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    the XYZ project

    anyone have any information as to how this came about, and why it ultimately failed?
    The Definitive YES Albums

    -The Yes Album-Fragile-Close to the Edge-Tales From Topographic Oceans-
    -Relayer-Going for the One-Drama-90125-Big Generator-Union-Talk-
    -The Ladder-Magnification-Fly From Here-The Quest-

    #2
    My recollection is that Page felt a vocalist was necessary and he recruited Plant. Plant I believe went to 1 session and considered it but ultimately passed on joining the group. With that XYZ died.

    I believe some or bits and pieces of the XYZ material made it to 90125

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      #3
      Do you have an hour to read through the info….

      to sum up

      the band was supposed to be

      Robert plant: Lead vocals
      Jimmy Page: Guitar
      Chris Squire: bass and vocals
      Alan White Drums

      and I have heard either Dave Lawsons Keyboards (I believe from the band Greensleeves)

      or

      john Paul Jones keyboards

      John Paul Jones never got a call ,and unsure if he would do it. Plant said the music was too complex and left almost immediately. So that left a four piece of Page Squire Lawson and White, (I believe as I think it’s Lawson on keys on the demos but I could be wrong)

      anyways the band produced at least four songs we know of

      instrumental 1 (which became the basis of Mind Drive from keys 2)
      Can you See (which became Can You Imagine off Magnification)
      instrumental 2 (which became Fortune Hunter on the firm’s second album Mean Business which Bill Bruford was almost in)
      telephone secrets (which really to this day has never got a proper release)…

      If you listen to the way Chris tells it Jimmy was to depressed and to high to even attempt to really play and the project ended. I don’t think Jimmy ever commented on the end of XYZ but I suspect Bonham’s death impacted him more then he thought.

      I always assumed It Can happen from 90125 and Run with the fox were also Xyz songs… but I have really no proof

      chris mentioned a year or two before he died a song that I hadn’t heard before as an XYZ tune of course I can’t remember the name of that song.

      Jimmy page has said multiple times he wants to finish and release the album…. But I think Led Zepplin getting back together is more likely then the album ever coming out.

      i have heard the four demos and Page is ok on them but honestly It’s clear the band just wouldn’t of worked… page sounds just ok and not the blistering master many claim of him. Chris and Alan sound really good but it’s clear they needed a third member who was a writer and was level headed… Rabin was that third member and the rest is history.

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        #4
        Dave Lawson from the band GREENSLADE ( later a synth technician / programmer on 90125)

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          #5
          It's also true Page sounded very tired and uninspired on Telephone Secrets...Compare it with the instrumental version featuring Steve Howe

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            #6
            Peter Grant was unhappy with the name because he wanted the Z to come before the Y!

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              #7
              I'm actually very happy that XYZ imploded because if that would not have happened any sort of touring with these names on the bill would have been insane. Zep tours were already a mess and throwing Chris and Alan into that circus would have been a big mistake. A finished album would be fun to hear though all these years later but that's not going to happen...

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                #8
                Originally posted by Sharp On Attack View Post
                It's also true Page sounded very tired and uninspired on Telephone Secrets...Compare it with the instrumental version featuring Steve Howe
                I remember hearing a mix someone did combining the XYZ and the Yes demo with Steve. It was really cool actually!

                I believe Dave Lawson was the mystical keyboard player under the stage for the 90125 and BG tours? Henry?

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                  #9
                  Originally posted by Somis Sound View Post

                  I remember hearing a mix someone did combining the XYZ and the Yes demo with Steve. It was really cool actually!

                  I believe Dave Lawson was the mystical keyboard player under the stage for the 90125 and BG tours? Henry?
                  Jimmy always sounded a bit sloppy to me, but that's just me. Can't even imagine trying to get those guys on tour together.

                  Dave had been helping out YES for years under the stage. Truth is, Dave Lawson came up with the "in the round" rotating stage. He said he was getting too damn hot down there, and if the stage rotated, and it had blades on it, he would stay cooler. "And now you know the rest of the story!"

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                    #10
                    ;-)

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                      #11
                      Originally posted by Somis Sound View Post

                      I remember hearing a mix someone did combining the XYZ and the Yes demo with Steve. It was really cool actually!

                      I believe Dave Lawson was the mystical keyboard player under the stage for the 90125 and BG tours? Henry?
                      Pretty sure it was a guy named Casey who was a keyboard tech and mainly he triggered samples.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Yep, Casey Young. Somewhere online there's an interview with him, not to mention a Yes sound check video (Hold On) showing him under the stage.

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                          #13
                          Here's an article from 2021 talking about the sessions..


                          Jimmy Page shared a sample of the rare song “Rock & Ruin,” marking the 40th anniversary of his XYZ sessions with then-former Yes members Chris Squire and Alan White.

                          Although the Led Zeppelin guitarist didn’t comment on its evolution, the 1981 track bears a strong resemblance to another leaked song that later morphed into “Fortune Hunter” by Page’s ’80s supergroup the Firm. You can stream the snippet of “Rock & Ruin” on Page’s website.

                          The guitarist briefly detailed the XYZ sessions there and on Facebook, writing, “On this day in 1981, I played the XYZ sessions at the Sol. The first playing I did after Led Zeppelin split up was with Chris Squire and Alan White — the rhythm section of Yes. They got in contact and said they had some material, and I said I had a studio. This was the best medicine I could have had at this time, and I knew that playing with them might be quite challenging, knowing the quality and precision of the music they had established with Yes.”

                          Page continued: “In fact, the combination of the three of us proved to be substantial. Chris had supplied bass, piano and vocals, with Alan on backing vocals and drums. Chris even had a name for the outfit — XYZ [Ex Yes and Zeppelin], and I believe they hoped Robert Plant would have a listen, but I think he was occupied. And the party was over. However, the music that was done at this point was really good.”

                          He called “Rock & Ruin” a “rough mix of something I presented to them,” adding that “their songs were more impressive.” XYZ worked on material at Squire’s home studio, also recruiting Greenslade keyboardist Dave Lawson. Squire sang lead on the recordings, and as Page alluded, Plant passed on fronting the project. (“[He] came and listened to our music; he thought it was complicated,” Squire told Noise11.com in 2012.)

                          Unofficial, low-fidelity demos of the sessions have been available for years on YouTube. These include what sounds like “Rock & Ruin,” another instrumental (later reworked as “Mind Drive” for Yes’ 1997 LP, Keys to Ascension 2) and two vocal-based songs (one that evolved into “Can You Imagine” from Yes’ 2001 LP, Magnification; another that developed from Yes’ “Song No. 4 [Satellite],” a Drama outtake released on that record’s 2004 CD reissue).

                          In an October Rolling Stone interview, Page looked back on the XYZ demos, including “Rock & Ruin.”

                          “I went in there, and we did some of the songs that they’d already worked on, and then I came up with my guitar parts for these things, and that was really interesting,” he said. “And Chris was singing on them. I thought, ‘I’ve really had to concentrate,’ because it’s things in different time signatures. I mean it was a serious workout. But it was great. It was brilliant. And then I said, ‘I’ve got one,’ and I played them what actually becomes ‘Fortune Hunter’ with the Firm.”

                          He described the song as having “a totally different sort of onset when it was done with Chris … more like a guitar instrumental with Chris and I.”

                          Page also added that “it’s all speculation” whether the XYZ tapes will ever see official release.

                          “Unfortunately, we’ve lost [Yes bassist] Chris now,” he said. “It was something that I always hoped to do, as some sort of project, to get hold of him and Alan White. It’s not even worth talking about, because it’s all speculation. I haven’t had a chance to really listen to the stuff and see just exactly what we do have, and what we don’t have. I don’t have any mixdowns of it. If I did, I’m not quite sure where they are now.”​

                          Comment


                            #14
                            I still wonder about whether there was any possibility of Plant being involved. I do remember some comments from Squire who saide more than once that Plant thought the music was too complicated. And I think I've seen a couple of comments from folks outside of XYZ who suggested that Plant might have actually sat in with Page, White and Squire at some point.

                            But I do remember a comment from Plant from many years ago which mentioned that Page had spent a bit of time with White and Squire but made it sound as if Plant had never considered being a part of it. And the fairly recent Page interview, quoted above, indicates that Plant may have never actually heard any of the XYZ material:
                            "...I believe they hoped Robert Plant would have a listen, but I think he was occupied...

                            Plant has release quite a bit of music since the end of Zeppelin, with a range of styles/sounds - but all of it a million miles away from the sound of Yes music or the XYZ matierial, so I would be surprised if he had really considered being a part of XYZ. I always thought that Plant seemed to be very disinterested in all things Prog.

                            There have been some comments about Page's interest in releasing XYZ material - but his final comment in that interview also makes me think it's not something he has really thought about a great deal:


                            "...I haven’t had a chance to really listen to the stuff and see just exactly what we do have, and what we don’t have. I don’t have any mixdowns of it. If I did, I’m not quite sure where they are now...”​

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Davy View Post
                              Yep, Casey Young. Somewhere online there's an interview with him, not to mention a Yes sound check video (Hold On) showing him under the stage.
                              Ah, that's the guy!

                              Such a shame they can't track down them darn multi-tracks. I thought I heard Alan say he had them?? I mean we are talking Jimi Page, Chris Squire, and Alan White! How could you just misplace that !!?? I sure hope Page finds them and does a proper mix and touch up for a EP.

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