Jimmy Page Stole Drummer From David Gilmour

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Former AC/DC drummer Chris Slade had the opportunity to work with some top names of the industry. For those who are unaware, Slade was part of The Firm, which is one of the 1980s lost gems. Formed in 1984, The Firm boasted a star-studded lineup of Jimmy Page (guitars), Paul Rodgers (vocals), Tony Franklin (bass), and of course, Chris Slade (drums).

Chris Slade talks about working with Jimmy Page

The band had a record deal with Atlantic Records and The Firm’s trajectory seemed to be pointing upward, and in the wake of the band’s debut record, which included chart-topping track, “Radioactive,” all systems seemed to be a go.

While The Firm’s self-titled affair reached number 17 on the Billboard Charts, and the band’s second album climbed to number 22, sadly, Page and Rodgers suddenly halted operations and ended the band in 1986, just years after its inception.

While Page has retrospectively recounted The Firm as something that was only meant to be momentary. From his home in England, Slade recently ran through the formation, and lifecycle of one of the 1980s’ most underexposed, and sadly forgotten bands.

During a recent interview with Ultimate Guitar, it was noted that in the wake of leaving Uriah Heep, he aided in forming what The Firm with Jimmy Page, Paul Rogers, and Tony Franklin. He was asked about the initial conversations with the band:

“Well, this is a funny story. So, one day, I’m at home and the house phone rings. I was in the middle of breakfast with my wife at the time, and say, “Hold on, let me go grab the phone,” so she sips her coffee, looks up at me, and says, “Alright, dear.” Right, so I pick it up, “Hello?” … “Chris, how are you?” … “Fine, thanks. Who’s this?” … “Oh, Dave Gilmour here.” … “Oh. Hello, Dave. How’s things?” So, I might have not believed it but thought for a second, and it clicked. I knew the sound of his voice because I had met him before.

“So, at the time, I had left Heep, and I was now working with Mick Ralphs. We were trying to form a band, but it was going nowhere, and fast. So, I was curious, but I had no real idea what he wanted, “Chris, I’m going on the road, and I’d like you to play drums.” … “Oh, well thanks, Dave. I appreciate that.” But the thing was, while the band with Mick was going nowhere, I still had to do the right thing.”

“You know, with me honesty’s the best policy. So, I said, “Well, I’d love to, Dave, but I’m playing with Mick Ralphs. We’re great mates, and I can’t just up and leave him.” … “Oh, well great. It’s alright then because Mick’s actually going to be in my band too. He’s the one who suggested you.” … “Well then, that’s great. I’m in, Dave.” We wrapped up the call, and I put the phone down, and said to my wife, “We’re going to the pub to celebrate, I’ve just got a gig with David Gilmour.”

“So we went down to the pub, had a few drinks, and came back an hour or so later. I kid you not, literally as we walked in the door, the phone rang again, I pick it up, and raised the receiver to my ear, “Hello, Chris. Jimmy Page here.” I had never met Jimmy, and never heard his voice, so this time, I wasn’t so sure, “Oh, yeah right. Who is this? You’re messing with me now, aren’t you?” … “No, no, no, no, no, no, it really is Jimmy Page.” … “Alright, ‘Jimmy Page,’ what can I do for you?” …. “Well, I’m forming a band with Paul Rodgers, and I’d like you to play drums.”

“Well, suddenly, I realized that this really was Jimmy and that this was real, “Well, Jimmy, you won’t believe this, but just an hour or so ago, I committed to doing a tour with David Gilmour.” I was expecting him to say, “Oh, well, that’s fine. We’ll have to find someone else.” Instead, he said, “Okay, we’ll wait for you.” I couldn’t believe it. I simply could not believe it. So, I did the tour with Dave Gilmour, got off the road, called Jimmy, and it went from there.”