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Don Q&A 2009 + 2011 + 2019 | Jim Q&A 2017 + 2018

THE 2018 JIM LEA Q&A
(CONDUCTED BY THE SLADE FORUM in association with www.jimleamusic.com)

Jim kindly volunteered to answer questions posed by members of The Slade forum.
Here are his answers:

PLAY IT LOUD: Who brought such eclectic and different songs like Angelina and Could I to the band?
Ian Edmundson


Jim responded:
‘Angelina’ (Neil Innes) and ‘Could I’ (David Gates) were sourced by the one and only Johnny Steel. Johnny was the drummer in The Animals with Chas. He worked in the office for a few years. A great and very funny guy. Chas was keen on ‘Angelina’ (which sounded nothing like the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band) and Johnny liked ‘Could I’ (Bread). I had an aversion to both, but we showed willing as the management had to be listened to at times.


How long did the songs from Play it loud survive in the stage act?
Ian Edmundson


Jim responded:
We played a few onstage from ‘Play It Loud’, but the stage shows were changing, so as usual, anything slow would get left out. I didn’t think our stage sound was represented on P.I.L. TOO DRY.


The version of Ruby Red that was released is said to be the second version of the song. When was that song originally recorded and why was it not used?
Ian Edmundson


Jim responded:
Ruby Red was recorded first as the normal song process. I made an arrangement to make it more interesting and we re-recorded it.


What do you remember about when Slade recorded Andy Miller's song Another win?
Ian Edmundson


Jim responded:
Andy Miller was our recording engineer at the time. He’d given the song ‘Another Win’ to Chas who wanted us to record it. After much affray I agreed just to please Chas. NEVER RELEASED


How did Slade end up recording Love is like a rock by Donnie Iris and The Cruisers?
Ian Edmundson


‘Love Is Like A Rock’ had been on Radio 1 a few times. I liked it and it stayed in my memory. Roy Thomas Baker was producing at the time. I played him the tune and he loved it. Ozzy (Osbourne) was looking for a producer at the time and loved the drum sound on it and he was hired for Ozzie’s next album.


Does the first recording of 'the seasonal epic' still exist on tape somewhere, or was it consigned to the dumper?
Ian Edmundson


Jim responded:
The seasonal epic, as you call it, was recorded with me full of high anxiety. Don couldn’t remember anything and no-one would rehearse it with me. They were against the idea. What you hear on the track is me playing bass, acoustic guitar, piano and harmonium as the track was built out of thin air, through lack of rehearsal. Dave conceded to play electric guitar. Poor Don looked on in horror as he drummed a single rhythm just to get it down. I knew it was good, but there was only one player in the team. Everything I tried out is on the record as Dennis Faranti (engineer) liked all the ideas I had. I dreaded hearing the mix, as we were on the road, while Chas and Dennis mixed it. I was relieved when I heard what was born from STRESS.


Finally, do you ever look at websites like www.slayed.co.uk?
Ian Edmundson


Jim responded:
I don’t look at ANY websites, social media etc. I am not a phone gazer either. Life is too short. CHEERS IAN.


Hello. I have always thought I could hear you play a bit of The Beatles "Day Tripper " on the fade out of "Mama Weer All Crazee Now" Do you remember doing this or have I always had a vivid imagination.
Chris.


Jim responded:
HI CHRIS. DAY TRIPPER on the end of Mamma!  Yes it’s there! Chas didn’t like it, but Macca did. He was chuffed.


Is the song "All Coming Back To Me Now" going to be released "officially" on a physical release? So far it has been released in digital formats and also as "CD Single Promo".
Tobbebrorsson


Jim responded:
HI TOBBEBRORSSON. I have no idea what the record company are up to, so the answer is ‘Je ne sais pas’.


Like many Slade fans I am really interested to know what future releases are planned? It had been suggested that a special project was being released to celebrate the 50 year anniversary.
Seuby


Jim responded:
We are working on something at the mo’. It’s for 2019. Wait and see!


Also, I for one would love to hear String Theory. It seems to have been a long time coming. Will it ever get a release, even as a web site only or digital release. Finally the cannon of songs that you have in the can. Will these ever be made available to the public. Apologies for three questions in one, but with no other members of slade recording, Jim you are our hope. The stuff that you have put out is right up there.
Seuby


As for STRING THEORY... yeah!!! And it’s still stinging.


Dear Jim, do you think about writing your biography?
Gérard Goyer French fan since 1972


Jim responded:
I could do an autobiography but never have time.
Now I know why people do a memoir near old age in their ‘dotage’ (old age – derived from ‘French’).


Hi Jim, like most folk on here I'm sure we'd love to know how your health is today, and obviously wish you well. Do you think there is any chance of you going out with a full band ever again, to do few live gigs around the country, even if it was only a handful of shows? I understand the devastating and fatigue that comes with treatment, as I'm currently witnessing it first hand. I just wondered if you ever think you'd be strong enough to do any shows, as would love to see you again after all these years? All the best mate, and thanks for some of the greatest nights of my life, love you buddy.
Tanner


Jim responded:
Health – marginally improving, but can’t imagine even one live show. Testosterone is on the rise though.


Hi Jim, will try again to get an answer to my Question, which was read out by Paul at that fantastic afternoon at the Robin, But trouble was, you had left the stage ready for our Surprise !!!! So here goes , was the extra verses of `Find yourself a Rainbow` which were on the Lyric sheet inside the Album ,ONB&B, ever used or recorded. Also what about letting us here the full `What in the world` with extra verses. Fantastic EP mate, and hope you are keeping well.
Alun Taylor


Jim responded:
I’m sorry I had to bugger off. Time was getting short. I don’t know about the ‘Find Yourself A Rainbow’ verses but L.P’s were restricted to a certain time so editing would usually happen. The ‘What in The World’ track went on for ever (seemingly) and was also edited as there was too much “wondering about the world” going for rock & roll. Don’t know where those verses are now. Will have a think.


Hi Jim
Here is my question(s): Once Slade began to fade a little bit in the late 70s did you ever then consider a solo career or did you feel Slade were always capable of making a comeback? How much do you feel your party/fun type image helped or hindered your career? Hoping you are well. Very best wishes
Denise Southworth


Jim responded:
I was very loyal to the band and certainly from a live point of view, no one could take that away from us. It was ‘a gas’ for us to walk on stage. America didn’t get the ‘party thing’ but history has shown that every act now wants to party on stage. We must have been right about that!! Having said Chas always thought that I was going to leave the band! He was wrong!!!! But I’ve now left.


Regards "Nobody's Fool" Album remember reading somewhere that the group wanted it to be like Queen and that "Nobody's Fool" was something like 20 Minutes Long, Any truth in this and if so would there be a Remastered / Deluxe Version in the pipeline.....
John Dalton


Jim responded:
The band never wanted to ‘do a Queen’, but I was in to them from the off. The album version of HOW DOES IT FEEL was six minutes long maybe? Pre Queen!!!


I’d like to ask Jim about the recording “BE” Where did the idea come from for the song? What it was about and even on record it was very complicated (a lot of words sung fast by more than one member of the band). How did they record it together and more so, when sung live, how long did it take to practice it to get to sound as great as it does on Slade alive 2 1976?
David Bridge


Jim responded:
Yeah, ‘BE’ was very fast vocally, but the backing was laid back. Nod was O.K, doing it live, but my brain pattern couldn’t cope at times. It wanders all over the place, all of the time.


Hi Jim... We are aware that Noddy is reluctant to release certain Slade material that we know is out there such as the 'Live in London' album or the full Reading 1980 set, but can you confirm the existence of the following rumoured recordings: 1 All Join Hands (swing version) 2 We'll Bring the House Down (re-recording/dance mix) 3 Love Is (unfinished demo) and would you be willing to work on any unreleased/unfinished Slade tracks to bring them to a releasable quality if a Slade rarities collection was ever planned? Best wishes and good health... John Barker.

Jim responded:
ALL JOIN HANDS – SWING No such thing!!! ‘House Down’ (Dance) I had a go at that! The band came to sing on it. RELUCTANTLY there was a female singer on it. If you closed your eyes it sounded like Nod. VERY ODD. I’ve written new lyrics to ‘Love Is’ as it never worked. Back in the 80’s it was deemed sub-standard as a recording. I can’t remember the lyrics so I’ve redone it. ‘We’ll see’!!! I wrote the chorus lyrics which have remained from the original.


Hi Jim, a few questions that might test the memory bank, here goes - When The Dummies compilation album was released it contained a version of Little Sheila. Was this version of the song recorded at the same time as the other Dummies songs on the album ie circa 1979/80/81 ? This song sounds so different to the other songs on the album which makes me think it was maybe recorded at a later date. Would this version have actually been the demo version of the Slade song used on Rogues Gallery, if so can you remember why it was included with the other Dummies songs on the album?
Neil Partridge


Jim responded:
Yes ‘Little Sheila’ was recorded later. Well spotted! It wasn’t the demo for the band. Nod sang that. I was always messing in the studio so things we recorded by me to play to other artists without the band sound )i.e. Nod’s voice was too strongly identifiable). Other people would be wary of attempting it.


Have you ever heard Cheap Tricks version of When The Lights Are Out? If so, what did you think of it and were you aware of this band previously?
Neil Partridge


I was aware of Cheap Trick. They had two great singles ‘SURRENDER’ and ‘I want you to want me’. I don’t know if they were Slade fans? They’ve recently recorded ‘When The Lights Are Out’


Mr. Lea, Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to submit a question for your consideration. Mine is: What 20 original songs spanning your career, in Slade and solo, would you include in a setlist for a (hypothetical, of course!) Unplugged Evening with Jim Lea? Regards,
Matt Shaughnessy Chicago


Jim responded:
HI MATT If there was ever an ‘UNPLUGGED’ set, the material would have to be ‘LAID BACK’ which is why it’s unimaginable. I am not often consulted about archive/re-release material. This is why sleeve notes are often way off the truth which is annoying.


Do all band members have a say in what archive material is released or is it solely down to yourself and Nod?
BakOme1


I am not often consulted about archive/re-release material. This is why sleeve notes are often way off the truth which is annoying.


My question is to Jim would he be prepared to if allowed get all the footage available and sit down with all concerned and go through it and if it can be mastered to a better condition then look to see if it can be achieved, also most fans will except any condition it's in, as there will come a time when there will be nothing I know nod is adamant of quality but it ain't gonna happen there can be footnotes with d-v-d explaining that the quality on some performances is not of excellent quality and has been restored to its best quality I'm sure other artists have come across this issue and accepted it.
Kev Read

Jim responded:
Hi Kev. Nod has a reluctance to release anything that is archive. Quality doesn’t come into it! All bands have historic stuff because it’s been ‘turd polished!’ THUS QUALITY. Technology knows no bounds!


I remember a piece in music star mag in '73 called ' Slade and the things they wouldn't tell there mums ' in which it was claimed that you saved your dinner money in secret to buy the latest Beatles single and sneaked jam butties out of the house for your dinner, was this true?
Ian McAdam

Jim responded:
Hi Ian. I always saved my pocket money (unlike my brothers) so I could buy something meaningful. I bought my own bike and a much loved train set. I did cheat by buying my parents a single by ‘the BEACHCOMBERS’, which was for me of course, not them. They laughed! They knew what I was up to!!


Hi Jim. You did some work with one of my favourite bands (Apart from Slade) World party. Any plans to work with Karl and the boyz again coz your voice would blend beautiful with his.
 Paul Goverd

Jim responded:
Yes I did become mates with Karl Wallinger and his band ‘WORLD PARTY’. He’s some got some DATS with me playing acoustic and vocal. KARL is very mercurial and hard to pin down. I recently gave him a piano which was taking up room. He now lives near Hastings and wants me to visit but it’s a long way from home. I GET TIRED – BUT ONE DAY!


Did the band ever look at producers like Mutt Lang, Bob Ezrin, Trevor Horn to produce the Slade sound in the 80s?
Paul Goverd


Jim responded:
There were all sorts of producers who were approached, but there was always problems preventing it, including finances which is why I stepped in. For free!


Which was your favourite studio to record in and why?
Paul Goverd


Jim responded:
Favourite studio
– No1 Olympic Studio (former cinema, now a cinema once more). It was huge – LIKE A GIG! We sounded and felt better.


Hi Jim. What’s your favourite slade album / Single / Gig and year - and for fun your best stage outfit? Thank you for all your great work. Wishing you love and peace.
Paul Goverd


Jim Responded:
It’s hard to judge one’s own work, because I had to be like a sausage machine banging them out. Which one is the tastiest is judged by the ‘ears of the beholder’.


Not sure if you’ve already covered this topic. It’s about live aid - Were Slade asked to play? If yes ...why not? If not, shame on Bob. Thanks Jim.
Paul Goverd


Jim responded:
LIVE AID – NON MONSIEUR


Hi Jim, I’d like to ask you Jim …. in Slade when you played the bass you used a plectrum, just recently having bought a t shirt with a picture of Slade in the studio I discovered you appear to be playing the bass with your fingers on your right hand is this something you did in the studio only... or I might be totally wrong ha ha!! Also It was great to see you on 5th Nov in Bilston last year I loved the 2 recent singles, loved the ep too, best wishes Jim from
Kenny Bell


Jim Responded:
KENNY BELL (and his Jazz Men). Hi Ken – I always had short scale basses because my hands are small. I used a plec. Never fingers. It’s just something that’s up on the T-shirt.


Hello Jim, I wonder if you [in hindsight of course] think that Slade would have greater success by returning to America after your illness in 1984. My opinion is that had Keep Your Hands Off album gone top 10 plus both singles top 10 then the demands of CBS would have been too great given that Nod was not keen on touring.
Alan Whitney


Jim responded:
In retrospect we would have cracked it but we didn’t realise the bugegeoning M.T.V. was going to be all powerful. It was the perfect vehicle for the ‘look of Slade’. That, plus touring with our old mate Ozzy would have nailed it. Nod would have been placated by the presence of Oz. Sharon (also an old mate) would have been there too.


Would you say that the American sojourn 75-76 was worthwhile in terms of the band playing so much better? I saw Slade live 12 times from 1973-1982 through the glory years and the leaner years [still great shows] the 1980/81/82 gigs were great for me to take a few friends and convert them to appreciate how good Slade were live.
Alan Whitney, Stafford


Jim responded:
The ’75-76’ period was a realisation that we were an anachronism. Everything in place but not happening. A GLASS CEILING!!! Yeah we were shit hot then, All muscle and no flab in the early 80’s. Thanx for being a missionary and converting non-believers. Cheers Al.


Hi Jim, I for one am very grateful that you turned your bass up to 11 on those BBC sessions as it gave us a chance to really marvel at your inventive and wonderful bass-lines ... 1) The more flashy bass lines like SEE US HERE ( a particular fave of mine) seemed to be dropped in favour of a less fussy "straight to the point " bass line as the band got more successful ...Equally magnificent , yet different ... Agree ? and if so I'd love to hear your thoughts on your bass playing over the decades ...
2) The actual sound of your bass changes quite a lot over the years too , Play It Loud sounds very different to the fuzzy John Birch years on stuff like like Whatever Happened to Slade ....what led you in that direction?
Alan


Jim responded:
During the progressive period in the 60’s virtuosity was an asset. I loved that over the years. I’ve discovered (after meeting so many people who saw us) that they loved the band and my playing. I didn’t know they cared. SOME REALLY BIG NAMES without name dropping. When Don and I came up with the shuffle on drums, 4 to the floor bass drum and me following that with a WALKING BASS LINE, the basis of our sound was discovered. We used it on the hits in the glory years! The other ingredient was putting Nod’s resilient voice so high that he was screaming. ‘Maybe the first  of it’s kind’. I asked him (post Get Down With It) if he could manage it for a whole show. It didn’t phase him. Our sound was complete along with the fuzzy guitars sounding more like machinery than guitars.

3) Slade seemed the perfect band for your brilliant bass lines , but I'm curious if you can you pick a few bands that you imagine slotting in to and what approach to bass playing would you take ? Would you have liked a 3-piece , like Cream & Hendrix ? When Entwistle died, do you think you'd have enjoyed playing with THE WHO ?
Alan


Jim responded:
All of the above and more but great bands and born out of specific people who were present. Any change and it’s upset. If HENDRIX had lived I WOULD have jammed with him at least.


Your first bass guitar with Slade was, I believe, a Gibson EB3, which had a rosewood fret board. When you had your John Birch bass made, although it appeared to be virtually the same as an EB3, it had a maple fret board. What was the reason for the change? I play a Fender Precision with a maple fret board, which I prefer to a rosewood one, as I find the sound is a bit brighter. Thank you.
Simon Lloyd


Jim responded:
SIMON LLOYD HI SI. I was never about guitars or gear. My recording set up was a Laney guitar amp and a VOX T60 CAB. As time went by the speakers were replaced many times and the CAB eventually fell to pieces. I liked the distortion. It helped more than hindered. Chas hated it!

The guitar side was born out of economies too. What ‘short scale’ was available was what was used. I am very sensitive to the vagaries’ of change. My bass was stolen from J.B.’s workshop in Birmingham. He made something for me (I had a say in it). It was the only one available so that was it!!!!


Jim: Possibly a frivolous question, but did people ever mistake you and Don for one another? I always thought you looked like brothers. Mott the Hoople had a similar set-up, with Mick Ralphs and Overend Watts being lookalikes. Cheers!
UpTheChute


Jim responded:
May I call u ‘UP’ for short? BANG ON. Don and I were mistaken for each other (and still are) all the time. Cheers ‘UP’.


Hello James, hope you are well and smiling! As you know, hindsight is a wonderful thing, and possibly a useless tool to many, but if you could turn back time, would you of released any different Slade album tracks as singles instead of the ones that were released. Mine would of been "Little Sheila" off Rogues Gallery for instance.
Phil Megarity and family say hi to you and Frankie. All the best
Craig Storey
Newbury, Berkshire


Jim Responded:
CRAIG STOREY  yeah! I liked ‘Little Sheila’. I agree with U! I heard it on the Graham Norton Show a couple of months ago. He was introducing Sheila Hancock. I liked what I was hearing on the intro not realising it was me!


Hi Jim. I hope you are well and are continuing to make good progress following your recent illness, my question to you is - If you hadn't been in Slade which group would you have liked to have been in and why|? Kind Regards
Geoff West Chorley Lancs


Jim responded:
Hi Geoff. There are loads of bands I would have loved to have been in over the years but we do what we do. When the band that was to become SLADE played it’s first notes it was very unusual. Unquantifiable even. I always played ahead of the beat and pushed it forward. But it was certainly striking. The 4 of us had instantly hit on something from the off!!!! We all knew it too.


Jim, What do you think was the biggest mistake Slade made career wise-in hindsight what did the band do or not do that you/the band maybe now regret?
Andy


Jim responded:
ANDY  The wacky clothes got us noticed and helped with the laddish-ness of our image. This may have been carried on too long. Nod and Dave for it and Jim & Don not so much.


You went to USA in 1984 after your success with Run Run Away but came home early due to your illness at the time. If you had stayed there and done a tour do you think that you could have become massive in USA and finally conquered it? Would love to see you turn up at Robins 2 again like November last year-any chance at all? All the best
Andy


Jim responded: I think we would have cracked it in the U.S. Record company fired up and the Ozzy tour. But there was a big piece of the band missing. The ability to get stuck in (PERSEVERANCE) had gone.


Hi Jim, thank you for taking the time to answer to some more questions from the fans. My question is: Every band of any significance from the 70's, 80's up to now have released a Live DVD at some point in their career, except Slade. Considering Slade's reputation as one the best live bands on this planet, is it really possible that of all the hundreds and hundreds of concerts that Slade did up to 1984 , not one concert was filmed with a decent quality from start to finish? We are quite a few out there who never got the privilege to see you live due to the fact that we lived in the 'wrong' country. I have followed Slade since 1974 and I have nothing to look back on compared to all the UK fans who could go and see you whenever they wanted. I realise that releasing a Live dvd in 2018 would be pointless since people dont buy live dvd's anymore, but this is something that has really bothered me over the years. What was the bands attitude to Live videos? Again, thank you for taking the time.
Marcus Wright, Sweden


Jim responded:
There was never a push to film live shows. Chas was a non-believer in such things. Also it was very expensive back then. As technology came along it became a lot cheaper and simpler to do but our live days were over then. There is footage of us at the Lochem Festival in Holland in the early 80’s.


Hi Jim. 1991 saw the release of the hit single RADIO WALL OF SOUND which I felt was and still is as good a Slade single as any. I spoke to Nod some years ago & he thought the song would be a bigger success than it was. Do you agree and do you think you guys maybe had another studio album within you? Thank you.
MICK ANYON


Jim responded:
Things were getting very dissipated by then. It was getting difficult to get concerted effort to do any work.


Mr. Jim Lea, I would like to know why such a strong and hard rock song like "Know Who you Are" was removed from the live set? Many thanks. Regards.
Luis Lopes. Lisbon, Portugal


Jim responded:
‘Know who you are’ was a very early song, but as the hits came along thick and fast something had to give so the older material was dropped. It happened to the Beatles and the Stones etc. There’s only so much room. Mind you – those guys were onstage (only) 20 mins.


Dear Jim. Loving the new stuff, What In The World and Pure Power are brilliant rockers, would you consider doing a video for these or future releases? You deserve far more recognition than you get and think it might help open things up to a bigger audience. Cheers.
Steve Bustard


Jim responded:
I have thought of doing filmed promos but my fatigue with my cancer treatment has made it impossible. Good thought though!


If you could collaborate musically (songwriting or performing/recording) with anyone of your choice, who would it be and why? Cheers Jim. Best Regards,
John, Willaston.


Jim responded:
I’ve had overtures made towards collaboration with others. Big names. I may try it one day coz, let’s face it, we’re not getting any younger.


As everyone knows you are a brilliant multi-instrumentalist. What is your favourite instrument?
Pete


Jim responded:
Yes Pete! I can get a tune out of anything but ‘brilliant’? No! “More of a Jack of all trades, master of none”. Virtuosos practice hours a day on an instrument! That’s why they’re brilliant. Cheers Pete.


Hi Jim. I hope your health continues to improve. My question is regarding Mama Weer All Crazee Now the song that started my fantastic journey following and buying all things Slade and its four individual members. Please can you tell me how the song came about the writing, construction and recording etc. Thank you for the 46 years of fantastic music and memories for me. Please keep the music coming! Thank you
Mark Cawdery


Jim responded:
I had to be permanently writing songs in those days. My then girlfriend Lou would ask me “Where are you Jim”? As I would be constantly creating to keep up. ‘Mamma’ was written in parts. Verse – bridge and chorus. I was so pleased with the chorus. I knew it was a bigee.
Fortunately or unfortunately, I’m still doing it to this day. I found that a ‘gift’ is not owned by a person, but the ‘gift’ owns the person. Medicine is now finding out why. It runs my brain. “Mamma” was recorded at the Olympic Studio in “Barnes”. Creative types do not run on the rails.


I think the final lyric in, In For A Penny is "Gee, they got a band". What is this referring to?
Mark Lion


Jim responded:
NOD liked an ad on the T.V. with a blonde gangster style gangster ’s moll in the 1920’s situated in a club. Music started up and she says to her gangster guy “Gee – they got a band”. ‘In For A Penny’ had that antique music club about it. From another time! He asked me if it would be cool to say that at the end. I concurred so there it is.


If you were offered to play bass in Status Quo at the right time, would you have accepted?
Mark Lion


Jim responded:
Top of The Pops is the nearest I will get to playing with Quo.


If the chance had come up to join The Rolling Stones when Bill Wyman left, what do you think could have happened?
Alan J Birch, West Brom.


Jim responded:
Hi Al. I can’t imagine myself on a tour that never ends at any time, never mind back then.

 

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THANKS VERY MUCH TO JIM LEA FOR TAKING THE TIME OUT TO ANSWER
THESE QUESTIONS AND TO ALL WHO HELPED ALONG THE WAY.


Jim handwrote his answers and then they were scanned to us as pdfs.
Jim still has his handwritten answers, so please don't ask us for them. Thanks.

Jim Lea Q&A 2018

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