When you are the son of one of the members of probably the biggest rock act out there and carry that colossal family name “Bonham” you don’t really have much of a choice, except to fully embrace that musical spirituality you were born with. As a person who grew up in a family of musicians, I can’t but relate to that – that passion for music and the burning desire to be part of that world are running through your veins and absolutely nothing or no one can change that.
Jason Bonham, being born into the big Led Zeppelin family, has been drumming ever since he was a little kid, naturally. At the age of four, he appeared alongside his father on that “little” film, “The Song Remains The Same” and the rest is …one hell of a rock&roll ride! By the age of 17, he was already opening up for AC/DC and Queen with his band Air Force. That should tell you something! Throughout his long and productive career, he has collaborated with major names, such as Jimmy Page, Paul Rodgers, Foreigner, Sammy Hagar, UFO and many more. He has done a great job and his father would’ve been so proud of him! Excellent drummer, a brilliant songwriter and a dedicated artist who always gave and keeps on giving his all – Jason Bonham is the perfect example of how nothing in life should be taken for granted, even a royal family name. You gotta work twice as hard and make your own path of success!
One of the many outstanding things he did was forming the hard rock band Bonham in 1989. Together with the one-of-a-kind singer Daniel MacMaster, bassist/keyboardist John Smithson and guitarist Ian Hatton, they truly had all the right characteristics to be the next big name in the late ‘80s/early ‘90s rock music scene. For one reason or another, however, the band lasted for about two albums only. Nevertheless, Bonham still enjoyed a certain amount of commercial and chart success, as well as one lengthy tour and of course, tons of radio airplay. Arguably, “The Disregard of Timekeeping” has to be the better album out of the two they released. I thought it’s high time I featured this glorious hard rock typhoon on my blog!
Genre: Hard Rock / Hair Metal
Label: Sony Music Entertainment (CBS Records)
Producer(s): Bob Ezrin
- “The Disregard of Timekeeping”, the first actual attempt of Jason Bonham to hit it big commercially, became a reality in 1989. The project caused quite the stir among the rock fan communities but it was only natural – the son of legendary Led Zeppelin drummer was about to unleash a new force to the competitive hair metal musical market and fans just had to see through it all! The powerful, instantly recognizable drumming techniques of Jason weren’t going to be enough to carry the weight of the band. Daniel MacMaster – a Canadian-born vocalist (ex-Scorcher) was recruited to complete the picture, along with influential bassist John Smithson and lead guitarist Ian Hatton. The final touches were added by producer Bob Erzin who significantly helped in shaping the band’s distinguishable contemporary sound. The Led Zeppelin comparisons were inevitable and immediate. No one expected it to be otherwise. Was it more because of people’s already fixed perceptions of what to expect from the band or because it was actually true, Bonham’s debut album “The Disregard of Timekeeping” does have a part of that Led Zeppelin vibe. Also, is it just me, or Daniel MscMaster does sound a little bit like Robert Plant? Daniel’s tenor, in combination with Jason’s drum domination perfected a superb AOR sound, which unfortunately wasn’t good enough for the English audiences. Then again, let’s not forget that that’s exactly what happened with Led Zeppelin back in the day! Bonham’s debut album didn’t even find a spot on the English charts. Canadian and American fans, however, were as always more welcoming and gave the band the chance they deserved. A top 40 position on the Billboard 200 Chart and a top 70 position on the Canadian charts, in addition to hitting the gold RIAA status were just a couple of the outcomes. Successful, never-ending tours with major bands, like Bad Company and The Cult granted them an even more favorable position in the hearts of American audiences.
- “The Disregard of Timekeeping” spawned two singles, both becoming absolute classics of the genre. The Top-10 song, “Wait for You”, credited to all four members of Bonham, turned into an absolute sensation and probably the biggest hit of their career. To fully experience the magic of “Wait for You”, you have to listen it right after the opening instrumental, which bears the same name as the album. The tune itself was of course, a perfected product of the era, but why would we be mad about it? It’s a catchy, sensual, haunting even rock composition, which despite often forgotten, could easily match any other big title from the era. I am a sucker for rock songs that feature a string section. “Wait for You” does hint a little bit of that epic string feeling but it’s their second single – “Guilty” that truly made me fall in love with that album. It just has it all – a mesmerizing intro, unparalleled vocal delivery by Daniel MacMaster and that soul-demolishing violin solo by bassist John Smithson that is sending me to another dimension.
“Bringing Me Down” is another highly memorable moment on “The Disregard of Timekeeping”. Perhaps that Led Zeppelin influence is way too obvious on that one, but I can totally forgive and forget about it. “Holding On Forever” and “Don’t Walk Away” are the songs I love to crank up because that’s the only way you can do justice to their captivating, thrilling sound. “Playing to Win” is winning me with its lyrics. “Cross Me and See” is another mid-tempo doze of instant satisfaction. “Just Another Day” is a personal favorite, yet again thanks to that exciting string section which just dances with my soul in a beautiful, shattering rhythm. Symbolically, the album wraps things up with a song, titled “Room for Us All”. We live in a forever-changing world but yes, there’s always a room for talented and spirited artists who do things for the right reasons.
What followed next?
- The perks of that newfound glory, included a busy rockstar lifestyle, lengthy tours and tons of pressure, coming from all directions and people. New management, along with drug and alcohol problems were just a couple of the obstacles, Bonham had to deal with. Vocalist Daniel MacMaster even said that he never wanted to sing again – he was that mortified by the music industry.
Despite all, in 1992, however, Bonham did come back with a sophomore album, titled “Mad Hatter”. Unfortunately, the album wasn’t even half as successful as the debut one was. On top of it all, it was 1992 –people were shifting their preferences towards the big grunge movement which eventually wiped out hard rock acts, including Bonham. Nevertheless, I still consider the sophomore album as a solid effort; definitely not as good as the first one and obviously the band was trying hard to distance themselves from that Led Zeppelin-influenced sound, but still, I give it full points.Jason Bonham is still as active as ever, mostly occupied with his Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience project, touring all over North America.
RIP Daniel MacMaster (July 11, 1968 – March 16, 2008)
Wait for You
Bringing Me Down
Don’t Walk Away
“Bonham” Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonham_(band)
“The Disregard of Timekeeping” Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Disregard_of_Timekeeping
+ Information about the album, referenced from the CD Booklet I own
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.