Slade Quittin' Bak 'Ome

Record & Radio Mirror, April 27th, 1974


Up untill now those 'down to earth' boys in Slade have resisted the temptation to leave their stomping ground in Wolverhampton. But now they've succumbed and Noddy Holder explains to John Beattie why they've made the decision. 

The lads themselves aren't exactly the prettiest band in the world. In fact I'd envisage meeting their Rind in a working men's club or something rather than in the plush surroundings of a London hotel. 
However, it's Slade we.'re talkin' about and the way these guys are makin' it, they might well be taking up residence in Buckingham Palace sooner or later.

But to discard fantasy for a moment and think about reality, Noddy and Co. are seriously thinking about building themselves a second home in London and leaving their "multi-racial" homeland up in the grassy Midland town of Wolverhampton.

"Well., it's like this. ya see," says Noddy deciding to be the main spokesman 'on this particular issue. "We're in and out of the airport down here so much that it's a waste of time havin' to keep on travellin' up and down the M1 every time."

"We've got to find some place down 'ere to live 'cause after all, London is the most central place for international travel and we really don't like spendin' our time on the motorways when we're 'ere in England."

"It's not as if we'll be deserting Wolverhampton for good," says Noddy, "we'll still go back 'ome when we're here for a while. Take just now for instance. A month off in between tours and we're down in London most of the time for interviews and recording sessions. It's silly if we don't have a base here."

Dave Hill seemed less enthusiastic about the idea because he obviously enjoys the seclusion his hometown offers.

"Nobody's in the business up there and so we don't get anyone talkin' much about it. The only thing I've had is, "what is it like on the tele," or somethin' like that."

"In London though, your in the scene and meeting people in the business all the time. I like this town to have a look at and then buzz off back home really."

Slade are spending more of their time abroad and when their current British tour is over, it'll be back on the jet set trail across the Atlantic and more tours of the States.

One can justify the reasons why the band have to spend more time abroad and why they only do one tour a year in their homeland. They have attained an international status and even the individuals in Slade can foresee world - shattering records being broken.

"Ya know the Beatles had about 25 hits and the stones had around 20 in ten years, we've already had 11 in two years," says Jimmy Lea trying extremely hard not to come over in an egotistical fashion. "It's just that we're havin' them at more than twice the rate. The Beatles only had four number ones and we've had three and we're still very much into getting the top position each time we release something. "

Everyday, Slade's latest single surprised a lot of people with its difference in style compared with previous efforts but Jimmy believes the "change" came months ago with My Friend Stan and the Xmas single.

"They've all been completely different from what we have put down before. Some say Everyday is very Lennon-ish but I don't see how anybody can say we've ripped off anyone any more 'cause there's so many people who have ripped us off now."

Must be the change of air and travel, which has caused this dramatic change then? "Na, it's the constant change of food, it makes you shit."

Noddy: "The amazin' thing about it is that when we were playin' years ago, people compared me to Lennon and now it's just a constant tag. I think I'm much rawer than Lennon, more like Little Richard if anyone!"

Slade didn't expect Everyday to do the usual jump to number one because the song' was taken from the Borrowed and Blue album which had already sold thousands of copies beforehand, "we've never released a single this way before," adds Noddy tactfully.

The conversation somehow slithered back to the Skinhead era and the buzz the band got out of playing, then as opposed to the somewhat routine performances of today ..

I mean have you ever been confronted by a mean-looking Skinhead? Like the time when one Ted approached me and was particularly interested to find out if I could sew at all as he brandished a knife in his hand.

The Skins were a hard mob but Slade had the guts to identify themselves with them to a certain extent, which seemed to collapse once the hits started coming.

"Yea, maybe we lost some," adds Noddy looking interested, "the music did get basic because it was a hellava lot more complicated before the hits. There's two sides to it though - look at the number of fans we've gained through having the hits.”

"Doin' the Isle of Arran every Bank Holiday was fun," recalls Dave, "all that queuing up waiting for the ferry back to the mainland and then pukin' up over the side after a night on the booze. " 

The image was effective," we'd get a blue head every time at the barbers_ all the festers in ye"re head used ta show up. Matter of fact, we looked so terrifying, we frightened each other!" 

"Gawd, we never got any chicks for about six months, nobody would come near us, they were petrified and it got so bad we couldn't get work in the end."
"I collected the cash though," adds Dave, "the promoters would give us the money before the gig 'cause they were really shit-scared of us."

"Just imagine," says Noddy, "you surely must have read about the Skins puttin' in shops and kickin' old women in the streets, people booked us without knowing what we looked like and they froze . . .” 

Jimmy said that his mates thought it was all a laugh at the time, "me parents didn't though. They would have liked me to get a haircut when I came home with a blue head they were sayin', 'grow ye're 'air son, grow. ye're 'air!'

"We stayed in this hotel in Glasgow and the landlady was frightened because she thought we were gonna beat her up. We all experienced the Sgt. Major trip where some big Scotsman would say, 'rite lads, ya can stay the nights but na birds, OK?"

"There was no chance of that anyway," adds Jimmy laughing, "remember the hot water bottles in the bed and this tankin' great Scotsman wakin' us up in the morning at 7 am, 'rite lads, breakfast,' it was good food mind ya."

"There definitely is a bit of Scottish in us," adds Noddy adjusting his shades, "it was the first area we really broke.”

"I had this wallet and the first time I ever went to Scotland I brought home £25 and it was the most money I 'd ever seen in one lump sum - Christ, we even ended up with 150 quid in the wallet."

"They were some of the funniest and most nostalgic days... you'd look in the mirror and think, "bloody hell, what have I done" and then you'd meet the chicks in braces and boots - hardly very attractive."

"Yea, the chick scene got very mixed up," says Dave despondently, "birds lookin' like blokes . . . ugh." 

John Beatty & The Boys

OK, so the Scottish bit still exists but the Electric Gardens, Arran and honkin' up in the back of van days are far away now. The Slade machine has run smoothly and each single has been an expression of the band's mood at the time - with the exception of Merry Christmas Everybody. 

"That one had 250,000 advance orders, " says Jimmy recalling the time, "we were in the States and we were really goin' up the wall with pleasure 'cause it was well after Christmas and it was still there.”

"Blimey, it was cold in New York and it was snowin' and people were stuck in their houses”, adds Dave, "we were number one though and we were alright." 

Despite its success, the band feel that there won't be arty more records like Merry Christmas - "no seasonal stuff of any sort," they say. "No, never again," adds Jimmy backing up the comment, "that song was written and it just happened to be around at Christmas there’s no way you can get round that single, it'll probably come up every Christmas now." 

"The nearer it got to the 25th the better it sounded but we didn't know what we were gettin' ourselves in for when we first had the idea for the song in Los Angeles in late summer. We put it down in New York and it just came I out without realising it ourselves."

So what sort of music will we have ·to or want to hear from Slade in the future' then?

"Oh, we'll be in the studio rattlin' off brain music," says Noddy, "maybe more slower things along the line of Everyday - we'll change as we feel - the progression term is rubbish.“
John Beattie

In the same issue Peter Harvey speaks to Graham Nash (formerly of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young) who gives an insight into how Slade were perceived by many serious muso’s at the time.
" the past England was a frontrunner of rock 'n' roll. After Bill Haley there was the Beatles and all the trip, but that ain't happening now." 
We talked about Slade and glitter music, which prompts him to recall that he once wore a bearskin when he was with the Hollies. But things were different then, he decides.  
"It seems to me there's not a lot of musical content in what's going down in the music industry here. There's more emphasis on visuals and theatrics. I'm trying to find out if it's music or theatre. And what's this stuff I've been reading about drag stuff in pubs in the East End? When I was a kid if you went into a pub and your hair was a little long they'd throw you out and say 'queer' and shit like that. People are dressing up in dresses in pubs and getting away with it? Amazing! The two don't mix. "  
So we've got debauchery and decadence in the pubs and Graham wants to know if Slade are part of that.  
"I saw them on television and I can't even listen to their music. I can't think that anyone that looks like that can play good music. It seems to me that their music lacks so they need to balance it up by looking ridiculous."  
Anyone who's heard Wild Tales will know Nash is into tunes as well as words...
It seems to me that an 'across the board' judgement like that is somewhat akin to saying 'white people can't dance' or 'girls can't drive'.... If you can't listen to their music, you ain't in a position to make a judgement!

Slade Speak

DISC April 6th, 1974


'We won't make
any money out
of this tour'
says Noddy ...(to Rosalind Russell)

SLADE'S next British tour, starting April 19 in Bradford, is going to be a labour of love. For the band reckon they'll actually lose money and will have to subsidise their concerts, so that British fans can see them. Not only that, they have to set aside money to cover damage to halls and that can mount up. Noddy says it cost them £4,000 in bins after the Earls Court concert last year.

"It's not wilful damage, it's just caused by kids standing on the seats. £4.000 was quite low considering there was eight thousand people there We won't make any money out of this tour. There just aren't any halls big enough. The cost of hiring halls has gone up, we're carrying 10 tons of equipment and a road crew of between 12 and 15."

The show will also feature a brand new light show, being brought from the States, and all the concerts on the tour will be billed "Slade's Crazee Nite"

NME 30th March, 1974.

"So many kids come dressed up like us anyway, we thought we'd run a competition:' said Noddy. "We'll pick out about 10 kids as they come in. and at the break they’ll come up onstage and we’ll find a winner. We though we’d make it worthwhile for them. The winner will come backstage and maybe get something like a cassette recorder. It'll be the usual party scene."

"We haven't toured here since last June, before Don's accident."

Even something like the cost of petrol going up is going to affect the on - road expenses of the group quite considerably.

"I thought the silly thing about this budget was the petrol increases. I haven’t studied it too closely but it seems to me that the working man put this government in and it’s the working man who gets hit hardest.. I didn’t vote - we were in Australia - because I haven’t got any strong political convictions. We heard about the election results when we were basking on a beach in Australia, so it didn't worry us too much."

From the beauties on Bondai Beach (or wherever Slade were) they went straight to the mysteries of the East. Japan, I’m assured is the cleanest country in the world. I’m amazed by this pre-occupation with cleanliness until I discover the reason for it.

"They have these wash ‘ouses, y'see, where little Japanese ladies scrub yer back for you. We had a scrub-down twice a day…”

Well what about Japanese style wash ‘ouses for Wolverhampton Would they be just as alluring with British ladies?

"I'm sure British girls would he just as good." said Nod "I think I'll open "

"We had to learn to eat with chopsticks:" said Don. "Dave gave up and walked out of the restaurant to look for some 'real food’.”

Everyone bought loads of camera equipment and cassette recorders. Jimmy lea, wearing a fistful of silver and amethyst rings he bought in Australia, demonstrated his recorder and told me he’d taken rolls of film with his £500 worth of camera and none of it had come out.

Hill brought back a spare tyre. He was busy trying to fit it under the waistband of the while satin trousers he was wearing for 'Top of the Pops'. He’s been nicknamed ‘The Adjutant’ because of the scale-effect jacket he was wearing. It's a bit like a kilt with no front but very spectacular.

What did they think about missing the streaking craze while they were away?

"We didn't miss it - we were in America when it started there." said Noddy.

So who was going to be the first Slade streaker?

"We've had them. The Roadies - Swin and Robbie streaked down a road in Wolverhampton last week at 3 o'clock in the morning. Swin wanted £20 to do it but I got him down to £2. Swin only had his boots on and Robbie had one sock on. They were going to streak across the pitch at the match last Saturday, at half time, because the TV cameras went there. But they changed their minds.

"Now they’re thinking of organising a streaking tour. Streak to the Houses of Parliament, streak to Buckingham Palace, places like that. And have a tour manager that keeps your clothes for you and arranges the venues…"

Slade's own tour may be only a little less spectacular. They’ll be featuring their new single, Everyday, in the act. It’s a departure from their usual sound. Did they feel they were forced to make some kind of move in a new direction?

"No, we thought it was a natural progression from the Xmas song That sold a million in three weeks. The new single has already sold 240 thousand on the album. We felt it was a nice change."

After the British tour, Slade head for the Slates again, where their records are not selling with the speed they do here. But where the audiences seem to be very similar.

“It's amazing the stuff we get," said Noddy. "I've been given gold watches and rings, I can't understand how they can afford it. They must have spare time jobs, but when I was a kid I could never have afforded to do that for everyone. It means a lot to us. They know they might never meet us, but they do it all the same."

Being loved like that makes up totally for any criticism Slade might get from the Press. At first they would get upset by a bad review but now they say they don't even read them.

Manager Chas Chandler was reading this week's music Press, and in particular a review of the new Slade single.

"I don't even know what this bit means," he said as the others crowded round. "They're mad."

"Maybe there should be people to review the reviewers." suggested Don Powell. Maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea at that.

"They dress up there, just the way they do in England, And we've started to get the knickers and bras thrown on-stage,"

I always wondered how these people managed to get their knickers off in the auditorium. without attracting too much notice.

"Oh, they bring special ones with them to throw, They are all embroidered with messages!"

In the 'TOTP' dressing room Don Powell was admiring an embroidered velvet birthday card herd just been given - although his birthday had been in September.

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