Led Zeppelin Infamous Seattle Groupie Incident…Was It A Mud Shark Or A Red Snapper???

Led Zeppelin had checked into The Edgewater Hotel in Seattle for their appearance at the Seattle Pop Festival at Gold Creek Park on July 27, 1969.  Little did they know that it would become the location of the most talked about groupie incident ever.

As Richard Cole Led Zeppelin’s road manager told the story, the band liked to stay at the Edgewater Inn on the Puget Sound so they could fish out of their window. Cole and John Bonham spent a drunken night reeling in fish.  The basis of the story known as (The Shark Episode)  is that a pretty young groupie with red hair, was disrobed and tied to the bed and that Led Zeppelin then proceeded to stuff pieces of shark into her vagina and rectum.  “Jackie”, a tall redhead from Portland, seventeen years old, was swigging champagne from the bottle and telling the group how much she enjoyed being tied up during sex.


Richard Cole’s version…

“It wasn’t Bonzo, it was me. It wasn’t shark parts anyway: It was the nose that got put in. We caught a lot of big sharks, at least two dozen, stuck coat hangers through the gills and left ’em in the closet . . . But the true shark story was that it wasn’t even a shark. It was a red snapper and the chick happened to be a fucking redheaded broad with a ginger pussy. And that is the truth. Bonzo was in the room, but I did it. Mark Stein [of Vanilla Fudge] filmed the whole thing. And she loved it. It was like, “You’d like a bit of fucking, eh? Let’s see how your red snapper likes this red snapper!” That was it. It was the nose of the fish, and that girl must have cum 20 times. But it was nothing malicious or harmful, no way! No one was ever hurt.”

Or was it a Mudshark???  Here’s Vanilla Fudge’s Carmine Appice version of the incident…

Both bands were in town for the Seattle Pop Festival, and Appice was hanging out in John Paul Jones’ room with the girl and Fudge keyboard player Mark Stein, who had an 8-millimeter camera.  Appice said,

“That’s totally wrong, It was my groupie.  She saw the camera, and kept saying she wanted to play around.”

Then Bonham and two members of Fudge’s road crew invaded the room with the catch of the day: a mud shark, not a snapper.

“We moved to my room, and it got pretty gross. I decided to leave, and then I realized I was in my room already.”

At various points, most of Zeppelin and the Fudge came in for a look at the groupie being pleasured with the shark; Robert Plant recently confirmed that while he saw some of the proceedings, it was really a Vanilla Fudge event.  Appice claims that Cole made up the name Jackie, saying, “In those days, Richard was so out of it, I’m surprised he remembers his own name.”

Surprisingly, Frank Zappa got more of the details right in his song “The Mud Shark.”  Here’s a couple of cool photos of Led Zeppelin playing the Seattle Pop Festival.  Not sure if the incident happened before or after the show…


  1. toyser22 says:

    the led zepplin stage photo is from the green lake aqua theater show, NOT the seattle pop festival show.

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