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Pairing: Tris/Alex
Alternative name(s): Derek Quinn and Allyn Sterling, Zepfic
Gender category: m/m
Fandom: Led Zeppelin, Tris/Alex
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The pairing of Tris and Alex (Tristram Lindsay and Alexander Logan) is from the RPS fandom and is coded Led Zeppelin.

a rare flyer

To show respect for the real people and to avoid possible legalisms, the writers in the Led Zeppelin fandom often changed the names of the real Jimmy Page and Robert Plant.

One pair of writers, Nancy Arena and Pam Rose, named them Tris (Tristram Lindsay) and Alex (Alexander Logan) in their short stories and their novel For All the Gods Departed. These names caught on, and other people in the small fandom used those names as well.

Unlike media fandom Tris/Alex fandom did not have TV episodes to create their canon, but fans used live footage that as one fan explained: "Some of which could be called good hair/pants days, and other concerts/interviews that even their not show them at their best." [1] Still slash fans, like fans before and after, happily persevered to create their own fanon.

As one fan explained the lack of canon was actually a benefit to those writing RPS:

... the best part is -- it *isn't* scripted! We *don't know* what will happen next! Will they stay together? We hope so, but we don't know. Will they "declare their undying love/lust for each other?" Although we're not holding our collective breath for that one, *we don't know*. The remote chance is -- they might! After all, as you noted in your message, Robert yelled out at the end of a recent concert in Scotland, "We're back! And we're courting!" So who can tell? That's both the joy and hardship of this particular fandom. [2]

With such a small fandom struggling to swim upstream against the tide of fans dubious of RPS, all fan fiction, even unfinished stories, was greeted with joy:

"the Binder of Pain"
In fact, back in my Tris/Alex days I had an entire 3-ring binder of unfinished stories by all sorts of writers. Megan Kent started it, and called it "The Binder of Pain." There was so little *finished* fiction in the fandom, sometimes I just had to reread these little unfinished pieces, even though I knew I'd be a wreck afterwards... [3]

Derek Quinn and Allyn Sterling

Bird of Paradise is a fanwork with a similar premise. It is an explicit slash coded crossover with Starsky and Hutch/OCs (Derek Quinn and Allyn Sterling) who most fans believed were based on Led Zeppelin. According to the author, however, the OCs were instead based on real people in a lesser known band.[4]

Similar Concepts

Fan-created pairing universes with some similarities are Harry & Johnny and Vas/Dex.

Story Timeline

Some Tris/Alex Stories


Sample Pages

Fan Comments


My current obsession is a fringe fandom called Tris/Alex, based on characters spun off from the rock band Led Zeppelin. They are more sweet than I usually like in my slash, but I'm having a lot of fun with it. [5]


Tris and Alex are variations on two real-life rock musicians named Jimmy Page and Robert Plant. From 1969-1980 they were well known as the lead guitarist and the singer of Led Zeppelin. Those of you who (like me a year ago) have never heard of Zeppelin, only need to know that they were a British rock band, hugely popular in the US, without much support from the press, and that you probably know their songs even if you don't remember he band's name. The most well known song is Stairway to Heaven; also big are Whole Lotta Love, and Black Dog (starts Hey hey momma, say the way you move, gonna make you sweat, gonna make you grove). Anyway, that's who the guys really are. In the fan writings, they turn into Tristram Lindsay and Alexander Logan. The history of Paradox (the name of the band in the fan stories) follows the history of Zeppelin fairly closely, except that Tris and Alex are lovers from the very beginning. Basically, Alex plays the ingenue, Tris is the manipulator, their relationship is stormy at times, and lasts through 9 years depicted in a bunch of short stories and a very long novel called "For All The Gods Departed." Looks; Alex is 6'3", has long, blond curly hair, blue eyes (green in the novel, in a lame attempt to disguise his likeness to RP), and is often described as looking like a Viking. Tris is around 6', very thin, with long dark brown (almost black) hair, which is curly in the stories and straight in the novel. His skin is very pale and he has a very fine bone structure.

The fandom is written almost exclusively by Nancy Arena and Pamela Rose. (There are a few alternate stories by other authors.) Nancy and Pam are searching for a publisher for the novel, which they hope to sell professionally. Basically, the stories tell the history of the band, from the time they meet, up until they have a serious crisis in 1975 or so. The stories vary from the whimsical, through sex vignettes of hurt comfort, angst, and heartbreak. The novel picks up in 1976, as the band tries to recover their music and their relationships, throws in an occult subplot, outside romantic interests, and more. These guys are much nicer than any fandom I've read except Starsky and Hutch and I really love them. In fact, they're probably nicer and cleaner than any real rock stars could ever be, but somehow, that doesn't bother me. In some ways, they get to maintain their youth, because they pay people to handle their mundane details for them (managers, roadies, etc.). [6]

Well, I liked the Tris/Alex stories when I first read them, starting more or less with the one [J] ran in her last zine, although I had next to no background in rock music with which to round out the characters. The stories were originally written, as may be obvious, by rabid Led Zepplin fans for other equally rabid fans, who would be able to pick up on the characters as keyed to known musicians (music being as much a "medium" as TV) with the clues given. Still, that doesn't apply to the whole of the present media-fan audience; perhaps my evaluation depends less on a story's relation to its source than I sometimes argue, or perhaps the unforced depiction of consensual sex in a developing friendship, free of agendas, carries its own impact.[7]

I find that the problem (if problem it is) [of missing exposition] is even worse in a set of stories in the same author-universe, like the Tris/Alex main stories, or Vas/Dex or what was that long set of k/s stories, Continuum? something with a 'C' where they did it once, and then went back and filled in the blanks, and then did a sequel after they died? Any of the stories stand alone in a thematic sense: they all fave their own plots and climaxes, and yet, because you are assumed to have read all of the other stories, they don't go on and on about how much these guys care about each other, or why they can trust each other; you know there is this enormous back story, and it lets you allude to the depth of their relationship very quickly, rather than actually having to show and tell it. I think this is a strength (usually), but it does explain to me why when I read just a couple of out of order Vas/Dex stories, and later a couple of out of order Tris/Alex stories, neither of them grabbed me. You have to read the whole series, even though the plots are self contained, to get the emotional connection. [8]

straight boyz homoerotism ...I was reading some Tris/Alex this weekend [...] There is a bit where Alex and Tris are working the crowd on stage (Alex and Tris are rock stars, more or less fan drawn versions of Led Zeppelin band members) by standing close and moving together, and the crowd goes wild. Alex thinks to himself that their audience is mostly straight teenage boys that wouldn't be Elton John fans, cuz they think he's a poof, yet, the audience goes crazy when ever the two of them get real close.

I don't know enough about Led Zep to know if they ever said anything like this, but David Lee Roth, who used to sing for Van Halen, once said something about how, any time he touched Eddy on stage, the crowd went wild--that Valerie (Eddy's wife) was beginning to wonder about them. Some kind of weird straight boy dynamic.[9]

When I first heard about slash based on real people (hi, Jenn!), I had a lot of intellectual/moral qualms about it. In this particular case, Tris/Alex, the actual people weren't being slashed, but the slash characters were strongly based on real people. My left brain said "Uh uh, no way, bad news." But then I read a T/A story in a multimedia zine I already had, and my right brain said "beautiful." So much for the left brain. [10]

Actually, the Tris/Alex "based on" is part of the long literary tradition of the Roman a Clef. Dominick Dunne et. al. have made careers on writing about thinly veiled identities. Tris and Alex had physical changes made in their descriptions and the history of Paradox isn't "exactly" like the band who shall remain nameless. A person completely unfamiliar with bad...err... heavy metal music can read Tris/Alex as Tris/Alex and not miss anything. [11]

In "Real Life" Jimmy Page is the guitarist most often accused of satanic sacrifices {mainly most of his band, groupies, etc.} who is also cute, round-faced, soft spoken, and has a penchant for wearing the most absurd clothing known to humankind. In the fandom world, he becomes Tristram Lindsay, a much-troubled, manipulative son-of-a bitch who still manages to be loveable and sexy. Tris's love interest is the perpetual ingenue, Alexander Logan, who is prettier than Robert Plant, sweeter, and has much less of the rock star ego. Hence, I am a Jimmy fan, and an Alex fan. Go figure.) [12]

Tris/Alex are REALLY NICE guys--in spite of flirting with the supernatural, they are primarily good kids having a lovely frolic! They are rock musicians with lots of money and attendants to take care of them, so they don't have to be mean or tough, they just have to have fun. They are spoiled and self-indulgent, but charming and sweet. The fact that, in spite of the truth of all these cloying observations, the stories are compelling and interesting, is a testimonial to the writers! [13]

Although I *really* enjoyed the short stories by Nancy Arena and Pam Rose (covering the 1968-1974 period), I didn't care for the novel *For All the Gods Departed*. My main objection was the major plot distraction (or at least the distraction from the plot *I wanted*) which came in the form of Sarah (and her marriage to Tris). The celtic destiny motivation didn't work for me at all (and I am interested in tarot/astrology/paganism, etc.). Although Sarah was written as a sympathetic character, I disliked her *more* because I knew I was supposed to like her. (I was majorly disappointed when she didn't die in childbirth.)

What was the point of the Sarah and Tris het coupling? I know that the authors had to create an obstacle to the slash couple, but this wasn't a minor subplot -- it took over the novel. (And IMHO ruined it.) Were they trying to mainstream the novel for a commercial market? Is this why they took most of the slash sex out of the flashbacks (taken from the earlier stories)?

A slightly relevant post-whine admission: I liked Alex more than Tris (probably because of an already established real world preference for Robert Plant:). I'm not entirely sure that this hasn't affected my view of the novel (which was more from Tris' viewpoint than the short stories were). Since I viewed Sarah as an obstacle to Alex's happiness, I was predisposed to dislike her. (But I disliked her far more than Jackie who was a bitch and also an obstacle to Alex's happiness.)

Are there stories which ignore the *For All The Gods Departed* timeline? (I guess I'm really asking, are there stories/au's which use a timeline which deletes Sarah?) As my questions suggest, I know nothing about this fandom. [14]


Thanks for the pictures, especially the Jimmy Page shot. You told me when we first met that you could show me a JP pic where he was attractive and I didn't believe you. I do at this time humbly apologize for my rude disrespectfulness. And I did like Tulsa Time (which was the first and only Tris/Alex story I've read). So, I suppose there's hope for me yet. [15]

Best Hair Fandom: Tris/Alex
Best Music-Based Fandom: Tris/Alex
Fandom with the worst associated movie (The Song Remains the Same): Tris/Alex
Best 'Sweat' Fandom: Tris/Alex
Best Oral Sex Fandom (Really!): (You guessed it) Tris/Alex
Hardest Fandom to do songtapes to: Tris/Alex [16]


Jimmy and Robert (as I so familiarly call them) have taken over, if not my life, certainly my thoughts of late. For those who came in late, Jimmy and Robert are the real life counter-parts to the slash universe Tris/Alex, originated by Nancy Arena and Pam Rose. It's a lovely universe, with some great writing, but given the real life happenings in Robert and Jimmy's lives, safe careful alter-egos haven't been enough for some of us, and we've moved to the more intense, but legally much more questionable position of fantasizing/writing about Robert and Jimmy themselves, and having a wonderful time. They've been living quite public lives recently, allowing us to get more video (did I mention [J H] and I have been doing videos for them: one won best technical at Virgule, another new one will be debuting at Escapade), and pictures of them, and Jimmy even has just announced his divorce from his wife, arousing even more slashish thoughts... [17]

Re Tris and Alex, Jimmy and Robert: I was listening to their latest version of "Kashmir" one day, and this desert fantasy involving a Prince Tris and blond English slave named Alex came to mind. You see, Prince Tris's evil father uses and abuses poor Alex. But on summer nights... Alex has a marvelous voice, and he sings plaintively. Tris, of course, falls deeply, and must plot to rescue Alex <sigh>.... One of these days, I'll get it done. [18]


  1. ^ Sandy Herrold posting to the Virgule-L mailing list September 13, 1994, quoted with permission.
  2. ^ Posted to the Virgule-L mailing list September 12, 1995, name withheld.
  3. ^ Sandy Herrold posting to Virgule-L mailing list June 22, 1998, quoted with permission.
  4. ^ from the author: Gloria Galasso. Email to gardeners list. April 13, 2010.
  5. ^ Megan Kent, from Virgule-L, quoted with permission (Oct 22, 1992)
  6. ^ from "Paradoxical Ramblings" in Strange Bedfellows #1
  7. ^ from "Strange Tongues" in Strange Bedfellows #1
  8. ^ Sandy Hereld, June 15, 1993, comment at Virgule-L, quoted with permission
  9. ^ Sandy Hereld, May 24, 1993, comment at Virgule-L, quoted with permission
  10. ^ comment at Virgule-L, quoted anonymously (Mar 25, 1993)
  11. ^ comment at Virgule-L, quoted anonymously (Mar 29, 1993)
  12. ^ Megan Kent, from Virgule-L, quoted with permission (Apr 13, 1993)
  13. ^ from Virgule-L, quoted anonymously (June 15, 1993)
  14. ^ from Virgule-L, quoted anonymously (Aug 10, 1993)
  15. ^ from "Notes from a Neophyte" in Strange Bedfellows #4
  16. ^ comment by Sandy Herrold at Virgule-L, quoted with permission (Jan 27, 1994,)
  17. ^ from Sandy Hereld in Strange Bedfellows #8
  18. ^ from Strange Bedfellows #11