SLADE and the U.S. challenge
Until the recent growing awareness of the band in the U.S. one of the music mysteries of the year had been the lack of success there of Slade.
Despite a string of commercial hit singles including several number ones’, a stage act unrivalled in the British Isles, and a manager who had a hand in launching Hendrix and the Animals among others, Slade continue to be comparatively unknown on the North American continent.
"The trouble was:' Dave Hill told me, "that for so long we just didn't have any time to get over to the States and Canada. We had so many gig offers in Britain and throughout the Continent we couldn't pass up,"
I believe that it is only a matter of time before the band fully erupts in North America, purely on the strength of the guts and irreverence it generates.
"We have never wanted people sitting down to watch us play," says Dave. "Our act provokes audience involvement. We like to have people leaping about. We've been on the road for years so we've had a chance to get an idea of what people want.
"We never wanted to look like' the audience. The kids want something to follow. We thought that if we looked different, we could give the kids a thing to latch on to. At first we felt as if we were bashing our heads against the wall. People didn't want to come and see us because they couldn't figure out what sort of music we played. Our image was in how we looked. We might as well have been a reggae band.
"It took a long time to get ourselves together and many times we regretted it all. Now, of course, we have no regrets. We seem to have created an aura around ourselves. People have fun when they come to see us. We try to get that same feel on our records.
"We’ve never been into that super-cool trip - we're not self-indulgent musicians. People have to pay to come and see us play so we do our best to give them their money’s worth.
"Kids are starting to dance again, in England anyway. Actually. I wish there was a new word to describe what we do. If you were to say we are a rock band, people would immediately think of the past. We try for variety so that we can appeal to as many people as possible. And we think that melody matters.
"We really do our best to be different in everything we do. It's such a bore seeing groups in jeans and T ·shirts. Kids want to identify with musicians.
"The first job was to prove ourselves in our own country. Along the way we've been through it all. We haven't missed much.
"And we've starved, Man. Now, at least, we're getting some money for what we do. And that's what it's all about."