Monday, 13 February 2017
Wolverhampton, My Home Town
This week, Dave looks back at his home town of Wolverhampton.
There can't be too many rock stars who still live were they grew up and walk around their home town each day. I love Wolverhampton and its people and wouldn't live anywhere else. I've got some lovely memories of growing up as kid in the Post War Wolverhampton. Also, Slade wouldn't have made it big without the love and support of our local fans. We owe them a lot.
Slade were seen as a Midlands band and a lot of our songs were about missing home - Far Far Away and Take Me Bak Home. Even when we were having huge hits, and were away doing Tops of the Pops in London, we always tried to drive back home, even if it took all night.
The Midlands music scene in the 1960s
The sixties music scene wasn't just all abut what was happening in London and Liverpool. Lots of big bands and names came out of the Midlands; The Move, ELO, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, The Moody Blues and of course us, Slade. Later on there was Duran Duran, UB40, Ocean Colour Scene and loads more bands. It's still a great place for music today.
We didn't have those massive purpose built venues then either. There were lots of tiny clubs, pubs and theatres. We even played restaurants. The big bands of the day would play these smaller places in Wolverhampton - Cream, The Who, The Rolling Stones and even The Beatles.
As a group, I reckon you could have easily played a different venue every night for a year in just in Wolverhampton, Bilston, Walsall, Dudley, Tipton and Birmingham.
You could also be huge hit and still only play and be known locally. A lot of these big local bands just played covers, the hits of the day, or had a gimmick. Slade were different though, we quickly moved away from performing covers and ones which we did play were very different. They were soul, Tamla Motown and even psychedelic rock from the States, from the likes of Steppenwolf, The Loving Spoonful and even Frank Zappa,
Touring the Midlands non-stop was our apprenticeship, it's where we learnt to rock and to entertain. Even when we started to have huge number one hit singles we were still playing well over one hundred and fifty gigs a year.
Slade were and still are, known as being a great live band, but we learnt that by playing the Midlands.