Tuesday Scene

Daily Mirror, July 10th, 1973

SLADE: still in
the old routine

by Deborah

The heady smell of success has proved too strong for many a good pop musician. But Britains chart-topping group, Slade, have found a remedy - keep one brightly-booted foot in your own backyard.

A pop stars lifestyle is littered with fast cars, big house's, boozy parties. Groupie girls are generous with their favours, drugs suddenly become easy to obtain, champagne flows like bitter water.

But the glitter of stardom doesn't touch the derelict school hall down a back street in Wolverhampton, where I ran three members of Slade to earth while they were rehearsing with their stand-in, Frank Lea, Jim's brother.

The group, whose "Skweeze Me, Pleeze Me" is No. 1 this week, have practised here ever since they first hit the charts two years ago. The immense noise has cracked the plaster on the ceiling. And bare bulbs shake above a sea of rattling teacups as the band bash out another edition (sic) of "Take Me Bak 'Ome". No champagne here, just sweat and noise and work, work, work. There's no trace of the snarling, top-hatted Noddy Holder, we've all come to know on stage here either.
"Come on, Frank, you can do it," says Noddy.
He and fellow members Jim Lea and Dave Hill have been hit heavily by the tragic car accident which seriously injured their affable drummer, Don Powell, and killed his girlfriend, Angela Morris. Don is more than just the group's drummer - he's their mate.

"I bet people are saying, 'hullo, what's going on here, flash cars, parties and you know' but Don is a more stable person than most." says Aitch.
(That's Slade's name for Dave Hill - and the only "aitch" they pronounce.)
"We do a lot of things together, you know. We follow each other somehow. One buys a car, another buys a car. We are very close. People don't understand when they hear us slag each other." He laughs, "We slag each other fun-wise. That way we can handle things."
Until a few months ago all four Slade boys lived at home with their parents. Now each of them has bought a house and Jim has married his childhood sweetheart, Louise. Aitch admits, somewhat shamefacedly, to living in a "snotty" area. But nothing they swear, will ever make them budge from Wolverhampton.
"Going to America has changed us in some ways - bizarre things happened there - but we still go to the same local and keep the same friends." says Noddy.
Jim doesn't say much. He calls himself Mr. Non Interview. But when the others have stopped larking about he usually has the last word.
Life as a pop star would drastically change anybody, he explains, but Slade has stayed the same because they're treated like local lads in Wolverhampton.
He adds simply:
"It rains a lot but it keeps us sane."


Many thanks to Stu Rutter for supplying the hard copy.

No comments: