- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Zeppelin sans Plant

The legendary rockers of Led Zeppelin are planning to return to recording and touring without singer and frontman Robert Plant, bassist John Paul Jones told BBC radio.

Mr. Jones, 62, said the hard-rocking British group was trying out different singers to replace Mr. Plant, who has repeatedly voiced his reluctance to join in a full reunion after a mammoth one-off gig at the O2 Arena in London last December. About 20 million people applied for 20,000 tickets for the charity concert, the band’s first full gig since the musicians split in 1980 after the death of drummer John Bonham, Agence France-Presse reports.

Mr. Jones said he, guitarist Jimmy Page and Mr. Bonham’s drummer son Jason are keen to play concerts again and are not hanging around waiting for Mr. Plant to change his mind. He also says the band, which has sold 300 million albums worldwide, is not searching for a Plant replica.

“It’s got to be right. There’s no point in just finding another Robert,” Mr. Jones said.

In a Sept. 29 statement on his Web site, Mr. Plant - on tour with bluegrass and folk-music star Alison Krauss - said he had “no intention whatsoever” of touring with anyone for at least the next two years once his current tour ends. “Contrary to a spate of recent reports, Robert Plant will not be touring or recording with Led Zeppelin. Anyone buying tickets online to any such event will be buying bogus tickets,” he said.

LL Bails on J.J.

In another setack on her “Rock Witchu” tour, Janet Jackson has lost her opening act: LL Cool J.

The rapper’s publicity firm announced Monday that he has dropped out as the opening act for Miss Jackson because of unnamed scheduling conflicts, Associated Press reports.

It’s the latest problem on Miss Jackson’s tour, her first North American outing in seven years. The singer, 42, was forced to cancel a string of earlier concerts because of a bout of migraine-associated vertigo.

Miss Jackson performed at the District’s Verizon Center on Oct. 15. Her upcoming shows include a New York engagement Saturday, and she is expected to announce additional dates, AP says.

Get a whiff of this

Is this the smell of sweet success for the Jonas Brothers?

The superstar teen trio are set to make their big-screen debut in “Walter the Farting Dog,” says the New York Daily News, citing a report in Daily Variety.

The movie is based on the best-selling children’s series of the same name and will revolve around the three brothers, Nick, Joe, Kevin and their real-life youngest brother, “bonus Jonas,” Frankie. The plot follows a family that inherits Walter, a fat dog with severe flatulence problems.

Thanks to the youngest brother’s sinus problems, he can’t smell the stench, and Frankie and Walter become fast friends. While the other Jonas Brothers are playing music, Frankie and the hound have adventures that involve freeing a koi and foiling a jewel thief.

The Jonas Brothers, who released their third album, “A Little Bit Longer,” in August, last appeared in the Disney made-for-TV movie “Camp Rock.”

Picasso work nixed

A painting by Pablo Picasso that was expected to fetch more than $30 million at auction next week has been withdrawn from sale, Sotheby’s auction house told AP on Tuesday.

“Arlequin” was to have been one of the star lots at Sotheby’s Nov. 3 sale of impressionist and modern art in New York. A Sotheby’s spokeswoman said the painting had been withdrawn by the seller “for private reasons.”

A series of high-profile artworks have failed to reach expected prices at recent auctions as the global economic crisis has hit the art market. Next week’s New York sales at Christie’s and Sotheby’s are considered important tests of the softening market. The last such sales, in May, generated more than $500 million between them.

cCompiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports

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