Hear Mastodon’s Cover Of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway To Heaven”


Mastodon covered Led Zeppelin‘s “Stairway To Heaven” as a tribute to their late manager Nick John and released it this past weekend as a limited edition ‘Record Store Day‘ exclusive. An audio rip of that cover has since emerged online and can be heard below.

The band titled the release “Stairway To Nick John” and first performed it at John‘s funeral last fall. Both a studio recording and a recording of the performance at John‘s funeral captured by Gojira‘s Joe Duplantier on his phone appear on the release. John, who also managed Gojira and more, passed away in September following a battle with pancreatic cancer.

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Mastodon drummer/vocalist Brann Dailor recently spoke with Revolver about release:

“As you know, Nick John passed away last September. He was our manager, but also one of our best friends, and one of the coolest dudes ever. We were really devastated — still are — over his passing. His wife had reached out to us and asked if we would perform at his funeral, and of course everything inside me was like, “NOOOO!!!” It just seemed so daunting.

Two things that don’t mix well together are singing and crying; I don’t think anyone can do it. Stevie Wonder couldn’t do it while he was singing at Michael Jackson‘s memorial concert — and if he can’t sing and cry, no one can!

I just didn’t know where I was going to be at, mentally, at the funeral; it was just such a heavy, heavy situation. But of course you have to do it. As sad as everybody was, I wanted to be a part of it with the guys. He loved us so much, and we loved him so much, and we wanted to be able to quote-unquote send him off right.

Nick was just such a huge Zeppelin fan, and we thought it would just be the perfect thing — “Stairway to Heaven” is the perfect song to do acoustically, in the church, with everyone else. Everyone knows at least some of the words to “Stairway to Heaven,” so they can sing along, so it made the most sense.

So we came back to our rehearsal space and worked it out acoustically, and then we performed it at the church [during the service]. Unbeknownst to us, our friend Joe [Duplantier] from Gojira was sitting in the front row, and he taped it on his phone. He got back to New York with it, loaded it up, and he told us, “Hey, man — it sounds pretty good, actually!

So we decided that we would go in and do a studio version of it, and do a double-sided 10-inch and put his face on the cover, and call it “Stairway to Nick John,” and have all the proceeds donated to research for pancreatic cancer, which is still one of the deadliest cancers you can get. So it made perfect sense to us, and we’re super-excited for it to come out.

The thing that’s most exciting to me about it is that his face is huge on the album cover, and one of his favorite places to be in the world was in an independent record store, just flipping through the bins — and now his face is going to be plastered all over every single record store in America!

So I think that’s a really beautiful tribute to a really amazing person that was never going to get the credit he deserved when it came to our band, Gojira, Slayer and all the other bands he worked with. There were so many people that he touched in his life, and just gave advice to for no purpose other than that he was just a good dude — and that’s just so hard to come by in our industry.”

As Dailor stated above, proceeds from the outing will go towards pancreatic cancer research, so consider making a donation to one of the various organizations championing that cause.