Former AC/DC drummer Chris Slade sat down with Ultimate Guitar for an interview in which he revealed that he got an offer both from David Gilmour and Jimmy Page to work with them on the same day.
Although his best-known tenure is with AC/DC between 1989 and 1994, Chris Slade has a highly prolific career, featuring collaborations with many prominent names and bands of the music world like Tom Jones, Uriah Heep, Asia, and Denny Laine. His long and varied career is not limited to just these names. The drummer also had a chance to work with two legendary guitarists, David Gilmour and Jimmy Page.
When Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour released his second solo studio album, ‘About Face,’ in 1984 and then decided to go on a tour to support the record, he settled on making an offer to Slade to fill in the drum duties. Right after completing the tour dates with Gilmour, Chris Slade joined the band, The Firm, featuring Jimmy Page, Paul Rodgers, and Tony Franklin. He played drums in two studio albums of the group.
During a new interview, the drummer revealed the story behind how he had the opportunity to collaborate with these two notable names. Slade explained that he first received a call from David Gilmour saying he wanted to see him play drums on his tour.
He accepted the offer, but almost an hour later, it was Jimmy Page who called this time. The guitarist told him they intended to form a new band with Paul Rodgers and wanted him to be the drummer. Chris Slade said he just agreed to go on a tour with Gilmour so that he wouldn’t be available for some time. Yet, Page said they could wait for him.
Chris Slade speaking on getting two offers on the same day:
“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 and said, ‘Hold on, let me grab the phone,’ so she sipped her coffee, looked up at me, and said, ‘Alright, dear.’ Right, I pick it up, ‘Hello?’ … ‘Chris, how are you?’ … ‘Fine, thanks. Who’s this?’ … ‘Oh, Dave Gilmour here.’ … ‘Oh. Hello, Dave. How’re things?’ So, I might not have believed it, but I 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.
The drummer continued:
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 picked 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.”
So, Jimmy Page waited for Chris Slade to complete his tour with David Gilmour and, after that, join his new band. Although The Firm seemed like a promising and exciting group, the band parted ways in a short time after releasing two studio albums.