YOU could forgive Dave Hill for approaching an intense schedule of live dates in the run-up to Christmas with a little trepidation. After all, for more than 50 years he has been an integral part of Slade, one of the most successful rock bands of all time.

But the chance to bring Slade classics to live audiences, particularly after Covid denied him the opportunity in 2020, is something he’s relishing.

“Things were very not normal last Christmas,” he said, “but now we can look forward to a tour we should have done 12 months ago.

“It’s been a difficult time for all of us. As a musician it felt like you’ve had the plug pulled out of your back. I’ve never not worked in about 50 years; I’ve never been off this long and it has been hard to cope with that.”


Dave Hill

Dave Hill


He may be 75 but Dave has the enthusiasm of a teenager for what he does. A smile is never too far away and he’s clearly relishing taking Slade back out on the road, including a date at the Ritz in Manchester.

“It has never been about making money,” he said. “For me it’s a passion. It’s not a job, it’s a life and it’s always been like that with me. When it comes to playing live, it’s about the joy of it. Regardless of age I’m going to come to the table with a freshness in my mind, I’m ready to do it and that’ll never change.”

Slade were one of the biggest bands of the Seventies clocking up a string of hit singles and selling more than 60 million records in their career. They were known for their misspelled song titles such as Gudby T’Jane, Mama Weer All Crazee Now and Cum On Feel the Noize and were virtual ever-presents on Top of the Pops.

Alongside Noddy Holder’s powerhouse voice, guitarist Dave Hill provided much of the visual appeal. A diminutive five feet four and with a gap-toothed smile, he remains an unlikely focal point for a band, but he has proved a master of the art.

His outlandish costumes have become things of legend - eight inch platform boots, silver catsuits, rhinestones and even one daring stage costume dubbed ‘the flying nun’ - all cementing his role as the band’s entertainer.

“In the Sixties everything was in black and white,” he said, “but then when the Seventies came along suddenly everything was in colour. That was brilliant for someone like me. I used to work with two people planning and designing the next outfit to wear on Top of the Pops.

“To be in a successful band you have to know how to play and I deliver as a guitarist but delivering with an image is what it is all about.


Dave Hill with some of Slades hit releases

Dave Hill with some of Slade's hit releases


“We were a serious band, we were serious about our songs and were never complacent. Our attitude was one of wanting to be the best and making sure the next song we put out was as good as if not better than the last. We had such great songs in our repertoire. We never held back and the image was part of that.

“We always looked like wer were having a good time - and we were.”

And Dave had good news for fans coming along to the Christmas shows.

“Oh, I think there’ll be a bit of glitter and sparkle,” he laughed. “We’re not going to start wearing all black just because we’re older.”

Slade were formed in Wolverhampton in 1966 and did hundreds of gigs in the clubs honing their craft.

“That’s the thing about us,” said Dave. “We are a people’s group, we grew up on council estates and worked hard at it and spend a long time perfecting the way we were going to be. It wasn’t an overnight fix, it took a period of time.





“A lot of the fun was in those early days of us actually learning our craft and learning how to entertain people.

“It’s always important to have that connection with an audience, that’s always been what Slade’s about.”

After major success in the Seventies. Slade had a resurgence in popularity after a last minute call up to replace Ozzy Osbourne at the Reading Rock Festival in 1980 saw them stealing the show. The original line-up - Dave, singer Noddy Holder, bassist Jim Lea and drummer Don Powell split in 1992.

Initially Dave and Don kept the flame alive as Slade II and now Dave continues to perform as Slade alongside John Berry and Russell Keefe who share vocal duties and drummer Alex Bines.


ON TOUR: Dave Hill and the current Slade line-up

ON TOUR: Dave Hill and the current Slade line-up


“Knowing that we can get out there and bring some much needed joy to people is a great feeling,” said Dave. “So many people have memories associated with our songs, they are classics and have away of moving people and bringing them out of a difficult time.

“With this tour in particular we will be coming together with them live; it will be like bringing the family together again.

“I never get tired of our songs, they are never dated. They are part of people’s lives and so important to them.

“But having had this enforced time away from performing makes you miss it even more. Now we’re back together and finally heading out on the road, we’ll be firing on all cylinders.”

Slade, Manchester Ritz, Sunday, December 19. Details from