XYZ (band)

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XYZ
Years active 1981
Status Inactive
Origin London
Music genre(s) Prog rock, Hard rock
Members Jimmy Page
Chris Squire
Alan White

XYZ was the name for a projected 1980s supergroup. The name XYZ is derived from eX-Yes-&-Zeppelin as the group comprised of ex-Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, along with ex-Yes members Chris Squire (bass guitar, vocals, keyboards) and Alan White (drums).

Sessions

Formed in the wake of both John Bonham's untimely death in Led Zeppelin and the split within Yes, the project was first formulated by Squire, wanting to continue to explore ideas from the Drama sessions with new musicians. Squire contacted Page who was a neighbour of his, and with drummer Alan White the band's nucleus was established. Page believed the band needed a strong vocalist and sought out former Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant — Plant did attend one XYZ rehearsal at Sol Studios, Berkshire on 28 February 1981, but decided not to join the group citing his aversion to the complexity of the material.[1] Without a firm commitment from Plant, and contractual issues on who should manage the supergroup (Peter Grant or Brian Lane),[2] the project was suspended shortly thereafter. Unofficially, Squire reported that he has tapes of songs that he, Alan White, Page, and possibly John Paul Jones (though no one has positively comfirmed his presence) were involved in.

Since 1994, a number of bootleg tracks have surfaced, originally recorded by XYZ at Chris Squire's home studio at New Pipers, in Virginia Water, Surrey, during April 1981. They are believed to have been sourced from demo tapes stolen from Jimmy Page's house at Cookham, Berkshire, in 1987. These consist of four pieces: two instrumentals (the riff from one of which was used on the Firm's 'Fortune Hunter'; the other was later used in a drum piece on Yes' Union tour and then incorporated into their 1997 song 'Mind Drive'), plus vocal numbers known as 'Telephone Secrets' (aka 'Telephone Spies'; previously attempted by Yes as 'Song No. 4 (Satellite)' during the sessions for Drama and included on a re-release of that album)[3] and 'And Do You Believe It?' (or 'Can You See?'). This latter track was recorded by Yes in 2001 under the title 'Can You Imagine' on Magnification. It is quite possible other songs were also attempted but nothing else has been released publicly. The known demo tracks have recently resurfaced on YouTube.

Breakup

With XYZ's future now in limbo, Squire and White recorded a Christmas single called 'Run with the Fox', in October 1981 at New Pipers,[4] before forming Cinema, with guitarist Trevor Rabin and keyboardist Tony Kaye. Rabin initially attempted to rework the XYZ material along with his solo songs for the new group. Cinema went on to become a reformation of Yes with the addition of singer Jon Anderson, and the recording of the album 90125 in 1983.[5] It is unclear what, if any, of the XYZ material made it to 90125, but White said in a 2008 interview that 'those were the beginning of some songs that ended up on the next Yes album any way.'[6]

In 1984, Jimmy Page joined Yes on stage, playing 'I'm Down' during a concert in their 9012Live tour at Westfalenhalle in Dortmund, Germany.[7]

Notes

  1. Led Zeppelin :: Achilles Last Stand
  2. Welch, Chris (2003). Close to the Edge: The Story of Yes, Revised Edition. London: Omnibus Press, p. 202. ISBN 0-7119-0509-5
  3. Drama
  4. Chris Squire Biography
  5. 90125
  6. The Alan White Interview
  7. 06/24/84 Dortmund DE