Interviews: 1970 - 1986 | 1987 - 1999 | 2000 to 2011 | 2012 - 2017 | 2018 |
Don Q&A 2009 + 2011 + 2019 | Jim Q&A 2017 + 2018


Ian Edmundson - The recording of Old New Borrowed and Blue... It must have been a really awkward time for you all, following your accident and with H going off on honeymoon. What do you remember about the actual sessions?
Really enjoyed those sessions. We were a lot more loose in the studio.
‘H’ actually went on honeymoon in LA. while I was in hospital after the accident. We were going to LA together…

Slade lightened up a lot at this point and became more of a pop band on record. Do you feel with hindsight that putting out songs like Find yourself a rainbow and My friend Stan was the way you needed to go?
Two strange choices there, Tommy Burton from Bilston actually played piano on ‘Find Yourself A Rainbow’. I was never a fan of ‘My Friend Stan’.

Ian Edmundson - A lot of people compare Slade's career to Status Quo's. Quo have - until we lost Rick - sort of gone along in pretty much a straight line, whereas Slade diversified and changed their musical approach. Do you think that if Slade had remained 'more rock-orientated' in 74 -75, that things would have gone similarly for you?
Quo actually warned about keeping in the ‘TOTP’s. mould. Should have listened really.

Ian Edmundson - 'Whatever happened to Slade' - It has often been said that the album was hugely influenced by your time in America. I can hear bits of Aerosmith in there, maybe. Who were the bands that influenced you? What can you remember about the recording of this very complex and intricate (in part) album?
I suppose it was really influenced by ‘ZZ Top’. J Geils Band’. ‘Elvin Bishop Band’….. Definitely, not Aerosmith….

Ian Edmundson - Radio Wall of sound and Universe and the final B-sides: What can you tell us about these sessions?
Actually it was only Jim on those records, I put drums and percussion on the basic tracks he’d already recorded, The verse part of ‘Wall of Sound’ was too low a key for Nod, that’s why Jim sang those parts.

Ian Edmundson - A lot of people are curious at the mention of a studio recording of RESPECT, which may just have been a run through for sound levels, with the tape running. Is there any prospect of us hearing this at some point?
Wasn’t ‘Respect’ when we were with Kim Fowley? We just recorded songs from our stage show at the time.

Ian Edmundson - Whatever happened to Bibble Brick?
Ha, I was actually with Lise, doing the extra chapter for the paperback version of my Biog. NOW, Lise has already crossed the ‘T’s and dotted the ‘I’s’. Time to look for a publisher.

Hello Don. What was the biggest difference between gigging and recording with QSP and any line up of Slade? Chris
There was a, lot of space, there being only three musicians, although we did add piano and other stuff.

Chris - Hello Don. Thanks for doing this , it really is appreciated.After your car crash in 1973 you seemed to get back to work very quickly , even making an appearance at Brands Hatch using a cane and with your hair partly shaved.
That was the surgeon who looked after me. He said I should get back to work ASAP, or I never will. I felt like ‘shit’ at Brands Hatch….. Olivia Newton-John sat with me most of the time, holding my hand and chatting away.

You have said in your book that inspite of the difficulties you had you wanted to get back to work but how much pressure were you under from management and the rest of the group?
I wasn’t under any pressure…. BUT, it was the best thing I did. It was very difficult though.

With hindsight do you think it was a mistake getting back on the road and back into the studio so quickly? Do you think if you had taken more time off you would have made a quicker and better recovery? What do you think the long term physical affects have been?
That’s the 64000 dollar question, isn’t it.????
In hindsight, I think it was the best thing for me to do, although I felt like shit…

You seem to be more sensible following your recent leg problems. Is this because you are older and wiser or is Hanne keeping you in check?
Ha, Hanne definitely helped me there, making me see sense……

Hi Don. I'd like to ask about the Nobody's Fools period, if I may. Were the songs written in advance of a US stay, or while you were all over there?
Bit of both really. We rehearsed those particular songs in dressing rooms and at ‘sound-checks’.

What was the usual method of Nod and Jim bringing songs to the band?
Just like that really, in the dressing rooms or at soundchecks………..

Did you all jam them out until it sounded how you wanted it, or did they come with a firm idea of how they wanted a song to sound?
They had a basic idea. BUT we all had input for the end project.

Did the band rehearse up the songs with a view to making an album for American radio?

In an unconscious way maybe, as our earlier stuff never sounded right on US radio.

Did the band and Chas ever consider employing a US producer with a track record to work on the album?
No Way would Chas (at that time) have ever agreed to that…

Hi again Don, Regarding the songs that were performed before Play it Loud. I find the Beginnings and Play it loud periods of the band really exciting times and wish I had heard you play pre-success. Can you think of any more songs that the band did way back then, that we may never have heard of you doing?

Here's the list of songs we know of:
Be Young Be Foolish Be Happy - The Tams
"People Get Ready" - Curtis Mayfield
"Reach Out I'll Be There" - The Four Tops
"It's The Same Old Song" - The Four Tops
"I Hear A Symphony" - Diana Ross and The Supremes
"Cherry Cherry" - (Neil Diamond, sung by Jim)
We heard The Move play it at the Marquee Club.
"The Letter" - The Box Tops
"Goin' Back" - Dusty Springfield
"Nights In White Satin" - The Moody Blues
"I Saw Her Last Night" - The Mamas and Papas
"Monday, Monday" - The Mamas and Papas
"Land Of A Thousand Dances" - Chris Kenner
"Green Onions" - Booker T. and The MG's
"Put Yourself In My Place" - The Elgins
"Groovin'" - Young Rascals
"Beggin'" - Timebox
"Respect" - Aretha Franklin featuring (Dave Hill on vocals!!!)
"Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds" - The Beatles
"Martha My Dear" - The Beatles
'She comes in colours' - Love
'Sixty minutes of your love' - Homer Banks
"You Keep Me Hanging On" - Diana Ross and The Supremes
"Take a Look " - Irma Thomas
'Theme from Skippy the bush kangaroo'
"Good Old Desk" - Harry Nilsson
"I Take What I Want" (Evil Witchman) - Sam & Dave.
We learned that from the, ‘Artwoods’
'Yellow Bird' - The Brothers Four
"I Can't Help Myself" - Four Tops
"My Girl" - The Temptations
"Put Yourself In My Place" - The Isley Brothers
‘California Dreamin’… Mama’s & Papa’s
‘You Better Run’….. Young Rascals’
‘Gettin’ Better….. Beatles
‘Got To Get You Into My Life’…. Beatles.
‘Baby I Need Your Lovin’….. Four Tops.
‘ ‘To Wait For Love’…… Dave Berry.
‘Ain’t Too Proud To Beg’….. Temptations.

ColinFoster - How did the band go about writing songs? Did Jim come up with a tune & say to Nod (or Don on occasions) "put some words to that" or did the words come first or did they evolve from "Jams"? If the "tunes" were written by Jim, did he say to Don: "This is the drum beat" & to Dave: "This is the lead line", or did they come up with there own to go along with the tempo/chord structure?
Jim would maybe write a, melody and ask Nod or myself to put lyrics to them. OR, I would write lyrics, have some kind of melody. As I’m tone deaf, it took a long time to get my idea across, Ha… In the early days, most of the time, we would arrange the songs together.

GOYER - Hello Don, do you remember the only fan who was present at the airport "Roissy Paris" 09/01/1984 and the next day the only fan at the hotel, I met you in the corridors of hotel and you took a picture with me, and then I was with the whole group for the pictures at the Eiffel Tower with the official RCA photographer. Since have you been back to Paris as a simple tourist? I wrote an article for the 20th anniversary of Slade (1966-1986) in the French magazine "Juke Box". English, Scottish and Polish fans came to see my record collections and in 1986 I had an article about me in the Evening Mail magazine with my picture taken in 1984 in Paris with Slade. Thank you for all these years Don - Gerard France fan.
I do remember you, Gerard, how are you? I used to spend time in Paris buying antiques….
Nice to hear from you Gerard. We may meet again one day.

Marcus Wright - Hi Don, Many things have been said about the Xmas party album from 1985 by the fans over the years. I personally happen to like that album mainly because I was oblivious to the fact that you were going to do one until I saw it in the shops among the imported albums. It came as a nice surprise to me since you had already released an album that year. What I like most about that album is your playing. Your playing is absolutely awesome on Crackers. It´s loose, spontaneous and hard hitting. Just like you used to play on Play it Loud, and Slade Alive before the car crash. It sounds like you were having a lot of fun on this recording. What is your recollection of these sessions?
The, Xmas Party LP was basically recorded in one day. We just went in and played as we would at a live gig….. really enjoyable. Like I said Marcus, we just went in and played, hardly any rehearsal,,,,, I-2-3 lets go….

Hi Don, What can you remember about recording Play It Loud? Were there any left over songs or things that were not used?
That was our first time with Chas Chandler producing us in a ‘big’ studio. Most of those songs were written by Myself and Jim Lea. We never had anything left over. We used everything.

Hello Don, Thanks for doing this Q&A. How close were Slade to splitting in the run up to the surprise addition to the bill at Reading in 1980? What do you think would have happened if that hadn't been offered to you? Would Slade have continued?
WELL, we hadn’t seen each other for ages. Nod called me up out of the ‘blue’…. I thought great. We had one or two days rehearsal and off we went. I very much doubt if we’d have continued had we not done Reading.

Hello Don. You said in your diary that you weren't keen on recording the Okey Cokey. Were there any other songs that you were really not sure about at the time (even if you grew to love them later on)?
Okey-Cokey.... The, bane of my life, I still have nightmares about it. I really can’t think of any other songs that I wasn’t sure of….

Don. There is a credit to 'unknown member of the audience' for tambourine on Slade Alive! Do you think this just an audience member who thoughtfully brought one along, or was it supplied?
You know, I really don’t know who it was. They must have had the tambourine with them. Be nice to find out who it was….. Stand up and be counted, whoever you are.??????

Hi Don, Of the books that have been written about Slade, do you think that any of them actually have captured who the people in the band were / are accurately? It must be hard to write about people that you don't know. Which books impressed you - if any? Cheers.
Chris Charlesworth’s book is the one I’m most impressed with. The Noize is a great book about Slade's music. Another book I would like to mention is Ringo Starr & The Beatles Beat by Terry McCusker & Alex Cain…. The foreword was written by yours truly.

Hi Don, My question relates to the recording of the 70s albums to the 80s albums,=when Slade had stopped touring and were recording the 80s " Kamikaze Syndrome","Rogues Gallery" and "You boyz make big noize" albums,was the process of recording the tracks say different from the earlier albums,as in had Jim laid down most of the bits of the songs in the studio beforehand ,or did the rest of the band have as much input in playing their parts as on earlier albums? Best wishes for a speedy recovery. Andrew Jones
Hi Andrew, With those albums, we more-or-less just went in the studio and recorded all together as a band. All in one go…

Don , thanks very much for performing at my first ever gig, Glasgow Greens 1972 Thankfully my hearing came back last Tuesday. My Question: A few fans from the States have recently posted about their memories of Slade gigs in St Louis, San Francisco . Philly. Would love to hear your opinions of any of those gigs, the crowd, support acts etc.... That could be another book . And thanks for EVERYTHING, there's rarely been a day in 45 years where you four don't come into my mind. Alan Tennie Glasgow
Ha, Glasgow, one of my favourite places, ‘The Electric Gardens’ …. ‘Arran’. ‘St Louis’ was a great rockin’ town for us.‘San Francisco’ Bill Graham’s  Fillmore ( Winterland), Fantastic, we always played two nights there. SO well organised…‘Philly’ The Spectrum…. Another great gig for us, actually where some of, ‘Rocky’ was filmed. Thanks for your support Alan….

Hi Don. Hope you are ok and are well on the road to recovery following your recent health issue. My question is, if you had not been in Slade which group would you liked to have been in and why? Regards Geoff West
‘The Eagles’ - fantastic songs, I probably know them better than they do.

PG - Hi Don
Hope your feeling better .. I’m doin’ great thanks…
What is you favourite Slade song, ‘Far Far Away’
Favourite Slade album,’Nobody’s Fool’
Favourite Slade Tour, Slade & Quo, Australia, 1973, we’ve been mates ever since.
Favourite Slade period. 1972/1974. All the best Mate…Cheers.

RICH - Hi Don, Thanks for doing this Q&A. I was wondering that throughout your Slade career is there any thing you wished you had did differently. For example - not released a certain single or album or maybe regretted trying to crack America? Many Thanks again
Okey- Cokey……. America will always be a puzzle.

Up the Chute - Hi Don, The story is is that the drums on We'll Bring the House Down were recorded in the studio bogs! True story, or someone having a laugh? The sound is great, however you achieved it. Cheers!
TRUE, the drums were recorded in the ‘bog’ at Portland studios, BUT, halfway through a great take, the automatic flush went off. We had to start all over again after we turned the water off.

Bob - Hi Don, Do the four of you - Noddy, Jim, Dave, and yourself - ever get together and have dinner or a few drinks and reminisce a little? Thanks
I’ll be seeing Nod next week, Bob. About 3 times a year, a big gang of musos, writers and reporters have a big get together. If only those walls could talk.

Christian - Bonjour, Je vous suis depuis vos débuts ....j’ai 59 ans! Pourriez-vous me dire quand vous venez en Belgique ?Vous n’y venez pas souvent, quel dommage .
Bon rétablissement. Christian De Belgique.

For Sure…. Anything you say…

John Barker - Hi Don. I hope you are on the mend. Firstly, thank you so much for your wonderful message to my Slade Are For Life - Not Just For Christmas page recently, regarding the 50th anniversary of Ambrose Slade - Beginnings, and the page reaching 50,000 members. Your message went down really well with the fans, and within a week of posting it, we've added nearly another thousand people! Do you look at Facebook yourself, or do you rely on Hanne telling you what is happening?
Hanne keeps me up on ‘Facebook’

Whilst you have been recovering, have you, or are you going to see Slade play live, or would it be too strange seeing someone else sitting where you should be? All the best.
I might go and see Slade play live, stand down the front and ‘heckle’

Harald Lindbach, Norway - Hi Don, had great fun reading your book, and your music has always been part of my life. I would like to know what recording was the most difficult to do and what is the tecnically most difficult Slade song to play? Are there any songs that where left out of the live shows because they only worked in the studio but was hard to recreate live? All the best
I really can’t think of any difficulties playing anything in the studio Harald.
Some of the songs with brass on from Slade In Flame... we couldn’t really play live.

Lasse 62 - Cheers Don, Looking back after all those years what's your favourite Slade song? Have you ever played another instrument? Why did the band speed up the old songs when you played them live from late 70s till 84? Would you have liked to record a new album with the original band, under the right circumstances? Thank you for the great music experience over the years Don, hope you will be able to play live again.
‘Far Far Away’ is my favourite ‘cause of, Nod’s lyrics.
Jim Lea is the culprit for wanting everything SO fast, I hate playing too fast -takes the soul out of the song.

Friz - What’s planned for the 18/10/19 gig?
Have to wait and see…….

RICH - Hi Don, Lots has been said about Holder/ Lea Writing partnership. But several great songs were written by you and Jim - especially in the Play it loud era. What song do you think is your best and which you enjoy hearing? Thanks Don, hope them pins are getting better, hope to see you in October. I love Dapple rose, the song is so uncomplicated and has a great feeling to it.
Rich, I love ‘Wonderin’ Y’

jimc60 - Hi Don. Hope that you are getting better. What was your favourite gig, song you recorded and best city you played?
I think ‘The Reading Festival’ was a goodie, it brought us right back in the picture.
‘Far Far Away’
I don’t really have a favourite city, my friend…

M Washfold - Reading some of the questions, i find that as a young teenager in the early 1970s here in Australia, an up and coming band seemed to be similar to slade . Almost as if influenced by your band . And then around 1980 ish slade became more heavy - We'll bring the house down lp. Did SLADE and AC/DC ever meet up along the road to fame ?
We met when they supported Black Sabbath, Bon Scott singing.
I'm a lifetime slade fan yet unfortunately NOT keen on ac/dc. Just saw them a couple of times before they became famous outside of Melbourne Australia. I thought they were a slade type cover band .
Nice guys though….

What inspired the drum lick opening for 'Gudbuy T' Jane'?
It was an intro to a German TV show.
Which song/album represents your best drum work?’
Far Far Away’
If you could go back in time, what would you have done differently in cracking the American market back in the 1970s?
Crept in through the, back door…. NO hype

Mark F - Hi Don, What are your views on the current music scene ?, x factor ? venues closing etc. Thank you for the great records, come play Cardiff on your next tour.xx
Hi Mark. A lot of, stuff today is totally manufactured… NO SOUL. Love to play Cardiff….. sort it mate.

Jackie - One of my favourite songs is, 'Cuz I luv you.' It is such a timeless song and still packs a punch. I was just wondering who wrote it and whether it was about anyone in particular? Many thanks Jx
Our first No 1….. Nod & Jim wrote it..

Paul - Hi Don, Hope you can spare the time to give this question some thought. You have all moved on with your lives and individual projects have gone well, but do you still wish there were days when you could go back and just jam together in a hall or studio as you did in the very early days with Nod,Jim and Dave on a personal level? Thanks.
That would be a dream Paul….

Geoffrey - Hi Don. Hope you are now on the mend. I would like to ask who you favourite vocalist, drummer, bassist, guitarist are? I once read you loved The Eagles. Is this still the case. What do you think Slade's greatest legacy is?
John Lennon…… John Bonham….. Paul McCartney…..Don Felder.
The Eagles will always be my favourite..

slade25 - Hello Don, I hope you are recovering well. Regarding Slade trying to crack America circa 1975-76. You had pockets off success in places like San Francisco, St. Louis, NYC and a few others. Radio airplay was a tremendous help to bands of course but others "made it" without hits (Savoy Brown, Mott/Ian Hunter, Rory Gallagher, etc come to mind).
64,000 dollar question.

Nobody's Fools (which is a great album imo) was a mistake to release in America especially in 1976. In retrospect wouldn't you agree?

(The same can be said of Rogues Gallery in 1985 after Power Supply reintroduced the band into America and you were on the verge of cracking it finally).

As well, I wonder if Chas dropped the ball circa 1975-76 somewhat? Unless I'm wrong, he called all the shots on what the band did?
Again, 64,000 dollar question.

kimerb - Hi Don. Will we ever see Slade including Nod and Jim playing live at Glastonbury. All the best Kim
Wouldn’t that be a dream.?????

Alan from Stafford! - Hello Don, Hope you are recovering well, I was wondering if the Oliver musical featuring Slade music would ever be performed in England ?
I’m trying to make that possible…
Do you think that Slade are not given the credit they deserve when other bands like Queen, T.Rex etc seem to get plaudits and airplay all the time ? best wishes
64,000 dollar question.

Benjamin Bear - Hi Don, thanks again for taking the time to answer these questions, much appreciated, you really are a top guy. Did the band have much input into what artwork/cover shots that were used on the album sleeves or in fact single picture sleeves ? Following on from that what was favourite and least favourite Slade album cover ?
We had more or less the final say. The Record Co & Chas started the ball rolling.
Favourite cover, Slade Alive (live shot from the Marquee Club London).
Least Favourite, Crackers. It says nothing.
Do you have any memories of working with Shaun Greenfield at RCA, good or bad ?
Shaun Greenfield was 100% behind us, he got us and John Punter together.

On the album track Ready To Explode, Pete Drummond does the announcements at the beginning of the song. He finally says something along the lines of 'And I think Michael Elphick they are Ready To Explode'. I think he says Michael Elphick, who was Michael Elphick ?
A new one on me.?????
Michael Elphick is an actor.

It has been rumoured that both Radio Wall of Sound and Universe were basically Jim's demo's with Nod's vocals added. Can you confirm if you and Dave did actually record new drum and guitar tracks on these songs in the studio?
Jim had more or less put the basic tracks down. I added percussion. Nod couldn’t sing the verses in ‘Wall Of Sound’ as it was too low a key for his voice.
‘H wasn’t on either track.

On your website, I love reading your old dairy entries from some years in the late 70's and early 80's, is there any chance you could add some more diary years to the site ?
Good idea, I did get good response from my diaries.

Chris - Don..for nearly 60 years of your working life every time you look up you have been greeted with a view of Dave Hills you feel this has affected you in any way?
That’s why I’ve got a twitch and have nightmares and throw up.

Lasse62 - How was the last concert in USA like, supporting ozzy 84? I have listen to it on tape and I felt the Slade spirit wasn't there anymore? I know Jim was ill
True, Jim was ill, the crowd weren’t with, us…. If I’m being honest, I don’t think it was right for us.

Draggula - Hi,Don! Hope you are doing better and recover in full very very soon. All the best.
1) Slade Alive, was re-released so many times in different Formats. But Slade played three nights,any chance, that there will be a release of the left over stuff?

There isn’t any leftover stuff, mate.

2) What do you think about the other two Live Albums? They`re rarely mentioned by any of the members.
They don’t come up to the original Slade Alive.

3) Any chance of further Vinyl Re-releases especially for Play it loud and Whatever happened to Slade,as well as Sladest?...and of course all the rest.
And last but not least (I ask this question since 1973) is there a Version of the Earls Court Film,that could be used for a DVD production with todays Technology lots of things are possible even Soundwise. Tarr for answereing..Keep on rocking!!!

I thought a lot of our LP’s were re-released on vinyl.????
That Earls Court Film is a mystery to me……. With, technology, like you say, something could be done with it….

Many thanks to Don for his time and trouble, answering these questions.
I hope eveyone is happy with the answers.
We'll do it again in a bit.