Vintage Video: The Damned Things' Joe Trohman on 'Stairway To Heaven'

Damned Things Publicity
Clay Patrick McBride

It’s all about the 5:35 mark. Joe Trohman, Fall Out Boy guitar slinger whose new band, The Damned Things, just released their debut album Ironiclast on December 14 (FOB is on “indefinite hiatus,” he says), was monumentally changed when he first saw this vintage video of Led Zeppelin’s classic “Stairway to Heaven,” a live performance from one of five 1975 shows at London’s Earl’s Court.” 

“It’s such a cliché choice that definitely caters towards a guitar-centric guy like me,” Trohman admits straight away. “But it’s still one of the best songs out there and what I’ve always really loved about this video is how the solo is totally different from the record. Jimmy Page is basically adlibbing, then jamming on it for a long while and it’s just epic. So much feel, so much soul. And there’s a crazy, goofy aspect, too, like the double rack guitar and what [Page] is wearing.” 

Trohman first stumbled on the clip in the pre-Youtube days, when it made its way around the bootleg circles and among Zeppelin diehards, one of whom turned out to be his father. “My dad is like a super intellect when it comes to Zeppelin,” he says. And as one-sixth of a heavy metal supergroup -- his bandmates include Anthrax’s Scott Ian and Rob Caggiano, Keith Buckley and Josh Newton of Every Time I Die, and fellow FOB drummer Andy Hurley --  the rock pedigree shows. 
“The giant arena band with the guitar god that just jams an extra five or 10 minutes, it just doesn't fly anymore,” adds Trohman, who hits the road with The Damned Things on January 19 in San Diego. “People don't have the attention span, and to a big degree, the internet can be blamed. Yet here we are using the internet to pull up the video.” Ironiclast, indeed.