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Don Powell in Denmark August 2010

Don Powell questions & answers September 2010



“Don Powell - He is an enormous

drummer” - H


Questions Ilpo Bister (IB), answers Don Powell (DP)



IB: September 2010, over 44 years since the first Slade gig and 47 years on the road with the guitarist Dave Hill. You have been on the road with Slade 45 years now. How does it feel ? Does it still feel as fine as “How Does It Feel ?” feels still to loyal Slade fans ?


DP: I feel so privileged that we are still able to tour and that our loyal fans are still there for us – a big thank you to everyone.


IB: In the early years in Slade you took part in writing some songs. What was your role in the song writing ?

DP: In my early years of songwriting I did the lyrics to those songs.


IB: Looking back through the career of Slade. How would you describe the different time periods of Slade’s career and musical style during them ? Do you agree with me about the titles ?


1966 – 1969 Looking for themselves, already strong on stage


DP: Those titles are very fitting. We went through many musical phases – playing Tamla Motown and American Rock to soul music in those early days before we started to write our own songs.


1970 – 1971 Generating their own style


DP: I suppose meeting Chas Chandler who encouraged us to write our own songs – gave us our identity.


1972 – 1974 Highlight of Slade’s career, creating a new direction and style in rock music


DP: Same again – we put our own style into everything – creating a new style + sound.


1975-1976 Lost in America, oh no ! America is lost ! Looking for a new direction in musical style ?


DP: I suppose spending so much time there listening to all the different styles and genres over there was bound to influence each of the Slade members.



1977 Whatever happened to Slade ? A very strong album of unique kind of hard rock music style still


DP: One of my favourite albums! Then again most of it influenced by the time spent in America.


1978 – 1979 Return to base, on stage but not musically


DP: I think musically and direction wise we were a bit lost in direction.


1980 – 1982 Heavily back on stage; blowing any band off the stage in Reading, Donington, Lochem, Kuusrock (Oulu, Finland 1982)


DP: It was like a  re-birth for us – being accepted by a different audience, so to speak.


1983 – 1984  Changes in musical direction and working on stage, big classic hits


DP: Having “My Oh My” and “Run Runaway” back in the charts – in the USA also opened up a lot of doors for us again.


1985 Rogues Gallery, “Do You Believe In Miracles” – “Would you believe it! The lads from Wolverhampton have done it again !” - Radio Luxembourg ?


DP: A fun album to make, especially when you are experiencing chart success again.


1986 The most quiet year in Slade’s career, not a single record released !


DP: You know – I really don’t know why !


1987 “You Boyz Make Big Noize” – but the feeling is lost ?


DP: Spending too much time in recording – definitely loosing the feeling.


1988 – 1990 ???


DP: Didn’t know where we were and didn’t have a direction.


1991 Radio WOS – they can still do it ! “ Universe” – one of the finest Slade songs, and The End of the greatest rock band ever !


DP: Great song – and definatively the “end”.


IB: Where did you get the idea of putting up Slade 2 and how did it find its line-up ?


DP: Dave and myself still wanted to tour – and we found the new memebers by word of mouth.


IB:You have been touring intensively with the new Slade line-up since 1992. Have you got rehearsals together with the band or on your own, or do you just “hit the road” ?


DP: We did rehearse a lot with the new members and just threw ourselves in the “deep” end on a tour of Australia.


IB: You’re living in Silkeborg in Denmark nowadays. Why did you settle down there ?


DP: Because I found the love of my life there and feel incredibly happy living in Denmark.


IB: You’re making a biography with the Danish writer Lise Lyng Falkenberg ?


DP: Lise has been wonderful – with her research – talking to so many people. I’m finding it interesting to read also.


IB: There is also another book coming out from you (Bibble Brick?) ?


DP: We are trying to get a deal for Bibble Brick the same time as my biography.


IB: Can you remember and mention the best gigs from the Slade 2 years on the road in the following countries:



Germany: Val-bonne, Berlin

Denmark: Music+Theatre House – Silkeborg

Russia: Olympic Stadium  - Moscow

Sweden: ?

Norway: ?

Finland: ?

Belgium: Forrest National, Brussels


IB: There are thousands of cover versions of your songs. Can you mention some of them that appeal most to you ?


DP: “C’mon Feel The Noize” by “Lucky Uke” – a ukulele band from USA/Canada


IB: How would you tell what were the factors that made Slade such a unique strong group both musically and on stage, a band in their own class ?


DP: All totally different people from different musical backgrounds and styles coming together to form a band.


IB: If you had to pick up the best songs for a Slade’s Greats album, which 10 tunes would you put on it ?


DP: “C’mon Feel The Noize”, “I’m Me I’m Now That’s All”, “In Like A Shot From My Gun”, “Know Who You Are”, “Far, Far Away”, “Nobody’s Fools”, “Chakeeta”, “My Baby Left Me”, “Slam The Hammer Down”, “Don’t Waste Your Time” (IB: many of them also my biggest Slade favourites !)


IB: You have been guesting on other artists’ records too. Can you tell us with which artists you have been working with?


DP: The Pleasers, Sue Wilkinson, Nick van Eede (Cutting Crew)


IB: Do you listen a lot of music and who are your favourites?


DP: The Eagles, Led Zeppelin


IB: Have you got any idea how many gigs you have played with Slade?


DP: 45 years multiflied by approx 500 = 22.500 and more ! (IB: I think that Don has got more days in a year than me !)


IB: Have you got some plans for releasing new records with the current Slade line-up?


DP: We were in the studio recently to start to work on  a new album.


IB: Have you heard the James Whild Lea album “Therapy”, and if yes, what is your opinion about it ?


DP: I really liked his album and I told him so.


IB: You were guesting in the Oliver Twist musical in Denmark ? What kind of experience was this to you ?

DP: Wonderful – I played in the band playing Slade songs to the musical; different, eh !


IB: John Lennon tribute in Denmark 2010 ?


DP: That comes up in December.


IB: The last question. Dapple Rose, Know Who You Are, In Like A Shot From My Gun, Coz I Luv You, Look Wot You Dun, Take Me Back Ome, Mama Weer All Crazee Now, I Won’t It Appen Agen, Gudbuy T’Jane, Cum On Feel The Noize, Skweeze Me, Pleeze Me, My Friend Stan, Merry Xmas Everybody, Everyday, She Did It To Me, The Bangin’ Man, Do We Still Do It, Miles Out To Sea, When The Lights Are Out, Far, Far Away, O.k. Yesterday Was Yesterday, How Does It Feel ?, Lay It Down, Them Kinda Monkeys Can’t Swing, Nobody’s Fool, All The World’s A Stage, Get On Up, Big Apple Blues, Dead Men Tell No Tales, The Soul, The Roll And The Motion, Lightning Never Strikes Twice, Gypsy Roadhog, Forests Full Of Needles, Give Us A Goal, Rock’n’Roll Bolero, Chakeeta, My Baby’s Got It, When I’m Dancin’ I Ain’t Fightin’, Pistol Packin’ Mama, We’ll Bring The house Down, Knuckle Sandwich Nancy, Rock’n’Roll Preacher, C’est La Vie, My Oh My, Run Runaway, Slam The Hammer Down, Don’t Tame A Hurricane, All Join Hands, Walking On Water, Running On Alcohol, Do You Believe In Miracles, Love Is Like A Rock, You Boyz Make Big Noize, Still The Same, Fools Go Crazy, Ooh La La In L.A., Radio Wall Of Sound, Lay Your Love On The Line, Red Hot, Universe - Amazing Slade ! Do you often think about how great, strong and creative group Slade were?


DP: No, not really – I think if you ask anyone that question – they would say the same, it’s a nice memory when you see it all written down.


Don’s greetings to Slade fans:


“As I’ve said – I just feel so privileged that I’m still able to tour with the same enjoyment as when I first started over 40 years ago. Thanks to you all xx”


And big thanks to Don for kindly answering our questions ! See You and Slade on stage at Aschersleben in Germany 4th December 2010.

Noddy Holder: Why Slade movie Flame is a cult-classic


Belfast Telegraph, Northern Ireland's best selling newspaper, Thursday, 26 August 2010:


Glam rock legend Noddy Holder tells Andrew Johnston about his classic film being screened in Belfast tonight


The Flickstock season at Queen's Film Theatre has brought the summer festival vibe to Belfast — minus mud, sunburn, stale beer and dodgy burgers.


The cultural cinema's seven-film programme ends tonight, wrapping up a week of '60s psychedelia (Tonite Let's All Make Love in London), raucous punk (The Filth and the Fury) and Madchester mayhem (24 Hour Party People).


The closing movie is Flame, starring legendary British glam rockers Slade. The 1975 film has been available on VHS and DVD for years, but the QFT showing is a rare chance to see it on the big screen.


Described as “the Citizen Kane of rock musicals” by über-critic Mark Kermode, Flame casts Slade's classic line-up — singer and guitarist Noddy Holder, lead guitarist Dave Hill, bassist Jim Lea and drummer Don Powell — as titular rockers Flame.


Set in 1966, the dark and gritty movie surprised many followers of the larger-than-life West Midlands quartet, who had been expecting a knockabout comedy.


“It was a shock for the fans,” Noddy tells the Belfast Telegraph. “The hardcore Slade audience, which was a big audience in those days, were expecting a slapstick, fast-moving comedy movie in the vein of A Hard Day's Night, and we totally went against type.


“Chas Chandler, who was our manager and producer, wanted us to make a light-hearted comedy movie, and one we were on the verge of doing was a spoof on The Quatermass Experiment, written by the drummer of the Animals. I was going to play this mad professor, ‘Quite-a-Mess', but Dave Hill didn't want to do it, because he got killed off in the first half!”

The group received the script for Flame, though they weren't convinced at first.


“It didn't ring entirely true to us,” says Noddy, “but it had got something going for it in terms of the atmosphere. So, we took Andrew Birken, the scriptwriter, and Richard Loncraine, who eventually became the director of the movie, on tour in America for six weeks to show them what life on the road was really like.


“I think they lasted two weeks, and came home virtually with a nervous breakdown, the pair of them. They couldn't believe the chaos and the mayhem of a rock 'n' roll band on tour, but they did get a taste of what it was all about and reworked the script totally.”


The plot is highly realistic, depicting the seedy side of the music industry.


“I'd forgotten how dark it was as a movie, in terms of the violence and the things that go on behind the scenes,” says Noddy.


“From our point of view, acting in it, we'd forgotten how big a message it was and how much it relates to the music business today. There was the Tom Conti figure, the manager, who was marketing the product like a tin of baked beans, much the way as people like Simon Cowell are today.”


At the time of the film's release, Noddy was concerned that fans might interpret Flame as the true story of Slade. In fact, several incidents in the movie — including a shooting, fistfights and an absurd mix-up involving a coffin — are based on things that happened to other artists.


“Every scene in the movie is true, no matter how far-fetched,” smiles Noddy, naming no names. “To some band somewhere, they're all true stories.”


Flame is now regarded as a cult classic, which is more than can be said for the likes of Gary Glitter's Remember Me This Way or Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park, produced around the same time.


“It's only now, looking back, that the film has become a highly respected movie,” laughs Noddy.


“A lot of people think it wasn't good for the band's career and the band's image, but I disagree. I think it gave Slade another dimension, certainly in terms of the music we wrote for the movie.”


Flame came at the height of an immensely productive — not to mention profitable — period for Slade. By 1974, the four-piece had enjoyed 12 top-20 singles and three chart-topping albums in the UK, as well as several smashes around the world. They were the first act to have three singles enter the British charts at number one, and their 1973 seasonal anthem Merry Xmas Everybody sold more than one million copies.


But it wasn't to last, and the two singles released from the Flame soundtrack — Far Far Away and How Does It Feel? — were among the last of Slade's major hits.


The ubiquitous Merry Xmas Everybody has continued to overshadow the rest of the group's material, piped into shopping centres and high streets each December. The song, pieced together from old riffs and recorded in New York City at the height of summer 1973, also charted every year from 1980-1986, 1998, and 2006-2009.


“I would never knock the Christmas record,” says Noddy. “It was a very powerful single — still is. It's 38 years on now, and it still gets as much play and as much reaction. But you have to separate the Christmas record from the rest of our catalogue. It's a great pop-rock record, but it's not representative of what the band was all about.”


The rough-and-ready outfit also enjoyed several hits in the USA — Run Runaway got to number 20 in 1983 — but they remain most famous Stateside for their influence on other, more successful acts. Gene Simmons has said that the fledgling Kiss were aiming to replicate Slade's energy and simplicity, “American-style”.


“Kiss used to come and see us at a theatre in New York,” reveals Noddy. “They were always there, clocking what we were doing. Gene Simmons has been very open and said that they took everything Slade did to another extreme, and good on him for admitting it. In the latter part of the '70s, we even did some dates with Kiss, and they'd taken what we'd done and just blew it up to the nth degree.”


But perhaps the group who owe most to Slade are the now-defunct hair-metal mob Quiet Riot. In 1983, the US rockers had amazing success with a top-five cover of Cum On Feel the Noize. Noddy, who met Quiet Riot when Slade toured the States, remembers the dilemma this presented to the young musicians.


“The record company insisted that they covered another one of our songs [Mama Weer All Crazee Now] on the second album,” he laughs.


“They loved that they'd had a big hit, but I don't think they liked the fact that they had to keep covering our songs to help sell their product! But that's what happens in rock 'n' roll. You get your breaks where you can.”


Back home, Oasis brought Slade's music to a new generation in the mid '90s with their show-stopping rendition of Cum On Feel the Noize. And comedians Vic and Bob affectionately parodied the group in The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer, in a series of what Noddy has described as “hysterically accurate” sketches.


Holder, Hill, Lea and Powell performed as Slade from 1966 until 1991, when Noddy and Jim left. Dave and Don now tread the nostalgia circuit with new frontman Mal McNulty and bassist John Berry.


Noddy gave his blessing for them to tour as Slade (the bulk of the lucrative back catalogue was penned by Holder and Lea), but is there a part of him that wishes the band had ended in '91?


“I'd have rather they didn't carry on using the name Slade, but I wasn't going to cause a stink about it,” he says. “I'm still close to Don and Dave, and I had to accept that that was what they wanted to do with their lives. I wasn't going to foist the changes I wanted to make to my life on them.”


At 64, the one-time biggest pop star in the land is content to dabble in acting, presenting and voiceover work, as well as playing the occasional low-key local gig with friends. Noddy insists the original Slade will never reunite — not even for a one-off show.


“I think too much water has gone under the bridge now,” he shrugs. “We have all found our own niche and done our own thing for the past 20 years. There have always been offers of us getting back together — really good financial offers — but I do not want to step backwards. I'm not willing to stop doing all the stuff I do now and go back doing what I did for 25 years 20 years ago.”


Flame, Queen's Film Theatre, Belfast 6.30pm tonight (26th August 2010).


Slade - verrückt und hungrig nach Musik

26.05.2010 Die Schwäbische Zeitung, von Mitarbeiterin  Susi Donner:


Slade, hier der Paradiesvogel Dave Hill (links) und Dave Glover, spielen am 12. Juni beim "Weingarten-Open-Air" auf dem Ermlandhof.
Slade, hier der Paradiesvogel Dave Hill (links) und Dave Glover, spielen am 12. Juni beim "Weingarten-Open-Air" auf dem Ermlandhof (Ilpo: not Dave Glover any more for years)

(WEINGARTEN/sz) „Ich heiße Dave Hill“, sagte der kleine Mann, der vor mir saß. In einem kleinen Holzverschlag, der hier, auf dem Classic-Rock-Konzert, auf dem ich ihn traf, die Künstlergarderobe war. Dave Hill ist Gründungsmitglied von Slade, einer Glam-Rock- und Hard-Rock-Band, die am 12. Juni beim Open-Air auf dem Ermlandhof in Weingarten auftritt.


Slade stammen aus Wolverhampton, einer Industriestadt in den englischen Midlands. „Far, far away“, „Ma oh my“ und „Look wot you done“ dürften einige der berühmtesten Lieder von Slade sein. Dave Hill hat 1964 mit Don Powell und weiteren Musikern eine Band gegründet, aus der schließlich Slade resultierte. Seit 1971 sind Slade aufgrund ihres verrückten und glitzernd bunten Outfits der Glam-Rock-Szene zuzurechnen. Bis 1976 schafften es alle ihre Singles in die britischen Top 20, sechs davon auf Platz eins – eine Erfolgsserie, wie es sie seit den Beatles und den Rolling Stones nicht mehr gegeben hatte.


Auch in Deutschland hatten Slade in der Zeit neun Top-10-Platzierungen. Ihr stampfender Sound, der röhrende Gesang und der Hintergrundgesang, der auf eine Art eingemischt war, so dass es schien, als ob ganze Fußballstadien den Song begleiten würden, machten den typischen Slade-Sound aus. Slades Vorband bei Liveauftritten zu dieser Zeit war oft Status Quo.


Dave Hill ist der Paradiesvogel


Hill spielt bis heute den Bass, singt und ist zudem der absolute Paradiesvogel auf der Bühne. Ende der 70er Jahre befand sich die Band an einem finanziellen Tiefpunkt und steckte daraufhin auch in einer zwischenmenschlichen Krise – Slade standen kurz vor der Trennung. Kaum eines der Bandmitglieder glaubte aufgrund der resultierenden Sinnkrise jetzt noch an ein Weiterleben von Slade, zumal auch der Massengeschmack von klassischem Rock zu Punk und New Wave abgewandert zu sein schien. Man orientierte sich weiter; Dave Hill beispielsweise stieg ins Automietgeschäft ein und hatte kaum noch Zeit für die Band.


So viel zu der weiteren Vergangenheit. Nun zur jüngeren. Ich saß Dave Hill also gegenüber, und er gab mir eines meiner ersten Star-Interviews. Damals. Es muss Ende der 90er Jahre des vergangenen Jahrhunderts gewesen sein. Was sich ja schon sehr nach „damals“ anhört.


Hill plauderte mit mir, bis sie zum Sound-Check auf die Bühne mussten. Klingt gut, dachte ich mir. Und die Musiker allem Anschein nach auch; denn sie waren zufrieden und verbreiteten schon jetzt Konzert-Stimmung auf der Bühne. Alle vier Musiker waren sehr nett und offen. Keine Starallüren. Dabei zählen sie seit Jahrzehnten zu den ganz Großen. Nach dem Sound-Check aßen sie Suppe, tranken Kaffee. Hill wollte weitererzählen. „Seid Ihr nervös vor dem Auftritt?“ fragte ich. Dave Hill lachte: „Das sind wir schon lange nicht mehr!“


Das war alles vor über zehn Jahren. Am 12. Juni, bei der Classic-Rock-Night auf dem Ermlandhof, könnte es sich wieder so zutragen. Die aktuelle Besetzung dürfte sein: Gesang, Gitarre Mal McNulty (seit 2005), Gitarre Dave Hill, Bass John Berry (seit 2003), Schlagzeug Don Powell. Die „Schwäbische Zeitung“ wünscht allen Konzertbesuchern viel Spaß mit Slade."


Alles hier: SZ 26.05.2010