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Bong-Man

The Firm Thread

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Yeah, JPJ. A shame him and Page couldn't start something up, and worry about the vocals and drums later. I say this because JPJ has one foot in the "old school" and the

other in all the new technologies. Jimmy could relax a bit and not have to make every

song a guitar showcase, as fans expect. JPJ is known to be quiet, but being a fully

trained orchestrator and arranger, he did take hold of things during certain Zep songs,

far more than some know. JPJ sometimes in Zep would disappear with his family right

up until the gig, driving Grant and Page in particular crazy. Well, he liked some of the

madness, not 24/7. Some Firm shows were good but Jimmy was still recovering guitar

wise and drinking heavily and doing Coke . Doing a project with JPJ could ease Jimmy's

nerves about a comeback, and not have fans expecting automatic greatness on every track.

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Jimmy and Jonesy?! That pair could be verrry interesting. Similar in some regards, but also worlds apart.
That can make for a great partnership.

I would say call Jason up - however once Jason is involved you have the notion of getting on the horn
with Robert. Robert would decline, so that opens the door to auditioning singers who have similar voice
qualities to Robert. Of course in Jimmy and Jonesy eyes that person doesn't excist. The project is then
deserted. Deja vu ?? Well..why can't the 3 of them try something again - only this time don't set out to
audition Robert Plant #2. Why not take a totally different approach all together?

I suppose that isn't feasible when you have a group consisting of two Zeppelin members plus Bonzo Jr.
Fans automatically set out wanting Robert up front or at the very least somebody who resembles his
singing style. I however would not care if they had Pee-Wee Herman singing if it meant Jimmy Page
would be creating music and sharing it with us. Ack! That brilliant musical mind should still be heard.
I think he still has some cool ideas.

I guess when all is said and done even if Jonesy and Jimmy partnered up, Jimmy isn't in playing mode.
Jonesy at least is actively playing in public. One thing I will say Jason on drums is great, him out of the equation
gets rid of the Zeppelin-esque vibe. Something I think probably would make Jimmy more nervous about living
up to his legendary Zeppelin status. He doesn't need that kind of pressure.  Nice just to talk about what ifs.... :)

Edited by KellyGirl

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I ws a Sophmore in HS when The Firm's first LP came out. I remember catching some shit & my buddies making fun of Radioactive,,,, but I really did like the LP and remember convincing my friends after several listening parties and smoking lots of bongs that it was good as well. 

The 2nd Firm LP, well..... at least weeds still good!

Funny, I always preferred Mean Business to the first album. Cadillac alone is worth the price of the album and Page's guitar work on Dreaming is sublime.

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After I taped The Firm's Hammersmith show off the radio  I used to play it to all my friends at listening parties that I held at my house and many sincerely thanked me for playing it for them, hearing them live made all the difference; doing Midnight Moonlight, Make or Break Closer, Full Circle  etc, it was the first time a lot of us had heard The Firm performing live, and it was very eye opening.

Great story, I taped that too back in the day and that is the best of The Firm right there, imo.  Cadillac was also monstrous in that gig, and the solo Jimmy played on Live In Peace is one of his best solos in or out of Zeppelin.  If the band had been that good every night, they would be much more well remembered.

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I guess I was lucky because every time I saw Page live: Chicago 10th, 1977, 1985 W Firm in Phx, 1988 solo in Phx, 1995 & 98 P&P in Phx he was always an amazing player. In fact after all the talk of Page turning to shit as a player with the airing of the first ARMS gig in London in 83' I almost was going to skip the 85' Firm show...very glad I did not because his playing at that, and every other show I saw, was brilliant. Not saying Page did not have his bad nights or periods, I just think his live playing is scrutinized to a level no other guitarist in the history of music has been subjected to. Think about it, I have never heard about how EVH sucked live as a player at times yet I witnessed it myself twice, drunker than shit and made Page look brilliant at Tempe 77' by comparison yet this is rarely mentioned. 

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I guess I was lucky because every time I saw Page live: Chicago 10th, 1977, 1985 W Firm in Phx, 1988 solo in Phx, 1995 & 98 P&P in Phx he was always an amazing player. In fact after all the talk of Page turning to shit as a player with the airing of the first ARMS gig in London in 83' I almost was going to skip the 85' Firm show...very glad I did not because his playing at that, and every other show I saw, was brilliant. Not saying Page did not have his bad nights or periods, I just think his live playing is scrutinized to a level no other guitarist in the history of music has been subjected to. Think about it, I have never heard about how EVH sucked live as a player at times yet I witnessed it myself twice, drunker than shit and made Page look brilliant at Tempe 77' by comparison yet this is rarely mentioned. 

I agree 100%.  I've seen him live 11 times, starting on the Outrider tour and ending with the Crowes at Jones Beach.  He never let me down, ranging from pretty great to sublime.  And he is absolutely scrutinized to a level beyond everyone else in my opinion.  Clapton is rarely judged on his heroin era the way Page is on his.  You can check any YouTube video of him playing live, including ones where he's undeniably great, and find some wanker(s) calling him "sloppy", etc., it's ridiculous.

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I can't speak for others as to why they scrutinize Jimmy's playing during the drug era more than any other
guitarist. I'll make a little comparison to sports figures. I see Jimmy kind of like a Michael Jordan or Payton
Manning. When each is having an off night, its magnitude is that much more noticeable.  Apples to oranges
yes, but still its people who are viewed as elite as you can get in their roles. The Crème de la crème! Clapton
is a top notch guitar player, but Jimmy and Zeppelin I see over the years has reached more ears and easier for
people to judge perhaps. 

Edited by KellyGirl

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I don't think it's just the odd poor live performance, it's the decline in his playing since 1973 that he never recovered from that bamboozles fans. Clapton and Beck have, if anything, got better with age, but Page has struggled to refind the magic he had from 1968-73. The biggest thing that has deserted him is his fluency in his solos. Lots of sticky notes, etc. I liked his playing in the Firm, but not the songs and music. 

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I don't think it's just the odd poor live performance, it's the decline in his playing since 1973 that he never recovered from that bamboozles fans. Clapton and Beck have, if anything, got better with age, but Page has struggled to refind the magic he had from 1968-73. The biggest thing that has deserted him is his fluency in his solos. Lots of sticky notes, etc. I liked his playing in the Firm, but not the songs and music. 

You see I do not agree at all with your statement. Have you seen Page perform live post 73'? I have, several times and I can say his performance at the Chicago Stadium in 77' was just as good as his 73' performances. Further, his performance during the 98' P&P tour was, IMO, was easily as good as 73' if not better. Was he as fast in 98' as he was in 73'? No, but just a tad slower, however he was much more precise in his playing than he ever had been prior and he played with an emotional maturity that was beyond what he did in the early 70's. Not just my opinion, check out some of those 98' shows on YouTube and you be the judge. Page only went down hill as a live performer from 77'-83', after that he was fine except for the two shitty reunion shows (Live Aid & Atlantic 40th) and of those two only the Atlantic show was truly a bad performance.

Also, I did  not see any of the Coverdale Page Japan gigs but I hear his playing on that tour was even better than 98' PP.

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Funny, I always preferred Mean Business to the first album. Cadillac alone is worth the price of the album and Page's guitar work on Dreaming is sublime.

Me too, I always liked Mean Business far more than the first for some reason.

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Mean Business sort of has Page back to some of his Zep guitar harmony and overdub

trickery. A lot of the solos are damn good....Dreaming, Live in Peace.. Cadillac is great,

way underrated. The stops and starts in this tune are amazing, and Tony Franklin for

once adds much too the tune. Better than the first album, but in the studio the Firm

sounded brutally mellow compared to what came before. Zep's average speed was

maybe 90 mph, the Firm were riding "All The Kings' Horses" at maybe 20. For those

who got used to the change in pace, great. And do check out those amazing 98 P/P

shows.

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^Hi luvlz - That voice is STILL AMAZING!!! Love him and I'll keep saying I personally wished he and Jimmy would get together again:-) 

 

Hi Deborah! Just to be able to see them play two or three songs on stage together again as a one-off performance would be a huge treat for me!

 

I'm with Deborah & luvlz- would love to see Jimmy & Paul perform together again!

 

Make that three.

Looks like we got our wish at the EMP Museum's Founder Award in Seattle earlier this month, it really was a huge treat for me to see those two on stage together, even for one song, Paul Rodgers sang The Firm stuff very well as well....

Edited by luvlz2

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Yeah Tony is/was a very talented and original bass player, it's just that maybe 1/3 of the time on the 

studio tracks he was playing lead bass, and since Jimmy was not always IMO playing rock steady

rhythm, etc., certain parts of songs sounded "unanchored". This never happend,ever, in Zep ....

Bonzo and Jones , if Jimmy was playing a rather rhythmically vague or understated part, they would

completely nail things down, no sense overall of incompleteness or huge holes in the sonic spectrum.

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Gotcha. It seemed to work live, though. We went to that show hearing all sorts of rumors (no internet, back then) that Page was going to take over and play mostly Zep tunes. Obviously, that didn't happen. But because of Franklin's funk and improvision, along with the others' talent, and Page did fine - it was overall better than expected.

When I heard there was tapings of Page's collaboration with Chris Squire, I looked into it hoping for some of the same - but I didn't feel there was much of anything to enjoy, there.

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Tony was better live and his added energy canceled out some of the avant guarde stuff he would do.

Iv'e said this before, unfortunately the 5 NYC area shows I saw, 85'-86', I had very close seats and Page

barely moved and looked pretty drunk. He didn't play sloppy at all, just uninspired. Luckily I have 4 or 5

shows on video or audio from different shows and some of the playing is great and Jimmy is even dancing

around a bit.

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^ Haha, I just noticed you are from Smithtown. We had close seats, too - and might have been on the same train, even! My friend and future bro-in-law, told the other guys on the train "we would spit in their faces on the way back", if the Firm didn't do all the Zep tunes they said they heard they would. I was mortified. If that was you, my apologies! 

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Nah, there would have been quite an incident with such hooliganism. I would like to know you and your

(friends) impression of the MSG concert, which I'm pretty sure was in 85'. In 86' they played the Nassau

Coliseum and the Meadowlands in Jersey, pretty sure no MSG in 86'. In these huge arenas, sometimes

the best sound is NOT very close , but more in the middle where you get some natural echo but also

the direct sound in a straight line from the stage. However, each place is different and nothing I said is

set in stone.

 

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^ I don't keep notes or memorabelia on shows - but 85 was probable. Like I said, we had no idea what these guys were going to play, but were naïve enough to think there was going to be Zep songs mixed in. The closest we got was the bow solo, which actually felt out of place considering what they were doing. We had seen Chris Slade with David Gilmore around that same time, and were big into Bad Co. - so the overall personnel was a thrill to see. I hadn't heard about Tony Franklin before - but personally, I was digging on his style. Page played fine, but seemed more a piece of the overall sound than the centerpiece. This was the only time I had seen him play. I don't remember how we got such close seats, but the sound did not seem blaring or muddled. Us hooligans had a good time, considering... 

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I would like to know you and your (friends) impression of the MSG concert, which I'm pretty sure was in 85'. In 86' they played the Nassau Coliseum and the Meadowlands in Jersey, pretty sure no MSG in 86'.

The Firm's Concerts & Jams in NY State

4/29/85 Madison Square Garden

4/30/85 Lonestar Cafe (Page jams with Jaco Pastorius and band…Franklin seated at table, Slade on drums)

3/25/86 Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena in Binghampton

3/29/86 War Memorial Auditorium in Rochester

4/2/86  China Club (Page & Tony Franklin jam with a local band…this was Tony's 24th birthday)

4/3/86 Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale

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Looks like we got our wish at the EMP Museum's Founder Award in Seattle earlier this month, it really was a huge treat for me to see those two on stage together, even for one song, Paul Rodgers sang The Firm stuff very well as well....

yeah...but their onstage greeting at the end seemed a little cold to me....considering their history I expected more than just a quick handshake!

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yeah...but their onstage greeting at the end seemed a little cold to me....considering their history I expected more than just a quick handshake!

If the opposite end of the spectrum is whipping out a selfie-stick, I'll take the quick handshake thank you.

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While IN the Firm Jimmy did certainly laud Paul's voice with its' smoothness and soul, and ability to

record vocal tracks in one take. Later after the Firm Jimmy never made negative comments directly

but did say that one of his main goals was to push Paul's voice into more unusual  directions and that

the project just ran its' course. I think one thing people don't realize is that Page is not assertive enough

in certain situations and whereas another famous guitarist might start telling people what to play, Page

in Zep never needed to do that....when you start telling people how to play, it's very easy to get into

touchy situations.

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