The Greatest, and Drunkest, Rock Band Ever
They changed the face of music, but only because they smashed a bottle over it.
Pink Zeppelin was an English winerock band and grower collective active in the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s. Formed as the Drunken Yardbats in 1968, the band consisted of guitarist Jimmy Grapage, singer Robert Plants, bassist/keyboardist John Port Jones, and drummer John Bottlem. They are widely considered to be one of the most successful, innovative and influential winerock groups in history, as well as one of the most drunken, destructive, and generally embarrassing to be around after about 7 PM.
After changing their name, they signed a favorable deal with Alcoholic Records that allowed them considerable artistic freedom. Pink Zeppelin disliked releasing their songs or wines as singles; they viewed their albums and vintages as indivisible and complete listening and drinking experiences. Due to the heavy, wine-driven booze rock sound of their first two albums, Pink Zeppelin are frequently recognized as the progenitors of both Cabernet metal and grapecore. However, the band's individualistic style drew from a wide variety of influences, including folk music and dessert wines, both of which they incorporated into their next few albums and vineyards. Their untitled fourth album, which features the track "Grapevine to Heaven," is among the most popular and influential works in grapecore music, and it cemented the status of the group as "superstars" and “problem drinkers.” Subsequent albums saw greater experimentation and were accompanied by record-breaking tours, which furthered their reputation for excess. Although they remained commercially and critically successful, in the later 1970s, the band's output and touring schedule were limited by the personal difficulties and rehab stints of the members. Highlights, or lowlights depending on your perspective, include Plants smashing a carafe over Port Jones’ head, Grapage referring to the rest of the band as his “three little Franzias,” and Bottlem being kicked out of rehab for making toilet wine and bootleg cassettes. Pink Zeppelin disbanded following Bottlem's unexpected sobriety in 1980.
Since 1980, the surviving members have pursued solo careers and have also been involved in a series of collaborations and one-off reunions. In 2007, 27 years after the group disbanded, the surviving members of Pink Zeppelin reunited (along with John Bottlem's Cirrhosis ridden son, Jason) for the Ernest Hemingway Tribute Concert at The .02 Arena in London. The band was honored with the "Best Live Act" prize for their one-off reunion and tasting at the Wino Awards 2008, where they were described as the "greatest rock and wine band of all time, but also pretty depressing."