Times Up

Record Mirror - March 1981
The Boyz Iz Bak Again - Philip Hall

In case you didn't know Slade are on the up'n'up again. Their taste of the big time was long and extremely sweet, six number one singles, and four number one albums, but once the hits stopped coming Slade were not prepared to fade into a lazy retirement.
At last their gruelling touring battle has paid off. They recently sold out the Hammersmith Odeon and with 'We'll Bring The House Down' Slade have their first top 30 hit in three and a half years.
we're not a comback band, we've always been here and it's just that we've been unrecognised. We've been through everything. I just really enjoy what I'm doing." Slade's likeable lead guitarist Dave Hill tells me.
A swift train ride to Slade's home base, Wolverhampton, and Dave Hill is on time, waiting for me at the station. I politely break up his conversation with a local Led Zep, Sabbath, Slade fan and Dave drives me in his Jag to an ethnic scratchings and steelworks Black Country pub.
Apart from his feathered cowboy hat and high-heeled boots he blends smoothly into the Coronation Street surroundings. Dave is a down to earth, professional interviewee who unwittingly shows off his polished expertise by answering my questions before I've even asked them.
"We wouldn't have kept writing songs if we didn't think that we were gonna have hits again. We'd have just played our oldies." explains Dave.
"When the Beatles became successful Lennon said 'We're playing now what we've been playing for years, but it's only now that we're being written about so now we're selling records'. The same applies to us. We've stuck it out, we've played what we believed in and we've waited for our boat to come in. I mean you can't keep going down well and not get something at the end of it. If we were dying I'd say that's it but we haven't."
Slade's boat started to come in at last year's Reading Festival. They were a last minute addition to the bill but were the success of the weekend.
Slade have always been first and foremost an upfront live band. During the last few years they've played anywhere that would have them and it's this solid touring which Dave reckons kept the band together.
Slade's new single is another turning point for them because it's managed to capture their unique stage magic on record. Dave explains, "We wrote the song around the audience as we wanted to give them something to sing along to. Nowadays no-one seems to be bothered with giving the audience anything."
The way the band captured their live atmosphere on record is a story Dave is keen to tell me about.
"Rather than having a carpeted studio sound we decided to record the drums in the bog and they sounded really big in there. So just for the hell of it we put all our gear in the bog and even did the vocals in there as well. It gave us just the sound we wanted and we called it 'bog rock'.'
Dave admits that the only ambition he has left is to have hit singles again - though he says that the band still need the money.
"We've all had our Rolls Royces but in fact I'd much prefer a Ford Granada. We've got nothing to prove anymore, we just live with our means. We've all stayed up Wolverhampton 'cos we feel more comfortable living here. We found we couldn't fit in with the nightclub scene in London because we always felt we were being ripped off in all those trendy places. Only Don lives in London and that's 'cos he's still a bachelor and he reckons the talent's better down there."
Slade are a remarkable band. Though they've reached the heights and then hit rock bottom their honest approach never seems to have wavered. Their determined attitude has at last won them the respect the press and the gig-giong public.

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