Rex King

Rex King is an English tour manager for musical artists, and an employee of Trinifold Management. Originally a driver and a personal assistant, he first worked for Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham for whom he was both a personal friend and motivator.

John Bonham

King was first employed by Bonham for the Led Zeppelin's North American tour of 1977 as personal assistant. He was contacted for the job just four days prior to the band leaving England for the United States. The 1977 tour was Led Zeppelin's biggest tour and manager Peter Grant mindful of this, decided to expand the band's entourage to keep the show on the road. Grant appreciated King's efforts to keep Bonham on schedule and focussed. After the tour King was responsible for chauffeuring Bonham from the Old Hyde to band rehearsals. King accompanied Bonham when he travelled to a Newcastle studio to record his interview with Billy Connolly on Tyne Tees Television's Alright Now, in March 1980.

On 24 September 1980, the band began rehearsals for their North American, 'the 1980s: Part One' tour, their first since there since 1977. The road crew had already set up equipment that morning at Bray Studios, and had given the stage lighting a testing before the band arrived. Bonham was picked up by King from the Old Hyde, to attend rehearsals. Bonham disliked being away from family for long periods on tour and started drinking out of nerves as a result. During the journey Bonham had asked to stop for breakfast, where he consumed four quadruple vodkas. He then continued to drink when they arrived at Bray. A halt was called later in the evening by singer Robert Plant, and the band retired to Jimmy Page's residence, the Old Mill House in Clewer, Windsor, Berkshire. Page's assistant Rick Hobbs took him upstairs to a guest bedroom around midnight and he left Bonham on his side, propped up with pillows. Hobbs checked on Bonham's room around 8.00 a.m. He appeared to be sleeping fine. At 1.45 p.m. John Paul Jones and engineer Benji LeFevre entered Bonham's room to check on him again. He did not stir and on LeFevre checking his pulse, Bonham was found deceased. Sometime during the morning hours Bonham turned onto his back and asphyxiated. The coroner later returned a verdict of accidental death by pulmonary oedema. It was the end of the band and King was devastated at losing his friend.

Jimmy Page and Robert Plant

After some months of solace, King began to work for Page and Robert Plant. His services were also engaged for other touring artists including Bad Company, Yes, the Firm, Eric Clapton, the Who, Rod Stewart, Elton John, and Neil Young. King also looked after John's son Jason Bonham, driving him to rehearsals and demo recordings for Plant's 1982 album Pictures at Eleven. He also took Bonham along with Robert Plant, Maureen Plant, and Carmen Plant, to meet Cozy Powell who was playing for Whitesnake at the Birmingham Odeon in 1982. When Plant came to rethink his career direction in the mid-1980s, it was King who introduced Plant to Trinifold Management's Bill Curbishley, who is still Plant's long-term manager. When Jimmy Page and Robert Plant formed in the 1990s, King was appointed tour manager and handled the daily running of their world tours. When Plant resumed his solo career, King became tour manager for Metallica.

King now lives in Florida with his family.

Bibliography

  • Bonham, Mick (2003) Bonham by Bonham: My Brother John. London: Icarus Publications. ISBN 978-0-9545717-0-2
  • Bonham, Mick (2005) John Bonham: The Powerhouse Behind Led Zeppelin. London: Southbank Publishing. ISBN 978-1-904915-11-9 (OCLC 61302889)
  • Lewis, Dave (2003) Led Zeppelin: The Tight but Loose' Files: Celebration II. London: Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-1-84449-056-1 (OCLC 56466427)
  • Welch, Chris; and Nicholls, Geoff (2001) John Bonham: a Thunder of Drums; the powerhouse behind Led Zeppelin and the Godfather of Heavy Rock Drumming. London: Hi Marketing. ISBN 978-0-87930-658-8 (OCLC 47232599)

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