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Led Zeppelin (Official Thread)

Discussion in '70's Music' started by METALPRIEST, Mar 27, 2010.

  1. gcczep

    gcczep Ever Onward...

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    Mike The Mike - Thank You!

    The tragic tale of a legendary concert taper
    by James Cook

    Throughout the 1970s Mike Millard created live recordings of some of the world’s most legendary bands, but in 1990 everything came to an end.

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    Wednesday, 30 October 2013
    Reclusive, genius, paranoid, obsessive, legendary…

    Mike Millard earned his “Mike the Mike” nickname by taping now-legendary shows by some of the biggest names in 1970s rock music. For Millard, taping concerts was his life. A perpetual recluse, Mike obsessed over his tapes and their destinies. But in 1990, it all came to a tragic end. The tale of Mike Millard is one that has been whispered in underground circles for decades, perhaps now it’s time for him to receive the recognition he never received in his lifetime.

    * * *

    Little is known about Millard’s early life in California. The story begins in the early 1970s, when the biggest rock acts of the time would play the LA Forum as part of their West Coast stadium tours. For a music fan such as Mike, a concert was a glorious, fleeting moment – but one that should be captured and cherished. Taking his inspiration from bootleggers – people who sneak audio recorders into concerts – Mike developed an ingenious method to make the best recordings of all time.

    Mike Millard rarely worked alone. To smuggle recording equipment into the secure arena, he needed someone to help him. Unlike other recorders, he discovered a nefarious way to sneak past security: a wheelchair. A helper would wheel Mike into the venue. In his prop wheelchair he sat upon a large and expensive Japanese cassette recorder. He also carried a bag of clothes with him. When challenged by security, he claimed that they were there in case he soiled himself.

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    A Nakamichi 550, the expensive Japanese tape deck that Mike Millard used for his recordings.

    Once inside the building, Mike would be wheeled to the handicap area. He would wire up his hat with microphones and connect them to the cassette deck. When the house lights went down, the weighty tape deck was transferred to the bag and Mike got out of his wheelchair and walked to the front of the venue. It was this elaborate set-up combined with his network of willing helpers that led to the legendary Millard tapes.

    Recording these performances was not, by any means, free of risk. One terrifying figure that Millard and his friends had to watch out for was Peter Grant. Led Zeppelin’s giant-size manager was known to patrol stadiums, personally destroying recording equipment and administering on-the-spot beatings to ticket touts. Grant had begun his show business career in wrestling, using the stage name “Count Bruno Alessio of Milan”. His fearsome reputation followed him out of the ring and into the stadiums where his band played. The man who hated bootleg recordings was so prone to violence that in 1977 the City of Oakland had to dispatch a SWAT team to arrest Peter Grant after a particularly savage backstage beating.

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    Peter Grant, the enemy of tapers such as Mike Millard.

    Despite the dangers, the list of live performances captured by Millard is expansive: Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Pink Floyd, Eric Clapton, Yes, Rush, Wings, Kansas, Robert Plant, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, Genesis and likely many more. Mike Millard wasn’t just there to witness these legendary shows; he went to great efforts to save them for himself and music fans around the world.

    Mike Millard recordings are considered some of the best live albums of all time. They are so good, in fact, that even the bands themselves released his recordings officially. Jimmy Page, guitarist of Led Zeppelin, personally selected a Millard recording as part of an official DVD release. But what made his recordings sound “better than professional”, as one internet commentator put it?

    The Kernel spoke to Dave Lewis, journalist, former music retailer and the man behind the long-running Tight But Loose Led Zeppelin magazine.

    “Mike got that ‘right here, right now’ feel with his taping. He was always in the right spot to capture a real full band sound.”

    And for Millard, he found that right spot after years of visiting the same venue using the same trick. Usually he could be found eight rows back from the front, throwing pennies at loud fans to discourage them from shouting or screaming.

    Once the tape was made, Millard would select a handful of friends to share a copy with. However, Mike Millard was deeply untrusting of the people he shared his tapes with. Because of this, he purposely “marked” copies with volume fluctuations and other small blemishes. Every copy made was entered into his log book. That way, if a bootleg recording was ever made using one of his recordings, Millard could track it to whoever had sold his tape on.

    Despite his paranoia, Millard’s love for music kept him returning to the LA Forum to record more bands. His passion for his craft shows in the richly decorated tapes he would send out. According to friends, Millard would spend hours colouring and decorating tape covers to make them look extra special. He even included photocopies of his concert ticket in with the cassettes.

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    An original Mike Millard tape, from his friend Barry Goldstein.

    Millard struggled with depression throughout his life. Living with his elderly mother in their California home, his health worsened. He still taped concerts, but less and less of his tapes were ever shared. His job at the nearby San Antonio College tided Millard over, but he began a deep spiral into the throes of depression.

    In 1990, Mike Millard destroyed almost all of his tapes. Original concert recordings of legendary rock bands, worth tens of thousands of dollars, were gone. Shortly afterwards, Mike Millard committed suicide.

    After Millard’s death, his friends contacted his elderly mother and offered to help her organise his possessions. She refused. For years Mike Millard’s bedroom stayed filled with his recording equipment, and most probably the few remaining tapes. Sadly, that’s the last the world ever heard of Mike Millard and his beloved tapes.

    News of Mike Millard’s death took years to reach his friends and fellow music-lovers. Letters were left unanswered, trade requests seemingly ignored. Eventually the word got out to the collecting circles: Millard is dead, his tapes are gone, don’t bother trying.

    When you listen to professional concert recordings, it’s easy to take the stereo sound for granted. For Mike Millard, he managed to produce a stereo sound through taping microphones to different sides of his hat. Millard recordings are known to frequent the homes of the most rich and famous rock stars, keen to listen again to themselves in their prime. This ingenious man, who faked disability in order to sneak audio equipment into venues, is responsible for some of the world’s most valuable sonic recordings.

    Unfortunately, it seems that music fans will never know who Mike Millard was. Whenever his recordings have been officially released, his name never appears in the credits. Hidden from history because of his illegal recordings, Mike the Mike lives on only in the underground music communities to which he originally belonged.
     
  2. gcczep

    gcczep Ever Onward...

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    Going To London

     
  3. TheSound

    TheSound An Englishman in New York

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    Very nice performance, he should do a whole folksy album with that fine guitarist :grinthumb
     
  4. gcczep

    gcczep Ever Onward...

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    In Flight

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    Boeing 720 N7224U "Caesar's Chariot" Led Zeppelin North American Tour, Summer 1977

    Boeing 720 'Caesar's Chariot' - plane converted from the standard passenger layout to a 45-seater luxury version, ordered by the famous Caesar's Palace hotel and casino in Las Vegas. In 1977 it was hired by the well-known rock group Led Zeppelin for their tour to the USA, because their previous plane 'The Starship' had engine problems and couldn't fly.

    During the tour the Led Zeppelin logo and the logo of their Swan Song record label was placed on the fuselage. After the end of the tour the plane was returned to its owners, and in 1986 it was acquired by the US government for spare part support for the KC-135 tankers, and gradually taken apart.
     
  5. gcczep

    gcczep Ever Onward...

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    American Hustle

    'American Hustle' Trailer: Good Times, Bad Times For All Of Your Favorite Actors



    A toast to a new era: The first trailer for David O. Russell's "American Hustle" has debuted on Good Morning America, accompanied by the sounds of Led Zeppelin's "Good Times Bad Times."

    Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner star in Russell's "Silver Linings Playbook" follow-up, which is based -- in part -- on the ABSCAM scandal from the late 1970s and early 1980s. (Louis C.K. and Robert De Niro also star.) "[Audiences] can expect a wild world of amazing characters," Russell said to Good Morning America host Josh Elliott after the teaser's premiere, a redundant comment if there ever was one considering the "American Hustle" trailer features Cooper's character in curlers and Bale playing a young woman's behind (Jennifer Lawrence?) like a bongo drum. (To say nothing of the part where Cooper's character smashes a telephone into what looks like Louis C.K.'s face.)

    Sony will release "American Hustle" in December. Head over to GMA's website to watch the full segment with Russell. Listen to "Good Times Bad Times" below, just because:

     
  6. gcczep

    gcczep Ever Onward...

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    In The Hangar...

    Why there won't be another Led Zeppelin reunion - by author of new book on Robert Plant

    by Paul Cole - Birmingham Mail

    Still hoping for another Led Zeppelin reunion? Don’t hold your breath, says Robert Plant's biographer Paul Rees

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    It's midnight on December 10, 2007. Rock supergroup Led Zeppelin have just rolled back the years to barnstorm London’s O2 Arena.

    The gig, in honour of the late Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun, has been shiver-down-the-spine sensational, the stuff of legend.

    Zeppelin’s reunion has been an unqualified success. The hottest ticket of the year has lived up to all the hype.

    Been a long time since they rock and rolled...

    The roar of the crowd has rolled over frontman Robert Plant like thunder, but has now faded.

    He can hear the chatter of voices in the corridors backstage.

    Bandmates Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones are off in their own corners, thinking their own thoughts.

    Tonight they had come together, had walked tall once more.

    What happens next, reveals author Paul Rees in his new biography of the West Bromwich-born rock legend, is remarkable.

    “When at last Plant threw open his door all of those who came to shake his hand and pound his back told him what he already knew,” says Rees.

    “He, they, had been great. Better than anyone could ever have hoped they might be. His doubts had been stilled. His debt, such as it was, had been honoured.

    “Pat and Joan Bonham, wife and mother of John, the friend and colleague he had buried a lifetime or a heartbeat ago, were among the last he welcomed, and he held them especially close.

    “Jason, their son and grandson, had sat in his father’s drum seat that night. He told them how proud John would have been of his only son. And then the ghosts came back to him again.

    “He was supposed to go to some featureless hospitality room upstairs to meet with friends.

    "There was a VIP party where he would be feted by Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger, Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell, Priscilla and Lisa-Marie Presley, and more and more.

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    “He instead took one last look around the scene of his triumph, then summoned a car and asked to be driven away from it. He wanted nothing more than to get as far from everyone and everything as it was possible to be.”

    Plant headed out of town, and the car dropped him off at the Marathon Bar, an inauspicious-looking Turkish restaurant on Chalk Farm Road.

    “As he sat there, collecting his thoughts, did he reflect on how far he had come, and how far he had journeyed?” asks Rees.

    “Upon the years of struggle when there was no money in his pocket and he sensed the dream that had driven him slipping from reach?

    “Upon the soaring heights to which Led Zeppelin had taken him, when he had basked in the adulation of millions and felt the heady rush of the band’s power pumping through his veins, when there had been nothing to fill the empty spaces in his heart?

    “It had, all of it, carried him along. It had given him more than he could have dared ask for, and he had taken every last drop of it. And as he did so it had exacted from him a heavy and terrible price,” adds Rees, referring to the death of Plant’s son Karac and best friend John Bonham.

    Because, the book confirms, Robert Plant had harboured grave doubts about the big reunion – and remains to this day reluctant to repeat it.

    The O2 triumph was, says the author, actually the FIFTH reunion of the band.

    Two previous attempts had been a disaster, one only fleeting and another for fun.

    First up had been Bob Geldof’s Live Aid global jukebox on July 13, 1985, raising money for famine relief.

    Plant had been invited to take part at the JFK Stadium in Philadelphia with the Honeydrippers rhythm and blues band he set up after Zeppelin called it a day.

    As the hype surrounding the gig grew, and rock legends queued to sign up, Jimmy Page agreed to play, too. They thought they might do a few Zeppelin songs. John Paul Jones, initially uninvited – a source of some bitterness – found out what was going on.

    Although the band already had a bassist, he was belatedly added to the line-up on keyboards. Chic’s Tony Thompson was on drums but, in a PR stunt, Phil Collins decided to play both in Wembley and Philadelphia, flying Concorde to join what was now touted as a Zeppelin reunion.

    “The price of this gimmick was that Collins did not appear to have familiarised himself with Zeppelin’s set,” says Rees. “He sat dumbfounded through most of it. Even still, he fared better than either Plant or Page.

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    “Looking like an ageing Club Med dandy in a lurid purple shirt and white slacks, Plant strutted and preened but his voice was strained, never quite hitting the notes. At a stroke he had turned himself into the very thing he’d spent the past five years running to avoid – a faded reminder of former glories.”

    Plant later admitted: “We virtually ruined the whole thing because we sounded so awful. I was hoarse and couldn’t sing. Page was out of tune and couldn’t hear his guitar. Jonesey stood there serene as hell and the two drummers pounded away. That’s why Zeppelin couldn’t go on.”

    When the concert was released on DVD many years later, the surviving Zeppelin members refused to allow the shambolic set to be included even though the 95,000-strong crowd had chanted their name for 15 minutes after they left the stage.

    Nevertheless, a second reunion took place away from the glare of publicity and out of the public eye.

    “In January 1986 Plant, Page and Jones met up in a village just outside Bath,” reveals Rees. “Tony Thompson, who had drummed for them in Philadelphia was flown in from the States.

    “Their crew took over the village hall, filling it with equipment and using a couple of old parachutes to soundproof it. To begin with, the signs were promising, and they began messing around with ideas for new songs.

    “Plant later suggested that the results sounded like a cross between two of America’s great alternative rock bands of the period, Talking Heads and Husker Du. It wasn’t long, though, before the same old problems came up.

    “‘As much as we wanted to do it, it wasn’t the right time for Pagey,’ Plant later explained. Things came to a head after just a week when Thompson was involved in a car crash which put him out of action.

    “One of the roadies then played the drums but the whole thing dematerialised,” adds Rees. “Jimmy had to change the battery of his wah-wah pedal every one and a half songs. Plant said ‘I’m going home.

    “Because I can’t put up with this and I don’t need the money.’”

    The surviving members got back together briefly when Zeppelin was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1995, jamming with Aerosmith, Jones remarking he was surprised the other two remembered his phone number.

    The fourth reunion came in November 1999, and passed under the media’s radar

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    Plant, Page and Jones – with John’s son Jason on drums – played at the Hen & Chickens pub in Oldbury, for just a couple of hundred friends. The occasion was a 21st birthday party for Plant’s daughter, Carmen.

    They ran through a selection of Zeppelin tunes including Trampled Underfoot and Rock And Roll.

    “They were just letting off steam,” says Rees.

    In 2001, there might have been another stab at relaunching the Zeppelin. Page received an offer to reform the band, with Jason Bonham on drums, with $70 million for a world tour.

    “Page was totally up for it but Robert wasn’t interested,” says studio engineer Phill Brown. “He and Jimmy have a love-hate relationship. They’ll get together and do things but then something always screws it up and they don’t talk to each other for a while.”

    So, the big question remains.

    Robert Plant has carved out a rewarding solo career, and found new musical soulmates such as Alison Krauss, Patty Griffin and Buddy Miller. He does not need Zeppelin.

    The three surviving members got back together to promote the movie of their O2 reunion, and last year sat together in formal attire to receive Kennedy Center Honors from Barack Obama in Washington.

    During the event they were treated to a stunning Stairway To Heaven by Ann and Nancy Wilson, of Heart.

    Page and Jones nodded approvingly and an emotional Plant was seen to wipe a tear from his eye. The rumour mill started up again.



    This year he turned 65, and now divides his time between homes in England, Wales and Texas.

    “I’d definitely rule another reunion out,” he said in a recent interview. “I’m up for doing anything that’s new.”

    And, asked if he would like to look back over the full span of his life, giving it his own perspective, Plant’s answer was sure.

    “Thank you for asking,” he told Rees. “But I think it’s too early in my career for me to be doing that – there’s so much more to come.”

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    Last edited: Nov 5, 2013
  7. gcczep

    gcczep Ever Onward...

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    Ten to Four...

    10 Things You Didn’t Know About Led Zeppelin ‘IV’
    by Matthew Wilkening November 8, 2013 Ultimate Classic Rock

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    Led Zeppelin’s fourth album turns forty-two years old today (Nov. 8), and as part of our celebration we’re counting down 10 things you may not know about this legendary and much discussed album with the help of George Case, the author of ‘Led Zeppelin FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About the Greatest Hard Rock Band of All Time.’

    Far from a typical biography, the book jumps in a dizzying but wonderful way across years and topics to explore the band’s work from every perspective possible. As Case explains, “I started off as a fan, but I wanted to write more than just the traditional fan biography. I wanted to dig a little more into the whole cultural background of what Zeppelin was doing when they were actually an active group.”

    This is partially done to debunk the sometimes erroneous legends that have surrounded the band over the years: “There seems to have been a mythology put onto them since they broke up, and the fan community has read so much into the music and the album covers and what the band was doing, and when you go back to the actual interviews of what they said they were doing it, they’re actually a lot more off-hand about it than people might suspect.”

    Which makes a lot of sense, given the band’s schedule at the time. “Those first four albums were made in less than two years, so obviously they were working at a really fast pace, they didn’t have time to think about everything they were doing and try to come up with a reasoning for why they made the songs, or what they put on the album covers. So I was trying to remind the readers about that, that a lot of this was more haphazard than it seems to be in retrospect.”

    It’s a fantastic read and we highly suggest you check out the book, and of course, this list of 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Led Zeppelin ‘IV’:

    1. They had a good reason for not including their name or faces on the cover.
    “The cover wasn’t meant to antagonize the record company,” Jimmy Page told reporter Brad Tolinksi in 2001. ‘It was designed as our response to the music critics who maintained that the success of our first three albums was driven by hype and not talent… So we stripped everything away, and let the music do the talking.”

    2. The opening sounds of ‘Black Dog’ are a byproduct of studio technology.
    As Case explains, “Page did a lot of overdubbing, so when you’ve got three separate tracks of guitars to be played together, they have to get synched. It’s the sound of the tape rolling. He could have cut it out, it’s just them getting lined up from the separate takes and all.” Instead, the guitarist left them in, thinking it sounded like “the massing of the guitar armies.”

    3. Robert Plant’s the only one moving at normal speed on ‘When the Levee Breaks.’
    Much has been made of the Headley Grange stairwell that helped capture that massive ‘Levee’ drum sound: “People wonder how that sounds so planetary, but there was a natural echo there, and then they put more on it. They also slowed it down in the mix so it sounded really booming, had this huge reverb to it, it’s almost physical when you listen to it.” In fact, “The only sound on ‘When the Levee Breaks’ that’s recorded in natural time is Plant’s voice, everything else is slowed down just a little bit to make it really heavy.”

    4. If you had to pick the least popular song on the album, it would probably be ‘Four Sticks.’
    Although he’s quick to label it “a very tough call,” Case mentions in the book that the rhythmically tricky ‘Four Sticks’ is probably the least essential of all the songs on ‘IV.’ “I don’t think it’s bad at all, but I think of all the songs on the record it’s the least listenable.” Perhaps the band agrees: “Seven of the eight songs from that album are on their 1990 box set, and ‘Four Sticks’ was the one that didn’t make it. Compared to the other tracks on there, it just doesn’t stand out as much.”

    5. The album was recorded in several different places.
    When discussing the recording of ‘IV,’ the reportedly haunted house known as Headley Grange comes up, but big parts of the record were recorded at places like Island Studios and Sunset Sound. “Headley Grange is the one that gets known, because it’s a spooky house and that’s really cool, that’s where ‘When the Levee Breaks’ was recorded, in that echoey stairwell, but they did use a lot of other studios too. Headley was not professional enough. They had Ronnie Lane’s mobile outside, but Page was saying they had to go into a real studio for what they were doing.”

    6. The band realized they needed to start crediting their lyrical inspirations.
    Zeppelin has taken much grief from blues fans for heavily relying on lyrics from other artists in their earlier work, and it seems the degree of this “borrowing” is still being realized. “One thing I didn’t even mention in the book, that I heard just recently, I was listening to Count Basie, and he has a song called ‘Going to Chicago’ — “Sorry that I can’t take you,” so obviously Plant was getting into that at the end of ‘Levee.’ So all the lyrics were taken from Memphis Minnie, except for that little bit of Basie at the end. By that point, by ‘IV,’ I think they knew it was too obvious, that they couldn’t take someone else’s song and all the credit for it, so they snuck her name on it at the end.”

    7. Contrary to rumors, there are no backwards messages on ‘Stairway to Heaven.’
    “It sounds cool, it’s a great legend, but all that is just something that’s been thrown at it from long after the record was done. It wasn’t until the ’80s, after Zeppelin broke up, that these ideas started getting aired in public. It had to do with the religious backlash that happened in those days, people were reading satanic messages into ‘Dungeons and Dragons,’ this was just one more target for them. The band did use backwards sounds, for the aural effect, but they weren’t trying to put any messages on there.”

    8. They weren’t the first to name a song ‘Stairway to Heaven.’
    They were beaten to that title, if not by others before him, by none other than pop crooner Neil Sedaka, who included his own song by that exact same name on his 1960 album ‘Neil Sedaka Sings Little Devil and His Other Hits,’ taking it all the way to No. 9 on the charts.

    9. There could have been more than eight songs on ‘IV.’
    Zeppelin had a habit of holding onto material until they deemed it ready, for years sometimes. Many of the songs from 1975′s ‘Physical Graffiti’ were actually recorded as far back as the ‘III’ sessions. ‘Boogie with Stu’ from ‘Graffiti’ originally came from the ‘IV’ sessions, as did ‘Black Country Woman.’

    10. The symbols the band chose for themselves on the album art don’t mean as much as you might think.
    “They were put together pretty hastily, people have read so much into them over the years. When you get down to it, it sounds like John Paul Jones and John Bonham just said, ‘Oh, we’ll pick these, you know, sure, whatever,’ they weren’t that interested. Robert Plant picked the feather in the circle from some mystical account of some lost civilization that probably never existed. It was one of those hippie things that they thought was out there. Page’s “Zoso,” goes way back to the renaissance, really, but basically it’s a representation of Capricorn from a document dating back the 1500s. In those days, the way people drew astrological symbols was a lot more elaborate than just scales or fish, but it does derive from a symbol for Saturn, or for Capricorn. It’s nothing satanic or anything like that.”
     
  8. Riff Raff

    Riff Raff The Kevin Owens Show Staff Member

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    Explains a lot about that overrated album.
     
  9. Sox

    Sox Avoiding The Swan Song

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    The fourth album ... absolutely brilliant. :D
     
  10. TheSound

    TheSound An Englishman in New York

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    Yes, for me it's probably the best and nearest to flawless rock/band album of the entire 1970s...nothing else really came close to that sound production they achieved on there for many years, it pretty much set the bar at a new high, though I agree with the article that if there's a tiny weakness on there then it is Four Sticks.
     

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