Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Oh don't worry - I can feel the noize.

So as I've mentioned recently I have started playing in a new band recently. It just seemed the logical thing to do - what with getting old, venues closing and the music I like getting less fashionable by the year. Yet despite my own confidence in the timing of this career move - I do seem to get a fairly standard set of questions after announcing the news to friends and acquaintances. Namely....

Q1: Aren't You too old?
A: Yes.

Q2: Is it a joke band?
A: All bands are joke bands.

Q3: Right - deep. So why the fuck are you doing it?

A: There are a few reasons but one of the main ones is over the past year I have become re-smitten with my first musical love - that being mid to late 70s rock. It was the first music I heard that blew my mind and kicked off that delirious and naive obsessiveness all music fans go through in their formative years. And there was no band that made me more giddily mental than Wolverhampton's finest, Slade.

Slade was my game changer - the moment all other music became frivolous and 2nd best. My colleagues at school listening to Cold Chisel and Australian Crawl could no longer be relied upon to share musical opinions with. Life became a rudderless, random search to discover more Slade albums and with there being no internets and me being stuck living in regional bumblefuck, collecting their entire discography was a long and drawn out process. The beauty of it was of course that any time I was leafing through the S section in a 2nd hand record bin there was the outside chance I would stumble upon a Slade album I'd never even heard of. How many times I cursed that fucking idiot Sade as I prematurely celebrated a new catch only to realise my excited state of anticipation had made me slightly dyslexic again.

Eventually I did track down their entire canon and what a canon it is. Obviously I'm quite biased but I've always been amazed at how marginalised Slade are when it comes to the perceived great rock bands in history. They were Beatles-esque with their chart topping alchemy in the early 70s and when punk rock arrived in the late 70s they got even better [They were one of the rare "establishment" bands that many first wave of English punk bands professed to still liking]. They continued making great no frills rock albums well into the 80s.

I loved their guitar sound, I loved their haircuts. I loved their tartan pants and mirrored hats. I loved their self depreciating sense of humour and their no frills working class manner. I looooved Noddy Holder's voice and the fact that my wife hates it is the single unresolved conflict in our marriage.

"Ok so Slade are kind of a big deal -what should I listen to" I hear you ask.

I'd start off with their raw as hell 70s hit album Slayed which contains early classics Gudbuy T Jane and Mama Weer All Crazee Now, some mellower pop numbers and the flat out rockers [and my personal faves] The whole World's Goin Crazee and Let The good Times Roll.

Then try What Ever Happened To Slade from their self aware commercial wilderness era. It's an insanely ignored album featuring IMO some of their best stuff including the twin epics of Big Apple Blues and The Soul The Roll and The Motion.

You should seek out a live album or two. Their early ep Slade Alive is a bit of a mixed bag of 60s hangover and absolutely mental proto punk rock and roll. There's also an awesome bootleg of Slade Live In London 75 which is sweeeeeeeeet. Their later live albums Slade Alive 2 and Slade On Stage  are noteworthy for playing all their old hits twice as fast and basically heralding their 2nd coming as a hard rock / new wave of British heavy metal band.

Alternatively - if you're an iTunes cherry picker like my good self grab anything off this list...

Skweeze Me Pleeze me
The Bangin' Man
Keep On Rockin' [From Slade Alive]
Get Down And Get With It [Ditto]
Them Kind Of Monkeys Can't Swing
Just A Little Bit
We're Really Gonna Raise The Roof
When I'm Dancin' I Aint Fightin' [From Slade on Stage] 

And whatever you do - please take the time to feel the noize.

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