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How Did Slade Stay Alive? Author Daryl Easlea discusses why Slade still matter

How Did Slade Stay Alive?

Author Daryl Easlea discusses why Slade still matter

by LamontPaul, Founder & Publisher
first published: December, 2023

approximate reading time: minutes

most of their tunes were hard as nails. There was no Wig Wam Bam or The Cat Crept In lurking in their catalogue...

Slade Book Cover

In October, Omnibus published Daryl Easlea's Whatever Happened To Slade - When the Whole World Went Crazee (reviewed here). It is the first in depth look Slade's career in over 30 years. Here was British band that could sell 300,000 records in a week. Whatever happened to Slade? They rocked on well after their chart-life had expired and wowed new generations of fans. Daryl talked to OL about what he thinks happened... 

OUTSIDELEFT: My friends, Wolverhampton girls, Jacqui and Pauline, 90s pop stars from the band Soho, saw Dave Hill taking his clothes into a steam laundry as they passed by. Probably stage gear. Does the author think Wolverhampton is proud of its sons and,  if so, what's the evidence? ie, where are Slade’s stage outfits now? They’re totally iconic. I have a friend who has nearly finished archiving the material for one of the most famous punk bands, I could send them over…
DARYL EASLEA: I think Wolverhampton is proud of their sons. There was a club called The Slade Rooms named after them in the 2010s, and The Trumpet pub in Bilston is something of a shrine. There is a lovely plaque on the site of the Three Men In A Boat pub in Walsall to mark where the four who became Slade first rehearsed, and played regularly in their early days. In 2022 the Art Gallery in Wolves ran a Black Country Beats Exhibition that had a room devoted to Slade with several of the stage outfits in it. Noddy's mirrored coachman's hat is allegedly in a bank vault in New York! Jim Lea auctioned off a lot of his stage clothes for charity during lockdown. I spoke extensively with Dave Hill's stylist for the book. He was the son of the publican at The Trumpet. 

OL: Why don’t Slade even rate a bench, like Black Sabbath?
DARYL: Or a ballet! Now that I WOULD like to see. That's because Slade have rarely been cool, in the way Sabbath remain. Though as I say, their plaque is very nice. A chippy would be great, selling potato scallops.

OL: Who would be the 21st century Slade?  
DARYL: An excellent question. Artists who are perennially popular, yet sniffed at somewhat by sections of the cognoscenti. I have to say it's probably who I would have said about the 90s in their old turn; Liam and Noel Gallagher, or Kasabian.

OL: Why are they, if they are, sometimes seen as a bit of a joke, even though they made incredible pop songs, and sold records by the barrowload? 
DARYL: Because of their look, principally. And then the Vic and Bob sketch; and then their own willingness in the main to play along with that image. 

OL: Do you agree that Slade Alive is their best album and one of the best live albums of the 1970s? A live LP is an interesting way to launch a pop career. 
DARYL: It's an astonishing record. Manager Chas Chandler knew the power of his band live, and captured lightning in a bottle with that album. I love the fact that teenyboppers bought it when Slade became big and were treated to Ten Years After, John Sebastian and Steppenwolf tunes. The feedback at the end of the album practically invented punk. And it has a throaty belch on it.

OL: Why did Slade, out of the glam rock bands, make a proper leap into 'proper' heavy rock when, for instance, The Sweet didnt, Mud couldn’t?
DARYL: Because most of their tunes were hard as nails. There was no Wig Wam Bam or The Cat Crept In lurking in their catalogue - the only thing that came close to a novelty record by them in their high period was Find Yourself A Rainbow, a knees up played with Tommy Burton, a Wolves jazz pianist who frequented the Trumpet. And it was covered by Max Bygraves. However, the cross over into heavy rock happened at the Reading Festival in 1980, when virtually every rock critic who had been 10 when they were having hits, but were too young to see them, were now 17, standing in a sunny dustbowl realising just how marvellous their songs sounded with six pints inside of you. 

OL: What would it take for a reunion? Where would they play? Could you get us on the guest list? That would be something… 
DARYL: If the four of them did get back together, they could easily do a run at a Hammersmith Odeon or Manchester Apollo - but the O2s and NECs are not beyond the realms. However, it would be highly unlikely.

OL: So here it is Merry Xmas Everybody in the pantheon of great Christmas records is not even the greatest West Midlands Christmas record, that would be Wizzard’s I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday… Make your case for your boys!?
DARYL: Both are incredible, and demonstrate the enormous levels of W. Mids magic. Merry Xmas Everybody is more all-purpose than I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday, as it doesn't have a single jingle bell or choir person on it. It's the Xmas record you can enjoy all year without excessive festivity, but when in season . . . oh my.


Essential Information
Main image, Slade on Dutch Top of the Pops from wikipedia
Whatever Happened to Slade is available here

LamontPaul
Founder & Publisher

Publisher, Lamontpaul founded outsideleft with Alarcon in 2004 and is hanging on, saying, "I don't know how to stop this, exactly."

Lamontpaul portrait by John Kilduff painted during an episode of John's TV Show, Let's Paint TV


about LamontPaul »»

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