Scene & Heard

Band’s most striking feature:Musicianship

Gretchen Menn is Zepparella’s lead guitartist and said the group is ”always mixing things up, never playing anything exactly the same way.” Bradley Cook/Special to The Chronicle

COTTAGE GROVE – It turns out that Zepparella has a whole lotta love for The Axe & Fiddle.
”We used to love coming to the Eugene area because The Axe & Fiddle was one of our favorite stops,” drummer Clementine told the Sessions Music Hall audience near the end of their show Thursday night, Dec. 5.
The all-female Led Zeppelin cover band gave a big shout-out to the Cottage Grove venue, where they had played at least a half-dozen times several years ago.
”I feel like we might have outgrown the place. It is pretty small,” guitar player Gretchen Menn said after the show. ”But we loved playing there. And I loved their Tempeh Reuben vegan sandwiches.
”I also love the great (Kalapuya) bookstore next door. I bought a few books there. I’m a book nerd,” she added.
Told that The Axe & Fiddle has undergone some renovations, Menn was asked if she thought Zepparella would be interested in playing there again.
”Yes, I would definitely be interested,” she said. ”I think we would all love to play there again.”
No matter the site, Zepparella will rock your socks off if you like Led Zeppelin – and if you like rock ‘n’ roll, who doesn’t like Led Zeppelin? All four ladies can bust out mind-blowing solos – like they did Thursday night on ”Dazed and Confused” – and their musicianship is off the charts.
Menn was classically trained, which is to say she can play virtually any style.
Clementine and Menn had first teamed up 15 years ago in AC/DShe. A couple years later, Clementine came up with the idea of Zepparella, then Menn joined in, and singer Anna Kristina jumped in soon afterward. Bass player Holly West has been with the band for only two years.
For their encore Thursday night, Zepparella performed ”Kashmir,” a song from ”Physical Graffiti” that Led Zeppelin used to say they wished they were remembered for instead of ”Stairway to Heaven” because it incorporates so many elements of their music.
It was a rip-roaring encore. Close your eyes, and you could almost imagine Plant, Page, Jones and Bonham there on stage. It was clearly evident that the band members weren’t just going through the motions, either.
”We keep it fresh because Led Zeppelin was such an improvisational band,” Menn said. ”So we’re always mixing things up, never playing anything exactly the same way.”
Zepparella has already enjoyed a long run; can Menn see herself staying with the band five to 10 years from now? Or will it be time to ramble on?
”I will definitely be playing music the rest of my life,” Menn said. ”I love doing what I’m doing, but no matter how comfortable you are, life throws curveballs at you and you never know what to expect. You just have to be ready for it.”
A while back, Menn started the Zepparella Learning Channel on YouTube, where aspiring musicians can learn to play Led Zeppelin songs. It’s been a very popular channel. Led Zeppelin Nation has a collective two words to say for that.
Thank you!



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