You know it’s nearing the festive season when you hear Noddy Holder everywhere you turn.
But Slade guitarist Dave Hill says the band’s biggest hit, Merry Christmas Everybody, is such a popular song among fans that they’re requested to play it all year round.
Dave, who has made sure the glam rock band continues on despite Noddy quitting in 1992, said: “It doesn’t matter the time of year we tour, people want to hear that song.
“It’s not just a song about Christmas, it’s about people and looking to the future.
“We played at Reading in August 1980 to 40,000 people. We were a late replacement for Ozzy Osbourne and went down a storm.
“Halfway through, the audience started to sing Merry Christmas Everybody, so we let them carry on.”
Despite being on the road since 1966, Slade are still finding new places to play.
“We’re just back from a gig in Nuuk, in Greenland! Greenland Airways picked us up from Iceland in a propeller plane.
“The moment we landed we knew it was different – but in a nice way.
“We took a trip up a fjord in a couple of boats and it was magical – waterfalls and icebergs.
“It was only a small place so we were surprised at how many people came to see us – it was a real mix of faces.”
Having been to Greenland in autumn, Scotland in December shouldn’t be too cold for Dave and the band – but he’s well used to trips north in any case.
“I’m very fond of Scotland.
“We spent many weekends there in the ’60s with a nice promoter and we used to play the Electric Gardens in Sauchiehall Street, then Rutherglen and Arran.
“The farthest north I’ve ever gone is Wick and I can remember only 50 people showed up in the town hall.
“Those were great days. Scotland was always fun, playing university balls. I remember playing Christmas Eve in Glasgow one time.
“The Empire was a magical venue and I even bought stage clothes from The Barras, including a great pair of plastic boots.”
Slade, who now have former Sweet, Tremeloes and Rubettes bass player John Berry on vocals, had an incredible run in the charts throughout the ’70s and ’80s.
Coz I Luv You, Take Me Bak ’Ome, Mama Weer All Crazee Now, Cum On Feel The Noize and Skweeze Me Pleeze Me were the band’s other No.1 hits in the UK, alongside Merry Xmas Everybody.
Dave has no plans on stopping playing, and is even recording a solo album in January.
“I need to be mindful of my age at 73, but when you have something that gives you strength and purpose, it’s not a job, it’s life,” he added.
“It’s the one thing in my life I’ve ever done well.
“I’ve been through depression. My son said I shouldn’t stop playing live and I think that’s helped me.
“It does something to your insides – you’ve got to see the joy in life, the little things.
“Having a stroke ten years ago kicked me up the backside and made me change the way I do things.
“You can’t take away from the fact that a person gets older, but I’m still young in my mind.”
Slade, SWG3, Glasgow, December 17
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