Nelson’s Heavy Airship prepares for takeoff

Led Zeppelin tribute band returns to Spiritbar on September 2.

Craig Thiessen

It was quite a scream.

Heavy Airship’s lead vocalist Craig Thiessen was barreling towards the climax of “Communication Breakdown” during a rowdy Led Zeppelin tribute concert at the Spiritbar last year, exhausted, but he knew he had a little more to give.

“It was the very last song of the night, and I knew there was this big Robert Plant scream coming,” Thiessen told the Star. “I pushed it a little too hard and burst a blood vessel in my head I definitely had a headache for a few days.”

But that’s all in a day’s work for Thiessen, who is joined by Quillan Hanley, Gus Dixon and their latest addition, drummer Eddie Thomas, who also plays organ in local folk act Dirt Floor. And he believes they’re the right guys to bring the 70s rock legends to life.

That starts with studying the history.

“Back in my twenties when I really got into Zeppelin I bought the double-disc DVD of their concert at Royal Albert Hall in 1970,” said Thiessen. “I probably watched it hundreds of times. My roommate would come in at it would always be on.”

He loved Plant’s ferocity, his physicality on stage, the raw rock energy he brought to the stage. And now, decades later, Thiessen’s getting a chance to capitalize on that knowledge.

“Who knew that 15 years it would come into play, but I studied every move, every note. The energy he puts out in a live show is incredible.”

Thiessen’s earliest memory of Zeppelin is waiting on the high school dance floor for “Stairway to Heaven” to come on.

“There was always one girl I wanted to dance with, and I was always the first one there when that song started playing.”

Thomas, who is a Selkirk music grad and recently moved back to town, said playing for two different acts is a real privilege, but also makes for startling juxtapositions.

“I go to the Dirt Floor band practice and chill, then I come to this one and it’s just craziness.”

Dixon said he’s having fun, and most looking forward to playing “Whole Lotta Love”.

“That’s our jam, and I can’t wait to bust it out at Spiritbar because the Nelson audience is always super into it.”

And Thiessen’s ready to take things to the next level even if that means another headache.

“I’ve been trying to do this for 20 years, play in a band that regularly gigs, and the fact that we get to go around playing Zeppelin is huge. These guys are the right guys and we all have the same purpose: go out and rock it every time we play.”

The Spiritbar show is on Sept. 2 and will feature a David Bowie tribute as an opener.

 

Just Posted

Nelson candidates debate climate change at forum

Mayoral and council candidates had the chance to speak on five fictional resolutions

UPDATE: Nelson man who swam naked with sharks arrested

David Weaver, 37, will face mischief and assault charges

Three Nelson marijuana dispensaries to remain open after legalization

Nelson’s police chief has no plans to close them down

Michelle Mungall’s baby first in B.C. legislature chamber

B.C. energy minister praises support of staff, fellow MLAs

LETTER: Beware those towing the party line

Reader Bob Malcolmson questions CORE

Legal pot price must be ‘competitive’ with black market: Blair

Bill Blair shared final words on journey to legalization ahead of official day Wednesday

Mayor of Kamloops says ‘history has been made’ with vote on B.C.’s lone pot shop

The store to be run by the province in B.C.’s Interior is opening Wednesday as pot sales become legal across Canada

New bus route to ‘replace’ Greyhound along Trans-Canada Highway

Rider Express Transportation says they will soon begin a bus service from Winnipeg to Vancouver

U.S. pot firm urges Trump to deny Canadian producers ‘competitive advantage’

The challenge for U.S. firms lies in the fact that while recreational cannabis is legal in nine states and medicinal pot in 22 others, it remains illegal under federal law

Government says imprisoned Canadian terror suspects must face consequences

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale showed little sympathy Tuesday for such individuals who now want to return to Canada

How rules for inmate segregation in Canada will change under Bill C-83

Federal government proposing changes to rules around inmates in federal correctional institutions

Canada Post union issues strike notice; rotating strikes could begin Monday

Union says rotating strikes will begin if agreements aren’t reached with bargaining units

Carole James avoids questions on B.C.’s payroll tax (with video)

Green MLA Adam Olsen cites huge tax increase for local business

BCTF wins grievance over teacher shortage in public schools

Arbitrator found Chilliwack school district did not hire enough on-call teachers or librarians

Most Read