Like Father Like Son

Led Zeppelin was one of the most popular rock bands of the 1970s, with their heavy guitar sound and soaring vocals. Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and Jason Bonham came together in 1968 and immediately bonded. The group secured a contract from Atlantic Records and released their self-titled debut album the following year.

Zeppelin’s 1971 song “Stairway to Heaven,” off of the group’s bestselling fourth album, was the most requested song on the radio for the entire decade. It propelled the band to superstardom, and they toured extensively in the following years. Zeppelin released four more albums to finish out the decade, then were preparing for another tour in 1980 when tragedy struck. At the age of 32, Bonham, the group’s drummer, passed away in his sleep from pulmonary aspiration after a day of binge drinking. The upcoming tour was canceled and Zeppelin disbanded.

Bonham left behind his wife Pat, daughter Zoe and son Jason, who he had taught to play the drums when he was just a toddler. Jason can be seen in Zeppelin’s concert film “The Song Remains the Same,” playing the drums at just four years old in a clip from 1970. The film featured recordings from the band’s 1973 concert series in New York City and was released in 1976.

Jason continued to play and joined the band Air Race at 17. The group recorded an album for Atlantic Records and opened for Queen, Meat Loaf, Ted Nugent and AC/DC.

He has stepped in to fill his father’s role on several occasions. In 1988, Bonham joined Page for his “Outrider” album and tour. In May of the same year, he appeared with all three surviving members of Led Zeppelin for a performance at Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary concert in New York City.

In 1995, Jason and Zoe represented their father when Led Zeppelin was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Jason joined Zeppelin on drums, playing a brief set at the ceremony with Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith, who had inducted the group into the hall of fame.

In December 2007, Zeppelin reunited for the Ahmet Ertegun Tribute Concert at the O2 Arena in London, with Jason again taking his father’s place on drums.

Bonham has worked on several other solo and compilation projects throughout his career. He started his own band, Bonham, in 1989 and released two albums, which produced one hit single, “Wait For You.”

In the early ‘90s, he drummed for Paul Rodgers on the Grammy-nominated “Muddy Water Blues: A Tribute to Muddy Waters” project and he appeared with Rodgers and Slash at Woodstock II.

He created a tribute album for his father in 1997, titled “In the Name of My Father – The Zepset – Live from Electric Ladyland,” in which he covered Zeppelin songs. He donated proceeds from the album sales to the John Bonham Memorial Motorcycle Camp and the Big Sisters of Los Angeles.

In 2001 Bonham was featured in the movie “Rock Star” with Mark Wahlberg. In the film, he was part of the band Steel Dragon, which recorded the songs featured in the movie and the soundtrack.

Jason starred with Ted Nugent, Evan Seinfeld (Biohazard), Sebastian Bach (Skid Row) and Scott Ian (Anthrax) on the VH1 reality tv show, “SuperGroup,” in May 2006. The musicians formed a band called Damnocracy for the show, during which they lived in a mansion in Las Vegas for twelve days and created music.

From 2004-08 he played drums live with Foreigner and then joined the group Black Country Communion from 2009-13. Bonham joined Van Halen rocker Sammy Hagar as part of his band The Circle in 2014. They play a mix of Hagar’s songs with Van Halen, Montrose, and Chickenfoot, and also feature some Led Zeppelin tracks.

Bonham again created a tribute to his late father’s music, called Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Evening. He took to the road to perform Zeppelin’s music live in the U.S. with the show in 2010. Then the show toured with Heart in 2013, as a solo act in 2015-16 and are back on tour this year, with a stop at Harrah’s Laughlin’s Rio Vista Outdoor Amphitheater on Friday, Oct. 2 (8 p.m.).

Bonham’s undeniable talent and his family ties to Led Zeppelin bring this show to another level and reviews have been glowing.

“Outstanding, from the performance, sound quality, the detail to duplicate the multi layers of the original recordings and the connection Jason made between the music, his dad, Zeppelin and his own bandmates,” Sonic Perspectives writer Isaac Rodriguez said of the show. “This was a truly magical evening that took everyone to the good old days of rock n’ roll. Jason gave the show the authenticity that no other cover band could match.”

Don’t miss the chance to relive the heyday of Led Zeppelin, one of the best-selling and most influential groups of all time. Get tickets for Jason Bonham’s upcoming Led Zeppelin Evening show at Harrah’s at Caesars.com/harrahs-laughlin/shows.