Did Gibson.com just get punked by the Onion?  Or are Gibson punking us with misleading rumors they are positing as the truth?  Here’s a screenshot of the Gibson.com Lifestyle page where they tell us today that Led Zeppelin are getting ready to reunite — according to a Robert Plant interview in The Onion.

Here a closer shot of the Plant quote along with its source material:

The “Onion’s A.V. Club?”

This has to be a joke, right? 

The Onion is a spoof news site.  Well all know that, right, Gibson?

Here’s Gibson’s Twitter feed directing you to the article on their Lifestyle page, so I guess Gibson must think the reunion is real, right?

No so fast!

If you actually visit the Onion A.V. website to read the interview with Robert Plant, published September 28, 2010 — Gibson.com mentions that article, but conveniently doesn’t link to it from their article — to see what Plant really said about a Led Zeppelin reunion, you might be a little confused:

AVC: Going back to Led Zeppelin, are you guys thinking of playing again?

RP: I think we’re probably thinking about talking.

AVC: The 2007 show was pretty well received.

RP: Well, you know, reception wasn’t our greatest concern, ever.

AVC: How did you receive it?

RP: I was driven to distraction with fear and reminiscences and huge reflections of my mortality and, like, can I do it? Is it best I leave it as it was? Is it some kind of pulsing fun machine? But we had to do it. We had to say goodbye to Ahmet [Ertegun, founder of Atlantic Records] properly and that was a great way of putting a lot of things back in the box that were all over the floor.

That’s it!

That’s the entirety of the talk about any Led Zeppelin tour — and Robert Plant was talking about their 2007 tour — not one that Gibson.com suggests is lingering on the horizon!

Did Gibson.com mislead us?  Or did they misread that Onion interview?

The Lemon Squeezings blog susses it all out for you with greater outrage than I can muster at this moment — but I am definitely left with the sense that Gibson are, for some unfathomable reason, trying to promote a Led Zeppelin tour that isn’t.

I wonder if they are hoping to sell — an as-yet-unannounced — Jimmy Page “Number Three” Les Paul… solely on the strength of a reunion rumor?

12 Comments

  1. Hey, thanks for linking to me. Very nifty. I should point out that the Onion AV Club is not part of the Onion’s satirical newsroom and is actually to be taken seriously. The AV Club strives to be as high-brow as The New York Times. It’s more of a Billy Squier than it is a Spinal Tap.

    1. HI Steve!

      It’s great to meet you! Love your blog!

      How would a new visitor to the Onion A.V. Club website not know it isn’t a satire site? Are there any clues? The Onion logo is right there in the menu bar. I kept reading and reading articles there looking for the hook, the joke, or the out-of-bounds madness of bad taste and gave up that I couldn’t yet find the purposeful Onion snark.

      I wonder why the Onion would start an AV site like that? It’s sort of like “Saturday Night Live” doing a serious evening news program: “Saturday Night Live Real News” or something. I guess that’s why satire is so hard to do: Half don’t think it’s funny while the other half are still searching for the joke.

      Why do you think Gibson posted that Led Zeppelin “rumor” on their website? What was their point?

  2. Well, David, I remember when I was lucky enough to live in an area where one could snag free print copies of the Onion out of a newspaper dispenser on my walk to work, the AV Club was in the print publication. What I don’t remember for sure now is whether it came as a separately stapled tabloid within the newspaper or just the last few pages of the single publication. However, despite the Onion branding, there was an obvious line of demarcation between humor and critique. If you were looking for silly, you’d stay in the main Onion section. If you were looking for your weekly entertainment guide, there was the AV Club. I also remember seeing ads for job positions with the AV Club that further implanted the distinction in my mind. Also, I believe the AV Club had a local bent, but I could be wrong about that.

    So the answer to your question of why the Onion would start a site like that show by now be very clear: because the AV Club was already a print publication, and every print publication needs a site.

    Back to Gibson, I suppose the two possibilities are:
    (1) They genuinely believe, when they read the Robert Plant interview by the AV Club, that he means Led Zeppelin will start talking and then start playing and then agree to a reunion — despite all the mounting evidence to the contrary.
    (2) They realize how preposterous the above is but think it’s good for business to have a fresh, sensationalistic Led Zeppelin reunion rumor on their site.

    So, just like on this Daily Show comedy/commentary piece from Aug. 23, one must conclude that the media organization in question is either stupid or evil.

    1. Now, you tell me, Gordon! SMILE!

      What other music websites do you read via RSS?

      I agree — I’d love to see Led Zeppelin reunite again. I don’t care how they sound or how they look. I just want to listen to them play together.

  3. I’ve heard of the Onion but not the legit part of them. Sort of odd to be playing two such extremes. Confuses me. Shame on Gibson. They know better. You’re right they probably are seeking to sell more guitars.