by Matt McKay
While playing guitar for the popular Boston group “The Rick Berlin Band” in the late 1980’s, we enjoyed a surprise visit from Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page one evening in Boston.
It was a Friday night at The Channel, one of the area’s big concert clubs at the time, when former Rick Berlin drummer Joe Pet stopped by our dressing room to say hello before the show. Joe told us that Jimmy Page had just walked in with another fellow and was sitting at a table. Pet had played drums with the Joe Perry Project, and met Page while touring with The Firm, a band that Page and Bad Company’s Paul Rogers formed in the mid 1980’s.
Joe said, “Let’s go say hi, he’s a good friend of mine!” and I followed him out. Of course, soon after Jimmy arrived, club patrons started recognizing him, and he was ushered into the venue’s VIP room. We entered the room and found Page and a half-dozen other people sitting around and talking. Amazingly, there was a seat right next to Jimmy, which I took, and Joe introduced us.
I make it a point to never ask for an autograph, or talk about music when I meet someone in the business for the first time, it’s just one of my “things.” He was very gracious and friendly, and we talked briefly about the weather, how he liked Boston, and other small talk, then it was time for me to go on. I said goodbye and went to work.
When I recount the story, people will invariably ask why I didn’t get an autograph, talk about music, if I was nervous about playing with him in the club, etc. I had no reason to nervous, or to treat him other than what he wanted to be that night…just a guy looking to get out of his hotel room and check out some local music.
Written by Matt McKay