Interview with Simon Meli Ahead Of Whole Lotta Love Tour

Simon Meli Whole Lotta Love
Don't miss the Whole Lotta Love Tour

We speak to none other than the frontman of The Widowbirds, Simon Meli ahead of their performance at the ‘Whole Lotta Love’ Led Zeppelin tribute concert. Whole Lotta Love will see a number of rock bands come together to perform Led Zeppelin’s greatest hits in an ode to one of the most famous rock bands of all time. With the tour kicking off this weekend, we grabbed a few moments with Simon to find out how they’re preparing to perform Led Zeppelin’s greatest songs.

Hi Simon, How are you today?
Great! I’m preparing for another rehearsal for the Zep Shows.

Where are you at the moment?
Sitting at my desk in my office, yep… This guy has a day job, this is the real deal.

So you’re playing at ‘Whole Lotta Love’ in the next couple of weeks, what do you love about Led Zeppelin?
Well, practically everything. I think it is the most identifiable music to me, although 60’s Soul music runs a close second but Zeppelin for me encapsulates the best of Eastern and Western influence inter-twined in a riff-heavy blues based song writing and performance. If it didn’t have a blues base the rest wouldn’t have worked. They got it right in my book.
Every persona in that band and the individual flair of their instrument made it dangerously deep, emotional, raw and groovy.

What’s your favourite Zeppelin song and why?
It often changes a bit here and there but always seems to hover around a top 3… I mean, ‘Kashmir’ has to be one of the most well-orchestrated rock epics, every produced – it pretty much sums up the last question for me… I would give a special mention to ‘Going to California’ for its dream like Americana folk approach and of course turbo songs like ‘Immigrant’..

You’re in your own band ‘The Widowbirds’ what would you say are your influences as a band?
Well, the 4 birds all have slightly different tastes but could all quite easily appear on the same plate.
The backbone influence would be the era of British based blues soul rock, Led Zep, Free, Robin Trower etc.. But the great thing is having 4 minds in the group each one of us adds i.e One loves his Neil Young and Bob Dylon, another one loves his Soul Clean Deep Pocket playing, One loves his 60’s through to Prog Rock as well as a mixing in of some Eastern Music for some of us…

Do you ever do other covers when you’re performing with your band?
We sure do, it helps connect the audience with where we’re coming from. We often like to add ‘Fooled Around and Fell In love’
and a few cheeky segues to Zeppelin within our own tunes.

What song are you most looking forward to hearing at Whole Lotta Love?
The whole bunch…I mean it’s the loudest I get to hear these tunes ever. Especially with the great line up on stage, with strings and keys… but also my good friend Sri Maharshi Raval on Indian Hand Drums and Rosie on Sitar.

Whole Lotta Love is in its 13th year now, what’s usually a highlight?
The privilege of being able to stand in front of a band who turn up to play Zeppelin at its intended wattage and present it to a packed house night after night.

How would you describe the event to someone who hasn’t been before?
Life Changing – Life’s too short to not experience the movement that Zeppelin creates in one self.

There are a lot of Sydney based bands playing at WLL, where’s the best place you’d say in Sydney to catch good live rock music in the city? Where’s the best place to hang out if you want to hear rock?
Frankies Pizza

Whole Lotta Love Tour Dates

Saturday 20th August – Laycock Street Theatre
Friday 26th August – Laycock Street Theatre
Saturday 27th August – State Theatre

Get tickets to the Whole Lotta Love Tour here