Dread Zeppelin Biography

This novelty hard rock combo featured an overweight Elvis Presley lookalike from Pasadena, California, USA, who first attracted attention by leading the band through a succession of Led Zeppelin cover versions played in reggae and calypso style. The band’s line-up was as bizarre as its theme, and featured the aforementioned Tortelvis (Greg Tortell; vocals), Jah Paul Jo (b. Joe Ramsey; guitar, ex-Prime Movers), Carl Jah (b. Carl Haasis; guitar), Butt-Boy (b. Gary Putman; bass, ex-Prime Movers), Fresh Cheese (b. Paul Masselli; drums), and Ed Zeppelin (b. Bryant Fernandez; percussion), with studio input from Rasta Li-Mon. Formed in January 1989, they supposedly met when Tortelvis rammed his milkfloat into the back of the band’s car, and played their first gig on 8 January, Elvis Presley’s birthday. They predictably attracted media curiosity and enjoyed a minor hit single with ‘Your Time Is Gonna Come’ from their first album, and then with ‘Stairway To Heaven’ from the second. Robert Plant was reportedly highly amused at their appearance, though not so the Graceland estate of Elvis Presley. Fresh Cheese and Tortelvis left the band in 1992, forcing Butt-Boy (as Gary B.I.B.B.) to take over vocals on the disco-influenced It’s Not Unusual. Tortelvis returned to the line-up for Hot & Spicy Beanburger, which was released on Jah Paul Jo’s Birdcage label. Ed Zeppelin and Carl Jah were then replaced by Derf Nasna-Haj and percussionist Bruce Fernandez on 1996’s No Quarter Pounder. On The Fun Sessions the band assumed the role of classic rock interpreters. A live album and rarities collection preceded their debut for the Cleopatra label, De Jah Voodoo.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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