Don Powell questions & answers September 2010
“Don Powell - He is an enormous
drummer” - H
Questions Ilpo Bister , Helsinki (IB), answers Don Powell (DP)
Questions Ilpo Bister , Helsinki (IB), answers Don Powell (DP)
IB: September 2010, over 44 years since the first Slade gig and 47 years on the road with the guitarist Dave Hill. You have been on the road with Slade 45 years now. How does it feel ? Does it still feel as fine as “How Does It Feel ?” feels still to loyal Slade fans ?
DP: I feel so privileged that we are still able to tour and that our loyal fans are still there for us – a big thank you to everyone.
IB: In the early years in Slade you took part in writing some songs. What was your role in the song writing ?
DP: In my early years of songwriting I did the lyrics to those songs.
IB: Looking back through the career of Slade. How would you describe the different time periods of Slade’s career and musical style during them ? Do you agree with me about the titles ?
1966 – 1969 Looking for themselves, already strong on stage
DP: Those titles are very fitting. We went through many musical phases – playing Tamla Motown and American Rock to soul music in those early days before we started to write our own songs.
1970 – 1971 Generating their own style
DP: I suppose meeting Chas Chandler who encouraged us to write our own songs – gave us our identity.
1972 – 1974 Highlight of Slade’s career, creating a new direction and style in rock music
DP: Same again – we put our own style into everything – creating a new style + sound.
1975-1976 Lost in America, oh no ! America is lost ! Looking for a new direction in musical style ?
DP: I suppose spending so much time there listening to all the different styles and genres over there was bound to influence each of the Slade members.
IB: 1977 Whatever happened to Slade ? A very strong album of unique kind of hard rock music style still
DP: One of my favourite albums! Then again most of it influenced by the time spent in
1978 – 1979 Return to base, on stage but not musically
DP: I think musically and direction wise we were a bit lost in direction.
1980 – 1982 Heavily back on stage; blowing any band off the stage in Reading, Donington, Lochem, Kuusrock (Oulu, Finland 1982)
DP: It was like a re-birth for us – being accepted by a different audience, so to speak.
1983 – 1984 Changes in musical direction and working on stage, big classic hits
DP: Having “My Oh My” and “Run Runaway” back in the charts – in the
1985 Rogues Gallery, “Do You Believe In Miracles” – “Would you believe it! The lads from Wolverhampton have done it again !” - Radio Luxembourg ?
DP: A fun album to make, especially when you are experiencing chart success again.
1986 The most quiet year in Slade’s career, not a single record released !
DP: You know – I really don’t know why !
1987 “You Boyz Make Big Noize” – but the feeling is lost ?
DP: Spending too much time in recording – definitely loosing the feeling.
1988 – 1990 ???
DP: Didn’t know where we were and didn’t have a direction.
1991 Radio WOS – they can still do it ! “ Universe” – one of the finest Slade songs, and The End of the greatest rock band ever !
DP: Great song – and definatively the “end”.
IB: Where did you get the idea of putting up Slade 2 and how did it find its line-up ?
DP: Dave and myself still wanted to tour – and we found the new memebers by word of mouth.
IB:You have been touring intensively with the new Slade line-up since 1992. Have you got rehearsals together with the band or on your own, or do you just “hit the road” ?
DP: We did rehearse a lot with the new members and just threw ourselves in the “deep” end on a tour of Australia.
IB: You’re living in Silkeborg in
DP: Because I found the love of my life there and feel incredibly happy living in
IB: You’re making a biography with the Danish writer Lise Lyng Falkenberg ?
DP: Lise has been wonderful – with her research – talking to so many people. I’m finding it interesting to read also.
IB: There is also another book coming out from you (Bibble Brick?) ?
DP: We are trying to get a deal for Bibble Brick the same time as my biography.
IB: Can you remember and mention the best gigs from the Slade 2 years on the road in the following countries:
Belgium: Forrest National, Brussels
IB: There are thousands of cover versions of your songs. Can you mention some of them that appeal most to you ?
DP: “C’mon Feel The Noize” by “Lucky Uke” – a ukulele band from USA/Canada
IB: How would you tell what were the factors that made Slade such a unique strong group both musically and on stage, a band in their own class ?
DP: All totally different people from different musical backgrounds and styles coming together to form a band.
IB: If you had to pick up the best songs for a Slade’s Greats album, which 10 tunes would you put on it ?
DP: “C’mon Feel The Noize”, “I’m Me I’m Now That’s All”, “In Like A Shot From My Gun”, “Know Who You Are”, “Far, Far Away”, “Nobody’s Fools”, “Chakeeta”, “My Baby Left Me”, “Slam The Hammer Down”, “Don’t Waste Your Time” (IB: many of them also my biggest Slade favourites !)
IB: You have been guesting on other artists’ records too. Can you tell us with which artists you have been working with?
DP: The Pleasers, Sue Wilkinson, Nick van Eede (Cutting Crew)
IB: Do you listen a lot of music and who are your favourites?
DP: The Eagles, Led Zeppelin
IB: Have you got any idea how many gigs you have played with Slade?
DP: 45 years multiflied by approx 500 = 22.500 and more ! (IB: I think that Don has got more days in a year than me !)
IB: Have you got some plans for releasing new records with the current Slade line-up?
DP: We were in the studio recently to start to work on a new album.
IB: Have you heard the James Whild Lea album “Therapy”, and if yes, what is your opinion about it ?
DP: I really liked his album and I told him so.
IB: You were guesting in the Oliver Twist musical in Denmark ? What kind of experience was this to you ?
DP: Wonderful – I played in the band playing Slade songs to the musical; different, eh !
IB: John Lennon tribute in Denmark 2010 ?
DP: That comes up in December.
IB: The last question. Dapple Rose, Know Who You Are, In Like A Shot From My Gun, Coz I Luv You, Look Wot You Dun, Take Me Back Ome, Mama Weer All Crazee Now, I Won’t It Appen Agen, Gudbuy T’Jane, Cum On Feel The Noize, Skweeze Me, Pleeze Me, My Friend Stan, Merry Xmas Everybody, Everyday, She Did It To Me, The Bangin’ Man, Do We Still Do It, Miles Out To Sea, When The Lights Are Out, Far, Far Away, O.k. Yesterday Was Yesterday, How Does It Feel ?, Lay It Down, Them Kinda Monkeys Can’t Swing, Nobody’s Fool, All The World’s A Stage, Get On Up, Big Apple Blues, Dead Men Tell No Tales, The Soul, The Roll And The Motion, Lightning Never Strikes Twice, Gypsy Roadhog, Forests Full Of Needles, Give Us A Goal, Rock’n’Roll Bolero, Chakeeta, My Baby’s Got It, When I’m Dancin’ I Ain’t Fightin’, Pistol Packin’ Mama, We’ll Bring The house Down, Knuckle Sandwich Nancy, Rock’n’Roll Preacher, C’est La Vie, My Oh My, Run Runaway, Slam The Hammer Down, Don’t Tame A Hurricane, All Join Hands, Walking On Water, Running On Alcohol, Do You Believe In Miracles, Love Is Like A Rock, You Boyz Make Big Noize, Still The Same, Fools Go Crazy, Ooh La La In L.A., Radio Wall Of Sound, Lay Your Love On The Line, Red Hot, Universe - Amazing Slade ! Do you often think about how great, strong and creative group Slade were?
DP: No, not really – I think if you ask anyone that question – they would say the same, it’s a nice memory when you see it all written down.
Don’s greetings to Slade fans:
“As I’ve said – I just feel so privileged that I’m still able to tour with the same enjoyment as when I first started over 40 years ago. Thanks to you all xx”
And big thanks to Don for kindly answering our questions ! See You and Slade on stage at Aschersleben in Germany 4th December 2010.