One of the most exciting bands to come out of Great Britain in the past 50 years, Slade are returning to Cardiff’s Tramshed this Christmas with their unique blend of perfect pop-rock, outrageous flamboyance, and pure fun.
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 Weer 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.
Today’s Slade is led by founder member Dave Hill on Lead Guitar with John Berry who joined in 2003 on Lead Vocals, Bass, Acoustic Guitar and Violin. Joining John on Lead Vocals and Keys is Russell Keefe and Alex Bines on Drums.
Now in 2023, they celebrate 50 years of “Cum on Feel the Noize” & “Merry Christmas Everybody” reaching No1 in 1973! Dave Hill recently took time out to chat about his career.
What did your parents think of you being in a glam rock band?
Well the first thing was convincing them to pack up my job and go professional which they said yes to, I was 18 years of age at the time the Glam rock side of things was much later when I found my feet in the band and then got into the clothes my father Jack had problems with me when I decided to make my own outfits as you couldn’t get things I wanted, So one day I had this idea of silver outfit, I bought a long black ladies coat and sprayed it silver with the paint you spray cars with, I thought it was great so I put it up against the door in our council house in the lounge and it left an imprint of the shape of coat, Dad went mad haha, think he was happy when I got designers later on.. The Metal Nun was my creation at Dad’s house, we went to number one with Cum on Feel the Noize when I wore that costume on Top of the Pops.
Where did the inspiration come from for the outrageous outfits and can you still rock a pair of platforms?
The inspiration was from watching American films at the local cinema Doris Day, Showboat musicals etc, plus also entertainers from Vaudeville such as Max Miller, I knew that you had to be noticed and special and most of all make them laugh, I still wear great costumes today, it’s still about dressing up for a show for me and to make them smile, no platforms mind you as I broke my ankle in the seventies, but still rock out for sure you can’t hold Dave Superyob Hill down.
What music do you listen to at home?
Well, very mixed on my taste, I grew up on classical music with mom and dad it was always on the radio, no telly at that time. Then Rock ‘n’ Roll arrived, that was it…life opened a magic door to the future. I have a vast knowledge of music but if I want lifting up, I stick on Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Elvis, The Beatles Number Ones or The Shadows.
I always keep an eye on new talent, the main thing is, my upbringing was special we had the best music and melodies to learn from just like Slade songs they don’t go out of fashion, they’re great to play and make people happy.
You’ve released an autobiography. What are the most poignant things you talk about in the book?
The reason I wrote my book was for my family, fans and memories. I cover post war Britain growing up in council houses, going to Youth centres, cinema on a Saturday morning, Cowboy and Indian films, Flash Gordon and Superman. In our area, we had bombed out houses to play in, we felt very safe being out in the woods and fields a different time to now.
There wasn’t much money but there were nice people Christmas was simple, life was simple too…but then Rock ‘n’ Roll arrived, my world and purpose in life. The Guitar was new then, I just wanted to play it because Popstars like Elvis, Duane Eddy, Hank Marvin, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry played one, I grew my hair formed a band called the Young Ones and I never looked back.
Merry Christmas Everybody is still a huge Christmas hit. Why do you think the old tracks of that era still make the charts today?
That’s simple, the songs of that time had great melodies, as I’ve said before music was everything when we were young, you fell in love, danced to it, there were no computers or mobile phones but a lot of imagination and the TV to look at. The Christmas song belongs to that time and is a reminder of a great time in music.
Do you ever get bored of performing it?
No, I don’t ever get bored playing a song that is well written and part of so many people’s life’s, it is popular because it means so much to people across the world, look to the future it will always be here in the hearts of people.
Do you ever get nervous before going on-stage and which track do you most enjoy performing?
No, I believe in what I do and to be honest I enjoy playing every Slade song, we have so many that every song I play in the set is a big hit, not many bands have that, I’m thankful we do.
You tour every year, what’s life like now compared to it in the 70’s?
I didn’t think we would be still doing it, but for me it was never a job it was my life, when you do something, you love people recognise that and see me having a great time on stage, so they join in for the party and remember their happy times.
What do you think explains your continuing popularity all over the world?
I think the popularity all over the world is because there’s a common bond in our music which is shared, we are all one when it comes to our songs it joins us together.
What other characteristics about you are people drawn to?
I’ve always stayed grounded, I’m a family man. I love people and I like to connect with them, we are all the same in this world, we all have gifts and mine is music and entertaining, when you make people happy you don’t withhold from yourself, it’s a two-way feeling and on stage is where it happens. Off stage I’m just Dave, who likes to chat to people.
Do you have any regrets?
The problem with regrets is there are things that can bother you, it doesn’t help you in the end, I am where I am because of the things that have happened in my life and I like where I am, there is joy out there, be happy, we are all special and greater than we know.
Looking back, what are you most proud of in your career?
I’m most proud to be still in this business at 75, I’ve always liked to travel, meet new people, hear the fans stories and memories. Life is for living and having something you love.
How do you feel about the ageing process?
They say age is just a number, I’m 75, in a great band, I have a big family and lots of Grandchildren, I love seeing new fans and of course the old fans, just Keep on Rockin’…
What do you hope audiences will take away from your shows in the UK this autumn and what do you adore about live performance?
The audiences that we play to are there for a reason, to hear their favourite Slade songs, when you finish the show on Merry Christmas Everybody, they go home still singing the songs and feeling the Noize…
What are your plans for the future?
The future is always ahead of us and uncertain, but there is one thing that I will look forward to in the future is when I get on that stage and do my best as always, one of the most rewarding feelings I have in life, do what you love, and it will love you.
Slade play Cardiff’s Tramshed on December 18. Tickets available via Slade’s official website.