Slade

ARTICLE ABOUT Slade FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, March 6, 1976

Yet another album review. Slade tried to crack the American market with this one. They didn`t have much success there, and the album only went to number 14 in the English charts and disappeared after only 4 weeks. Not what Slade were used to at the time, but they would make a strong comeback later in their career.

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SLADE: Nobody`s Fools
(Polydor)

By Tony Stewart

Who really knows why Slade haven`t released an album for well over a year?
One guess is that they deliberately withdrew from England as a tactical manoeuvre after “Slade In Flame” because of declining fortunes and over-exposure.
And to prevent a total collapse of their stature a new market had to be opened, and so their energy was directed towards America. But apparently their trojan work schedule excluded recording.
Now, with “Nobody`s Fools”, which is really their first proper group album of new material since the `73 release of “Sladest” (“Old, New, Borrowed And Blue” and “Flame” can be discounted in this scheme of things) they`re back.
Whoopee!
But as what? Now that does seem the pertinent question.
Slade were very much a singles band, worshipped by the kiddies who turned first to the BCRs and more recently to Slik. Now Noddy and the boys have been deposed, without even the help of hearts growing fonder due to their absence, it`s likely that “Fools” is meant as a serious crack at the album market.

In certain respects their present position is not totally dissimilar to that of the Who in the 60s. As a singles band they eventually discovered they could only go so far before peaking and as a necessity realised they had to gain album respect.
The Who made it. But will Slade?
After all, can you really imagine Slade`s music receiving the same critical discussion as “Who`s Next” or “The Who By Numbers”? Eh?
Well, if this album is an accurate representation of their album-making ability I doubt it very much. Oh, Slade are an exciting band. Plenty of grit and kick, and an unrefined charm which has been captured from their live performances in the studio environment; but though superficially the music is of a reasonable standard, there`s not a lot of depth. Really the album is just a collection of hooky little singles (like “Let`s Call It Quits” and “In For A Penny” which have already appeared as such, and the title track and “L.A. Jinx” that could well do) and passable B sides (“Get On Up” and “Scratch My Back”).
Most of the lyrics are banal and drab, and the only feature which cuts through with any effect is Holder`s vulgarity, expressed on “In For A Penny” and “Did Ya Mama Ever Tell Ya.”

Whether their potential is greater than this is arguable, but as Slade exist on this album they`re working within extreme confines of style; restrictions best illustrated by the ripoff of Toussaint`s “Brickyard Blues” for “Let`s Call It Quits”, and the hybrid of a Diddley rhythm and Lennon`s “Give Peace A Chance” for “I`m A Talker”.
So there`s at least two instances of the ol` inspiration being short. Perhaps there are more.
And even the way they play the material could do with a bit of beefing up.
As it is, Holder, the poor man`s John Lennon, pretty well carries the band through, with Dave Hill sticking close to him like a piece of chewing gum and relentlessly strangling the same figures out of his guitar. Don Powell and Jim Lea (drums and bass respectively) keep a solid backbeat.
To be seriously considered as album artistes they`ve certainly got to come up with something more substantial than this.
But at least the Who can relax a while. There`s no competition.

Slade Nobody's_Fools_(Slade_album_-_cover_art)

I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: David Bowie, The sexual language of rock Part 2, Phil Spector, General Johnson, Climax Blues Band, Gil Scott-Heron, Slik.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

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ARTICLE ABOUT Slade FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, APRIL 6, 1974

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.

Here is a really fun interview with Noddy Holder. He talks about touring and groupies and shares some inside stories from the road. I really liked to read this one – and I hope you do too!

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One chick holds you down. The other has the scissors.

Slade prepare to tour: Julie Webb hears how.

It`s little-known that a certain member of Slade`s road crew, was, to quote Noddy Holder, “called in by the police for assault” after the band had played a gig at Southampton. And if that sounds like the band are surrounded by heavies who go around manhandling Slade fans, you ain`t heard the half of it.
“The charge was finally dropped because of the circumstances”, expounds Mr. Holder, today looking respectable behind shades and a black pully.
The alleged incident took place as the band were arriving at the gig. Holder says: “It`s a major operation for us just getting in and out of places. Anyway, on this particular occasion two girls got hold of me by each side of my hair and pulled me to the ground. They would not let go. And Rob had to sock them to make them let go – they were killing me.”

After three years of major hit singles/albums in Britain, the band are well aware of the tricks their followers get up to. Back to Mr. Holder: “One of them grabs hold of you and pulls you down while another one cuts your hair off with a pair of scissors. They get a big chunk of hair and split it between them afterwards.”
And just how does one cope with scissor-happy young ladies?
“You can`t really punch them – I wouldn`t think of punching them. You know why they`re doing it and you have to put up with it. But a lot of kids just don`t seem to realise why you don`t stop and sign autographs on the way to the car – it`s simply because you can`t, because some of them go berserk and rip you to shreds. It`s dangerous. Not only that, it does hurt.”

Holder says one of their most frightening experiences was the night Dave Hill sustained a broken leg at Liverpool.
“That night I thought we`d had it. I don`t know how many people were there – probably four or five thousand – but it looked like they were all coming at us.
“We had 90 bouncers in front of the stage, and even they were finding it difficult to hold back. The stage was in the middle of a boxing arena, right in the middle – and it was a real long walk to the dressing room.
“We had to go through the crowd – we had bouncers linking arms to give us a gangway, and the crowd just broke through.
“Dave was first down the stairs off the stage and he was the first one to cop it – and when he went to the floor we all fell on top of him.”

Clearly British tours (the band start their first one for 10 months in April) are memorable. And this time round you`ll be paying more for your Slade tickets. Holder explains some of the reasons why:
“We`re not expecting to make a lot of money on this next tour – in fact we`ll probably break about even. Ticket prices have gone up but that bread isn`t going into our pockets. It`s costing more to take the show on the road – petrol`s costing more, everything`s costing more. The halls are costing more to hire, advertising costs more and so the price must go up – if only to break even.
“You have to understand the economics of a tour. In Britain we`re taking 12 ton of equipment with us, with the lights and everything, and that`s going to take a lot of getting around. There`s a crew of basically 10 people, and their wages and expenses have to be paid, and hotel bills and food on the road. Our own hotel bills, our own transport, repairs to theatres…”

Repair bills to theatres? What`s all that about?
“At Earls Court we had to pay about £5,000 in damage bills. Seats, hand-rails, that sort of thing. Balconies crack – the Palladium balcony cracked, although I think the promoter was insured against that. At Greens Playhouse, (now the Apollo) in Glasgow, the balcony cracked. We do insure against it, but the insurance people know what`s going to happen so obviously they don`t give us cheap insurance.”
So how much do they reckon to pay out for damages on a British tour?
“Works out between two and five hundred a night.”
Tax deductable?
“Oh yeah, of course. It`s money you pay out – it`s not coming into your pocket, is it? It`s an expense of the road. We don`t mind paying, but it`s one of the examples of why tour prices are going up.”

Noddy Holder

Noddy Holder

Despite the wreckage and havoc Slade fans cause at each gig, Holder maintains they rarely get banned from venues.
“Not as long as we pay the bills. We`ve been banned from a few places – like Liverpool has been very difficult to find a hall to play in. The last time we played there was when Dave broke his leg, and the damage bill to the stadium was enormous. Still we`ve found somewhere for this tour.
“It`s not that the kids go wantonly in and smash the place up. Things just get broken in the course of events. Seats get broken, lights get pulled off the wall, things like that. You have to foot the bill if you want to keep working at these theatres.”
From up on stage, is Holder aware of the chaos he and the band are wreaking in audience?
“Not really. We see the damage afterwards. Although we realise it`s going on of course.”

And with a large audience, stewards/jobsworths aren`t always that big a help.
“I don`t like them, although I realise they`re a necessity. Even so, if it was left to me I wouldn`t have them – because a lot of times they cause more bother than they stop. We`ve cleared them out from the front of the stage at loads of venues, and it`s been a lot more easy going.”
If he sees an open case of violence, Holder endeavours to stop it from on stage – “If I see somebody getting beat up by a bouncer.”
However, there are sometimes casualties.
“Oh yeah, two bouncers in Glasgow on the last tour got their arms broken. Dave got his leg broke as mentioned – but casualties like that you have to live with. Sometimes we`ve had cops bringing the Black Marias up to the door, and when you get inside you feel the kids all banging on the sides – and it feels like the van is going to go over.”

Such tight security at gigs – whipping the band in and out of venues with such speed – would I venture, mess up the Slade groupie scene.
“We`re not really into that much now. I think we`ve grown out of it. We get our fair share of women, but it ain`t the same sort of groupie scene we used to revel in at one time. At one time we used to go out of our way to pull birds. Now we just let it happen now, if we meet the chicks – we don`t go out of our way to pull them.
“But then with a lot of chicks you meet on the road, their last thought is to sleep with you. Some of them genuinely want to be mates with you. We have just as much fun with the chicks who don`t sleep with us.”
The American groupie scene, being from all accounts a very organised thing, freaked Holder out when he first came across it.

“They are much more open about it in America. If they want it they`ll ask you for it. They`ll say, `have you got a girl with you tonight?` and you either say `yes` or `no`. If you say `yes` then they`re cool enough and they`ll just blow, unless they really fancy you lot – and then they`ll try to give the other chick a hard time.”
If the U.S. groupie scene freaked out Holder, then America at long last appears to have been freaked out by Slade.
“Concert-wise we`re very big; record wise, well, the records haven`t taken off yet. The first gig of the last tour was at the Philadelphia Spectrum. That`s an 18,000 seater, and we got 16,000 in. And when we`ve gone back to places like Philadelphia we`ve packed `em out.
“On the first couple of tours it was real hard going, because they hadn`t heard of us at all and we`re probably a much more typically British group than most. That made us much harder to latch on to. So now we`ve learned to adapt a bit. We don`t do so much fooling around – it`s a much more straight-forward rock act.
“On the British tour we`ll be adding the American things we`ve learned as well as the British things. Like lights. We`d never concentrated on lighting, never had a lighting system on the road, until America. But we`ve got used to it – so we`ll have one in Britain now.”

The British stage act will of course vary considerably from their act on the last tour here, with the inclusion of several numbers from the “Old, New, Borrowed And Blue” album – which contains “Everyday”, the band`s new single.
“`Everyday` was by demand, really – like a stop-gap single. We don`t usually bring stuff off an album – we put singles into albums. But everybody wanted us to bring it out and we agreed. It is a completely different thing and we don`t really know how it`s going to do, because that album has sold over 200,000 already.”

One impressive double page ad for Mott!

One impressive double page ad for Mott!

This number of the NME also contains articles/interviews with these people: Mott the Hoople, Maddy Prior (Steeleye Span), The Shadows, Van Morrison, Wayne County, Wet Willie and Sly Stone, Edgar Broughton, Robert Plant.

This edition is sold!

ARTICLE ABOUT Slade FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, FEBRUARY 24, 1973

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!

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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.

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“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.”

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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!

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! 🙂

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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 – a 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 – Dave 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

Shouting it may be – but 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 – clubs, 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 – back in the days when they were known as a skinhead band and were unable to get bookings because of their unsavoury image – the 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.”

STRENGTH

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.

COMPLAINED

“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! 

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