The Firm’s Chris Slade Had ‘No Idea’ It Was a Short-Term Project
While singer Paul Rodgers and guitarist Jimmy Page have both said they'd never planned for the four-piece to last long, Slade maintained that the real reason they split after two years in 1986 was because discussions for a Led Zeppelin reunion were underway.
Rodgers told Classic Rock in 2010 that the Firm had only ever intended to make two albums in an effort to help Page reinvent himself after the collapse of Zeppelin in 1980. "By the end, I felt that Jimmy was up and running and in great shape – he was in fantastic form. And I sort of thought, 'Well, job done,' really," the Bad Company frontman said. Page agreed that he hadn't wanted to get "knocked into an album-tour-album situation."
But in a new interview with Ultimate Guitar, Slade said he'd believed "the sky was the limit" for the Firm. "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," said the drummer, who also played with AC/DC from 1989-94 and 2015-16. "I can definitely say that if that was the case, I had no idea. I can't speak for Tony [Franklin, bassist], and maybe he did know that it was a short-term thing for them.
"A big reason that we broke up was that Led Zeppelin came back into the equation for Jimmy," Slade continued. "There were reunion talks, and they didn't know if they were going to try and tour or not, you know." While those reunion talks came to nothing, Slade still felt they brought an abrupt end to the Firm. "It just happened one day," he recalled.
"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," he said. "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."
Despite his disappointment, Slade said he'd "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.'"
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