As one of the biggest bands of all time, Led Zeppelin must have hundreds, if not thousands, of cover bands paying tribute to them. However, all-female American band Zepparella has done a fantastic job.
In their own words, the way they honour Led Zeppelin's legacy is to "Pay attention to the intricacies of the magic, explore the far ends of the innovation, strive for ever-growing ability, and let the purity of the love for the music drive it all."
As is common in long-standing rock bands, there have been a few changes in the band members. The band came together in San Francisco in 2005. The founding members were Anna Kristina (vocals), Gretchen Mann (guitar), Nila Minnerok (bass) and Clementine (drums). Later, Anna left the band to be replaced by Miaya Shambry, and Angeline Saris took over from Nila Minnerock. However, Miaya Shambry only stayed briefly before Noelle Doughty stepped in.
Finally, in 2017 Anna Kristina returned as lead vocalist and current bassist Holly West arrived. The band have released three live albums and one studio album as well having a YouTube channel with 86,000 subscribers. Their channel doesn't just showcase the band's skills and song recordings. The members of the band also give a series of lessons on the drums, guitar and vocals of classic Led Zeppelin songs.
The most popular video that the band has made is When The Levee Breaks. The song was included on Led Zeppelin's fourth album, which curiously had no name. It sold over 37 million copies worldwide and went to number one in the UK, Canada and the Netherlands and number 2 in Australia, the USA, Japan and Sweden.
The Zepparella version has more than 20 million views on their YouTube channel. Fans love it and seem to think it does justice to the original. One commenter enthused: "Awesome Zeppelin cover. The guitarist was on the mark. The lead singer sounded like Plant. The drummer pounded on those skins like it owed her money. Love this version. Thanks for sharing"
There are lots of other positive comments, but this one sums up what everyone is saying: "An awesome and flawless cover. Great vocals, harmonica and slide guitar, plus the heavy drums and Bonham triplets of the original. Brilliantly oppressive and relentless, this classic Zeppelin song is like an unstoppable juggernaut and one of my favourites."
So, who are Zepparella? Founding member Clementine is passionate about the drums and performing. Her goal when she started her career was to perform on stage every single night. To achieve it, she played with a string of bands, including AC/DShe, The Solid, Bottom and The House of More. Her life has been a constant tour of the US and Europe, and she seems to channel Zeppelin drummer John Bonham. She plays with passion and emotion and exceptional skill.
Gretchen shares Clementine's desire to push the boundaries and play with bands in different genres. She trained with classical guitarist Phillip DeFremery, who was himself a student of Andrés Segovia, a virtuoso guitarist. Gretchen loves to challenge herself and draws constant inspiration from her musical influences. Jimmy Page was her gateway into the world of guitar music, and she loved it before she even learned to play. She is also inspired by Frank Zappa, Jeff Beck and Eric Johnson.
Holly West on bass is unique because she started playing more recently than the rest of the band and taught herself. Her passion and commitment propelled her forward at light speed, and she sounds as if she has been playing all her life. She is a consummate performer and has tremendous stage presence, meaning she is a perfect fit for this powerful band.
Anna Kristina has a stunning voice that truly brings Led Zeppelin's song to life. She has such fire when she performs and captures the spirit of each song perfectly. She helped found Zepparella and spent five years in the band. She was the singer on the stupendous When The Levee Breaks cover. She left the band for six years but is back now and blows audiences away whenever she performs.
As well as singing, she has an extra string to her bow; she is a brilliant harpist. She explains, "Playing the harp allows me to express on a whole different level and it's so freeing." If you've never checked out Zepparella's work, do it now. You'll be glad you did! You can subscribe to their YouTube channel or visit their official website.