British singer-guitarist, Terry Reid has a very unusual and interesting story to share. Imagine, if Terry Reid were the front man for Led Zeppelin, it would have changed the course of rock and roll history. Back in the day, he was asked to be the lead vocalist of Led Zeppelin. Reid declined and found Robert Plant to be the lead vocalist instead.

Terry Reid is a legend

Reid has played with many rock legends, including Don Henley, Jackson Browne, and Bonnie Raitt. He also toured with The Rolling Stones. He is playing some small gigs in the New York area. One of his stops will be at the Paramount Hudson Valley Theater on November 16, with special guest, “Professor” Louie and the Crowmatix.

He plans to return to the road, on a bigger tour next year in 2018.

I spoke with Reid by phone and asked him about his career and his new documentary film, “Superlungs.” The title refers to a song called, “Superlungs, My Supergirl,” about a girl smoking a joint.

Terry Reid speaks about his documentary

Suzanne Rothberg: Regarding the “Superlungs” documentary, was that all your idea to put it together, or who was involved with it?

Terry Reid: I was working with a producer named, Mickie Most. He had made some incredible records back in the day and produced records for The Animals, Donovan, Lulu all these groups we grew up on. So here I am, doing this album and it was the same time when Jeff Beck and Ronnie Wood from The Rolling Stones, were involved with me on an album. We’re all talking about what songs to do and I knew Donovan really well.

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He was managed by Mickie Most too. Donovan said one day, “We’ve got a great song for you to do.” And I said, “Oh, really?” He said, “Yes, it’s called, “Superlungs, My Supergirl.” And I said, “Well, what’s it about?” And he said, “Well, it’s about this 14-year-old girl sitting all day smoking joints!” “Oh, that will be a really big hit!” (sarcasm). Mickie Most didn’t want me to record it because he thought the song would ruin my image. Donovan thought I would get away with the song. I agreed and thought it was a good idea because we smoked joints at the time. So, I ended up doing the song and it became really popular because everybody was doing joints and I did the song, “Season of the Witch” as well. I wanted to do Donovan’s song, “Hurdy Gurdy Man.”

Suzanne Rothberg: The “Superlungs” documentary was put together by yourself or with a group of producers?

Terry Reid: This gentleman, Richard Frias, the director came to me and wanted to produce a documentary about me. A bunch of people have been asking me to do a documentary about my life.

We got together and he kept asking me, “Well, who do you know?” I said I know most of the people that know about me. So, I set up interviews with all these different people. Eric Burdon, Robert Plant, Graham Nash, Rumer, etc. I’m not in it. The documentary is co-produced by myself, Richard Frias, and Ana De Diego. It doesn’t really tell people much about what I do. It’s just about what other people think and they’re talking about me. You can’t expect people to get an opinion about you just by what other people say. You talk to some degree. I told him to carry on and put the documentary together and to come back to me with a script and we’ll go from there. It’s got to start looking like I’m involved in it. Now I’m working on a book which is a lot more feasible. I prefer the funny side of rock and roll. You don’t need to watch “Spinal Tap” to know how stupid and funny things can happen! One of the people interviewed in the documentary Rumer is a good friend of mine. We worked together and she did a song of mine on her album.

Suzanne Rothberg: You knew most of these people that were interviewed for the documentary?

Terry Reid: Yes, I’m the only one that did know them. If I got Keith Richards in the documentary that would have taken a whole day! I would interview him myself that would be a laugh!

Suzanne Rothberg: Do you think rock and roll history would have been different if you were the front man for Led Zeppelin if you hadn’t turned it down and why did you turn it down?

Terry Reid: Yes, it would be different! I’m not a 6’2 Greek God! I’m the one that got Robert Plant and John Bonham into the band Led Zeppelin in the first place. That’s what happened. Everybody was rushing around putting groups together at the time. Cream had broken up. Jimi Hendrix died. The Who were talking about breaking up but there were no three-piece rock groups. Jimmy Page, phoned me up and the door was wide open so he decided to put a band together. He asked me what it would be like with Steve Marriott or Steve Winwood in the band. They both got pissed off, because they didn’t need to be in the band they had number one hits! He asked me and a bunch of different people. It wasn’t Led Zeppelin anyway, it was another Yardbirds. He was trying to come up with a name and put a group together so I saw Robert and John Bonham in a group up in Birmingham, England. And I’ve known Jimmy years before that through the Yardbirds, etc. I referred him to Robert and John Bonham. We got a hold of them and the rest is history—it worked! You never know when you put bands together that it’s going to work. It’s just a horror story!

Suzanne Rothberg: The documentary will be available on the “MySuperlungs” website will it also air on streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Video, or YouTube Red?

Terry Reid: I don’t know what capacity it will air. No clue. I’m working on a book, and I’ll take that footage and make something bigger out of it. I want a documentary that actually has to say something about me rather than what a bunch of people think about me.

Suzanne Rothberg: Are you currently writing new music for yourself and collaborating with other famous artists and you released an album in May 2016 called, “The Other Side of the River.”

Terry Reid: Yes, that was 24 outtakes. I never realized we recorded that much stuff. Joe Perry of Aerosmith and I got together to work on his solo album. He got all these multiple guitar licks and these song structures which were really off-the-wall! He asked me if I wanted to work on a tune for his album and I went in a heartbeat. I did four of the songs on the album. He’s got Alice Cooper and Marilyn Manson on it. That’s coming out real soon. They just mixed it and they’re going to master it so that will be interesting! We recorded it at Johnny Depp’s house! He’s in a band called The Hollywood Vampires!

Suzanne Rothberg: Anything else you want to add?

Terry Reid: I’ll be back in New York at The Cutting Room. I’ll be going to Norway, Iceland, and many interesting places.