Conversation with a fan - Part 1|
||ESBJERG ROCK FESTIVAL 1996
Ain't I a lucky bastard!?
In '96 I got a chance to talk to Dave Hill (DH) at a hotel downtown
Esbjerg. The interview was taped and parts of it was later broadcast
in Denmark as a two hour radioshow, "Keep On Rockin'- A Portrait
Of Slade". The original recording goes something like this...
Hi Dave, I've been waiting since '72 for this to happen,
DH: Yeah, that's a long time to wait!
We drove a few hundred kilometres yesterday, and I'm just happy to see
DH: It's good to see you too.
It's hard for me because I feel I know you, and you don't know me, and
then maybe you do as..
DH: Cosmically speaking, yeah, ha, ha.
But,..is there life after Slade?
DH: Life after Slade, well, there is life after Slade, cos that's what
I'm doing now.
It's still your music that's coming across?
DH: Yeah, I think it's sticking to a situation, where what you've created,
you continue to do. There's always things you want to do furthering
the music, there's personal...as a person myself, there are other things
I like. But I think when you're performing in Europe, and the popularity
of that music you've grown up with stay whole strong for you. It's something
like with classical music, it doesn't actually die, good songs seem
to last! Today, obviously you go on this Esbjerg festival, and you play
DH: It's nostalgia, yeah, but it's weird, cos you can't walk on stage
and play things people don't know, so you have to play them!
You might ask me do I still enjoy playing them, you might ask me that
The next question is, ha, ha..
DH: Oh, that was the next question, was it!? Because some people think,
well, how can you play these song for years? And the thing is, that
I wouldn't do it if I didn't enjoy it!
DH: Yeah, I suppose so, it is a living, it is a job, you know, like
any other job. The thing about performing, I think you can't be good
unless you actually believe in what you do! And the songs of the 70's...although
they were written in the 70's, were about that time, they're not about
now, times have changed.
But, it doesn't matter!
DH: But, it doesn't matter, doesn't matter!
What about the new songs, do you feel they're as strong as the old stuff?
DH: Do you mean peoples songs, anybody else's songs?
DH: Our songs, well, we've made a new album called "Keep On Rockin",
and that was, sort of, in the Slade style. It's always different because
you have a different singer.
But it was back to basics!?
DH: Yes,. it was!
What happened in the 80's, with the RCA records, did you have to prove
that you could make hits, or..
DH: Well, I think you have to with a record.
They're pulling the strings!?
DH: Yes, I think so. The trouble with a lot of record companies, the
sign you, they expect to have a hit record, they still live of your
The story I heard was, show us the hits! And then there was "My
Oh My" and "Run Runaway".
DH: Well, that worked, and that was very big! But come sort of 84-85...
Well, to me it wasn't Slade!
DH: What "My Oh My"?
That period, you know, there was a whole different vibe to it!
DH: Oh yeah, well, the trouble is the different vibe comes from the
person who's writing it. And the writer was mainly Jim Lea, you see,
and Noddy Holder.
What it sort of a gentleman's agreement, that it was Holder/Lea? Like
DH: Yes, it's a bit like that!
When one person writes, the other get credits as well?
DH: Oh, no! No, I think they both wrote equally. I think Jim probably
wrote more of the music, and things, towards the later part of the years.
I think in the 70's, 50-50!
Did you feel that you were, sort of, in the background?
DH: Sometimes, yeah!
Could you come across with your stuff?
DH: I think it was difficult! Obviously, looking back, there are many
regrets that I didn't actually make more progress with that.
There were a few songs, B-sides that you and Don made.
DH: Yeah, there was. Don wrote..he had something to do with "Look
Wot You Dun" as well, and stuff like that you see.
But, he didn't get credits for that?
DH: Don did, in whatever he did. But I didn't actually get involved
in the hits, and the thing is, as a group, you.., yeah, it's a bit strange
now, but, it's all gone now you see, so..
But, still money comes rolling in, like with the Xmas record, year after
DH: Yeah, it doesn't actually come to me, you do out of the recording,
but it's better for the writer. The thing is, when you're successful..
Obviously, you got songs, they're coming now, with yours and Hunt's
DH: Yes, Bill Hunt and myself, yeah! Well, Bill Hunt used to be in Wizard,
Roy Woods Wizard!
Oh, did he?
DH: Yes, he was a keyboard player.
Great band, I love the old stuff!
He was also in ELO as well!
And The Move?
DH: Yeah, and he also went to school with Stevie Windwood, so he'd had
quite a musically career, really! Eventually, he got out of the business
and he became a schoolteacher.
DH: Yeah, he got fed up. Same as Noddy Holder, really, he got out, left
it, but he's got his legacy of hits you see, which he still earns off,
which is fine.
To get back to that, did you ever argue about that, fight about it?
DH: No! Maybe we should have done, but we didn't at the time.
Cause on the outside there was always this schoolboy humour, or whatever!
DH: I think the thing is, we were a very successful band, we each knew
what we were doing.
Did that keep you keep you together, the humour..
DH: yes, I think so!
And the lager?
DH: Don't know about the lager, but there was some of that (laughs),
plenty of that, probably.
Any problems with that?
DH: No, cos we were too professional. We didn't have problems with drink.
I mean you got drunk, everybody gets drunk!
Yeah, party's and..
DH: Yeah, especially when you're successful, but not on stage. I mean,
not every performance was wonderful, but we did have many good performances.
But, we did have a very professional attitude in the group!
I was wondering, when did the touring stop? Cause, we didn't see any
touring after the Liverpool concert!
DH: There was touring after that! Oh, yeah. Long after the Liverpool.
The last gig we did was in America, 1984!
I though that was the last tour.
DH: No, not as far as I know! What year are you talking about?
Umm, hang on..
DH: Got him (laughs)
It was 1983.
DH: Touring stopped in, must have been 85 I think!
That answers the question then. But now there's a lot of touring again!
DH: Oh, it's different now, we've been doing it for three years.
Why did it stop?
DH: Cos our singer didn't wanna do it, and that's the real truth. I
think in some ways we'd all probably had enough at that time. The singer
was just an option, that he said well, I don't wanna continue doing
this, I'm not happy. He'd divorced his wife, and had a lot of personal
problems. Well, he got over it, we thought, 2 or 3 years later he still
said the same, you know.
And people are still waiting.
DH: Yeah, still waiting, and the biggest problem is waiting a long time,
you see. It's a problem, you see, because your singer can stop everything
What if the money had been there, if he was paid well to do it?
DH: No, nothing to do with money! No way! You could pay him a million,
he wouldn't go on stage, he doesn't need it!
DH: Well, we could all have a million, couldn't we? Yes, it would be
very nice, but.
I just think you deserve more! And I've heard you say, we can't blow
your own trumpet and stuff like that, but, I've seen other bands, and
draw certain parallels, in a band like Kiss, who's been around since
the 70's. And they release things on video, old concert footage, even
their old passport pictures (laughs) pictures of their grannies, you
know! The fans love it, and they buy tons of it! Outtakes from studios,
and this and that, where's all that stuff?
DH: The only problem, with a lot of it, is that when you're not still
together, and someone isn't actually pushing it, you see, you find that
if the original band was still working, that sort of stuff would come
But, it still exists?
DH: I suppose so, it's a bit stupid really, but...
The Earls Court film, and things like that?
DH: That exists!
I'd love to get my hands on that!
DH: It's like the film "Flame", have you got it?
Yeah! You can buy that..
DH: But, you can buy it, yeah!
But, the concert footage is really interesting, right!
DH: I think the problem with a lot of the early stuff, is because, I
mean, the band of the 80's had a lot of things filmed, you see, in the
70's they didn't have a lot of things filmed, there were bits of video's,
bits of live things you know.
The only live thing, on the Wall Of Hits video, that was Coz I luv You,
I wish there was more of that!
DH: Have you got We'll Bring The House Down live?
The one I've got isn't a live video.
DH: Well, part live and part recorded, you see.
I know the fans want live videos on our shelves, will it ever come out?
DH: I don't know, I don't really have anything to do with it, well,
You haven't got any of it?
DH: It doesn't interest me particularly!
DH: Well, it's just I don't bother about it! I'm not a fan of Slade,
I'm playing it (laughs). I don't actually demand it, you know what I
mean, like you're a fan of Slade, I'm a fan of The Beatles, so if something
of The Beatles came out I'd probably buy it. Same as you want something
to do with slade, I can understand what you're saying! But, it's like
having a situation in London side, for someone to actually look into
it, and get that sort of stuff put together. And it all cost money,
you see! And in most cases people can't see profits, they won't put
things out. But, it doesn't rule out that, at some point, something
might happen with it, you know.
Yeah, cause on the other hand, you've got the bootleg side of it, and
somebody's making the money, but not the band. And we all buy that stuff!
DH: Yeah, you do! We can't control it. You see, in some cases you let
it happen, because in some cases, it good to have something out! You
know, they're nuffy. So, if a person bootlegs a performance, and puts
it out with a picture on the front, you'd spend all your life trying
to trace these people, to sue them! And it's not worth it, cause the
fans say, oh, I kinda like this, and I'm glad this man brought this
The ones I've got, they're really good!
DH: Are they!?
The quality is fabulous, I don't how they done it, but..
DH: The bootlegs? -from performances in England, is it?
Yeah, and Europe..
Yeah, and Scotland.
DH: Good grief!... Interesting!
DH: Yeah, I suppose all that stuff must be..If you'd put it all together,
you could have what is called an anthology, all the years, and if you
put it together it would be very interesting.
I could image a Slade boxed set!
DH: A Slade boxing, yeah..
The Golden Years!
DH: The Golden Years, yes.
With the vids, and everything, and the hat, ha, ha,
you know! I believe there is a marked for it! Cause the magazines are
still raving about the old days, and the live band..
DH: Yes, I know! The good things, you know you leave a good impression,
you've had a lot of shows, you've had a lot of success, and, we were
good at what we did! And, we're still good at what we do! We're not
totally original, but half of it is. You know, we might be better that
the group would be now, who knows? If Noddy came back in, and Jim came
back in, it doesn't mean to say it's going to say it's going to be as
good. It doesn't, cause if you have people in the band who don't wanna
do it, it's not good. Who knows what it would be like? I don't know,
I still like what we did, I still think a lot of those people, cause
we were together nearly 25 years, huh, it's a long time! So I don't
go around saying I hate them, cause that's stupid
They still send you Christmas cards, or whatever?
DH: They ring me up occasionally, Noddy's 50 this year, you know. His
missis' trying to arrange a surprise birthday for him, you see, so something..
A secret gig in the backyard, perhaps?
DH: No! Not a gig..
Sorry, my mind went wandering off again, ha, ha.
DH: I might do I video for him, so you see, saying "Hi, Noddy!
How about coming on stage again?" (Laughs) Now you're 50!
And bring your hat!
DH: Bring your tophat (more laughs)!!
Will it ever happen? Gotta ask!
DH: Donno! I doubt it, I can't image he'd...the longer he leaves it
the worse it gets, you know! The more hard for a person to even do it.
But, if he's lost his initial reason for doing it, you know a person
has to want to do that. Some people perform, and they play on stage,
and that's what they do for the rest of their lives, and you're probably
getting that with me!
And like Ozzy Osbourne, a few years ago, retire and..
DH: And then doesn't retire!
Yeah, adds in the papers: Retirement sucks, back on tour, new record!
He couldn't just sit down and twiddle his thumbs. It's in your blood,
DH: Absolutely! Well, if you knew Ozzy Osbourne, you'd know why he couldn't
retire! Because, that's what he does! The trouble is, you see, that
some artist they retire, and they can't find anything else to do. So,
they actually go mad! They end up drunks, booze, drugs, it's all the
same stuff. See, when your young, you know, when you're 15 years of
age and you're in a group, and that's your job, you do it for years
and years and years.You live with your parents and you do that! You
imagine, say, when you're 40 years of age, after all those years of
doing it, and suddenly you don't do it, and you go: Oh, what should
I do now then?
Continued... (Part 2)
Have you ever done anything else?
You were, what, 15 when you started out?
DH: 14! So, that's what I've done. It doesn't mean to say that there
isn't something else, cause, I'm sure there is for me! But, may be still
be connected with the group. It may be something to do with, I don't
know, some people become consultants, or some people go around doing
speak, you know, talking to audiences about being a member in Slade,
or the life, or you could write a book, there are things you could do!
There's nothing quite the same as playing live, though!