For Record Store Day, which took place this past Saturday, April 13th, Mastodon released a 10″ cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” in honor of their late manager, Nick John. John, who managed other notable bands like Gojira as well, passed away last September from pancreatic cancer. Appropriately, Mastodon will donate the proceeds from this release to research for that very disease.
Audio from the Record Store Day release has now made its way into the digital realm, and you can stream it below. Mastodon’s resident prog head, drummer Brann Dailor, handles the vocals on this one, which plays it straight for the track’s first six minutes before kicking into a distinctly Mastodonian rendition of the heavy / guitar solo part. Given the somber nature of the events that led to this cover’s recording, I think that was a very tactful way for Mastodon to approach it.
Nick John’s face appears prominently on the album cover. The band performed an acoustic rendition of “Stairway” at his funeral — it was one of John’s favorite songs of all time — which was captured by Gojira’s Joe Duplantier on his cell phone. That recording appears on the B-side of the 10″. Both are included below.