Month: January 2014


Hope you like this interview from the beginning of 1972. I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog. If you really like this sort of thing – be a follower of my blog! Thank you!¬†ūüôā


Sometimes we even agree on what day it is

Yes joke about perpetual arguments but claim they lead to better music.

by Julie Webb (First printed in New Musical Express, January 8, 1972)

It can sometimes be embarrassing interviewing a band who have just returned from an American tour. They feel duty bound to say how well they went down. They might even add tales of the wild hysteria they`ve stirred up in their audiences in New York, and they`ll hint at the enormous amount of money they were paid. All of which, at best, is rather boring, unless you were actually there. Or at worst (and this is most often) rather sad, because you realise it`s a pack of lies.
Fortunately for Yes they didn`t have to lie about their American tour. You know they went down well from the extra time they stayed on doing a gig where they`d been rebooked. And the fact that their album jumped from 192 to the top 30 during the tour speaks for itself.

Despite all this, they are glad to be back.

Organist Rick Wakeman informed me: “When we stepped off that plane Bill (Bruford, the drummer), turned to me and said: `I don`t want to see or hear¬†from you till after christmas.` He didn`t mean it maliciously. I know exactly how he feels. We`d been together for 48 days in America and before that¬†we`d done the British tour together. So it`s good to have a rest from one another.”



If you went backstage after a Yes gig, it`s 10 to one you`d hear them yelling at one another. All part of the Yes musical therapy it seems.
“We do argue a lot,” Rick admits, “But it`s much better than letting things boil up. If someone thinks someone else is a berk then they tell him. And¬†no one ever says he`s sorry. We have ridiculous arguments over things other than the music, but arguing gets us better results musically.”

Most of their arguments, however, are about music, as Wakeman explained: “It`s much better to turn around to someone and say you think something is¬†bloody dreadful than play along and say you think it`s good just because he`s a nice person. And the good thing with us is that if someone suggests¬†a particular part of a number should be changed then we all listen and talk it out. We don`t row all the time – sometimes we agree on things, like¬†what day it is.
“When I first joined I couldn`t believe the arguments they had. Now I think it`s all very funny. I`m shouting with the rest of them. But when you¬†realise that mainly we argue about sound, then it`s not too bad. Someone will say, after we`ve been on stage, `didn`t like the moog sound` and maybe¬†another one of us will say he did. So an argument follows. But the end result will probably be a compromise of sounds, which are far better than the¬†original.”

While talking of sounds, I asked Wakeman if the band had added any new instruments to their line-up.
“Yes, I`ve bought this `thing` in America, which has to be made up and is being sent over to me. It`s a little instrument that sounds a cross between¬†a choir and the Queen Mary sailing under London Bridge.
“It hasn`t got a name and it`s not even a keyboard instrument. A guy came up to me when we were in Cincinatti and brought out this amazing contraption.¬†He said he`d only made three – one he had with him, one didn`t work and the other one he`s sending to me!
“If I get it in time we might be able to use it in our act, say at the Rainbow in London. But there again it might not be right and we may never use¬†it on stage – and I`ll just play it at home.”

“In view of the fact you`re returning for another tour of America in February don`t you think you may be accused by some people of `selling out` to¬†America?”
“No, that`s a load of old cock. We`ll be doing quite a few dates here before we go anyway, and when we come back in March we`ll do some more. You`ve¬†got to remember America is a big place. You can do a tour of Britain in 23 dates, but you need many more to cover America. If we stayed here and did¬†say 36 gigs in London, we wouldn`t expand. We get ideas from our environment and by doing different places and getting different influences we have¬†more to offer when we do come home! Unless you see what other bands are doing, you are not really going to get anywhere. But we`d never do the sellout¬†bit.”


Do they find touring is detracting from the writing and recording side of the band?
“No, we`ve already got ideas for the next album, although we haven`t started working on it. We`re not great believers in bringing out two albums a year¬†because you have to. It`s a waste of time bringing out albums if you have nothing new to offer. We`ve been asked to do part of a sampler album for¬†Atlantic – just one track. It might be a re-work of `America`, though I doubt it. Or it might be `Dear Father`, we really haven`t decided. But whatever¬†it is, it has to be done before we go back to America.

“I don`t think touring stops us from writing material. John is the one who usually comes up with a song, and then we all get together and work out the¬†arrangement. And John seems to be able to write anywhere. Sometimes he just locks himself in his hotel room when we`re on tour and works out a song on¬†his guitar.

“One advantage of doing a lot of gigs is that our stage act keeps changing, only slightly, but the change is evident. If, for instance, you saw us at¬†the beginning of our British tour and came to see us now you`d notice the changes.

“The music is still heavily arranged, and there`s a definite format to the way things are written and worked out, but the changes are there.

“You see, if you only change a slight thing each night, after 70 gigs it is bound to get better. Personally I think our music is now a lot tighter and a¬†lot better because everyone is more confident.”

Personal notes: Anyone know what kind of instrument Wakeman talks about here? The one “that sounds a cross between¬†a choir and the Queen Mary sailing under London Bridge”. Sounds like a really powerful instrument, that one!


This is how the charts looked in Britain at the start of 1972. 

This number of the NME also contains articles/interviews with these artists: David Byron (Uriah Heep), Mark Wesley, Mike Patto, The concert for Bangladesh, Paul Simon, The Who, Groundhogs, Pete Sinfield (King Crimson), Pentangle and Kid Jensen.

The NME this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

  1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to:
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Article about Slade from New Musical Express, December 18, 1971

I hope you will appreciate this article, published 42 years ago in the NME. I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. Still, it would be nice to get some sort of credit for my work, so a link to my blog would be nice! Thank you! ūüôā


Vulgar Slade by Julie Webb

Going to see Slade live is like attending a drunken party. You can see what`s happening but you don`t believe it! It`s very crowded and very hot.
People are packed in like sardines, yet, remarkably, you don`t want to leave.

I went to see them at Watford Technical College Рa venue they hadn`t played before, yet they broke the house record and people queued for two hours to get in.
Back-stage the group were lounging around – a blackboard with times the groups were due on stage was on the wall and a few obscene remarks had been added – “Aitch is queer” was one of them. According to their publicist this is something that gets chalked up all over the place!
Before they go on they change into their stage clothes РDave Hill in a bright orange track suit affair, Noddy with white trousers, the familiar braces and his ever famous hat.
The hat isn`t to cover baldness incidentally, he wears it “because people expect it now and if I leave it off they ask me where it is.”
Noddy is an important part of the band. It`s his strained vocals that shouts out at you on every number they play.
“Before we got anywhere the mums and dads of the other members in the group always said `You`ll never make it with a singer like that. He`s always¬†shouting – you can`t call that singing.`”


Shouting it may be Рbut Noddy has an incredible range and, with their PA system, an incredible amount of volume. Does he ever worry that if he`s shouting, as opposed to singing, the strain on his vocal chords might eventually lose him his voice?
“No – because it comes naturally to me now. I always sing with a shouty voice and I haven`t had a sore throat for more than 12 months now. But I¬†believe in looking after my throat.
I always drink honey and lemon before I go to bed – I don`t know if it does me any good but I feel it helps.
The vocals are a very important part of our sound. I mean our sound because I think we`ve now got to the stage where you can switch on the radio and¬†recognise who is singing.”
Slade are now in the enviable position of being able to play almost any type of gigs Рclubs, ballrooms or colleges and are sensible enough not to outprice themselves.
Noddy comments: “We`re not putting up our money astronomically. We`d rather keep our price realistic and go back and play a venue several times¬†rather than get a lot of money and only play a place once.”
At the places the group played when they first began to make a name for themselves Рback in the days when they were known as a skinhead band and were unable to get bookings because of their unsavoury image Рthe band only work for a percentage.
“Well, they were good to us,” said Noddy, “no one wanted to book us then because they didn`t want trouble and we spelt trouble.”
Playing virtually every kind of gig around the country is one of the contributory factors to the group`s success, Noddy feels.
“That`s how we reckon we broke into the charts – by doing continuous one-nighters. It`s taken us one and a half years to build up a following and I¬†think now that same following would help us even if we had a downer.
“Before, people were frightened to come and see us because of the image – or they were frightened the place would be full of skinheads. And it was¬†harder in those days to get the audience going. If you can`t get the audience going. If you can`t get the audience leaping about then you`ve had it.”


One thing that separates Slade from any other band is that they talk to the audience as opposed to at them. And if the audience is enjoying¬†themselves then the band draw their strength from that. Of course, they are not everyone`s idea of a pop band – and if you find offence at programmes like “Casanova” on the telly, or feel you couldn`t attend a rugby party without feeling a trifle embarrased then you might indeed find¬†the band guilty of a certain amount of rudery.
At one point in the act Noddy introduces lead guitarist Dave as “queer” and invites a certain section of the male public to come backstage – that`s¬†if their lovelife has been neglected of late! (He`s far from bent – I must add!)
And after getting the audience to imitate a howling noise, Noddy informs them they`ve been making the mating call of the lesser spotted something or other.
If he thinks the crowd looks miserable he`ll say, “don`t sit there looking as if you`ve crapped yourselves.” With the occasional effing and blinding¬†that`s about the extent of their rudery.
Noddy comments: “We`ve had a few complaints from promoters because some of them thought we were being filthy for the sake of it. I don`t honestly¬†believe we influence the audience in that way because we don`t use any words they haven`t heard before. Older people get offended – that`s all.


“Three weeks ago a promoter brought in the police because 20 people complained. But out of 3,000 that`s hardly the majority. We thought we were¬†going to have a writ served on us but were lucky in that one policeman had been there all the time and said he found our act amusing rather than¬†offensive. Anyway, as far as I`m concerned we`re only talking to the audience. We want to talk to them as if we`re their mates – we want them to¬†be our mates.”
How did the talking to the audience like this first develop?
“Well, we haven`t always used vulgarity. It originally stemmed from when we got smashed one night and it just came out. It went down a storm and¬†we`ve used it ever since. People aren`t only bothered about the music, they want taking out of themselves.
“We`re not a group who goes on to play perfect every night – if you just make people feel good about the act then that`s something.
“Even if they only dig the vulgarity that`s all right with us. Crowds want to get on their feet and loon again – I`m sure that`s what will happen¬†much more in the future.
“People are fed up with just sitting down and listening. `Get down and get with it` is what we are all about.”

The NME this article came from (pictured here) is for sale! 

  1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to:
  2. The offer should be around or upwards of 10 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
  3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.