Ex-AC/DC Drummer Recalls Keeping Jimmy Page Waiting To Join David Gilmour’s Touring Band
Former AC/DC drummer Chris Slade opened up about the time when he toured with Pink Floyd icon David Gilmour during an interview with Vinyl Writer Music, and apparently, Slade put Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page on a hold when he asked him to join his band as the tour with Gilmour kept on getting longer and longer.
Before getting the invitation to join AC/DC as the band’s drummer in November 1989, Chris Slade has worked with numerous musicians such as Gary Numan, Tom Jones, Olivia Newton-John, as well as being an original founding member of Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, playing on their eight studio albums released from 1972 to 1978.
On top of these brilliant musicians, Chris Slade joined Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour during his world tour for his second solo studio album, ‘About Face’ which was released on 5 March 1984 and received positive reviews, peaking at 21 on UK Albums Chart and number 32 on the US Billboard 200 thanks to extraordinary tracks such as ‘Blue Light’ and ‘Love on the Air.’
Right after touring with Gilmour, future AC/DC drummer went on to form a band with Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, Bad Company vocalist Paul Rodgers, and bassist Tony Franklin named, ‘The Firm’ in 1984 with whom he released two records, eponymous debut studio album released on February 11, 1985, which peaked at number 17 on the Billboard 200 chart, and reached number 15 on the UK Albums Chart, and the second studio album, ‘Mean Business’ released on February 3, 1986, which peaked at 22 on the Billboard 200 and at number 46 on the UK Albums Chart.
During a recent interview, Chris Slade was asked about his tenure with the band that included Jimmy Page and the drummer revealed that he actually kept the Led Zeppelin guitarist waiting when he went on a tour with David Gilmour. Initially, the tour was supposed to be three months long, however, it got to a point where it took a year to complete the tour. Meanwhile, Slade kept delaying his joining date further, however, ended up being in the band with Page anyway.
During an interview with Vinyl Writer Music, Slade revealed the story:
“I got a call one lunchtime, and it’s like, ‘Hello, David Gilmour here.’ I went, ‘Oh, come on, Fred. I know it’s you; you’re messing me around.’ He goes, ‘No, no. It’s Dave Gilmour.’ I went, ‘Oh! Hello, Dave. How do you do?’ And he said, ‘I’m putting a tour together, and I’d like you to play drums.’ I went, ‘Wow, that’s fantastic. But you know, I’m working with Mick Ralphs.’
And he said, ‘Oh, yeah. That’s fine because Mick’s doing it as well.’ So, I said yes to that back in 1984. I think that was – actually it was ’83 – because I said to my Mrs. ‘Okay, we’ll go down to the pub and celebrate. I’m going out with Gilmour in a few months.'”
“I came back from the pub, the phone rings, and it’s like, ‘Hello, it’s Jimmy Page here.’ I said, ‘Fred, I know it’s you now, mate…’ ‘No, no, no. It really is Jimmy Page.’ I went, ‘Wow, I can’t believe this.’ And he said, ‘Paul Rodgers and myself are putting a band together, and we’d like for you to play drums.’ I went, ‘Wow, you won’t believe it, Jimmy, but an hour ago, I said to David Gilmour that I’ll go on the road with him.’ He said, ‘Oh, how long is that going to take?’
Initially, it was going to be three months; it was a three-month tour, and apparently, he was already booked. I said, ‘It’s gonna take three months.’ And Page goes, ‘Oh, that’s okay; we’ll wait.’ I looked at the phone incredulously. That tour changed from three months to a year. I kept ringing Jim and saying, ‘Ah, Jim, they put another month on. Ah, they put another two months on.’ And he went, ‘Oh, well, let us know,’ which I did.
In the end, they ended up waiting a whole year for me to come off the road with Gilmour. So, that was really something; that was a red-letter day. I can’t remember the date, but I marked it in my calendar at the time.”
While there’s only a handful of musicians who can proudly say they jammed with legendary musicians such as David Gilmour and Jimmy Page, Chris Slade didn’t only perform with them, he also kept them waiting which sounds incredibly rare, quite awesome to hear, and proves how talented and wanted Slade was at the time.