In a recent interview, Jimmy Page was brought into question by none other than a former bandmate. The bandmate was a bit more out of the realm of where you would imagine for the lengthy career of Jimmy Page.
Drummer extraordinaire Chris Slade has had a great many opportunities to work with some of rock music’s finest players, but one stop off in his long career can easily be filed under “what might have been,” or perhaps even, “unfinished business.” You might be wondering, “Which band is he on about?” Well, if you guess The Firm, then you’d be right.
The Firm boasted a star-studded lineup of Jimmy Page (guitars), Paul Rodgers (vocals), Tony Franklin (bass), and of course, Chris Slade (drums).
With an all-star cast, and a record deal with Atlantic Records, 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, if we dig deeper, it seems that other forces were working against the band. Simply put, as they say, “Men make plans, but fate decides.”
The following questions were asked via UG.
The two albums that the firm made, the self-titled, and Mean Business, they’re great. This said, I’ve heard Jimmy Page say that both he and Paul always saw The Firm as a short-term project. Did you and Tony also see it that way?
Chris Slade said: “No, I can’t say that I did. I knew it was a good band, of course. I mean, you had Jimmy Page, Paul Rodgers, and Tony Franklin, so to me, the sky was the limit. As far as I knew, we had no illusions about where it was going, and we didn’t think it was a one-off or short-term thing at all. I can definitely say that if that was the case, I had no idea. I can’t speak for Tony, and maybe he did know that it was a short-term thing for them.”
After this, Chris stated that Jimmy would start seeing Led Zeppelin come back into the picture, so this kind of hurt their own wave that they had going.
He continued: “A big reason that we broke up was that Led Zeppelin came back into the equation for Jimmy. There were reunion talks, and they didn’t know if they were going to try and tour or not., you know. Jason Bonham had gotten involved, and he certainly was under the impression that Led Zeppelin was going to probably go on the road again.”
Next, the question had to be asked about if anyone saw it coming.
Even with the Zeppelin rumors swirling, internally, was there any indication that the band was coming to end as it did?
Chris Slade: “No, there was no indication. It just happened one day. I think Jim and Paul, they realized they had come to the end of it. I was really upset with the decision, as I knew that band had potential, but it was really something that Tony and I simply could do nothing about. If Paul and Jimmy decided that was the end, then that was it. What could we do? How do you replace one of those guys, let alone both? The answer is simple – you don’t. Still, I’ll always look back on those two albums very fondly. People say to me often, “Why didn’t you continue? Those records were great. You should have made more.” I always say, “Well, I know. I would have loved to continue on with The Firm, but it’s something that was simply out of my hands.”