Odds and sods about the British rock band Slade

Monday, June 13, 2005

Don Powell biography

Donald George Powell was born on the 10th of September 1946 in Bilston, Staffordshire, England as the second of four children of steelworker Walter Powell and wife Dora. Siblings' names: Carol, Derek and Marilyn.
Don was educated at Villiers Road Primary School and Etheridge Secondary Modern School for Boys. As a child he joined the Boy Scouts where he played the bugle before being offered to try out the drums. He also joined the local police force boxing club, fancying himself as a prize fighter, but had to leave in the end because of an ear infection. He then took up athletics for a couple of years as his main hobby alongside the Scout drums.
Don couldn't afford a drum kit at first so he practised on a borrowed one and word got around that he was good. He was offered to play in The Vendors, one of the popular groups in the area at that time, and had to have his dad sign an HP agreement for his first set of drums. The Vendors recorded a 4 track EP that was released in France only.
In the meantime Don had left school and done a college course in metallurgy at Wednesbury Technical College before getting a job in a foundry in Wolverhampton. He worked there for over a year before turning pro as a drummer with The 'N Betweens, the new name of The Vendors, who eventually became Slade.
In the early morning of the 4th of July 1973 Don and his 20 years old fiancée Angela Morris were on their way home in Don's Bentley from the Dix Nightclub in Wolverhampton, where Angela worked as a secretary. The car left the road, flew through a hedge and smashed up against a tree and a brick wall. Angela was killed on the spot. To this day no one knows who drove the car that night as Don lost his short time memory due to the accident and furthermore the both of them were thrown out of the car in a way that made it impossible to tell who was driving.
Don was left in a particularly bad way after the accident. Doctors feared for his life and surgeons had to drill into his scull to ease the internal pressure. But Don surprised everybody with a speedy recovery and six weeks after the accident he was back with Slade, recording the top 5 hit "My Friend Stan". Don was still walking with the aid of a stick, though, and had to be lifted on to his drum kit. The accident left him with no senses of taste and smell and to this day his memory is still dodgy. This has earned him the nickname "Mr. Memory Man". You can hear Noddy introduce him as such on the "We'll Bring the House Down" track on the "Slade on Stage" album from 1982.
Although both Jim and Nod owned homes in London (Jim in the Highgate area and Nod on Cheyne Walk) Don was the only member of Slade to actually move away from Wolverhampton. In 1974 he thus relocated to his flat in Hampstead, close to the London night life.
When Slade split up in 1991 Don owned and operated an antique import/export company before joining Slade II, since 1997 known as just Slade. Furthermore he had a small cameo role in the BBC-version of "Lorna Doone" in 2000.
Don has used Olympic, Premier, Pearl and custom-built Ludwig drum kits and is said to be particularly fond of Pearl kits. He uses Shaws sticks.
In the Mid-eighties Don married BBC reporter Joan Komlosi and the couple lived in Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex. In 2004 Don moved to Denmark to live with his new lady Hanne and her 3 children in Danish town Silkeborg.


At 1:03 PM, Blogger paul goverd said...

thank you for the site its great to read your wriing on don i am a big fan of the group
i met don in the 70s at a venue called the webbington hotel and country club nr weston super mare in somerset
there were around 300 people at the gig
how lucky was i to see the greatest rock band in there prime,playing to 300 hundred people the ticket cost me £2.00 i wonder what u2 would charge today to do a gig in front of 3oo people
paul goverd

At 12:45 AM, Blogger AM said...

always good to read something about the best band of the 70s

At 7:26 PM, Anonymous said...

Just back in touch with Don 1966 last time we spoke. Like Don I drummed in the 60's with a band from Bilston called the Cobras. Played bugle in the Boy,s Brigade. Attended Wednesbury Collage and also boxed. How spooky.
Have always admired Dons drumming to me Top shelf stuff.

Fantastic to know that Don is still touring the World. Good work Mate Keep on Rocking!
Terry Rhodes


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