6th US Tour (The Flame Tour)

America, July 1975

Having completed the "Slade In Flame" promotional duties across Europe, the group, once again, set their sights on America.

June/July 1975 Newsletter
The biggest news story this month is the headline 'Slade Moving To America'. This is not completely true, Slade have no intentions of leaving Britain permanently. They are shortly undertaking a global Tour which will keep them outside England for an extended period. There are two reasons necessitating such a Tour, first the need to conquer America, for although they have been successful on tour there they have not experienced such record sales as enjoyed in Britain, and to consolidate their success throughout the rest of the world. Secondly, the crippling taxes they have to pay are forcing them to spend a large portion of each year outside England. Let the boys explain for themselves - see further on....
"Hello everybody, this is Noddy, Thanks for all the support you've given us, but what you may have read in the papers, it ain't all true that we are quitting Britain and going to live in America. We are just going over to do a tour for a few months or so, because we have not worked there for a long time. But we will be back for T. V. and to promote all the records."
"Hello, this is Jimmy here. I'd like to thank you all for coming to see us over the years. We've done 6 tours of Britain and enjoyed everyone, it's always best to tour in Britain. We're going to America because we feel it's time to get some success there, we will not be touring for another year or so, but we will be coming back to England in our spare time, so we will not be disappearing altogether." 
"This is Don speaking. There is not much I can add to what the others have said. But I would just like to say thanks to all the fans who have followed us over the last four years, and supported us all along the way - thanks. See you soon." 
"Dave here, hope you are alright. Hope you enjoyed the movie and remember for all those girls who were crying at the end, it's only a film and it ain't true about Nod and Jim, they are good friends really. May have our T. V. series soon, hope you all like the new single 'Thanks For The Memory' and keep smiling, Ta Ta." 
El Paso Herald Post: Saturday 14th June 1975
New Slade Album Prelude to Tour 
As a prelude to a forthcoming American tour, a new album by Slade, England's top hard-rocking ensemble, is being released nationwide by Warner Brothers Records. 
Entitled "Slade In Flame", the album is a slightly modified version of the soundtrack recording of the hit movie "Flame" that rocketed to number one on all the British album charts earlier this year. 
Two newly recorded songs, "Thanks For The Memory" and "Bangin' Man" are the new editions for the American market. The two immense British hit singles from the original soundtrack, "Far Far Away" and "How Does It Feel?" are also included, as are six other numbers from "Flame".
August/September Newsletter
'Slade In Flame' album was released in the States last month and heads the album releases of Warner Bros., the record commpany in the U.S.A. At time of writing it is 150 (with a bullet) with sales increasing week by week. No single has yet been taken from the album but it seems most of the radio stations are playing 'How Does It Feel'. 
Dave was trying to keep his hair in some sort of order as the wind whipped off the Hudson River. Noddy, juggled with his ice cream and signed an autograph. Jim and Don turned their faces into the sun as the Statue of Liberty loomed above them. 
There could never have been such a peaceful scene in England, or in a dozen countries around the world. But here in the United States, despite their previous tours, they can still walk down the street and attract only an occasional glance of recognition. 'We have made it everywhere else except here' said Dave, 'That's why this is a make or break trip'. 
Americans have remained politely unimpressed, despite those previous tours. 'We were on the verge of making it several times' said Dave during a sightseeing sail aboard a Statue of Liberty ferry, 'But the tours were too short - it seemed that each time we had to return home just as we were winning. So we intend to work here for the rest of the year, with only one break of a fortnight when we'll go back to England. We're very determined, our attitude isn't can we make it? but we will make it!.
Sarasota Herald Tribune: 31st August 1975
Starts Afresh In The U.S. 
By Bruce Meyer
United Press International
About once a year the British pop music press declares a new "super-group" and ponderously pronounces the band to be the greatest thing since the Beatles. The youngest English fans react predictably to these announcements, flocking to see the new idols and buying their records in huge quantities. 
By their fifth hit single or so, these bands belive the tale and begin making preparations to conquer the enormously lucrative American market, just like the Beatles, the Stones and the other big English groups of the '60s. 
Initial response to Slade in the U.S. was, despite one hit ("Gudbuy T'Jane"), overwhelming disinterest. They captured a couple of relatively localized audiences, but there was none of the general success they had hoped for. Six months ago, it seemed that Slade was finished in the U.S. 
But this is one band that is nothing if not determined. 
"We've come back to the States and we're here until we can crack the market," says mutton-chopped Noddy Holder, gravel-voiced singer and chief spokesman for Slade.  

"We've never been here long enough, that's the trouble. Always before, we've had commitments in Europe and England. We could come to the U.S. for four weeks and then we'd have to go back." 

"But now we've left our books open to stay here as long as we want. And we're just going to work and work and play here until everybody can see us. We're trying to get as many dates as we can, whether we're topping the bill or supporting." 
Holder concludes that it's just like starting over - and he says that's the point at which English pop groups have made their mistakes.

Slade still gave it 150% during the 1975 gigs but there was a different vibe to the gigs though. Slade seemed a little more laid back.

Central Park, July 21st, 1975

I remember seeing this ad like it was yesterday, and thinking to myself “Holy Shitballz, Slade outside in Central park!” So I called 'The Brooklyn Slade Crew' who shared my excitement, and we all went out and bought the $2.50 tickets:and sat in the good seats.

The Schaefer Music Festival was sponsored by The Schaefer Brewing Co. whose motto was “When you’re having more than one!” The general consensus of their product was; that it tasted not unlike chimpanzee piss(how people knew what chimpanzee piss tasted like, I never knew). Be that as it may, the Festival was held in the Wollman Ice Skating Rink. Both $1.50 and $2.50 seats were both general admission. The $2.50 seats were in the actual rink, and the $1.50 seats were up above where you could watch the skating, and the promoter erected very large bleacher seats.

So it’s around noon on the day of the show, and the Crew assembled at Harry and Paul’s house, and set off for Central Park. Our first stop was Big Nick’s Pizzeria in Flatbush, Brooklyn, where we bought Italian submarine sandwiches to eat while we were on line waiting to get into the show. Our second stop was the subway station for the train to Manhattan. Arriving in Manhattan our next stop was (you guessed it) The Liquor Store! Where we bought one bottle of Southern Comfort and 36 cans of Budweiser, walked over to Central Park and got on line. It was about 2PM, and there were maybe 30 people ahead of us, so we knew we’d have good seats. There were a few incidents of people who tried to cut into the line, only to incur the wrath of The Hayes Brothers. Apart from that we drank, ate and smoked (Harry had a half ounce of Panama Red), on a beautiful July day in New York.
"At the Central Park gig, we (The Brooklyn Slade Crew) were on line waiting to get in, it was about four in the afternoon, and Slade did a sound check (we couldn’t see them, because the promoter Ron Delsener had fencing put up so if you didn’t have a ticket you couldn’t see the show) All of a sudden we heard the buzzing of a very loud sound system, and the unmistakable voice of Nod warming up his voice in a very bluesy manner , it went something like: “Ohhhh BaaaaBeeeee…Whoa Yeah” “Oh BaaaaaaaBeeee” followed by a few drum beats, Jim playing a few notes and fine tuning his bass….Noddy continued “Whoa BaaaaaaaBeeee”….. Oh Yeah” then we heard some guitars tuning. Noddy still giving it the “Ohhhh BaaaaBeeeee…Whoa Yeah” and then we heard “One-two-three-four” and the opening to “The Bangin’ Man”, which was abruptly stopped and a guitar being tuned, and Noddy in a spoken voice saying “It’s the f***ing humidity”…. “One-two-three-four” and we heard a kick ass rendition of “The Bangin’ Man” needless to say everyone on line clapped and made a lot of noise. Noddy thanked us, and then said something along the line of “Turn up me monitor, I can’t hear Jim” followed by “One-two-three-four” the intro was played again and “When you wake up in the…….a little more monitor please…..that’s better, ta” and they finished the song."
Harry Canyon
So now its 5:30 PM the gates open and we snag third row center seats! The opening act was Brownsville Station; they had a hit song called “Smoking in the Boys Room”, and were a good match to be on the bill with Slade, and they played a nice set.

About a half-hour later “Ladies and Gentleman, please give a New York Welcome to SLADE!“ The Boyz walked out, plugged in and played:

    Them Kinda Monkeys Can't Swing
    The Bangin' Man
    Gudbuy T'Jane
    Thanks for the Memory (Wham Bam Thank You Mam)
    How Does It Feel?
    Just a Little Bit
    O.K. Yesterday Was Yesterday
    Raining in My Champagne
    Let the Good Times Roll/ Feel So Good
    Mama Weer All Crazee Now (Encore)
While Slade were playing 'Just A Little Bit', a fight broke out between security and some fans. Noddy stopped the song, and announced “We don’t want security getting heavy with our fans” Jim was pointing at one of the security people, and said “I saw what you did!” and Noddy said once again “We don’t want security getting heavy with our fans.” and received a standing ovation.
All in all, another classic Slade show!

Long Beach Arena, Long Beach, CA 1st August 1975

Long Beach saw Slade warming up for Alvin Lee's Ten Years After, and I wonder if he played Hear Me Calling that night. Gary Wright warmed up for Slade, I'll try to find something on him later.
While the group were preparing for the gig, back home in the UK, BBC Radio 1 broadcast the first part of their 'Insight' series featuring 'Six Days On The Road' an audio documentary recorded on the road with Slade.

Winterland, San Francisco, August 4th, 1975
The tour moved on to San Francisco and Bill Graham's legendary Winterland Arena. Slade had played there at least once before but tonight was to be challenging, to say the least.
It wasn't the easiest of crowds to get going, the band were clearly not on top form nor enjoying the experience of being heckled and spat at.
The band were second on the bill to tour headliners Ten Years After, and not Robin Trower as has been erroneously recorded elsewhere. The gig was filmed by Graham's organisation to be used at various venues that he owned throughout the States. I understand selections from the film archive would be shown in between acts.
US Slade fan, Hubert Tung, was at the gig with his trusty camera and managed to grab some choice shots of the band. His account of the gig is nicely balanced too:
"I took these B&W photos at Winterland, San Francisco 1975. They opened for Alvin Lee (10 Years After) which was not a good match. Slade blew Alvin Lee off the stage, but I'm biased, naturally.
I've always been a big fan of British Bands! Back then, I was into Queen, Bowie, Mott the Hoople, Rod Stewart & the Faces, Stones, etc. I even liked this curious band called The Sensational Alex Harvey Band from Scotland?
I liked Slade's melodic rock with an edge and their colorful performances. They had some catchy hooks. I took these photos on 8-4-1975 at Winterland Arena in San Francisco with a 35mm Pentax camera. It was festival "seating" so I was right up against the stage. Frankie Miller opened, followed by Slade, and then Ten Years After with Alvin Lee.
I was into Slade because one of my best friends in highschool had them as his favorite band. I waited in line for a long time so that I could get right up against the stage. Unfortunately, the crowd was there to see Alvin Lee, and I heard people booing Slade. Even saw an apple or two thrown at them.
I think I took 20 photos of Slade that night. I took no pictures of Lee's band, they were boring. Styles were completely incompatible. There is B&W video of this show and you can actually see the back of my head!"
Hubert Tung, San Francisco
Meanwhile, back in Blighty, the 8th August saw BBC Radio 1 broadcast the 2nd part of their 'insight' series featuring a live performance at the New Victoria Theatre in London.

Concert South, St. Luis 14th August 1975
"Slade were booked in to open a swanky new nightclub in St Luis on the 14th, 15th and 16th of August 1975 during their 75' US tour. Slade played the three nights supported by Mahogany Rush ...the night club closed following the three nights never to re open....strange but true........"

Dave Graham: Slade In England, 18/09/2014

NJ State Fairgrounds, Hamilton 24th August 1975
The concert was a Sunday afternoon event beginning at 1:00 pm. Trenton Speedway was a 1.5 mile oval track(IndyCar/NASCAR) inside the New Jersey State Fairgrounds. Hamilton Township is the town right next to the capital city of Trenton, so both the Fairgrounds and and the Speedway were usually referred to as in Trenton. The ad prior to the concert is from the Bucks County Courier Times of August 15, 1975. Promoters Hollow Moon Productions apparently insisted that only 8000 people would be allowed inside the bowl of the oval track of the concert.
Hamilton prepares for rock concert
"This time, Hamilton Township is ready to rock. 
Since 6pm yesterday, township police and firemen have been patrolling the New Jersey State Fairground on Route 33 in anticipation of the seven group rock concert scheduled to start there at noon today. 
"With a maximum of 20,000 tickets being sold, we don't anticipate the problems we had with the Allman Brothers show." said police captain Thomas Lechner, referring to the October 1973 Fairgrounds concert that drew an unexpected 60,000 young music fans to the township, snarling traffic for miles around. 
More than 30 Hamilton policemen will be on duty around the concert area today helping with security and traffic control. 
Fences built
According to the rock show's promoters, the Levittown-based Hollow Moon Concerts, other safety and security measures at the show will include specially-built fencing to limit the wanderings of the racetrack crowd, on-duty doctors and nurses and perhaps even patrolling guard dogs to discourage gate-crashing. 
Billed as a "Hollow Moon Afternoon." The rain-or-shine concert features both 'hard rock' and quieter 'country rock' acts. Headling the show is the Boston band, Aerosmith and, at the bottom of the bill, the Trenton group Hoochie Cooch will open the show. The other bands to perform will be Poco, Slade, Bob Weir's Kingfish and Mahogany Rush. 
If the concert is successful, Hollow Moon plans one more rock show at the Fairgrounds this summer and "between three and five" concerts there next year. 
Entrance gates to the Fairgrounds' racetrack open this morning at 9 and the concert, by agreement with the township council, must end before midnight."
Alan Edwards: Special Writer, Trenton Advertiser, 24th August 1975
The promoters seemed to have underestimated the appeal of Aerosmith, whose album Toys In The Attichad been released in April and was steadily climbing the charts. The first single from the album, "Sweet Emotion" was climbing the charts, and "Walk This Way" would follow later in 1975. By the next year Aerosmith would become one of American's biggest rock bands. Hollow Moon Productions correctly anticipated that Aerosmith could headline the event but they must have been caught by surprise at the turnout.
"...as Lofgren croons his tunes, the Hollow Moon Afternoon goons moved too soon and with baseball bats hastened to drive the concert crashers back. 
Beer cans and bottles flew freely. But the fencebusters were too much as they burst through as if a prison break were in effect. 
The concert became a free one when Hollow Moon finally decided to let everyone in for nothing - something the producers should have realized was bound to happen. It always does. 
Crowd estimates put the figure over 14,000 whoi attended but no one knows how many actually paid. The more fortunate members of the audience sat and listened or wandered around in bleary-eyed stupors. But at least eight persons were hospitalized for drug overdoses."
Bucks County Courier: 25th August 1975
The concert rapidly gotten out of hand and despite the best efforts of baseball bat wielding security staff, eventually everyone was let in for free. The problems at this concert were still being mentioned in the Courier Times the next Summer, and seem to have put a damper on big outdoor events at the State Fairgrounds.

According to the Bucks County Courier Times reviewer, Slade's music was "typical of...all the poorer aspects of rock music," which was the standard American media response to the band. I'd like to find somebody who attended this gig for an unbiased opinion. 

Slade: Not As Crazee As Wee Thought

WHATEVER HAPPENED to Slade, you Lawn Guyland boogie freaks may have asked yourselves lately. The answer is: Nothing – more gold records, more #1 songs on the British charts. Basically, the Wolverhampton quartet is still the old rip-roaring tear-the-house-down get crazee primo boogie band in England.

Repeat: in England! 
The Black Country rockers feel they haven't created the same furor this side of the Atlantic, so they're back for another crack at it. Their new assault includes an album, Slade In Flame, and a film, Flame (already boffo in the U.K. but unreleased Stateside as yet). Slade zipped into the Big Apple for a few days at the start of their tour, met with this writer, and talked about their movie and current tour plans.
Dave Hill, lead guitarist and pioneer of the strangest hairdo since Rod's original artichoke, is excited about Flame.
"It's a film about the hype in the business, and about a group called Flame," he explains. "It shows how they're enjoying themselves until they meet this person who wants to make 'em big stars. They're hyped up by a big management company who wants them packaged and sold. And when he makes 'em big stars, they fall apart. They become unhappy, and they're thrown into things, they don't want to do; which happens to a lot of groups – we've seen it happen."
Flame hasn't been released in America yet because, Dave feels, 
"English fans... could accept it more; they do know what we're like as real people. But we could probably release the film in another country where they didn't know us too well, and they'd think,'Oh, that's what they're really like.'...We might have to hold off the film in the States for a while, until people get to know us a little better."
Don Powell, drummer, supposedly Slade's strong, silent member, was very vocal about the film's realism. 
"We didn't want to make a chocolate-box cover; we didn't want to do the sort of everybody-jump-around-in-the-fields thing..." (shades of A Hard Day's Night!) ..."We wanted to portray the scene – the music industry, what it really is like for a group starting out and getting manipulated by management companies." 
All of which is guaranteed to make Slade very popular with management companies.
Flame was cast in an unusual way. 
"When the scriptwriter was doing interviews and getting to know each of us," Don explains,"what he did was, he got the characters and then just blew them up. It's a strange thing when you're making a film – everything had to be blown up just a little, to get a point across."

I couldn't resist. "So what did he do with you, Don?"
"Well – I was the idiot." 
There is loud laughter from all present as Don blushes and attempts to modify his statement. Dave rescues him.
"What we're trying to say is, we weren't miscast. We were cast according to what we could handle. So I could be over the top" (Translation: Flash) "because I could be over the top if I wanted to in real life... I'm not over the top in real life; I do buy things sensibly..."
I am gazing, bedazzled, at Dave's monstrous black patent leather rhinestone-studded platforms. "Yeah," I agree, "those are very sensible."
The talk turns to touring; the first leg is an 8-week affair including a Midnight Special and a Schaeffer Festival concert. Lead singer and guitarist Noddy Holder (sans mirrored top hat) and the shy member of the group, bass player Jimmy Lea arrive, confused about where they've just been for dinner, but a bit better informed about the tour. According to Noddy, somewhere in the middle of it they return to England for a break and then back to America, where they'll work solidly till the year's end.
When asked for a description of his film character, an evil grin spreads slowly across Noddy's imp face, immediately validating Chris Charlesworth's observation that Noddy has a tendency "to leer at girls from the stage like a Dickensian character might leer at a little boy chimney sweep." Noddy's blue twinklers are hidden behind violet shades, and there's just a trace of that gritty voice audible through his thick accent. He says, in several syllables, 
"What kind of person is Stoker?" I ask. Noddy emits a series of sinister chuckles. 
"Ahhh... heh-heh... What kind of person?"
Dave answers for him.
"A Yob,"  (Translation: Rowdy.)
Noddy, unperturbed, continues, 
"Drunken, mainly." (Pronounced "droonkin.")
"A drunken yob!" Dave yells.
"A part which needs no actin' ability!" Don adds.
Noddy acquiesces amiably. 
"I spent most of the film drunk."
Naturally this leads to questions about Slade's image as rough pub boys and the wild audiences they draw. In America they attract teenagers; in England, people anywhere from 12 to 30 are Slade fans, many of them working class. Dave is enthusiastic about rowdy audiences, but he maintains, Slade never tried to be working-class heroes.
"It's just the tag people have put on us," Noddy says. "We don't work to have any image or anything. It just happens." 
Dave agrees. 
"We just do what we wanna do, and it comes off that way. If we are just natural and be ourselves, then the image forms itself. But our background is working class."
It is precisely that background which has caused comparisons between Slade and the early Beatles. Slade, however, have no intention of trying to be the second Beatles.  Dave and Noddy affirm.
"We want to be the first Slade,"
Slade aren't worried about burning out, either. Dave feels they'll last as long as they want to. As Noddy cavalierly put it, "You just carry on until you drop." Jimmy, on a less drastic note, adds quietly that they won't be doing the same thing, anyway they've already broadened their outlook with the film and new album.
Slade In Flame has ruffled critical feathers among staunch Sladeites. It's more melodic, less raw power, and people are having a tough time believing its Slade. There's even one rumour circulating that Slade didn't really play on the album, that it was done by studio musicians (you heard the same re The Fab Four, circa 1963, right?).
"We got a lot of criticism in England," Noddy remarks. "They said this wasn't 'good-time' enough for us. It's just like actors being typecast to an image... and we never wanted that."
"They all said it was good," Dave is quick to add, "but they all said it wasn't us. The trouble is, as always, when you're doing what they expect you to do, they're saying you shouldn't change. But we only changed when we wanted to, anyway; we didn't take any notice of that."
I ask if they think people will remember them in 30 years.Don laughs.
"Me Mum would!" 

Noddy is optimistic. 
"I think so. The people who've been to see your act at a concert and you got 'em off on a certain night - they'll always remember that. I can remember every band I've ever been to see that got me off."
Did you ever have an audience that didn't get off? I ask. Noddy grins.
"Yeah, It was in the early days. Since we've been successful? Not really. We always worked our balls off to let everybody get off... some nights it can be difficult."
You don't often see a whole crowd on its feet any more, except maybe for Rod's boys and the Stones, but audience involvement is Slade's forte. Dave thinks it's just as vital for the crowd to be revved up as it is for the band. He recalls one English gig where the crowd merely sat and looked at them.
"We got a bit bored with it after about five numbers," he grins," and Nod said, 'OK, let's cut all this crap out – let's have a good time!' And it just went berserk! They smashed the place, just like that!" (Snap!)
Despite displays of Slade-fever, Noddy feels the band hasn't had real success in America. 
"Our goal now is to crack it in America," he readily acknowledges. "We want the #1 record, that's what we want." 
Slade aren't counting on Flame to break them here, though.  Dave says:
"The movie is an added extra for us at the moment,".
Noddy notes that Slade "only" did two tours in the last year. 
"All the rest of the year's been spent doing the film and recording, so we've been looking forward to getting back on the road and touring constantly again, 'cause that's what we like doing." 

He hopes this tour will finally shake America awake; Slade haven't been here in two years, nor have they had any big hits on America's airwaves.
"Most big groups who spend that much on shows have reached the extremes as far as props are concerned," Dave observes. "With us, if the music doesn't get us there, it's really not worth the trouble... We like to get on that stage, and we like to look good, to play good, and get everybody involved. The main thing is the audience can see us onstage, not visual fantasies going up... That's all very nice, but it's so overdone now. We thought of that, but it's just not the way to go. It's just not the things you need."
"You don't work so hard if you know you've got effects to carry the show," Noddy affirms. "You don't play so hard; you tend to lie back a little and let the effects take over and do the show for you, and you become electronic robots... You might just as well put four robots up there with all the effects on."
It's obvious Slade hasn't forgotten why they formed the band in the first place. 
"If you take the band back to its early days when we played workingmen’s clubs," Dave says, "we were there with just our equipment. We were dancing on top of our amps and just playing away to a lot of people drinking beer and having a great time. What we are now," he adds truthfully,"is just that, blown up."
Noddy agrees. 
"We're one of the groups that managed to take our club act across to the concert halls and get the same sort of rapport between us and the audience as we used to in small clubs... We tried to put the same thing over in the 5,000-seaters as in the clubs that had 200 people." 
He attributes Slade's charisma to this lack of pretension. 
"Between the four of us and them out there, there's no wall. We don't like to appear stars onstage; we like to appear the same as they are out there, on the same sort of level, not above them." 
As Dave puts it, 
"The audiences are part of the act. If they weren't, the music wouldn't come out the same way. That's why it's so energetic and loud."
Slade's volume has been discussed and decried for years. They do blast out an incredible decibel level, Dave admits: "We have trouble with the critics all the time."
Noddy reiterates Slade's philosophy: 
"We don't take any notice of the critics, 'cause it's the people that matter. I don't really think the people take any notice of the critics, either. I don't think Grand Funk have ever had a good review in their life," he cites the current rock truism, "but the people like 'em, and that's what it's all about."

There's no question Slade are the epitome of a real, honest-to-goodness rough-at-the-edges rock 'n' roll band in the tradition of the very early Beatles, Pretty Things, Stones, and innumerable other pub-spawned, leather-jacketed musical Wild Ones. Unlike their predecessors, though, Slade haven't succumbed to psychedelia, reggae or disco dancing. They may be the youngest of the heavy rockers, but Slade has racked up a lot of mileage already, and they have no intention of screeching to a halt. They "went down a storm," as Noddy would say, in New York this time, but it remains to be seen if the rest of Barry White-washed America will get off its arse and "Feel the noize."
© Kris DiLorenzo, 1975

Capitol Centre, Washington, DC 28th August 1975
Research into Slade's appearance with Aerosmith at the Capitol Centre in Washington DC resulted in some interesting replies. Washington has many libraries and it would seem that one of my enquiries took a left turn at a red light?
"Who's Arrowsmith? I doubt that I was anywhere near DC in August, 1975, that was five years before I was elected to the Senate?"
Senator Slade Gorton: 18th December 2011

Nice to know that there's a healthy sense of humour in the Senate. Fortunately, Mike Flugennock was in DC in August 1975 and he remembers only too well, the impact Slade made at the Capitol Centre.
"I remember the critics bitching about Slade being "too British", which mystified me as Jethro Tull were getting really big in the States back then, and I couldn't begin to count how many Ian Anderson songs required the listener to be British to really 'get it'."
"I'm an old Deadhead -- have been since mid '78 -- but I recently rediscovered Slade after having lost touch early in college (yeah, a Deadhead who digs Slade -- go figure).  

I first got into them in high school, turned on by a buddy of mine who'd been introduced to them by a British exchange student in our junior year. They were never real big in the States, so being an American Slade fan was a tough job (but somebody had to do it) but highly rewarding, as it had to be some of the most off-the-hook craziest, full-throttle, industrial-strength party rock'n'roll I'd ever heard. 

I caught them in the summer of '75, just after graduating high school, at the old Capitol Centre -- or, as our gang called it, the "Pringle Dome" -- in the 'burbs of DC.  

Aforementioned pal of mine gave me the heads-up and scored us some seats. They were opening act on that summer's Aerosmith tour. Aerosmith were the headliners, of course, having just released "Toys In The Attic", but my pals and I could've given a shit less; we were totally there for Slade. 

So, anyway, Slade hit the stage and immediately start ripping the roof off the place. It was amazing to see this band hardly anyone had heard of, derided by US rock critics as "too British", almost instantaneously whipping the crowd into a frenzy from the first note of the first tune of the set. The Grateful Dead were the only other band I know of able to get a crowd up and dancing from the get-go like this. 

After about an hour, Slade wrap it up, but by now the crowd is totally batshit, and call them back for two encores. 

So, finally, they're done. After the prerequisite break, Aerosmith come on. The crowd starts booing and yelling for Slade to come back on. They finally quiet down, though, and Aerosmith starts their set. Compared to their reaction to Slade, the crowd is comatose -- and, mind you, Aerosmith were the headliners, the band with the big hit album just out. 

Come September, and we all head our separate ways to college. My pal heads off to college in New York where, as luck would have it, Aerosmith is playing again, at their campus field house, with Slade opening once again, of course. My pal reports back that an identical scene happened -- Slade peeled the paint off the walls, the crowd went apeshit, yelled for multiple encores, and booed Aerosmith when they came on. I also heard later that Steven Tyler had a big hissy fit and kicked Slade off the tour for making Aerosmith look bad."
"The Steven Tyler story comes from an old high-school friend who I lost touch with some years ago. He turned me on to Slade when we were about seventeen, and we saw them here in Washington, DC in the late summer of '75, right after "Flame" came out in the States, and just as we were getting ready to head off to college. Slade were the opening act on the Aerosmith tour that summer ("Toys in the Attic" was just out, and "Sweet Emotion" was all over American radio), and they did a set that night that really burned the place down; you could almost feel the palpable sense of let down when Aerosmith finally went on. 

Some weeks later, Jeff (aforementioned school chum) caught them again on the same tour up in New York, where he was just starting college; that was the show he told me about when we were both home from college over Christmas -- where Slade played a whomping set like the one in DC, only turned up to 11, the one where they were called out for at least two encores (as I recall), and Steven Tyler got all pissy about being shown up by this Brit outfit who were supposedly "dying a death" in the USA. 

This may have been also reported in a couple of the major rock'n'roll mags at the time, like "Creem" and "Circus", which went out of print a while back, I think... though their archives might still be online someplace. Jeff was a musician himself, and played a lot of Slade and Aerosmith and Deep Purple and a lot of straight-ahead hard rock, and read Creem and Circus magazines regularly."
Mike Flugennock: December 2011

October/November 1975 Newsletter
A DJ on WNEW (a sophisticated New York rock and roll Radio Station) played a Slade record and said "That's amazing!" and played it again ... The boys had a little problem at their hotel - it seems every time they ordered some beer, it came up promptly and ice cold, unfortunately they like their beer a little warmer.  
Slade had their biggest audience yet in the States of 19,000 in Washington. 
The boys will be spending 3 weeks at the beginning of October in a New York recording studio to compile their next LP. 
Because of public demand Canada will be releasing 'Slade in Flame' originally released in November 1974 and being the same as the British release, but now to be similar to the American issue. This has the addition of 'Thanks for the Memory' and 'The Bangin’ Man' and the loss of 'Heaven Knows' and 'Summer Song'. 
A glimmer of hope that Slade may be able to spend more time in Britain, now that MPs are beginning to talk about a reduction of the exorbitant tax imposed on successful rock stars. 

Providence, R.I. USA, 28th October 1975
The live photos used here are from the Dan Lampinski bootleg cover art and are not from the 1975 gig. The stage shot is from '73 and the others are from the '74 US tour.

Providence Civic Center can be found at 21 Atwells Ave, Providence, Rhode Island, in the good ol' US of A. The Civic Center opened in November of 1972 and serves as the home court for the Providence College Friars men's basketball team.

When the Civic Center was built, it was among the most modern in all of Division 1 college basketball. And even though it has aged quite a bit, the school has made sure that its features stay up to date. The seating capacity is 14,500, bigger than the majority of the venues in the Big East Conference.
I'm not sure how many were at the Civic Center in Providence this night but it certainly sounds more affable than the Winterland crowd. Noddy announces that last nights gig was a great night and seems to suggest that they played two nights in Providence. His voice seems to be very raw and shout-ey, painful in places, certainly not as 'in control' of his voice as he usually is. This could be the tour of which he speaks in his book where he saw a vocal coach due to throat problems.

© Copyright photo by Fin Costello for Getty
The songs seem to have longer introductions than usual, Take Me Bak 'Ome for instance, while its great to hear it played slowly as Nod intended, it also seems to be extended and padded out. The Bangin' Man seems to has been dropped from the set and the bands new single, Thanks For The Memory, is introduced as a song about nasty diseases? 

How Does It Feel is a little restrained but well executed and Jimmy's pianola sounds pretty damn good on both tracks. Just A Little Bit is superb until we reach Dave's solo spot which is hopelessly embarrassing. God knows what he thought he was doing because there's no direction to it at all. 

In comparison Jimmy Lea's bass solo in Let The Good Times Roll is crystal clear and superbly executed. It's good to hear an enthusiastic audience and a healthy Slade performance, let down only by a below par guitar solo and Noddy's silliness in Get Down & Get With It. In all, not a bad recording that shows the group did go down well in the USA.

In 2001 Dunkin' Donuts purchased the naming rights, at which point, this venue became known as the Dunkin' Donuts Center. I'll refrain from further comment at this point.

  • Them Kinda Monkeys Can't Swing
  • Take Me Back 'Ome
  • Gudbuy T'Jane
  • Thanks For The Memory
  • How Does It Feel
  • Just A Little Bit
  • Let The Good Times Roll/Feel So Fine
  • Get Down & Get With It 
The gig was recorded by Dan Lampinski and made available in June 2009 as Volume 16

December/January 1975 Newsletter
"DAVE IS WEARING his pink frilly knickers tonite ... and if you're really good ... "
Noddy Holder circa 1973 British Tour. 

Biggest draw in Britain, our very own working-class heroes made good. Filled every hall they played, had 15 hit singles, five hit albums. Always seemed to be in British charts, albums, singles, often both.  
Their latest album "Slade in Flame" was released last November made it to six in the charts.  

The LP before that ("Old New Borrowed And Blue") got to number one.  
Their last single "Thanks For The Memory" got to number seven. 

In July they went to America. Even Sir Geoffrey Howe could almost be forgiven for mentioning Slade in his tax exiles speech. The Evening News made the same boob just last week - both presuming the band had been away for so long that they must have joined the British elite who for tax reasons live abroad.  
Last year they filmed "Flame". It has grossed over one million dollars in Britain alone.
Not bad at all, very good in fact. It is now showing in America. 
It opened in St. Louis where it broke all box office records. On their last British tour, it was reported that not all of the gigs were completely sold out.  
Mel Bush who promoted the tour stated, "As far as I am concerned it was a sell out tour although there were the odd dates that weren't exactly sold out".  

Bush insists, "Slade are still a big band, a massive band, Fourteen number ones and twos cannot be dismissed. I get loads of phone calls asking me when Slade are going to tour again. There is a big interest". It is difficult to gauge how big Slade are in the States. The first time they went over they followed swiftly on the heels of Marc Bolan. Bolan bombed. It seemed that America was not quite ready to accommodate another "British best".  
Slade went again.  
And again.  

Reports seeped back. Conflicting reports to say the least. I saw them headline in New York at the 5,000 seater Felt Forum, where they packed the place out. The audience went pineapples. Kate Phillips witnessed them at San Francisco's Winterland where they supported Ten Years After and "went down well".  
However, the real criterion is how many bucks people shell out for the product. In America the "Flame" album got to 80 in the charts. The Bay City Rollers (admittedly with much hype) have reached higher. Premier Talent, Slade's N.Y. booking agent lists among Slade's future venues Rochester Dome (capacity 5,600) where they are billed as "special guests" (not support) to Aerosmith, and War Memorial, Syacuse, where again they are Aerosmith's "special guests". They are topping however, the 2,400 seater at Calderone Theatre, Hempstead, Long Island.

Slade are now in Britain promoting their new single "In For A Penny". 

About time. 

In December the band plan to have a rest. 

"They have", says their press agent, Leslie Perrin "been touring like mad, and other tours are being lined up for them". 

In Britain, I hope. "
by Julie Webb of
New Musical Express 

Calderone Concert Hall, Hempstead, Long Island, November 1975

The opening act was a band called Bananas but that as they say is another story. The Calderone gig was interesting in that when they came back out for their encore the first song they played was an old instrumental called “Sleep Walking” Dave was playing slide guitar at an ear piercing volume (even by Slade standards), after that they rocked out. I met the group after that show and got stoned with Nod. 

After the gig, my friends and I bought a couple of six packs of beer for the train ride back to Manhattan. We were walking past the concert hall one the way back to the train station, when we decided to take a walk around the back of the place to see what was going on. When we got there, a truck was being loaded with Slade’s gear, and there was a black limo by the stage door, so we thought we’d wait and maybe get to say hello to Slade. A few minutes later the stage door opened, and out came the Boyz! We shook hands with them, told them the gig was great and all, and instead of getting into the limo, they started talking with us. Nod and I talked about guitar gear (I play myself), Flame and some other stuff. One of my friends gave Dave a can of beer, and his sister was talking to Jim. 
"That was for me, one pretty damn cool evening. They were genuinely a nice bunch of guys. When they were coming out of the stage door they seemed to be in a hurry, but once we all started talking and drinking, they were in no hurry. 
They knew by looking at us, we were working class kids, I think they thought to themselves “they’re like us”. We all grew up in a very tough Brooklyn neighborhood and at the time we looked it: long hair, black leather jackets, black tee shirts, black jeans and black boots."
Harry Canyon
My point here is that: they could have shaken our hands and left in the limo, but they didn't, instead they made time for us, drank beer and smoked with us for almost 45 minutes.It was a very enjoyable and memorable night. 

If you notice; some of the shows are called a “Dance Concert”, this is because the room was a huge convention center, with no seats, so folding chairs had to be set up. So if John Scher (the promoter) thought there was any chance of “chairs flying”, he called it a dance concert, and he could also cram everyone in like sardines! See how the mellower acts like Joan Baez, Todd Rundgren and Harry Chapin had seats, but Slade and Black Sabbath were Dance Concerts?

While Slade slogged it out on tour with ZZ Top, Polydor released In For A Penny to an apathetic British public. The UK were starting to forget the band. 

Thanks to Harry Canyon & The Brooklyn Slade Crew,  Mike Flugennock & Hubert "Yes, you can use my photos" Tung for the memories. 

6th US Tour: Fall 1975 (known dates)
07/07/1975 Depart for US/Canadian Tour 
16/07/1975 International Amphitheatre, Chicago 
(supporting Black Sabbath)  
17/07/1975 International Amphitheatre, Chicago 
(supporting Black Sabbath)  
21/07/1975 Wollman Skating Rink, Central Park, New York 
(Schaeffer Beer Festival)
26/07/1975 Convention Centre, Asbury Park, NY
01/08/1975 Long Beach Arena, Long Beach, CA 
(Ten Years After, Slade & Gary Wright) 
03/08/1975 Concerts South Club, St Louis (Mahogany Rush support)
04/08/1975 Concerts South Club, St Louis (Mahogany Rush support) 
05/08/1975 Concerts South Club, St Louis (Mahogany Rush support) 
09/08/1975 Convention Hall, Asbury Park, N.J.
(ebay) Slade warms up
14/08/1975 Concert South Club, St Louis 
15/08/1975 Concert South Club, St Louis 
16/08/1975 Concert South Club, St Louis 
09/08/1975 Convention Hall, Asbury Park, N.J24/08/1975 New Jersey State Fairgrounds, Hamilton, NJ 
(Aerosmith, Poco, Kingfish, Mahogany Rush & Hoochie Cooch)
00/09/1975 Auditorium North Hall, Memphis, TN
(unknown date)
27/10/1975 Providence Civic Center, Rhode Island 
(Aerosmith & Mott)
28/10/1975 Providence Civic Center, Rhode Island 
(Aerosmith & Mott)
15/11/1975 Capitol Theatre, Passaic, N.J. (NY Times) 
(ZZ Top, sold out - Amusement Business)
22/11/1975 Felt Forum Theatre, New York, USA
(ZZ Top)
25/12/1975 Kiel Centre - St Louis, USA

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