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Bong-Man

The Firm Thread

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To me, a The Firm were a major disappointment.  I figured with JP and Paul Rodgers.....wow....on paper, this should be AMAZING.  But on record it was ..... meh .....

seemd like Page wasn't really into it.

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The Firm may not have been great, but at least their stuff is LISTENABLE now.  Lots of 70s artists just absolutely made synth garbage crap ( Shaken n Stirred?) in the 80s.

If Jimmy REMIXED, not just a remaster, it would open people's eyes.  I'd crank the guitars up in the mix, and take some of the gate/reverb effect off the drums, toughen up the sound I think it would be an eye opener.

The two Firm albums, if condensed, would make one pretty darn good album.

 

Closer

Fortune Hunter

Cadillac

Satisfaction Guaranteed

Live in Peace

Dreams

Money Can't Buy

Tear Down the Walls

Spirit of Love

 

thats a good record!

 

 

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Cheers, Steve, the Jones Beach footage of Jimmy and the Black Crowes looks great. One for further investigation, definitely.

Agree with Blue Congo - The Firm would benefit more from a remix that turned up the guitar and got rid of the 80s drum sound than they would from a simple remastering job. I can't find the source now, but I think I once read that over half of the first album was mixed in a single afternoon. Not sure that did it any favours.

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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:-) 

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There's no doubting Rodgers has a great voice, but it's a kind of old fashioned Tom Jones-style blues voice. And I think his song writing abilities are pretty rote and don't suit Page's guitar style. Jimmy elevated the Firm above AOR by playing some interesting chord voicings, throwing in the odd time-signature and syncopation, and the use of the b-string bender. Without him it would have been a really dull middle-aged rock album. They didn't sell well for a reason, and that wasn't just because it was the mid-80s, it's because the material was pretty average. The production was crap too. Jimmy put a raw demo of Closer on his website one day and it was much better than the slickly produced version on the album. Much like when Lennon did "I'm Losing you" with Cheap Trick. So, would I be up for a Firm reunion? No. I'd rather see Page hook up with some new folk and try something different. But he better hurry up. He's not getting any younger...

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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!

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Make that three. I really liked Jimmy's work with the B-Bender, he completely re-invented his playing style and approach to guitar in general with The Firm. Too bad he did not progress further with the B-Bender because he was doing things with that guitar I have never heard done in that fashion before or since.

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Make that three. I really liked Jimmy's work with the B-Bender, he completely re-invented his playing style and approach to guitar in general with The Firm. Too bad he did not progress further with the B-Bender because he was doing things with that guitar I have never heard done in that fashion before or since.

I think Jimmy was on top of it on the video of the Firm live in 84. His B-bender stuff there on Closer was incredible. 

But if you really want to be blown away get the Byrds Live at the Fillmore and listen to Clarence White. Jaw dropping. After all he did invent it. Never was a Byrds fan but Clarence is one of the greatest musicians ever. 

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This must be recalled,(pretty sure it was mentioned much earlier), but Paul Rodgers has been labeled by

many as hard to deal with, compromise, even a bit of a bully. Despite Page's leadership in Zep, no one in

the band EVER labeled him even near a dictator. There are certain interviews where Page pretty clearly

states that he wanted to take Paul's voice and push it into unusual areas. Then he kind of said that he

tried as far as he could but the project just ran it's course. I think the big problem was that Jimmy is

not a natural leader and ended up giving in or letting Paul run things too much. In Zep the others

despite their egos recognized Jimmy's vision and genius and let him use his excellent judgement.

It's great that some fans still enjoy the Firm's music but after Jimmy didn't have any fond memories.s

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This must be recalled,(pretty sure it was mentioned much earlier), but Paul Rodgers has been labeled by

many as hard to deal with, compromise, even a bit of a bully. Despite Page's leadership in Zep, no one in

the band EVER labeled him even near a dictator. There are certain interviews where Page pretty clearly

states that he wanted to take Paul's voice and push it into unusual areas. Then he kind of said that he

tried as far as he could but the project just ran it's course. I think the big problem was that Jimmy is

not a natural leader and ended up giving in or letting Paul run things too much. In Zep the others

despite their egos recognized Jimmy's vision and genius and let him use his excellent judgement.

It's great that some fans still enjoy the Firm's music but after Jimmy didn't have any fond memories.s

Page didn't have Peter Grant to back him up in The Firm.  Also, Robert Plant and Paul Rodgers were at different stages in their respective careers when they began working with Page.  Rodgers was already a star when he and Page started The Firm.  He and Page were on an equal footing so he was less inclined to defer to him.

Edited by Disco Duck

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The Firm was essentially Bad Company with some outre guitar and less commercial material. Rodgers was the wrong foil for Page.

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This was a band that never realized their full potential. I remember being really stoked when I first heard about this happening. A couple of mediocre albums, only spotty airplay didn't help.

I'm not sure that they would be any better, if they did play again.

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Yeah I always thought Tony Franklin was unique and very talented but certain songs IMO he kind of

wrecked with the fret less weirdness, Although some funk stuff was really cool. Obviously everyone

knows that at least on the first album, Rodgers !?!? came up with a good amount of guitar parts. That

explains some of the generic rhythm parts. However live, not unfortunately when I saw them, but certain

other shows I have, Page really played some amazing B-Bender stuff. As others have said, this project

sounded great on paper. And Rodgers, for all his "stodginess", and simple lyrics, always sang well.IMO

you had to wait till Outrider before Page was blazing again. Remember that Page had likely stopped

practicing in any professional way since the mid-70's. Composing songs, sure, but regular sustained

practice ?? Maybe before the FIRM tour, but years of decline.

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The band I was in at the time were very Zeppelin and Free influenced. When we heard about the Firm, we were going 'ah shit, that's us done, then.' When we actually heard the Firm there were sighs of relief all round! 

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Well I don't know the entire GUITAR history of Free, but when Paul Kossof(f) was at the helm and

playing solos, IMO he was in much better shape than Page in the Firm, and Iv'e heard great live stuff.

Page was still rebuilding his chops and he needs a strong rhythm section. Chris Slade was really good

but Tony Franklin didn't always anchor the boat. If you go back and listen to some live Page Yardbirds

stuff, you will hear some of the same problem. A certain amount of  Page's riffs and rhythm guitar need

strong foundations, not Tony Franklin veering into Zappa Territory. And as great as Page is, I'm not

sure he is consistently an equal rhythm player to Hendrix, Townsend, Richards, or even EVH. Before you

attack me, listen to some live Roth-era VH. Just like Page and Hendrix, Halen is often making up parts

as he goes along. When I saw the Firm live, Page just stuck to the studio parts, with weakly improvised

solos.

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You make some good points Mithril46. Jimmy likes to float over a rock-solid rhythm section and be "tight but loose." When the bass is a bit loose as well, it can end up sounding messy. I think the Firm was partly a vehicle to get Jimmy out playing again. Maybe without that, he wouldn't have had the confidence to do Outrider. The fact that Jimmy has never even done a guest spot on one of Rodgers solo tours suggests that the musical partnership is pretty much dead.

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It's really true that Jimmy himself regarded the Firm as a musical rehab project, but the problem

remained that he was once the legendary guitarist  for Zep. And regardless with that came huge

expectations, which in Jimmy's own words frightened him. Even at Zep's peak, Page said he could

only play great 1/3 of the time. All this likely spiked the drug/alcohol issues. And even as late as

the last P/P tour, Page was still ignoring natural sleep habits and hitting those bottles of Jack's.

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You make some good points Mithril46. Jimmy likes to float over a rock-solid rhythm section and be "tight but loose." When the bass is a bit loose as well, it can end up sounding messy. I think the Firm was partly a vehicle to get Jimmy out playing again. Maybe without that, he wouldn't have had the confidence to do Outrider. The fact that Jimmy has never even done a guest spot on one of Rodgers solo tours suggests that the musical partnership is pretty much dead.

Jimmy tried to get Pino Palladino (studio, John Mayer, and The Who) to join The Firm on bass but he passed. If he accepted, the band would have sounded quite different.

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Absolutely, there are literally a few dozen supergroups which never worked. So many times there are

large egos involved, incompatible personalities, virtuoso players who must keep demonstrating their

prowess instead of playing for the song, etc.. Interestingly enough I consider Page very much a team

player, but his alcohol/drug problems have probably limited his desire ability. Plant on the other hand

seems to have become a Svengali type figure, mainly choosing yes men to follow his orders.

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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!

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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. 

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.

Edited by luvlz2

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Absolutely, there are literally a few dozen supergroups which never worked. So many times there are

large egos involved, incompatible personalities, virtuoso players who must keep demonstrating their

prowess instead of playing for the song, etc.. Interestingly enough I consider Page very much a team

player, but his alcohol/drug problems have probably limited his desire ability. Plant on the other hand

seems to have become a Svengali type figure, mainly choosing yes men to follow his orders.

Can't say I disagree with any of your thoughts. I often wonder with Jimmy's old "habits" if bridges were
burned? I know he's became clean and that's key, but sometimes relationships be it professional or
whatever can't be repaired. 
But I agree with Jimmy being a team player. When he was re-mastering the re-mastered re-masters haha :P  

he mentioned checking with Jones and Plant in regards to the material that would go into the finished product.
He easily could've just said to hell what you want. Now John Paul Jones - he's one I don't know much about
on his professional working relationships with other musicians outside of Zeppelin.
 

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