Slade Quittin' Bak 'Ome

Record & Radio Mirror, April 27th, 1974
Slade,1974,Record Mirror
Slade,1974,Record Mirror

WE'RE LEAVIN'OME

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."
Slade,1974,Record Mirror
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."
Slade,1974,Record Mirror
"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." 
Slade,1974,Record Mirror
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

sexy divider

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.
"...in 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!


No comments: