Slade to wish everyone a Merry Christmas in Sheffield

Slade are, from left, Mal McNulty, Don Powell, Dave Hill and John Berry.

Slade fans are enjoying treats galore at the moment.

The band’s seminal live album, 1972’s Slade Alive! has recently been released, the band’s flamboyant lead guitarist Dave Hill has published his autobiography and they are touring.

Still fronted by Dave and drummer Don Powell, the new version of Slade has been touring since 1993 to packed out audiences.

Former Sweet vocalist Mal McNulty provides the raucous vocals as well as playing rhythm guitar, and bassist John Berry was in Mud for a while, so both have 70s’ Glam Rock experience – iconic frontman Noddy Holder quit the band 25 years ago to pursue a career away from music.

With its like Cum On Feel The Noize, Skweeze Me Pleeze me, Coz I Luv You, and not forgetting the annual party song Merry Xmas Everybody, Slade had an unprecedented run of success with more than than 20 top-20 singles and six number ones.

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“I feel what I do gives joy to others and that’s fantastic.”

Dave Hill, of Slade

Dave was a fashion icon in the heyday, with his outlandish stage outfits, and the rumour he once said “you write ‘em and I’ll sell ‘em” became part of pop folklore,

“It was true, it’s my line,” he says from his Wolverhampton home.

“I do feel the impact of the band was visual as well as the music and I wanted to make sure people would remember us.”

“When Cum On Feel The Noize was number one for four weeks, I had to come up with something different every week for Top of the Pops.

“I had a couple of people making stuff for me and I was very fond of a long black coat with circular mirrors and a silver headdress. I lit up.

“When we went to Top Of The Pops, I never told the rest of the band what I was going to wear and I used to go into the toilets to change.”

Dave has been in bands since his early teens. He got together with Don in 1966 and they have been together in bands ever since.

And he still enjoys the thrill of playing live – even a stroke on stage in 2006 failed to diminish his desire to perform.

“We’re a great band,” he says. “We can start the show with a hit and just carry on playing hits all night. I never get tired of playing them.

“People look at you and smile, and happiness is so important to us now.

“I’m 71 now and enjoying life. And now it’s that time of year – the good-time feel. I feel what I do gives joy to others and that’s fantastic.

“We go to places now who heard our records but could never see us – like Russia.”

Naturally, being “that time of year” means the Christmas hit Merry Xmas Everybody and Noddy’s famous “It’s Christmas” roar is now synonymous with the festive season.

Dave says: “A relative of Jim – Jim Lea, the band’s song co-writer, bassist and violinist – said ‘nobody writes Christmas songs anymore’, and that gave him and Nod the idea. The song was two melodies put together.”

Dave is happy about the re-release of the live album ‘Slade Alive!’.

“Yeah, that record is what we’re all about – it captures the roots of the band before all the hits came. I listened to it recently and loved it.”

There is also is the matter of Dave’s autobiography.

“It’s called So Here It Is,” he says, referencing another famous line from Merry Xmas Everybody.

“It’s about growing up in post-War Britain, on a council estate where nobody had any money, but nobody noticed. Then rock’n’roll came along and I started playing music – must to the annoyance of the neighbours.”

“Then comes the bands, the success then the split of the original band, survival and reconvening.”

“It looks at what really matters – family comes above everything.”

And the tour?

“I can’t wait,” he says. “We’re a great band and it’s full-on hits from start to finish.

Slade play The Foundry in Sheffield on Friday, December 8. For tickets, see foundrysu.com

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