Beat Instrumental

September 1971

For at least two years there has been an air of despair in the music business. Everyone agrees the scene becoming stagnant and everyone has been waiting for something new to break. Meanwhile. a new buyer is growing up and growing tired of the choice between their older brothers' and sisters' music played by men about thirty years old and the synthetic stuff turned out by session via Top of the Pops.

Sooner or later this generation is going to throw up a new generation of groups, and maybe it's just beginning. Grand Funk Railroad, universally put down by the generation that grew up with the Stones as an abominable noise, are really big with the fourteen year-olds in the States. These kids want to move and groove to their music, not sit down and appreciate it.
In Britain too, the same situation is arising and a new wave of groups are sure to appear from nowhere. Slade hope that they will be riding on the crest of this wave. They are all about twenty years old. About two years ago they were projected as a skinhead group in a world of longhaired bands but nothing much happened.

But now with Get Down and Get With It in the charts here they see themselves as the first of these new groups. It's a Chuck Berry/Little Richard sort of song with a 'stomp your feet' bit in the middle. With the full weight of twenty-four years behind me I can cynically say ''I've heard it all before." And so I have, but the fifteen year-olds haven't.

Slade are Dave Hill on lead guitar, Jimmy Lea who takes most of the lead vocals and plays bass and electric violin, Noddy Holder on guitar and vocals and drummer Don Powell. Says Noddy, "We're not just a rock band but Get Down and Get With It is typical of the sort of excitement we get going. 

We get real audience involvement and that's what the record's based on. We don't just get one group of people at our gigs either. We get skins and hairies and they all rave together without any hustles. All the kids want to do is jump around and dance."

Slade criticise the established scene. Says Noddy, "They're getting very involved with their music, which is OK, but they are forgetting about the audience."

Jimmy: "We got into music during the Beatles era. We heard our elder brothers' records, but we haven't heard the old rockers. I'd never heard of Carl Perkins until the other week when Chas played me one of his records."

Chas is Chas Chandler, their manager. He told me how he'd played a track off a Fats Domino album at his flat the other night and Jimmy had asked who the record was by. Chas told him and he asked: "Who is Fats Domino? When on earth was that stuff made]" Chas looked at the label and told him: 1955. "I was three then!" exclaimed Jimmy.

Jimmy continued:

"Everything is coming to a dead end. There are no new people breaking. The Stones and the Beatles are old men now."

Added Dave, "The kids don't want to know about that stuff. I appreciate what the Stones and the Beatles have done in the past but they ought to step down and give someone else a chance."

Slade say they had a hard time getting gigs at first. Promoters had never seen a skinhead band before and they didn't want to know. They also met a lot of prejudice from colleges and universities and when they were booked they didn't always get good receptions. Now, however, they find that college students aren't as hostile and they have built up a large following in the colleges as well as the clubs. They have been getting radio plays and have received help from John Peel. Mike Harding and Alan Freeman, amongst others.

So Slade have just about arrived and whether they go on to become an established group or not only time will tell but they do seem to be the spearhead of the new attack on the stagnant established scene. And good luck to them.

The pdf download link is here .

Beat Instrumental was a monthly UK music mag for a music industry audience which first published in May 1963. It was a contender with the music magazines of the day with chart positions and articles about sales in addition to the usual record reviews and industry gossip. Published by Beat Publications LTD. started by Sean O'Mahoney the magazine billed itself as "The World's First Group & Instrumental Magazine" and it differed from the run of the mill in that the interviews conducted with musicians often talked about the gear they used and the business environment with equipment reviews, unheard of outside of trade magazines.

In the late 60's the mag became more and more rock orientated with less pop content and in the mid 70's it was so deeply involved with progressive rock that it almost bordered on obsession, this makes the magazine collectable amongst prog-rock fans but must have made it less interesting in its day to those involved with pop music. The magazine disappears somewhere around 1980, Beat Publications surviving into 2003.

My thanks to David E. Miller at David's Rock Scrapbook.

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