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Don Powell April 2011 Q&A.

Thanks to Lise Lyng Falkenberg (Don's biographer) for her massive help with this Q&A.

Q: I would like to ask Don about 'The Far East' 1973.... what does he remember? Before or after Oz? How many gigs can he recall? Does he remember where they were? Did they play Tokyo?
Were they considered successful? Any pictures from any of the Exotic Gigs? Any pics of the girls down at the 'wash house'

Don: We didn’t go to Japan until 1974 and that was after Australia. We did four gigs; two in Tokyo, one in Osaka and one in Kyoto. The gigs were okay, but we were a bit too late going there. The kettle had gone off the boil at that time, so we should have gone earlier. As for the photos, no nothing like that.

Q: What does Don remember of the Agencies... Astra Agency, Astra Allen Associates, Nita Anderson Agency... and who did The 'N Betweens leave when they joined Astra Allen?
Don: Astra Agency was where we were at the start, with the old bands The Vendors and The ‘N Betweens as well. What happened was that Roger Allen also had an agency in Wolverhampton and he and Astra came together and became the Astra Allen agency. While we were on the Bahamas we never had any help from Astra so when we came back we decided to leave and we went with Nita Anderson.

Q: I.R.A., Face 1 and 2, Aileen and Brin, Skaboo. Who are they Don and what did they do for the band in 1968?
Don: Face 1 and 2 were a couple who used to come and see us. We only played in Wolverhampton, then, and they were always in the crowd. We never spoke to them, so we just called them Face 1 and 2. Brin could be one we used to knock around with in Wolverhampton if that’s the same guy, but Aileen…I have no idea. I don’t know who Skaboo is either. I.R.A. - I got no idea.

Q: Does Don remember this Slade "Abbey Road enactment" photo. It seems to be around '73/4 and apes the Beatles album cover. The 'New Beatles' publicity stunt I guess but when and why. No specific related reason, I doubt it?
Don: I don’t remember doing it at all. We did record at Abbey Road, but that was in 1967. I don’t remember doing the photo.

Q: Back in '67-68 when you were playing the Love classic, She Comes In Colours....
Can you remember who played the woodwind solo. I was wondering if you covered the song straight or did it get the treatment. I imagine Jim could have used the violin for the solo but I can also imagine Dave playing it on lead guitar with Jim and Nod following in unison.

Don: It must have been Dave playing it on lead guitar, as we didn’t feature the violin in such things back then.

Q: Don, when you did the Hamilton concert in New Zealand, what was the schedual of arrival and departure? Did you fly into Auckland Airport then drive down to Hamilton? I'm not certain, but I think Hamilton was not an internation airport at the time. How did you and the equipment get from the Hamilton concert to Sydney concert within 24 hours?..... NZ concert 27 January, Sydney concert 28 January. It would take about 2 hours to drive from Hamilton to Auckland Airport, get through customs, fly 2.5 hours to Sydney, customs, drive to venue and set up. Did you arrive 1 or 2 days before the Auckland concert? Did you do any sight seeing?
Don: Ha-ha, I have no idea of the arrival and departure schedule or how and when we got there! And we didn’t do any sightseeing.

Q: I was wondering if this rings any bells? Quote: "....we used to support JJ Foote at the Three Rabbits in Manor Park, a guest drummer was Don Powell no less...." Do you remember what year this was cos I used to go and watch JJ Foote sometimes. I would have noticed, I'm sure.
Don: I’ve never heard the name JJ Foote before.

Q: There been an e-mail going around saying Slade are not playing Russia again and your all retiring....whats the truth in that or is it just gossip.
Don: That’s not true, ha-ha.

Don: Not as far as I know. I’ve never heard of any extra verses.

Q: When will the "There will be drums" CD be released?
Don: I think the tapes have to be taken out and listen to again before that happens.

Q: What was 'Radio City' in Wolverhampton 1966, it sounds like a pirate station? The 'N Betweens played the first Radio City rave (Blues Ensemble too) in August at the Civic & Wulfrun.
Don: We played at the Civic and Wulfrun all the time, but I don’t remember playing the first Radio City Rave. In fact I’ve never heard of Radio City before.

Q: I saw the band back in Warren, Ohio in the early 70's. Glass Harp opened for you. The concert isn't listed on the tour dates online, but I was there so I know it happened. Is there any way you could: confirm the date? I think that it was 1972. It was a kick a## show in a small town. Perhaps it was a last minute addition to the tour schedule.
Don: I can’t confirm the date, as I don’t remember doing the concert and I didn’t keep diaries back then.

Q: I really like the Something Else Medley and always enjoyed it live. Listened to it on CD again today and wondered why it was included in the live set at the time when there was already a huge catalogue of original single and album material to choose from.
Don: A lot of people have asked us that. In fact it was Freddie Mercury who first said that to us. He couldn’t understand why we did these old rock’n’roll songs when we had such an amazing catalogue of songs. There was no particular reason, it was just a good stage thing to do.

Q: Nylon or wood tips? What was your first drum set (make, colour)? (C'mon, it's like the first girl you kissed, you NEVER forget.) Cymbals? Zildjian, Paiste, Sabian? What kind of gum do you chew? Anything available or do/did you have a preference for something?
Don: I use wood. My first drum set was white Pearl and I use Sabian cymbals. I don’t chew gum anymore, but when I did it was Wrigley.

Q: Original, Spearmint or Juicy Fruit?
Don: Ha-ha-ha! Original!

Q: Hi Don, I've two questions I'm curious about regarding the latter days of Slade. Firstly when the band played the six or so shows on the aborted American tour in early 1984, other than possibly My Oh My did they play live any songs from the then current new album ie Run Runaway, Slam The Hammer Down etc ? Secondly I have seen it mentioned that if the 1985 tour had went ahead that the band had considered using a keyboard player hidden at the side of the stage. Had any keyboard players been thought about or possibly lined up to play with the band on that tour?
Don: We played Run Run Away, but that was all we did really. We wouldn’t have needed a keyboard player. Jim always played the keyboard.

Q: Is it too late to ask Don if he remembers Jet from the Glasgow Apollo? Quote: "I remember Jet Mayfair from the Apollo gigs in the 70's ......Nod would introduce him near the end , and this odd wee man would woddle on , the last time wearing a gold lame jacket , I think........The band seemed to know him really well..."
Don: Yes. He had a plastic guitar and he used to come up and sing with us. He was just some guy who used to come to our gigs in Glasgow.

Q: What has been the highpoint of the last 15 years of Slade? What does Don think of the CD / DVD reissue programme on the whole? Is there any prospect at all of a new Slade album?
Don: That’s a difficult one…but I remember playing the Olympic Stadium in Moscow in 2002 and we met a lot of politicians and dignitaries. That was quite something. I find the CD/DVD reissue fantastic. They did a fantastic job. And I liked that they used photographs that hadn’t been used before. As for a new Slade album we have recorded a few tracks and we are talking about recording more stuff soon.