15.12.2016 BBC Radio 6 Music: Slade in concert (Reading 1980)
Pt.4 of a short story for Christmas, Robert Aickman's The Hospice read by Gideon Coe with a newly commissioned soundtrack by Vic Mars.
Dave Hill and Don Powell speak to The Guide about overcoming life's hurdles and carrying on rocking
Dorset Echo 25.11.2016:
"Feel the noise tomorrow evening at Weymouth Pavilion with seventies superstars Slade. Original members Dave Hill and Don Powell tell the Guide how they have overcome problems in their life to keep on rocking.
The 1970s flamboyant four piece may have lost Noddy Holder and have a new lead vocalist in the shape of Mal McNulty, but they remain ever popular across Europe and the UK.
In fact, the band make their way to Weymouth after a gig in Denmark last week.
Their pavilion gig, Fifty Years of Slade, promises a truck load of hits including Cum On Feel The Noize and, of course, as heard seemingly everywhere this time of year, Merry Xmas Everybody.
It is said (although it is not clear how it was measured) that 42 per cent of the global population have heard it, so this means that three billion people have listened to Slade.
Original members Dave Hill and drummer Don Powell have been joined by ex Mud bass guitarist John Berry, frequently spied in the guise of the Big Issue seller in Eastenders, and new lead vocalist Mal, once the lead vocalist of Sweet.
Dave says that despite performing for more than 50 years he still loves it.
"It's all about having fun and a bit of escapism," he says of the show. "We live in difficult times so we need a bit of a release."
While performing on stage in Nuremberg, Germany, in 2010, he suffered a stroke. "That was a defining moment. It was tough, really tough,"
"I wasn't very well and I just thought I had a bug. It all went surreal. I felt as if my legs didn't belong to me and my arm wouldn't do what I was asking it to do. I couldn't press the strings and I didn't know where I was. I came off the stage and my speech had gone funny.
"My son Sam was with me at the gig, which was lucky, and he took me to the hospital immediately. I'd have just gone to go to bed. I didn't realise that I was close to having a heart attack because my blood pressure had gone through the roof."
After three months of recovery Dave was well enough to go back to work, and he was diligent in his exercises to ensure he got better.
Drummer Don has had his own challenges in life.
In 1973 he was involved in a car crash which killed his girlfriend at the time, Angela Morris.
He said: "After the accident I spent six weeks in a coma and when I came around my memory was totally destroyed.
Don is now married to a Danish teacher Hanne. The couple live in Denmark.
He said: "I met Hanne 16 years ago when we got chatting after a Slade concert in her hometown of Silkeborg, Denmark.
"She was a huge fan of the band and the attraction between us was instant.
"With two failed marriages behind me, being with Hanne just felt right from the start and I love living in Denmark.
"I didn’t just fall in love with Hanne, I fell in love with her three children, too, Anne-Kristine, Emilie and Andreas."
Don is a big film fan and has more than 1,000 DVDs at home.
Although he is yet to write an autobiography Dave says there are some tales to tell. He says a talking book might be more appropriate for him.
Thoughts of hanging up his guitar are also dismissed: "It isn't like, 'when are you going to retire?' It's more, 'why would I want to?'.
"In fact, someone said to me recently, 'What was the longest tour you have ever done?' and I said, 'I'm still on it'. And it's true, it never stopped."
QSP album out in January 2017
From Don's website:
"The first pressings of Don's new album with QSP (Quatro, Scott and Powell) have been made! (The album will be available from Sony Records in Australia and the Far East from 20 January 2017)."
Christmas classic thought up 'during 20 minute shower'
ITV Report 20.11.2016:
Slade’s Merry Xmas Everybody is the most-played pop classic in the world, bringing in royalties only second to Happy Birthday. It guaranteed lifelong security for songwriters Noddy Holder and Jim Lea, and a long career for Dave Hill and Don Powell.
But Lea, the Black Country band’s bass player has admitted that it was something he knocked up in 20 minutes during a shower.
Lea, now 67 and a qualified psychotherapist, is still making music, having long ago established his place in pop history.
He recalls that the smash has inauspicious beginnings, and claims the rest of the band didn’t even want to do it.
“Our manager Chas Chandler told us, ‘The golden goose needs to lay a golden egg, it would be nice to have a No 1 at Christmas’,” he says.
“It took me 20 minutes in the shower to come up with that song.
“Nod had some lyrics about watching the world go by, but I put the song together.
“There was a problem. The phrase ‘So here it is, Merry Christmas’ meant the timing had to be changed – it had to be shoehorned in.
“But Nod wouldn’t change the timing, and he didn’t want to do a Christmas song.
“None of the band wanted to do a Christmas song, in fact.
“It has more royalties from more countries than any other song in publishing history.”
It isn't to early to have a little listen... is it?
Helsingin Sanomat (Finland's biggest newspaper) November 2016
Store wars in battle of festive adverts: Watch the top 10 Christmas ads of all time
Aaaargh! It’s CHRISTMAAAS! Slade’s Noddy Holder didn’t quite sing it like that but, as the nights draw in, the countdown is under way to seeing your first Christmas ad on the television.
Gareth Malone on Wolverhampton and his new Christmas album
The nation’s favourite choirmaster, Gareth Malone, is back from his trek across the country.
He has been hunting down the finest singers and discusses his new Christmas album, Wolverhampton and – of course – his speciality, singing.
“I’ve not covered your boys Slade on the album though, so I’m sorry about that.”
It’s Christmaaaas!! Noddy Holder revealed as special guest for Altrincham’s Christmas Lights Switch-On
Altrincham Today/David Prior 14.11.2016:
"Noddy Holder, the former lead singer of Slade and a man forever associated with Christmas though his festive hit Merry Xmas Everybody, has been revealed as the special guest for this Saturday’s Christmas Lights Switch-On in Altrincham.
Noddy will be joining the fun as a patron of the Children’s Adventure Farm Trust, which organisers Altrincham Unlimited will be supporting this Christmas.
“As the Children’s Adventure Farm Trust is our chosen charity this year, we’re also thrilled that their patron Noddy Holder will be with us in Altrincham for the Christmas lights switch-on. Nobody says ‘It’s Christmaaaas!’ like Noddy – he’s the perfect guest to launch the festive season and we know Altrincham will give him a warm welcome!”"
Slade in Czechish TV 24.3.2016
"Legendární skupina Slade v dokumentární výpovědi o glam rockové generaci."
Slade is very popular in Czech and they tour there frequently, latest gigs in October 2016 in Brno, Hradec Kralove and Prague. Here is a link to Slade documentary with an interview of Dave and Don (26 minutes), first shown 24.3.2016:
"How Does It Feel" and "My Friend Stan" alive in Brno 20.10.2016:
VIPs in Vuokatti (and Naestved) 12.11.2016
Dave and Don have played several times at Vuokatti, Finland (Rockin' 70s). Today 12th November they are rockin'n'rollin' in Naestved, Denmark. My brother Ilkka is at Vuokatti and he met a couple of another kind of finnish celebs from skiing society there. Hope to see Dave and Don with Slade in Finland soon again.
MXE in Tesco-Bring It On-Christmas 2016 ad
Jo (Ruth Jones) pushes a trolley down an aisle at Tesco. Slade's infamous Christmas hit plays out, which causes Jo to groan as it is still November.
Yle, Radio Suomi (Finland) Lauantaijamit 5.11.2016
"Maailmankaikkeuden kaksi parasta biisiä... Sladen "How Does It Feel". "
Convention celebrating career of Wolverhampton icons Slade set for Bilston's Robin venue
Express & Star 27.10.2016:
A convention to celebrate the career of Wolverhampton’s rock and pop legends Slade is being held in Bilston in the new year.
The band is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and the current line-up, which includes original members Dave Hill and Don Powell, is playing a festive home town concert at the Robin 2 in Bilston on December 16.
The convention is also at the Robin on May 28 from 12 noon. Tickets are available for afternoon and evening sessions or both.
The afternoon includes an interview and question-and-answer session with special guest John Steele from The Animals, who was the executive producer for the band’s film Slade In Flame. There will also be a quiz and the showing of Slade films and videos.
In the evening tribute group Slyde will be playing all the classics including Coz I Luv You and Cum On Feel The Noize.
Tickets are still available for the December concert at £20 in advance.
Noddy Holder: It is a disaster to close gallery
Express & Star 4.11.2016:
Slade’s Noddy Holder, the voice of the Walsall New Art Gallery’s lifts
“It will be a disaster, the arts is a big part of people’s lives.”
This is the damning view of Walsall and music legend Noddy Holder who has joined the fight for Walsall’s New Art Gallery to be saved.
The former Slade frontman, whose voice rings out in the lifts at the gallery, was speaking exclusively to the Express & Star just weeks after Walsall Council announced that the borough will have no art gallery by 2020 unless council tax gets a significant rise or central government relaxes its austerity measures.
He said: “This is really sad news, I think the arts is a big part of people’s lives.
“It is a huge part of the Walsall skyline as well and a beacon at the top of Park Street. I remember walking that street as a boy way before the gallery was even built.
“When it was built it was up for the prestige architecture award and ended up coming second, which is no mean feat.
“I think the gallery is great for the community. They put on some wonderful exhibitions and closing it will be a disaster.”
Noddy added: “I know there are cutbacks in all parts of the country but the arts always get hammered first, be it galleries, music, libraries.
“People really just do not understand the importance of the arts.”
Councillor Sean Coughlan, the leader of Walsall Council, said back in October: “If we continue with these austerity measures then in four years time we will be left with one library, no youth service, no art gallery and no performing arts centre.
“Public services are at the point of breaking right across Walsall.
SLADE’S DON POWELL: THE QSP TOUR INTERVIEW
Australian Musician Nov 03, 2016 Interviews
Suzi Quatro returns to Australia in February 2017 on her Leather Forever Encore Tour. This time she’s bringing her old mates, Don Powell from Slade and Andy Scott from The Sweet, whom she has just recorded an album with. The new band is called QSP, the album will be out soon and they’ll be the support act for Suzi’s Australian tour. Australian Musician’s Greg Phillips caught up with Slade drummer Don Powell for a chat about the golden age of Slade and the new QSP project.
Who didn’t own a copy of the Slade Alive album in the early 70s? It was the breakthrough live album for British glam rockers Slade, who went on to rack up numerous catchy pop rock hits such as Cum On Feel The Noize, Mama Weer All Crazee Now, Gudbuy T’ Jane and Merry Xmas Everybody. Inspired by Bowie and Bolan, glam-rock ruled the period with bands decked out in platform shoes, sequined and satin clothes, with a heavy dose of makeup to match. Out of the UK and onto our TV screens via Countdown came chart toppers like Wizzard, Roxy Music, Mott The Hoople,The Glitter Band, and The Sweet, who had massive hits with Fox On The Run and Ballroom Blitz. Also at the time, a young female leather-clad rocker from Detroit named Suzi Quatro had relocated to England and via mutual connections, had landed a 1972 UK tour support with Slade.
“When Suzi first came to the UK, she was with Mickey Most (record producer),” explains Don Powell, Slade’s hard hitting drummer.
“She approached our manager at the time Chas Chandler because he was with The Animals, who Mickey used to produce back in the day. He called Chas and says there’s this new girl singer from America, could she guest on one of Slade’s UK tours? So she did and that’s when I first met her.”
Fast forward four decades, kicking back with a few drinks after a recent show are old friends Don Powell, Suzi Quatro and The Sweet’s lead guitarist Andy Scott. Out of the blue Suzi’s husband Rainer suggests that the three of them should record together. The idea appealed to the trio, was shelved for a time but before long they found themselves at Peter Gabriel’s Real World studios laying down tracks. Consequently a debut album for QSP (Quatro, Scott, Powell) is now in the can awaiting a release date. Not only that, QSP will make their international stage debut when they join Suzi Quatro’s Leather Forever Encore Tour of Australia in February 2017. As to whether any Slade or The Sweet songs will be played, Powell is unsure but they will be playing tracks from the album, which includes covers of classic songs Walk On Gilded Splinters and Just Like A Woman, as well as many new originals from Andy and Suzi.
Powell still performs Slade material in Slade II, a group he reconvened in 1993 with guitarist Dave Hill, the only other original member. That band has shows booked in the UK up until Christmas this year. The original Slade has not performed together since 1991 when they played a 25th anniversary party, organised by their fan club. However, Powell suggests that he is still in touch with singer Noddy Holder and bassist Jim Lea. “Yeah we keep in touch,” he tells me. “We see each other a few times a year, a big gang of us get together and we have a lunch in a private room of a pub or restaurant somewhere. If only those walls could talk!”
Much of Slade’s history has been documented in both Noddy Holder’s 1999 autobiography, Who’s Crazee Now? and Don Powell’s 2013 biography Look Wot I Dun – My Life in Slade. After an horrific car accident in 1973 Powell resorted to keeping a diary of daily events as he suffered severe memory loss, among numerous other physical injuries. The diaries were crucial to his biographer Lise Lyng Falkenberg, in being able to piece together Don’s life in the band. The moments Don recalls as being his finest, were some of the major festivals that Slade had performed at in their early days.
“Mainly the success we had, which was incredible and some of the really big concerts we did which helped us in the early days,” Don says of his happiest recollections. “There was one called the Great Western festival, I think in 1971 and that helped to break us to a wider audience. Then when we hadn’t done anything for a while, we did the Reading Festival and Castle Donington with AC/DC and both of those festivals were absolutely great for us.”
Don also has fond memories of the recording of the famous Slade Alive album, a record which apart from a few small overdubs, was captured exactly as it was played. “I think there were a few bits of guitar which got lost a bit in the actual recording but that was all really,” he says of the overdubbing. “Maybe there were some backing voices added too. It was recorded over three nights at a place called Command Studios in London. It was a small theatre and only held about 200 people. It was the second night they used I think. We had a great time doing it. I’m actually looking right now at a triple gold album from 1973 from Australia on my wall.”
Playing Slade material on stage in the modern era highlights for Don the immense improvement in sound production, compared to the days of the Slade Alive recordings, particularly in relation to his drum sound.
“It’s so different now,” he says. “The sound systems were very basic and nobody really bothered about the drum sound back then, at least with miking them anyway. I’ll tell you a classic example, if you look at the film of The Beatles’ Shea Stadium performance, I think Ringo has just one overhead mic, maybe one on the bass drum but that’s about it. With Slade back in the day, before the days of monitoring, it was difficult to hear myself sometimes and that’s why I started playing as hard as I did.”
Like many career musicians, Don Powell regrets letting go of a lot of his original drum gear. As testament to the kind of guy Don is, much of it was given away to young kids or to schools. Despite changing brands over the years, he has basically kept the same configuration of drums, a couple of toms, snare, bass drum and a few cymbals.
“Yeah, a pretty basic kit,” he says. “Now I just use a bass drum, one rack tom, a deep tom, snare, a ride cymbal, a crash cymbal
and the hi hats. I find that is all I need. I had a full endorsement with Ludwig drums back in the day. In the 70s they were a fantastic company to be with. Listen to this for a story… 1984 I think it was Ludwig’s 75th anniversary and they invited 75 drummers from around the world to Chicago for the weekend. Can you imagine that? Seventy five drummers in the same hotel for the weekend! Those were my drinking days so it was a bit of a loss. I have a few notes in my diary but I can’t really read the writing. When I finished with Ludwig, I then went over to Pearl for a short time and then Natal asked me to go and try them out and I was really impressed, especially with the hardware, so I play those now.”
With so many great Slade hits to choose from, when playing with Dave Hill, I wondered which song is requested the most from audiences these days … Cum On Feel The Noize? Mama Weer All Crazee Now? Get Down Get With It? “Oh, Merry Christmas,” he laughs. “No matter what time of the year! The old favourites are still there but it’s always Merry Christmas. Don’t get me wrong, I am proud of it but you have to play it no matter what time of year. When we recorded Merry Christmas, it was in the summer of ’73 in New York. We were on tour and there was a heatwave outside and we were in the studio recording that song.”
And what is Don looking forward to the most about his 2017 QSP tour with Suzi Quatro?
“Well, we have always had a good time there but there are a lot of places I have never been to, so I’m looking forward to seeing new places and old friends. Playing the Sydney Opera House will be nice too.”