McLellan (vocals), Lisa Brigantino (bass, keyboards), and the perfectly named Helen Destroy (drums) – so successful since Paynes launched the project in 2004 with a different lead singer and drummer, is that the group hears the music of its predecessors as no less sophisticated, nuanced, and dynamic.

“I think Led Zeppelin were probably the greatest rock band of all-time,” says Paynes, who grew up in New York City and taught herself to play guitar – her first love was jazz – from the age of six. “From a musician’s standpoint, you really begin to see how deep this stuff was and how complete it was. For me as a guitar player, really immersing myself in Zeppelin and becoming addicted and obsessed, I thought, ‘Wow, what could be more fun and challenging to play than this? And if I had my druthers, what band would I be in?’ “

Article du Boston Globe


Steph Paynes avec un tee-shirt réalisé par Marek, Galerie 3L1C

> Site de Lez Zeppelin

> Page Facebook de Lez Zeppelin

> Site du Hellfest 

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