Barry Richards Says: Led Zep Played Here!


Tom Warner, Baltimore Or Less:

Local filmmaker Jeff Krulik’s new documentary Led Zeppelin Played Here will get its Baltimore premiere tonight at 7 p.m. at the Creative Alliance. Krulik spent the last 5 years addressing what may only be urban legend – namely, that Led Zeppelin allegedly performed in the gymnasium of the Wheaton Youth Center on Georgia Avenue “in front of 50 confused teenagers” on January 20, 1969. Or did they? Like the infamous Sex Pistols gig at Manchester’s Lesser Free Hall on June 4, 1976 that inspired the formation of a half-dozen punk and post-punk bands, there are legions of fans, rock critics and musicians who “swear they were there” at this event that very well may never have happened. Or, as the Washington Post’s David Montgomery put it: ”Zeppelin-in-Wheaton is Washington’s own Loch Ness Monster. Could it possibly be real? Yes. No way. It depends on who you ask.”

Case in point: DC concert promoter and DJ Barry Richards, who states unequivocally in the film that not only did he book the Wheaton show but he also recalls a number of other details about the concert (including an argument with Led Zep’s long deceased manager). Though his credibility is called into question by other interviewees in the film, Krulik told  WETA, “I think Barry’s credible, but then you start hearing him embellish facts and re-imagine history and you start to wonder. I hardly think Barry is the only fast-talking radio DJ icon who is guilty of the same thing. I think it goes with the territory, the patter, the rap, the jive. The danger is when the ‘facts’ are being taken as gospel, without being cross-referenced or verified, and the internet and our social networking universe is strewn with false information, often times regurgitated over and over. I think Barry has candidly provided all he’s capable of remembering.”

OK, but for those of you who don’t remember legendary rock jock Barry Richards (“the Boss with the Hot Sauce!”), be sure to check out my review of The Barry Richard Show DVD. There’s no doubt whatsoever that BR was a real “character.” And that’s reason enough to see Krulik’s latest masterpiece!

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