Odds and sods about the British rock band Slade

Friday, October 14, 2005

When The Black Country Rocked

In 2003 Philip Solomon produced, directed and presented the video "When The Black Country Rocked Vol. 1". It consists of interviews with musicians from Wolverhampton in the sixties, their groups and how their careers developed. All in all there are 13 interviews running from 30 seconds to 10 minutes in this one hour-video.
For Slade-fans 3 interviews will be of particular interest, namely the ones with Johnny Howells, Jim and Dave. The interview with Dave only runs 30 seconds, whereas Johnny Howells and Jim do a 7 minutes interview each.
Johnny Howells tells about how he and Mick Marson formed The Vendors and how Don came into it. He says, that at that point Don didn't have a drum kit to his name and used a telephone directory as a drum pad before borrowing a kit. He also tells that Dave blew them all away with his style of playing. Finally he tells that they didn't realise how popular The Vendors/The 'N Betweens were at the time, and that the biggest compliment to the band was, that Jim wanted to join them.
Jim for his part recounts how he started playing the violin and later got into rock. He tells about his shyness that let him to choose the bass over the guitar as he found the guitar too out front. He gets into the problems he had in being taken seriously because he was a very small teenager who looked like a child and that when he started playing bass he had to use short scale basses because his hands were so small. He also reveals that in his early years he was anti-women as he found women to get in the way of the music.
During his 30 seconds on the video Dave only gets to tell a bit about how he got into The Vendors and that music kept him out of trouble.
The other people interviewed in the video are drummer George Evans (5 minutes), Danny Cannon of Danny Cannon and The Ramrods (7 minutes), Roger Clark of The Black Diamonds and The Californians (4 minutes), Keith Farley, author of "'N Between Times" (4 minutes), journalist John Ogden (1 minute), Anna Terrana of Lady Jayne and The Royaltee (10 minutes), Mick Brookes of The Califonians (5 minutes), John O'Hara of The Californians (30 seconds), Bill Hayward of The Montanas (30 seconds) and Ian "Sludge" Lees of Finders Keepers, The Montanas and Light Fantastic (5 minutes).
The video is not professionally made which reflects in its quality. That aside, the only real annoying thing is that during all the interviews you hear music from the different groups mentioned. Although the music is good, it sometimes makes it almost impossible to hear what the persons interviewed are actually saying. Still, it is fun seeing how all the musicians look today. The video can be ordered from PKN Publications.


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