Every week John McDaniel steps out of his everyday shoes and into the kicks of Jimmy Page.

He channels the famous guitarist in Zoso, a popular Led Zeppelin tribute band.

"I'm trying to really recreate it note for note so people feel like they can see somebody play this music exactly as he did," says McDaniel. "I don't think Jimmy Page gets as much credit as he deserves for being a virtuoso on the instrument."

Zoso will perform Friday and Saturday at Stargazers Theatre and Event Center.

McDaniel is a 1989 Doherty High School graduate who gravitated toward music from an early age. He started guitar at 13 and played in heavy metal bands in high school, though he didn't get into the rock of Zeppelin until later in life.

After graduation he attended the Guitar Institute of Technology (now Musicians Institute) in California and returned home to teach music lessons and perform in local bands, including Motherload and Titan Force. He joined Zoso for two years in the '90s after a chance meeting with their lead singer at a show, quit for about a decade and then rejoined in 2009.

Zoso doesn't recreate entire concerts like many other tribute bands do - they just play the band's greatest hits, including "Stairway to Heaven," "Whole Lotta Love," "Black Dog," "Kashmir" and "Moby Dick."

"They were four guys who were so good at what they did and the chemistry between all four is an amazing thing you can rarely capture," McDaniel says. "Everything they did wasn't super original - they borrowed from blues and folk artists and they've been in trouble for it - but they're so good at what they do and their chemistry is so right on. It's hard to find."

McDaniel thinks it's not that Page was underrated, but listeners might think he wasn't the best because he wasn't the cleanest or most perfect in terms of technique.

"Other players out there are perfect technique-wise but lack soul and emotion because they're playing so perfect all time," he says. "Page had way more of an original style. It's hard to duplicate and anytime you heard it you pretty much knew who it was."

And while he admires the musician's talent, he doesn't always love the on-stage persona he must don every night.

"He used to partake in a lot of substances so he'd be pretty loose on stage," he says. "He's a whole different character than I am personality-wise. He's outgoing on stage whereas I'm not that person naturally. To transform into that takes a lot of thought."


8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Stargazers Theatre and Event Center, 10 S. Parkside Drive, $17-$22; 476-2200, stargazerstheatre.com

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