Why Robert Plant Loves Working With Sensational Space Shifters
Robert Plant discussed how his band the Sensational Space Shifters helped create an environment of “vitality” and said that was the reason why he’s spent most of the past two decades working with them.
He cited the example of their song “Bones of Saints,” from his 2017 album Carry Fire, in the second episode of his Digging Deep podcast.
You can listen to it here.
“It’s about vitality,” Plant said. “I can’t hold back the hands of time or anything like that, but I can only be in environments where people really, really mean it, musically. Really mean it. In the last 18 years I must have spent 14 of them in the company of these guys. … We have an inherent capacity to start a new project and know that we have business to do. And so there’s drama, there’s emotion, there’s what I’d like to think is a very, very broad landscape of varied music within what we do, woven together with lyric and melody which has to be appropriate for somebody at my time in the game.”
Asked what he meant by that statement, he replied that he's "been around long enough, I can’t sing about people in the back of a barroom. … What am I thinking about things? How’s it all working out?” He noted that artists like Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen were examples of those who were “pretty observant” and that others were “standing up and saying what they have to say about their world.”
“Bones of Saints” was the result of guitarist Skin Tyson, bassist Billy Fuller and drummer Dave Smith visiting the “Misty Mountains” of Wales – a place where Plant and Jimmy Page had found inspiration for Led Zeppelin material decades earlier.
“They cut these little tracks, three or four of them, which were just so powerful and so totally nothing to do with what we were laboring over,” Plant said. “They were really, really fresh, and demanding a powerful vocal approach … an indicator of what we’re seeing around us.”
Plant pointed out that his lyrics are “a reflection of the amount of damage and desecration that can be leveled on any particular part of our planet indiscriminately. So, what is hallowed ground for one era or period of group of people can be almost the reason why it must be destroyed by another group. … The world loses more and more of its joy of treasure.” He also noted that he "was always pleased to give songs a title which had very little to do, at least figuratively, with the content of the song.”