MARTIN: Now we’re going to review the album by the Firm.
JESSE: Jimmy Page is in the band, we should mention that.
MARTIN: Um, Jimmy Page is in this band. So is Paul Rodgers. So is Chris Slade, who’s a bald guy who plays drums and used to be in Manfred Mann’s Earth Band and was with David Gilmour–who I recently saw.
JESSE: How utterly fascinating!
MARTIN: Then there’s a bass player, a new star, according to an interview with Jimmy Page, an exclusive interview I should add, that, uh, mentions his name is Tony Franklin and he’s amazing, he plays a fretless bass and he plays with such precision that apparently an audience was moved and stunned at his incredible expertise. It made him a star that night.
HAL: That’s kind of a touching story you’re telling.
MARTIN: Yeah, it is touchingâ€¦
HAL: Well, how’s the album in your estimation? You’ve listened to it.
MARTIN: Well, have you guys listened to the album?
HAL: I’ve heard a cut.
JESSE: I’ve heard a cut. I haven’t heard the album, although I’d like to, eventually.
MARTIN: Well, let me tell you what I think about the album, because I played it.
HAL: What do you think, Martin?
MARTIN: Well, what I think about the album–OK, now first of all, I’ve always loved Jimmy Page’s guitar style, I think he’s great. I didn’t like Led Zeppelin too much after their first album, understandably, but…
HAL: I liked the second album.
MARTIN: I didn’t like that, I thought it was crap. Nonetheless, I always thought Page was fine; I liked him in the Yardbirds best. When I heard the song “Radioactive,” I said, “Hey, this guitar work sort of sounds like the Yardbirds!” That would be great–if Page got rid of all the excess and shit he pulled in Led Zeppelin and got back to short, concise, great guitar playing. And, I should say, when I heard Paul Rodgers was in the Firm, I thought, “Hey, ya know, I used to like Free.” Never liked Bad Company, hardly at all–I thought he sounded too samey all the time when he sang. But I thought this could be a good partnership. Now, one other thing: I just so happened to see the ARMS benefit at Madison Square Garden, â€™cause I’m a world traveler and have lots of class. And at that concert, Page and, uh, Rodgers played together, and it was OK, it was sorta exciting to see two, quote, legends of rock, unquote, together. And it was just thrilling–Jimmy seemed a little sloppy, however, and I was actually more inspired watching the tremendous guitarist Jeff Beck.
HAL: Were you embarrassed sort of by.. uh…Jimmy’s playing?
MARTIN: I was sorta embarrassed, yeah. Jimmy embarrassed me when he played an acoustic version of “Stairway To Heaven.” It was not only not touching, it was sort of sickening.
HAL: Why do you think Jim would do that to you?
MARTIN: He’s a nice guy, and I can only hope that at one point he didn’t happen to know–through his knowledge of the occult–that I once took a book by Anton LaVay and I burned it. I considered it hideous. Uh, in any case, I ignore Jimmy’s dealings with me personally, ’cause I’m not one of those people that think rock stars know everything about me, including the fact that I want to make fun of them in print and told someone really important that they stunk. I’m getting off track. Let’s say this: I put the record on, it sounded OK–not good, OK. In fact, Paul Rodgers’s voice is getting to me again the same way it got to me when I heard Bad Company. Page’s guitar was pretty good, but as was stated in a recent CREEM review of the very same album, I found myself just getting into Jimmy’s playing when it suddenly stopped–and then we had more of Paul Rodgers. It didn’t sound too bad. The songs themselves didn’t have the melody that one would expect of Page. Uh, the lyrics, were–as usual–dry, stupid and boring.
JESSE: You are really boring me.
MARTIN: Thank you. Uh, the cover of “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” is not a bad idea. It’s just very hard to believe that Jimmy Page would play on something so stupid. Paul Rodgers has a good voice and he’s a good interpreter of other people’s music. I don’t want to be too harsh on this album ’cause it’s always good to see Jimmy Page back in the music scene. And, some of it I like, in fact. I like “Radioactive”–it’s a real good single. I think it was a really swift move and it was smart that they chose that as their first single, to let everyone know that this isn’t quite Led Company. Which would be a tremendous headline for a record review, I should add. Basically, I can only hope that these guys get a little better. They’ll put out another record. They’re gonna tour here, I notice on the … I guess they’re gonna start touring at the end of this month … in fact, their first gig is tomorrow night, as we write this! In Dallas, Texas. Son of a gun!
HAL: But we don’t write this in Dallas, Texas!
HAL: You think it’ll rain tomorrow? Or do you hope it’ll rain tomorrow?
MARTIN: I hope it rains again tomorrow…
JESSE: (Singing) The sun’ll come out tomorrow…
HAL: I guess, to me, the issue is whether Jimmy Page is kind of like yesterday’s papers, as the Rolling Stones once said on their Between The Buttons pop album.
MARTIN: That’s sounds fascinating!
HAL: To me, that’s the issue.
MARTIN: I think…
HAL: Jimmy Page is obviously a fine guitar player, but is he the kind of guitar player that the young listener really wants to listen to? And I have no answers for that.
MARTIN: I happen to have a young guitar player here next to me. What’s your name?
YOUNG GUITAR PLAYER: Bink!
MARTIN: Why, Bink!
HAL: It’s the Bink! It really is!
MARTIN: Bink, would you like to hear Jimmy Page play guitar? You know how he sounds–is he what everyone your age wants to hear?
YOUNG GUITAR PLAYER: No!!!
MARTIN: OK, Bink, thanks. (Young guitar player exits) I don’t know, Bink sounded upset. And when Bink doesn’t like something, he lets ya know he doesn’t like it!
JESSE: I mean let’s face it–whenever you got Mick Mars, what chance do ya got? (drops checkbook) Oops!
HAL: Why do you go around dropping your checkbook on the floor during a review like this?
MARTIN: Not to mention your pants!
–Martin Dio, Jesse Grace & Hal Jordan
(CREEM CLOSE-UP: METAL ROCK â€˜Nâ€™ ROLL, June 1985)