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 – follow my blog!
I started this blog with an interview with Slade, and now I think it is time yet again. Listen to one Mr. Dave Hill on top of the world at the start of 1973. They were quite an attraction at this point in time!
Superyob – I`m a freak attraction
Dave Hill talking to Keith Altham
He comes on stage with Slade like an overdecorated, perambulating Christmas tree – smothered in silver-stars, gold and glitter from head to toe – but somehow he never minces into the realm of the camp.
What he does is counter Noddy Holder`s version of a Space-Age bully with his own interpretation of Superyob.
Dave Hill is showman first and guitarist second by his own admission, but front-line men with his special brand of cavalier style and confidence are essential to any band trying to snare and retain the public`s attention.
Jagger was the supreme example of this type of rock-theatrics, despite the fact that in more recent years his reputation has been enhanced by that ethnic ingredient “blues” appeal.
What Dave Hill set out to do was to make himself a personality in a group which no one could ignore, and, if he never topped a guitarist poll, it wasn`t going to worry him too much in his formative years.
No one worried overmuch about the Beatles instrumental ability in their early days, Hill reasoned, so why should he at a time when Slade`s music is not meant to be anything more than fun.
“There are so many good guitarists in this business that if you can`t go out on stage and deliver, you might as well be dead,” says Hill.
“There`s only one Eric Clapton who can afford to lay back, but even he surrounds himself with musicians who project something more.
“I made up my mind some time ago that I really just wanted to help focus attention on the band, and I`ve worked at it and exaggerated my own style.
“I`ve always been a bit flash and all I had to do was get up enough nerve to go on stage and be as outrageous as I felt.
“The four guys in the band are really a very good cross-section of what our audience are like, and we`re really a good mix of working, upper, middle and lower class. There`s always an element in young people who want to dress up and be exhibitionists – I`m just one of them.
“I`m really not a pretty character because what I put over is more brutish, and it can only be a reflection of the music which has a hard masculine feel about it. I couldn`t be camp if I tried, because my background is working class and I`m tough at heart. Someone described me once as looking like an off duty navvy from 2001.
“Don`t get the impression that I think I`m any more responsible for Slade`s success than Jimmy, Nod or Don. I`m just trying to get over what I think my contribution is. Slade only really works because it`s a perfect balance. While there are four of us I can`t see us missing. If one dropped out it would be the end of the group.
“I know some people seem to resent what they think is arrogance, but then you`ve got to expect a certain amount of that if you come on strong.
“I get a few who come looking for a fight, like the idiot who started throwing chips at me while I was sitting in my car in Wolverhampton recently. I just got out and faced him down. I don`t look for trouble but I won`t run either.
“You get problems with your private life, but then, that`s to be expected. I still go to places I want, like Working Men`s Clubs in Wolverhampton, and if I get a few odd stares and pestered for autographs, so what – that`s part of the game. I`m a freak attraction.
“The only thing that really makes me puke are the copyists – those groups who think that the way to succeed is by imitating everyone else.
“There`s only one way, and that is to be original – be yourself.
“The image only really works if you have something to back it up with, and I think the results in the NME Poll have proved that we do.
“As long as our singles and albums are selling more each time, and as long as the people are turning out to hear us, we must have something more to offer than just the way we look.
“Best `live` group must mean there are a lot of people getting some sort of charge out of us which has little to do with the glitter.
“What really helps is when someone like Pete Townshend puts in a good word for us – I was reading a feature recently where he said Slade reminded him of the Who in their early days.
“From someone like him, that really means something, and if we were to pick out our favourite `live` rock and roll group it would be the Who. And I`m not saying that just because he had a few good words to say about Slade.
“We`re not really interested as a band in improving our own stature as musicians – we`re only interested in entertaining and giving our audiences a good time. We don`t feel the need to educate them.
“We`ve recorded some numbers which we`ve deliberately held back because we feel they are too clever – too indulgent for our fans at the moment. As we get older as a group then we hope to take those fans with us as we change.”
When a group becomes as popular as Slade are at the moment, a possible over-exposure becomes a real threat.
“Can you have too much of a good thing?” asks Hill innocently when you raise the subject. “I mean, so long as people think it`s still good. I really don`t think we could afford to throw a moody and play hard to get, because while we were taking a six months break someone would nip in and steal our audience.
“I don`t think the Beatles ever really stopped. Even when they finished with touring they were always there – in the papers, in the news, doing films or appearing on TV.”
You`ll find the Beatles are a constant reference in the Slade`s comparative values department. Do they really believe that they could be that big?
“What`s the point in aiming for anything but the top,” says Hill. “If you set your sights any lower, you can only achieve something smaller.
“You just take a look at what sort of figures the champions have set, and go for a World Record. The way we are going, I personally can`t see us missing.”
Those were the days of full page ads for Slade! With THAT single they just couldn`t miss.
This number of the NME also contains articles/interviews with these people: Led Zeppelin, Jan Akkerman, David Bowie, Strawbs, Traffic, Pete Townshend, Chuck Berry, Back Door, Guess Who, Alice Cooper.
This edition is sold!