Slade~hits or quits? page 11
The Young Americans
by Jan Iles
NOD, JIM, DAVE, DON; much praised, much appreciated for putting leers and tears back into pop are at last finding that their Council Estate humour and X certificate pop is helping them go down a bundle in the States.
Even if nasty rumours are circulating about Slade not doing all right in Yankland, pay no attention - the lads are getting there, slowly, as only the majority of British bands can in a country so breathtakingly big.
Shortly, the band will be returning to America to keep an appointment with those lost angels and newly converted Slade boppers.
But before they left I chatted to Noddy and Jim, first about the new album Nobody's Fool' (sic)
“Very proud of it," says Jim, who then disappears to have a shave.
Noddy takes over: "We made it in New York, we spent six or seven weeks on it. did it all in one go really. Well we did about three days in L.A. a couple of months before just to start gettln' into the swing.”
Slade's intention at the outset was to take time off from gigsville and concentrate on producing a really first class album.
Noddy: "The album Is why we went to America. It wasn't tax reasons like some of 'um were saying. We went to get fresh ideas.
"Ya know we've been influenced by different things. There's a lot more soul influence as well we used coloured chick singers for the first time. There's funky stuff, heavy rock, a country song and an electronic type number, each track has its own style.”
How about the title. A spit in the eye for the cynics?
"Well the first track on the album is called 'Nobody's Fool,' singular, ya know without the ‘s’. I mean we didn't pick a title to work to but when we played the tracks back in running order, listening through, we thought 'Nobody's Fools' was a good idea. It sorta fitted the group, y'know what people thought about the group. It summed the album up, really. "
Is the musicianship as good as ever? He laughs cos he thinks I'm being sarcastic and says:
"We took a lot more time over this one.““I mean we had six weeks to get better and better in the studio. So the sound got better, the playing got better and the Ideas got better.”
However, Noddy looks at it merely as an expansion of Slade's talent.
"It's an improvement, a step ahead."
Nod's favourite is the reggae number 'D'ya Mamma Ever" Tell Yer.
"The chick singers do a great job on it, I mean it ain't yer actual ethnic reggae, it's Wolverhampton Reggae, but it's great"
How many times have they listened to to finished product?
"Loads," says Jim, whiskers whisked from a Ronson job. "This is the first of our albums I've actually been able to sit down and listen to at home."
Not without finding fault surely?
"Oh no! I mean you can always find fault," he agrees. "It aln' t the be all and end all. We're all just pleased with it Best thing we've ever done. But we always say that!"Public
Will Joe Public find it Slade's best? In the past, Nod's had fans come up to him after a show who've said their best album was 'Slade Alive', Slade's second album. So do the fans really give a whatsit about musical progression and high falutin' frills?
Jim continues: "You can't really judge what the public likes, they might prefer the old stuff."
So when you go into the studios to make a record, who do you bear in mind, The public, fellow musicians or yourselves?
Both Nod and Jim agree, it's the public, although they say:
"We wouldn't do anything we don't like ourselves.”
Nod: "Everybody you speak to who's listened to the album have said 'this should be the next single' or 'that should be the next single,' everybody's got their own favourite. Which is great. 'cos it means that every track is good enough to be a single. "
Another feather in their already decorative cap is that several people have asked if they can record stuff from the album for possible singles.
Before. the only type to cover Slade material have been dubious Euro talents such as James Last (possibly your Mum's pin-up fantasy)... Is there anyone in particular that Slade would like to see covering their songs?
“Actually we've got a nice one for Dana," smirks Noddy.What a sort of flimsy ballad ... ?
"Flimsy!" retorts Jim. Well it's difficult to imagine young Dana giving it 'Mama We're All Crazee Now'.
Nod: "It's not on the album, it's a song we wrote which we haven't used ourselves, she'd do it great. We fancy sending it to her, don't we?"
'Nobody's Fool' has just been released in the States. Before that 'Slade In Flame' got to number 17 in the USA charts.
"Which wasn't bad for us," Nod reflects, " considering we didn't get any airplay. Some albums don't even make that It did well, it sold better over there than anything else we've done."Slade are red hot in New York and the Mid West but Jim reckons you can leave L.A. off the list.
"We’ve got a number on the album called 'LA Jinx,' because every time we play there it's been disastrous.”
Nod: "Somthin's always gone wrong; the gear blows up, we have electric shocks, ya know we are always jinxed by some equipment fault, or bad luck.”
When Slade get back to the States they'll be touring with Kiss. This will give them the opportunity to play to the younger audiences.
'Kiss are pulling in the new breed," Nod explains. "The new generation, the kids who are into weird make-up and glitter and flames shooting to the sky and all Kisses usual stuff. I mean, the heads find it a bit silly, but the young 'uns love it which is good for us because they're pulling' em in."
"We've always wanted to play to the young Americans but we've been on with heavier bands in the past, so we've never got to them."
Solid Slade Fool Y'all
SLADE: 'Nobody's Fool's' (Polydor 2383 377)
Having given out the information that a large part of the motivation behind their moving to the States last year was to go for pastures new in order to widen their horizons somewhat, this album becomes important in more ways than one. Two of the tracks are already familiar ~ being Slade's last two singles, but the remaining numbers, all written by Noddy and Jimmy Lea offer a lot of variety. The most immediate thing I noticed was the arrangements - which included some solid bass work that would have done justice to Led Zep. Next, there's the use of back - up vocals, something Slade haven't used too much in the past. Finally, there's the pace, lots of it. 'Pack Up Your Troubles' is about the slowest number of the album, but even then it bounces along briskly, using an almost busking tempo. It's not an album of singles - it does present tracks that are a lot deeper than I expected. You're right lads, you're nobody's fools!
Up twenty places to #25 in the UK Top 40..... I believe you'll find that should be #18?
Always read the small print!!!
Nice to see that the group still warranted a centrefold poster in 1976, probably their last though.
It's worth pointing out that the 'Slade In Flame' album peaked at #93 in the US Billboard charts. Noddy may well have dreamt it reached #17 or possibly saw it at #17 in some local NY record shop import album chart?