Monday, May 30, 2005
A new Slade concert
On February 4th the "new" Slade gave a concert at a cultural centre in Rødovre near Copenhagen, Denmark. The new line-up consisted of old members Dave Hill on guitar and Don Powell on drums as well as newcomers Steve Whalley on vocals and rhythm guitar and John Berry on bass guitar.
Don was the first to enter the stage at the venue but hardly anyone noticed. Then John came on, then Steve and finally Dave. Dave's entrance made the auditorium roar! It was obviously him whom most of the audience had come to see. We were about 150 people in the audience, all middle-aged. It was a weird experience: elderly men playing to a middle-aged audience, both parts wanting to stir up each other, but both being too old to be really up to it.
Well, I chose to look upon the new Slade as a tribute band to the original Slade and that was okay. John looked more sullen and miserable on stage than original bass player Jim Lea's nickname (Midland's Misery) and Steve was as naughty as original singer Noddy Holder although he lacked Nod's cheekiness. Dave bounced around on stage as a rubber ball and Don was like in the old days, strong, precise, perfect. Steve didn't sound like Noddy, which was quite all right, but his voice quivered a couple of times, the guitars could have been tuned better etc. In short: a tribute band.
The new Slade played original Slade songs from the 1970es and 1980es such as "Look Wot You Dun", "Cum On Feel the Noize", "Everyday", "Far Far Away", "Bangin' Man", "Lock Up Your Daughters" and "Run Runaway". When they played "'Coz I Luv You" Steve got the lyrics wrong. Dave stopped him, asking the audience if anyone remembered the words. Dave then started singing, "Bla-bla-bla…", the audience responding with "'Coz I Luv You". He continued this for so long, that Don forgot to stop when the number was over. He kept on playing the rhythm with his eyes closed, so Dave had to walk over to the drums and shout at him. When realising what had happened, Don laughed so hard that he almost tipped over behind his drums.
At one point Dave played his solo "M'hat, M'coat" on his glowing Superyob guitar and afterwards when they did "Gudbuy T'Jane" Steve pointed to him while singing, "She's a queen". John still looked sullen and Don was in his own world, hitting hard, drying off sweat in white towels, chewing on his gum shield and throwing away broken drumsticks. He went through what seemed to be 10 pairs during the concert and they were all splintered to pieces.
Towards the end of the concert I made eye contact with Don. He suddenly opened his eyes and looked at me, a bit bewildered, then closed his eyes again. Not the second, but the third time that he looked up and found me starring at him, he even smiled at me. Before playing "Mama Weer All Crazee Now" Steve held out the microphone to people in the audience to ask if they were crazy, but when he reached me he pulled back the mike. "I know you're crazy!" he quipped and once again Don almost tipped over from laughing.
The new Slade played for 90 minutes and gave 2 encores, "My Oh My" and "Born To Be Wild". Afterwards Slade's sound technician provided me with the autographs of the band and the following noon when I made my way back home I thought that the new Slade might not be the real Slade but they're a great tribute band. How many other tribute bands have 2 of the original members in them?
Sunday, May 29, 2005
During the 1980es I lost track of Slade. Life happened to me and I got caught up in a university degree, boyfriends, travels abroad, writing books and working as a freelance journalist.
In 1984 Slade stopped touring and I hardly noticed. In 1987 they stopped recording and I hardly noticed. In 1991 they split up and I hardly noticed. And in 1992 Dave Hill and Don Powell regrouped as Slade II with 2 new members and I didn't notice at all.
Then it was late 2004 and I found myself being a single mother to a young girl. By then I had 2 university degrees, a dozen books published in Danish and English and I was still working as a freelance journalist, doing articles, reviews and interviews for cultural magazines at home and abroad.
In late 2004 Denmark saw a new TV-channel, TV2 Charlie, that aired a quiz show about popular music primarily from the 1960es and 1970es. The host, Jørgen de Mylius, seemed to have a thing for Slade so every Saturday night you would be seeing promo videos for "Get Down and Get With It", "'Coz I Luv You", "Merry Xmas Everybody", "Far Far Away" and "Thanks For the Memory" in full length on the tube. And I suddenly remembered, how bloody great Slade had always been.
At the same time the Danish papers were full of ads for concerts with Slade II. Well, at that point they weren't called Slade II anymore but just plain and simple Slade. At first I wouldn't go. Slade without Noddy Holder and Jim Lea was not Slade to me. Is not Slade to me. But I got curious. How would Don and Dave look today? What would they sound like? Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it has always urged me on. When the new Slade played a gig near Copenhagen on February 4th 2005 and one of my friends even volunteered to look after my daughter it was an open and shut case to me. I got hold of a train ticket and was on my way to Copenhagen.
Saturday, May 28, 2005
An original Slade concert
On July 21, 1978 I took the train from my hometown, Odense, around 6 p.m. to go to the town of Svendborg 50 kilometres away. From here there were 2 kilometres to Tved, the village, where Slade was to give a concert in a sports centre. I walked those 2 kilometres, the weather was mild, the birds were chirping, not a car on the road. It was totally peaceful, and then…
I don't remember much from the Slade concert, as I was in a daze. Somebody had wrecked the ladies' room at the venue so a security guy let me use the toilets backstage. Suddenly I found myself chatting to Don Powell and I even ended up getting autographs from the whole band! Man, was I grateful to that security guy! On the other hand I was so starstruck that I hardly remember anything from the concert. Yes, I remember there was a warm up band called Lola. Totally crap. And I remember Slade on stage. They delivered an awesome stage show.
I remember Dave Hill, who used to have long hair and wear the most spectacular outfits, having been shaved bald and wearing black leather. He shook hands with me from stage. I remember Noddy Holder, longhaired and with no top hat, belting out the songs with that cement mixer of his. He flirted with the few girls in the audience, me included. I remember Don Powell, dark and lean, going through drumsticks like they were made of cardboard, literally smashing them to pieces with his hard impact on the drums. And I remember Jim Lea, looking pretty as a picture, making backbends and being the most outgoing on stage. At one point he came so close that his sweat actually dripped onto my face and into my mouth. I can still recall the taste of it.
I can't recall the exact set list. I know for sure, that they played "My Baby Left Me." They played "Gudbuy T'Jane", "Everyday" and "Mama Weer All Crazee Now." They probably played "Cum On Feel the Noize", "Take Me Bak 'Ome" and "Burning in the Heat of Love" as well, but I'm not sure. I was 16 years old and had been close to my gods whom I had adored since I was 9. It was an experience beyond words.
I do remember, however, that most of the other audience were guys. Bikers with insignias on their backs and there were hardly any girls. Sometimes I think that if I hadn't accidentally run into 2 of my mates who were on friendly terms with the bikers, I would have had a hard time among those guys in front of the stage. But it was all worth it. Slade were good humoured, superb playing as ever, willing to give everyone a great night. It's not without reason that they were called the hardest working band ever to come out of Britain. They could really get a crowd going. In the good way.
After the concert I remember standing alone in the parking lot at the venue. Everyone else had gone home on their bikes or in their cars. I had a 2 kilometres walk on a dark country road ahead of me and I wasn't keen on going. I'm not afraid of the dark, but I'm not stupid, either. A 16 years old girl alone on a dark road in the middle of the night. Not good. If it wasn't for you 4 guys in the rental car who picked me up and drove me to the station in Svendborg, I don't know what I had done. You may not have saved my life, but you confirmed my love for Slade. Thanks guys, you know who you are, so share the roses!
As I sat in the train back to Odense at 6 a.m. Slade's music was still ringing in my ears. It had been my best night out ever and I was still thankful to that security guy. And my small bladder!
Since 1971 I've been a fan of the British glam rock band Slade. At that time my music teacher at school played "'Coz I Luv You" on the turntable for us 9 years old kids and I was hooked.
I was brought up on the Beatles, Mothers of Invention, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Uriah Heep etc. as I have an almost 7 years older sister. When the kids at kindergarten sang "Itsy Bitsy Spider" I sang "I'm The Walrus." I was a weird kid. But I had this music teacher who was about 26 years old in 1971 and he played "'Coz I Luv You" on the turntable.
The very moment I heard it, I loved it. It was raw, unpolished, the vocals were devastating, and then there was this melodic Stéphane Grappelli-violin in the middle of it all. I didn't know Stéphane Grappelli at the time, but I knew good music when I heard it, and this was good music! It led to a never-ending love affair with Slade, for of course it was Slade who was on the turntable.
Back then Slade consisted of Dave Hill on guitar, Don Powell on drums, Noddy Holder on vocals and rhythm guitar and Jim Lea on bass, violin, keyboards, second vocals and everything else. Jim Lea was also the guy who composed all of Slade's music whereas Noddy Holder wrote the lion's share of the lyrics.
It had all started back in 1966. Originally Don played in a band called The Vendors which Dave joined in the early 1960es. In 1966 they held auditions for a bass player and the choice fell on Jim. Shortly after Noddy came aboard as the lead singer. Nod, Don and Dave were all born in 1946, Jim in 1949, so they were quite a young band, but they had talent and over the years they went through the names The 'N Betweens and Ambrose Slade while perfecting their stage act.
They had to play together for 5 years before they got their first break as Slade with "Get Down and Get With It" in 1971. It made no. 16 in the British charts and their manager Chas Chandler (former bass player in The Animals and manager of Jimi Hendrix) now craved that they write their first no. 1 hit. Jim and Noddy got together and after half an hour they'd written "'Coz I Luv You." The rest is rock history.
So I was only 9 years old when I became a fan of Slade. They were my band, the first band I had discovered without the help from my sister. Heck, my sister didn't even like them, I think she looked on them as a band for kids! Nothing could be more wrong. Slade was stomping, hard often even suggestive rock'n'roll. But they were glam rockers wearing high heals, glitter and odd costumes so nobody really listened to the lyrics. Well, maybe my mother did. Slade played in my country, Denmark, several times over the years to come, but my mother forbid me to go to their concerts.
Then suddenly it was July 1978 and Slade gave a concert in Tved, a small village 50 kilometres away from my hometown. My mother had sadly died of a virulent disease 4 month earlier, my father was away on holiday and I was 16 years old...
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
The problem with blogs is that navigation is impossible. You can't navigate on a blog, but have to read through the whole sh*t to find what you want. Therefore I've decided to put up a yearly index for this blog so you can see what I've been ranting about throughout the different months. Here goes:
Beginnings, May 28
An original Slade concert, May 28
Interlude, May 29
A new Slade concert, May 30
Review: Play it loud!, June 1
Slade in Flame, June 6
Dave Hill biography, June 10
Noddy Holder biography, June 11
Jim Lea biography, Juny 12
Don Powell biography, June, 13
The Slade Bible, June 25
Who's Crazee Now?, July 3
Cover songs, July 6
Wall of Hits DVD, July 8
Don Powell came by, July 17
Wall of Hits Vol. 2, July 21
Danish links, August 3
Don Powell interview, August 10
A new "new" Slade concert, Vissenbjerg the 5th of August 2005, August 14
Slade in Holstebro, Denmark, August 13th 2005, August 18
Open air concert with Slade, the 20th of August 2005, August 24
The Genesis of Slade, September 1
Rare footage, September 6
Those Danish papers!, September 16
Don Powell on Danish television, September 18
Slade meets Dickens, September 23
Ludwig book, October 1
Slade cut-out, October 2
Original Slade - Danish tour dates, October 4
The ticket for my first and only concert with the original Slade, October 6
'N Between Times, October 7
Footage from Copenhagen 1974, October 9
Alive DVD, October 10
Inside Slade, October 12
When The Black Country Rocked, October 14
1978 photos, October 17
More 1978 photos, November 3
Links and photos, November 4
The DR archives, November 9
2003 photos of Don and Dave, November 15
1974 articles, November 16
The Word, November 19
Classic Rock, November 22
The Very Best of Slade - DVD, December 2
Slade Lochem broadcast from VARA Television, December 13
The Bilston-gig, December 14, 2005, December 21