Exclusive! Catching up with iconic flamboyant Slade guitarist Dave Hill ahead of their London gig

If the name Slade does not resonate with you, their songs certainly will. 45 Years since the release ‘Merry Christmas Everybody’ Slade will play in London at ULU (London University) on 21 December 2018 and I am so thrilled to attend this gig, because Slade, like many bands from the Sixties and Seventies, are absolutely incredible live. I have caught up with their flamboyant talented guitarist Dave Hill to chat about the good old days when Slade had 20 top singles of which 6 were No-1 smash hits plus 6 smash albums. We discussed Elvis, The Beatles, and how Slade have become a firm favourite in the hearts of pop fans all over the world. Dave is such a charmer! He’s got all the star qualities that can keep you in show business forever. He also talked about his Autobiography that covers the ups and downs of his amazing life. Read this interview as it’s really cool, in fact one of the coolest I have ever conducted.

Monica Costa: How has the music scene changed during the past 50 years of your music career? 

Dave Hill:      I turned professional in 1963 when The Beatles made it, and in 1966, we formed what would become Slade. Then, in 1969, we met a man who would then take us to success, and he was the manager of Jimi Hendrix, and he was in the Animals band. He met us and then got us to write songs.

Monica Costa: Are you excited about the new tour with Slade?

Dave Hill:      Monica, it’s a situation where I’ve been in it for a long time. It’s not that I ever go through the motions, but the nervousness, in a sense, it doesn’t really happen in the sense of that, because … I’m like a Vaudeville entertainer, if you know what that is. Someone who’s always entertaining people, who’s quite comfortable with a large audience or a small audience. When I stand at the sides of the stage, I still get that feeling of excitement when you’re waiting for the lights to go down. Then you get announced, and then the music starts, and you come on. Instantly you make that connection with the audience. It doesn’t matter what happened before or even what would happen the next day, it’s all about the moment.

For me, I suppose, when you say, “Am I excited?” I feel that I’m, because I consistently work, I’m regularly in front of large audiences in different parts of the world. I’m quite used to traveling and going to unusual places in Europe. I go to Russia and places like that. The excitement is always astonishing where people who don’t speak your language sing your songs in the language it’s written in, you know? It’s just funny?

Monica Costa: It’s amazing, isn’t it? The power of music, the universal language of music.

Dave Hill:      Yeah, it’s just the personal language of music. I mean, you’re not English, are you?

Monica Costa: I’m Italian.

Dave Hill:      Yeah, I thought there was some lilt in your voice. Well, that’s a country I like. I’ve certainly been to Sorrento. I went to Sorrento on holiday with my wife.

Monica Costa: You’ve gone places with your music. It’s good.

Dave Hill:      It is, yes. I went to Israel a week ago to do a show in Tel Aviv, and I was thinking, “Are they gonna know our songs?” I couldn’t believe they knew them all. Yeah, they did. They know that one as well. It just surprised me, ’cause you know, you go to a foreign country and you’re thinking, “Well, do these Israelis like our music?” Well, they most certainly do. Mind you, it’s a very cosmopolitan city, you see, ’cause it’s very mixed in its cultures. It’s quite a busy place. Cities and things, you know. In Italy, you always have the great homegrown food.

Monica Costa: I like to know the behind the scenes and how you spend your free time when you go travelling. I mean, because you’ve been around 50 years in this industry, how has the music scene changed since the 60s and 70s? I’ve interviewed people like The Zombies. A lot of iconic bands came from the 60s.

Dave Hill:      You mentioned The Zombies. Obviously, though, they were an influence on us back in the 60s. Also, The Kinks, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, The Searchers, The Tremolos. There were so many artists in Britain from the 60s generation. It was a sort of what we might call a “black and white world”, because television wasn’t colour, then. It was all black and white, so you only saw artists on TV, and no matter what they were wearing, ’cause you couldn’t actually see the colours. The difference between the two decades is, when we grew up in the 60s, we were listening to that music and learning from it along with American music like rock and roll, Elvis, Chuck Berry, Little Richard. People like that from the States. Then also the pop artists from America, such as Paul Anka, Dion, Fabian, all those American idols, were also influencing us. America, to an English person, looked like a land of dreams. Hollywood, how is it in Hollywood? It’s all lights, and it’s movies, and it’s Fred Astaire. It’s dancing, and it’s Doris Day.

English people, you know, it’s a bit drab in the 40s. We were coming out of a war and surviving, so it took some time before England started to be happy again. But the 60s was an incredible period. There was the mini skirt, the fashion, Twiggy. It was all of a sudden … Women before the 60s were quite sort of Marilyn Monroe and that kind of looking, how some women were portrayed as icons. But in the swinging 60s there were completely different looks and hairstyles, and that was the thing, so we learned from that. And of course, when we went to the 70s, you see, I was always colourful in my clothes.

Monica Costa: I know. That was my next question, your flamboyant outfits.

Dave Hill:      Yes, my clothes were very flamboyant. I was a little bit shy then and I wasn’t really very confident. When The Beatles made it, and left my school, I eventually got a job in an office and I wasn’t very good. I asked Mum and Dad if I could become a professional musician, and they kind of believed in me.

Monica Costa: Oh, that’s very good. Very unusual for the times.

Dave Hill:      Yeah, it was something, I figured that my mum’s father was a classical pianist, and I think Mum maybe thought that I was inheriting some of that from him, and therefore it came out in my guitar skills. It was the instrument of the generation. I loved it, I loved learning it, and I wanted to stand on a stage and be noticed. I just felt good up there, and I wanted to grow out my hair and look different. It just really changed me. Eventually, I could see that maybe some of the girls were smiling at me, and I suddenly felt pretty good, like as if I’ve got something special to offer. Then I used to dress up, because I knew people who used to laugh, and I used to think, “They’re laughing. That’s good. That’s good, I like that.” It’s kind of like, “Oh, that looks good. What is it?” I said, “Well actually, it’s a women’s blouse and it’s the only thing you can get because it’s colourful and satin.” So, I got this blouse. When I put it on, it looked like a satin shirt on the stage. It looked totally different apart from the big Bowie turn on the front, you know. That was the start of the experimentation, and then I got into this idea of space. There was a lot of space travel going on in the late 60s, and I got into this idea that silver could be an interesting colour.

Monica Costa: Great idea, actually. Silver like the astronauts’ suits.

Dave Hill:      Yeah, and I thought, “I’ll get myself a real long silver coat. ” I had it made in London at a market. Then I wore it, and then I got platform shoes. It was so new, and it was so fresh, and there was colour television coming in, so therefore, when I got on Top of the Pops, which was the big programme, people were like dead. I mean, people looking at me with eleven years of age, and going, “Oh. What is this? Oh, it looks real fun. Is he crazy? What is he wearing?” It got kind of like a challenge for me, to actually think of a new outfit to wear next time I’m on the Top of the Pops. It’d become like, part of the selling side of the group. You had to have good songs, right? But if you have good songs with people who can promote your good songs, and others that have got an image, you’ve got an all-time winner, haven’t you? It’s going to work. I believed in it, you see. The thing is, I didn’t do it or be embarrassed. I enjoyed it. The reason it’d come across well is because I was up in front doing it, and people were having fun watching it. People didn’t wear clothes like that in the street anywhere. It was a bit like, “Oh, there’s this guy with a funny hairstyle and he’s got these glittery clothes.”

I think what it was like, it was almost like looking at a Hollywood movie when it comes big on the screen, and you’re suddenly impacted by something stronger than you’ve ever seen before, but in a nice way. When I see people who’ve become successful, they tell me stories about when they were really young watching me. “Oh,” he says. He said, “We used to just tune in to see what you’d wear this week.”

Monica Costa: I think now it’s different. The times are different because people … you’ve done it all. Between the 60s, 70s, and 80s, everything has been done. So now I feel like the music, what more can they do to kind of surpass that brilliance that was already covered by you all? I mean, The Beatles, The Stones, [inaudible 00:11:37], and The Zombies, and then later, the Spandau Ballet, and the Duran Duran, and then Michael Jackson, Madonna. And now, I think I feel like that, in the music industry, there’s a little bit of a stall. There are too many musicians coming up, but very few with songs that will last a decade or so. I have this feeling, I mean.

Dave Hill:      There’s too much on display but there’s not enough originality. The process of learning is different because people are more into quick fixes. Like, “Oh, I wanna be a pop star. How do I become one? Well, I’ll learn to sing and then I’ll maybe get on a reality show, or get on X Factor or something like that.” X Factor is all about entertainment. Young artists get up there and the audience go, “Right, let me listen to the voice of this girl.” Then there’s a whole team of people dancing around the back of her as if it’s some big production and she’s already made it. She hasn’t made it at all. Then all the judges are going, “Oh yeah, that was really great.” It wasn’t really great, because actually we’re looking at the whole spectacle. You weren’t really listening. A lot of singers have got this idea. They’re grooving away, and then they’ve got a hit into some majestic chorus, but sing really high. There’s so many singers that sound exactly the same. None of them are Whitney Houston and they never will be.

Monica Costa: There is only one Adele. Adele is very different. She’s unique.

Dave Hill:      Adele is not someone to be on X Factor. I know exactly where she’s coming from, because she’s someone that probably sang in pubs in London. She’s someone that stood up, and she’s a big girl, and she’s no bimbo. She’s a large girl, a bit like Aretha Franklin in her shape. And like Aretha Franklin, you’re not looking at her body shape. You’re listening to somebody that’s got, well in the case of Adele, she’s someone that stood out amongst a lot of singers who are all grooving and grooving and making noises. It’s almost very much disposable. The excitement of the 60s and 70s was that you were working to achieve something, and the only way you achieve it was by perseverance over years. Eventually, your hard work will pay off. You’re a bit like a Vaudeville entertainer, someone who works the boards in clubs and pubs, and eventually gets better and develop into something. Then you maybe write something which is original. Your influences are obviously whatever’s around you, but to come out with a different look.

If you look at the 70s, for instance, there was a lot of oddities then. There was Marc Bolan, a guy who looked the business on television. He looked slightly feminine, but he also looked like a guy, cork screwy hair, slightly hippie with colour, and it was that sort of time. He was a little bit folky and a little bit electric. He had a magnetism about him and an unusual voice. Then you’ve got Rod Stewart, right? Rod Stewart was knocking around with bands in my past, different bands. He got a voice, he wasn’t the main singer in some of them, but he got this spiky hair, his own style. That’s the thing, you see. A lot of people that make it are usually original for their time. Like David Bowie! Bowie’s not your regular singer. He’s not someone who you might say, “Oh, he’s a really great singer.” He’s a great interpreter of lyrics.

Adele’s a great singer. Mick Jagger is not a great singer, but Mick Jagger is an interpreter of a style, and he’s got a facial appeal, and The Rolling Stones were this rugged-looking, scruffy-looking band. A bit alternative. Then you got The Beatles: four guys with the same hair styles, and the same jackets, but with great songs and great voices. They’re totally original. Look at the rest of the bands from Liverpool and nobody was as good as them. There were some good things that came out but nobody was as original as them, and therefore they took on the world.

With Slade our manager was successful as Jimi Hendrix’s manager and he was also in the Animals, so he knew a good song but he said, “The trouble is, in the ’70’s, people are looking for the next Beatles and I think you’re already,” he looked upon us as being that. He said, “I think you’re already here but they’re seemingly trying to find something that’s going to be a phenomenon.”

In 1973 we were a sort of phenomenon because we were the working-class group which had a very raw sound. We had a singer that sung higher than anybody else and powerful, and we were very working-class people who were crying out to their environment to do something in life, and we made music fun. We made it like non-political. We went into a situation, even if it was a small pub, we’d always do things in the show. We thought, “I ought to try this idea.” And sometimes we used to look in the audience and if we spotted anybody that looked unusual we’d usually go and draw them into the act and bring them, “Oh, there’s a guy over there. What’s your name?” And we used to kind of do entertainment. Sometimes certain people used to come to the show each time just to be picked out.

We used to be experimenting with what we called entertainment as well as good songs. And when you were in a band in the ’60s and ’70s there wasn’t much else going on. There were the day jobs, the nine to five. You either had a trade, or you worked in an office, or all that but if you were in a group that was not considered as a job. That was considered a bit risky, but we didn’t think like that. We never thought it was a risk. We just thought, “This is really what we’re enjoying, and if you would do something you really believe in and enjoy it’s not always about how much money you’re going to make. It’s about you doing something which gives you joy.

Monica Costa: It is very interesting that you’re saying it because Colin from The Zombies told me that, actually, at the time, also the ’70s, same time as you are talking about, “we wanted to make great music and this is what we only cared about: being great musicians. We didn’t care about the money, we didn’t care about the image, we just wanted to get out there and play the best possible music.”

And they still believe in the same now … Despite all the changes in the music industry, this is all they care about, you know?

Dave Hill:      Yeah, that’s right. The Zombies were very good. I do remember them. They’re a little bit older than us I think, but we came later than them, but we were aware of them. There was them, The Small Faces, and The Kinks. You know, there was an awful lot going on but none of them were the same as the other and we were nothing like any other group so therefore a lot of groups were slightly copying us, trying to glam up a bit, and there was a bit of that. But the good thing about us is that we wrote our own songs and other bands’ songs were written for by other people. Chinn and Chapman wrote a lot of songs. There was an artist called Suzi Quatro, and she was very popular in England, and she’s American but she has an English band and she came over here to do something because I don’t think she could do anything in America at the time, so she made it here. And then she got on to a show called ‘Happy Days’ in America with the Fonz and all that.

Monica Costa: Yeah, I remember. I watched it every week. I’m a girl of the ’70s. I was born in the ’70s.

Dave Hill:      Well no doubt you are. You’re obviously a girl (giggles). But the thing is, it may be an honest answer to say we’re not going to repeat what has happened because nobody will grow into what we grew into, to become what we became, because their needs are different. The time is different. The imagination’s not there. It’s sort of like, “Oh yeah, we’ll form a band. We’ll get a few nice guitars” because you can get them easy now and all that kind of stuff, right?

It wasn’t like in 1960 … in the early ’60s when you couldn’t afford a guitar. I mean, you couldn’t even get a shop that had one in. Now guitar shops are like really supermarkets. There’s tons of them and they’re just selling loads of guitars, but the difference in years ago is like say Cliff Richard and the Shadows for instance, right? Hank Marvin didn’t have that guitar at first that he became famous for but Cliff Richard bought it for him from America so it had to be brought over and it was an already pink Fender.

You see, nobody had seen one of them in Britain. They were usually some old crappy looking things that were in a catalogue or something. Even my first guitar was awful. It was a cheap thing from a Catalogue mail order and it was rubbish but I wanted it. I wanted to learn it. I just thought I’m rubbish at school. I’ve got something inside of me. When I started to get better, Dad said to me, he said, “You know, some people have to learn it, and some people have got it, and you’ve got it.”

It’s a good analogy because Dad doesn’t waste his words, and in a sense I think he recognised in me there was something naturally happening, rather than something that’s been taught by someone else and it’s formulated. That’s another thing about modern music is most people are looking at laptops and a lot of things on laptops are all the same so therefore if you’re all working on the same page then you’re likely to come up with very similar ideas and it becomes a bit monotonous. I know we’re in the scene where there’s lots of rap music and things like that but there were forms of rap music a long time ago in the forms of spoken word, but there is so much of it now you might say, “What are we going to remember from … Well in fact, what are we going to remember from 2008 in 40 years time? Well, you’re going to be hard pushed to remember anything.  So disposable. In 40 years-time bands might be extinct in a sense of the purpose behind a band. The purpose behind the band, in 1960s, is rebellious. It’s a band, you’ve got to be in a band. Now, a band is alternative. It means your parents won’t like you and I like that idea. Let’s get in a band and grow our hair and oh yes, we’ll get on the stage, we’ll play rock and roll, and everybody will start a music career.

When Elvis got up on stage and performed it was okay when he was live but if he got on television they wouldn’t let him … they wouldn’t show his bottom half of his body because he jived his legs around which they said was suggestive and sexual. It must be banned because middle America is very religious so therefore you cannot watch this.

Monica Costa: Elvis was the most religious person ever. I read a book about his being very spiritual, so that’s ironic that it was banned for being so promiscuous.

Dave Hill:      He was a religious man because he had good parents that brought him up with morals. He was also a very polite man. He was very gentle when you heard him talk, and he called people sir. I envisioned that his relationship with his mother was extremely strong, and I think in a sense when his mother died part of Elvis maybe died with her. He was affected by her loss because he was a twin. He was one of two and his twin brother died in childbirth and therefore he survived. Like a twin sometimes they always say sometimes one twin will survive against the other and the other one dies in the womb. And that’s probably tragic as well. The thing is, he came and John Lennon said, “Before Elvis, there was nothing.” And if you think about it, before Elvis what did we know? The only music in England around about that time was skiffle music in the likes of Lonnie Donegan and Tommy Steele, and they were the pop people of the day, and a lot of it was just shaking maracas and making noises, and funny stuff before we started to play guitars.

The guitar was not an instrument of my early childhood. In fact, it was rather unusual to ever even see one. When I first saw one, a boy down the block on my street was strumming this guitar and I said, “What the heck is this?” And he said, “Oh, me dads bought it for me” he said “from a catalogue. I said, “I see, what catalogue?” He said, “Oh, it’s that Kay’s catalogue,” “Oh, I’m going to have a look at that.” And then I saw this and I went, “Oh, it’s got a few guitars in there.” I showed Dad and Dad says, “ooh, that’s interesting son, but is it something of a fad, don’t you think? You’ll have one and then you’ll put it down and you may not use it,” I said, “No.” He said, “Well, look, I’ll buy you a cheap one and if you progress on the cheap one I’ll buy you a better one.”

He did do that and he bought me a better one. In fact, he bought me the guitar which I’d use on all the greatest hits of Slade, including our Christmas song.

Monica Costa: Which guitar is it?

Dave Hill:      It looks like a Gibson but it’s not actually a Gibson but it’s got a Gibson neck. It’s a SG shape, which is double cut away, the two horns is an SG. A bit like a guitar that Angus Young would play. We call them rock guitars. They’re double-cut, whereas the Les Paul is a single cut. I don’t actually get on with Les Paul guitar but a double cut, because I’m left-handed.

Monica Costa: Yes, that’s another thing about you that’s quite peculiar, right?

Dave Hill:      I’m left-handed but I play right and you know why I play right? Because there were no left-handed guitars in the early ’60s.

Monica Costa: But it must’ve been really tough to learn how to play with your left sort of able hand, right?

Dave Hill:      I had a teacher, and he used to be a biology teacher at our school. He was a jazz guitarist when he wasn’t at school. He said, “Oh, come around the house, Dave, and bring your guitar and I’ll string it up for you and I’ll show you a few chords. So I went around his house and I got the guitar and I’ve got it upside down. He said, “You can’t play it like that.” I said, “I’m left-handed.” He said, “It’s not a left-handed guitar.” He said, “You’ll have to play it right-handed like everybody else.” And he said, “The thing is, you’ll get used to it. Forget it, just do it.”

And he was right. I started to learn, and can you believe, Monica, that I meet people who play left-handed and they are left-handed and they regret it. They say, “I wish I’d done what you did, Dave. That means my left hand is the hand that would be going up and down the frets and bending the strings, whereas my right hand does the rhythm, so if you think it’s the other way around your left hand would be wasted”.

There’s something in the way I play and the way I do things on notes which is unique to a particular style, maybe it has to do with me being what we call caggie handed, which is left handed but left-handed oddity, and a lot of left handed people are good like McCartney, Hendrix, Gabby Moore, he was left-handed.

Monica Costa: Kurt Cobain (Nirvana) was left-handed too.

Dave Hill:      Yeah, Kurt Cobain, yeah.

Monica Costa: … but he played with a left-handed guitar.

Dave Hill:      Yes, that’s right. Later on then, Paul McCartney made it, of course, we saw the left-handed bass guitar you see. We’d never seen one of them before because nobody made them. He’d got this violin bass and we’re going, “Oh, that looks really great, doesn’t it? ” He’s got his guitar one way and George Harrison’s got his neck the other way and they can stand together on the microphone.” It was quite funny. I thought, “That’s good though because the guitar will just get in the way you see because they’re both opposites. So, it’s as Paul used to say when him and John wrote the songs. Paul had his acoustic guitar one way and John had it the other and it kind of worked out when they were looking at each other.

I do have a feel … I’m possibly classical minded maybe because my granddad was a classical pianist, so through him I think I’ve inherited something, although I never knew him. I believe in me the spirit is speaking. I think it’s always been there. When I was young and the teacher wouldn’t let me join the music because she said, “You can’t read music so you cannot join.” And I’m probably glad I didn’t go in because then what they’d trying to teach me formatted music with the recorder that sounded like blowing a bloody whistle. Nobody had pianos in those days because it was too expensive. But the guitar and it was comforting as well as part of you. A guitar is tactile and woody, it has an energy in itself. When you get a new guitar it doesn’t have an energy. But when you start to play it and play it and keeping playing it, bit by bit a little something from yourself goes into the guitar which suddenly starts to make it work. With the first guitar that dad got me, not the rubbishy one, the first proper one, it had got a sound about it. And when we recorded it had a cutty sound, it would cut through on the track. If you listened to “Come on feel the noise.” Or you listened to “Ma We’re All Crazy Now” or a lot of them you’ll hear the sound of my guitar in there, it’s definitive. You can hear because it cuts through but it’s not played through 100-watt amplifier, it’s played through a small Fender with one speaker in it.

[arve url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePDqbDWXuDQ” /]

Because big amps do not record well onto tape. But a small amplifier with the right engineer records very well. And especially a quality Fender from the past. You know old people talk about it. And they’re talking like technical nerds. What they don’t realise is it has nothing to do with the amplifier that’s made now. It’s to do with an amplifier that was made years and years ago with different sort of wiring.

=And a guitar that probably hasn’t got the same pickup as another guitar that looks exactly the same. Now you can buy guitars that are exactly identical to each other and the pickup and the winding. But in those days the person who winds the pickup on the day, may wind it differently from the guy who winds the pickup the next day. And that’s what it was like in the Sixties because the people making guitars were quirky, they didn’t make it to format, they made it through inspiration.

My guitar is unique because there’s no other like it and there never will be. I can go and buy a good Gibson guitar now. Of course, I can and it’s a workable road instrument. The pickups that were made on my first Gibson were made in the Sixties. And making guitars from since 1959 through 60-odd through the middle ground are very, very unique. Because it may look like a Gibson and Les Paul, but no Les Paul was the same essentially when they were sold in those days. Each Les Paul had a slightly different sound. And the make of it wasn’t exactly the same. Therefore, the originality was the fact there weren’t many an offer.

Monica Costa: The festive season is coming up and with Slade you’ve got amazing songs in your repertoire like the Christmas song and other tunes. Which song is the most popular with the audience?

Dave Hill:      That’s a good question. There’s the common theme that runs through the songs which is a connection between different cultures and different countries. And you can guarantee a certain set of songs will always work no matter where you are. And I can always say to you that maybe ‘Far, Far Away’ will be as big in Russia as it is in Germany. In fact, it’s bigger in Russia than it is anywhere else. In Germany, it’s just huge because it was a hit twice.

But it was a never a number one in England. ‘Come and feel the Noise’, ‘Goodbye to Jane’, ‘Ma we’re all crazy now’, there’s a common thread with them. They are interlinked in a time period, and therefore they also led to the Christmas song. They have got to be in the show. In Russia, for instance, the song ‘Ooh La, La in L.A.’ was never a hit anywhere else except in Russia. (Dave sings the song) It’s really catchy. And Russians know all the noises in all the songs. It’s just the one they asked me and there was another song, ‘All In For A Penny’. It has this like jazzy feel. And so they’re singing along with it. That is big in Russia and in Czech Republic. It isn’t particularly big anywhere else.

I’m pretty good at saying that the set I’ve organised will cover probably some of the biggest songs there have ever been for us. And I’ll start with a hit and I won’t stop playing it until I finish the show. There are not many bands except the Beatles that could do that. Because six of them are number ones. And if they’re not number one, they’re number two, or number three. I know that certain songs have a drumming in them that makes people jump around. We have a song called, ‘Run, Run Away’, which was a very big. It was a very big, it’s drum-orientated, it was a very big song abroad. It has a violin in it and it has a guitar riff in it. It’s very catchy. But it’s also slightly country, come-gypsy dance about it. It’s real fun. And everywhere I play they love it, because it’s very simple, easy lyrics, simple song. I can put that in the act anytime. ‘Run, Run Away’ was big hit in the 80s. We had a song in the 80s called ‘My Oh My’ and that was absolutely huge abroad. Sometimes in England I can do it because people know it was a number two. But believe it or not, it was number two, we couldn’t get to number one because the Flying Pickets were number one. And that was a quirky one-off song. But couldn’t get them off the top, and that was 1983. I think we’d have been one, had they not got that song out. They brought out the song by Yazoo.

Flying Pickets were very much a current thing: picketing buildings, and the kind of people that picket. They dressed up like working men who were a bit political. But we were doing real great with that song. It was being played in America in L.A.

Then we had a phone call from a record company that said, “You know they’re playing ‘My Oh My’ over here, we’d like to sign you.” I said, “Well, this is great.” It was 1990 something… “Do you want to sign us?” “Yeah, yeah, we’re gonna sign.”

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We like this other song you recorded called “Run, Run Away.” We’re thinking of putting it out. So we organised it and then we did a deal with them. The company was CBS records which was a very big company.


They had a hit record. Our manager at that time was Sharon Osborne, Ozzie’s wife. She’d come to America with us. And we toured with Ozzie Osborne, believe it or not, which I didn’t think it was a particularly good idea because his audience are a bit bizarre.

That’s toying around a bit, it’s a bit bizarre but that was it. You’re aware of my life story book ‘So here it is’. That’ll take you back to 1946 when the war was finished.

It’s like a period drama. It’ll take you through austerity of not much money into the great British Council House that was built. And it will take you to the point where I’m growing up and I’m about 11 or 12, and Rock and Roll appears on the planet from America. It was Bill Haley and the Comets. There was a song called ‘Rock Around The Clock’. It was like a swing rock thing and you know (singing). Then Elvis comes and that was the start, that was the seed of everything that we would follow and listen to until we formed bands of our own. Every band that ever made it in the Sixties listened to Elvis. I’m absolutely sure of that. Because before Elvis there wasn’t anything at all, nothing like that man anyway. Nothing like a man that looked so good and sung great and moved like in a sexual way. I believe he was also a very nice person. The thing is that was the start of it. Then you’ll see the boy from Wolverhampton, which is me.

You’ll see me get hold of this crappy guitar and start to learn it. Then you’ll see the story developing asking Mum and Dad if I can go professional. When I became a professional musician I started growing the hair and becoming confident. Then the group got better and better and then Noddy came in, and then we got even better. Then we met Chas Chandler later in the Sixties and we started our road to success. But also, the book will also tell you about the severe depression I suffered and survived, about the stroke I survived.

Monica Costa: I heard about that.

Dave Hill:      It’ll also tell you about how serious the depression was on my mother, due to having a child out of wedlock, back in the 1930s. And it also tells you about a fake wedding. My Mum and Dad supposedly got married, but faked it, and it’s a really charming story.

Monica Costa: I look forward reading it.

Dave Hill:      I shall see you at the London gig, Monica! Make yourself known!


A little bit about Slade

SLADE’S chart career has spanned 3 decades and their enduring songs “Cum On  Feel  The  Noize”  and  “Coz  I  Luv  You”  are  still  featured  today  in  TV commercials for some of the Worlds biggest companies. 

SLADE first hit the road in 1966, touring throughout Great Britain and Europe and  becoming  a  regular  concert  attraction.  Joining  forces  with  the  former Animals bass guitarist and Jimi Hendrix Experience manager, Chas Chandler, Slade achieved their first chart hit in May 1971 with the Bobby Marchan song “Get Down And Get With It” then, released in October of the same year “Coz I Luv You” was the bands first No-1 and a huge hit across Europe. 

Throughout  the  seventies,  Slade  became  one  of  Europe’s  biggest  bands, touring and recording continually and making regular trips to America, Japan and other parts of the world. Slade’s catalogue of hits are synonymous with the era:- “Take Me Bak ‘Ome”, “Mama We’er All Crazee Now”, “Cum On Feel The Noize”,  “Gudbye  T’  Jane”, along  with  the  many  others  provided  a  soundtrack to   the   Glam   Generation   and   are   still   today,  heavily featured on  any retrospective of the time. 

At the beginning of the eighties, Slade were invited to appear at the Reading Rock  Festival,  a  massive  annual  event  which  attracted  over  100,000 people. They literally stole the show, giving some of the worlds biggest rock bands a serious  run  for  their  money  whilst  kindling  new  interest  from  a whole  new audience.  As result,  the  band  signed  a new  record  deal  and  unleashed  the anthem “We’ll Bring The House Down”, which reached the Top 10 in the UK in January 1981. 

Slade were back! 

Not  content  to  rest  on  their  Glam  laurels,  Slade  began  forging  a  new  path through  the  hugely  influential  British  heavy  rock  scene.  A  second successful appearance  at  Castle  Donnington in 1981,  before a crowd of over  200,000 

2 people,  consolidated  the  bands  position  and  paved  the  way for  the  single “Lock Up Your Daughters”, and the album “Til Deaf Do Us Part”. 

While  Slade  were  busy  in  the  UK  releasing  the  massive  hit  “My Oh  My”  to huge  acclaim,  LA  metal  band  Quiet  Riot  were  spreading  the  word  Stateside with  their  version  of  “Cum  On  Feel  The  Noize”,  which  proved so  successful that  they  followed  it  up  with  “Mama  We’er  All  Crazee  Now”.  Throughout  the rest of the eighties Slade toured and recorded due to them once again being a major force in British pop’n’rock. 

The early ninties saw the bands “Radio Wall Of Sound” hit the UK Top-30 and thereby give Slade a solid 20 year chart run! 

In  1993,  due  to  the  continual  demand  from  around  the  world, founder  Slade members Dave Hill and Don Powell decided to return to touring by playing a few select dates in Europe prior to embarking on what turned out to be a very successful two month tour of Australia. 

SLADE have continued to tour  the  world.  They are firm  favourites on the lucrative  German  festival  scene  and undertake an annual  UK   “Merry Christmas Everybody” tour in December.  They also have a huge following of fans and regularly play  concert  dates  in  Russia,  Poland,  Belgium,  Holland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, France and the Czech Republic. 

Led by founder members Dave Hill and Don Powell, the bands latest additions are ex Mud bass guitarist John Berry, frequently spied in the guise of the Big Issue seller in Eastenders, and new lead vocalist Mal McNulty. Mal has had an extensive career, he featured with Rockin Horse in the 70s, heavy rock band Golden Night, German rock band Hazzard, and he was a founder member of London  fun-pub  band  Paddy Goes To Holyhead.  Having formed The Wandering Crutchless with Tino Troy of Preying Mantis,  Bruce  Bisland  of Sweet  and occasional guest Andy Scott, Mal  joined  Sweet  in which he eventually became lead vocalist. 

Slade today is still one of the most exciting bands on the road, and their stage performance is a  dynamic,  powerful  and  exhilarating  roller-coaster  ride  of pure unadulterated rock’n’roll. 

A date for your diary, Slade are back for Christmaaaas! 




Get Down & Get With It (16) 

Coz I Luv You (1) 

Look Wot You Dun (4) 

Take Me Bak ‘Ome (1) 

Mama Weer All Crazee Now (1) 

Gudbuy T’Jane (2) 

Cum On Feel The Noize (1) 

Skweeze Me Pleeze Me (1) 

My Friend Stan (2) 

Merry Christmas Everybody (1) 

Everyday (3) 

Bangin’ Man (3) 

Far Far Away (2) 

How Does It Feel (15) 

Thanks For The Memory (Wham Bam Thank You Mam) (7)

In For A Penny (11) 

Let’s Call It Quits (11) 

We’ll Bring The House Down (10) 

My Oh My (2) 

Run Run Away (7)



SLADE – December 2018 –  UK Tour Dates are (plus support from Mud 2): 


Wednesday 5th December                         

NEWCASTLE – O2 Academy      

Box Office No – 0191 260 2020

Website –  https://academymusicgroup.com/o2academynewcastle/events/1154605/slade-merry-xmas-everybody-45th-anniversary-tickets



Thursday 6th December                         

GLASGOW – SWG3 Galvanizers       

Box Office No – 0141 332 2232

Website – https://academymusicgroup.com/o2abcglasgow/events/1154609/slade-merry-xmas-everybody-45th-anniversary-tickets



Saturday 8th December                         

LIVERPOOL – O2 Academy        

Box Office No – 0151 707 3200

Website – https://academymusicgroup.com/o2academyliverpool/events/1156122/slade-merry-xmas-everybody-45th-anniversary-tickets



Sunday 9th December                         

WREXHAM – William Aston Hall       

Box Office No – 0844 888 9991

Website – https://www.glyndwr.ac.uk/en/Events/eventlistings/SLADE.html



Friday 14th December                         

OXFORD – O2 Academy (with support from MUD2*)     

Box Office No – 0844 477 1000

Website – https://academymusicgroup.com/o2academyoxford/events/1154595/slade-merry-xmas-everybody-45th-anniversary-tickets


Saturday 15th December                         

HULL – Welly  (with support from MUD2*)     

Box Office No – 01482 221113

Website – https://www.hullboxoffice.com/events/slade-welly-hull



Sunday 16th December                         

LEICESTER – O2 Academy  (with support from MUD2*)           

Box Office No – 0116 223 1181 

Website –  https://academymusicgroup.com/o2academyleicester/events/1154586/slade-merry-xmas-everybody-45th-anniversary-tickets



Friday 21st December                         

LONDON – ULU   (with support from MUD2*)        

Box Office No – 0844 477 1000

Website – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/slade-plus-special-guests-mud-2-tickets-46411921306  



Saturday 22nd December                         

MANCHESTER – Academy 2  (with support from MUD2*)        

Box Office No – 0161 832 1111

Website – https://www.manchesteracademy.net/order/tickets/13336188/slade-manchester-academy-2-2018-12-22-19-30-00   


Support from Mud2 play the following shows only – Oxford, Hull, Leicester, London & Manchester.


Tickets available via www.vmstickets.co.uk


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