Noel Gallagher: Oasis would never have formed if it wasn't for Slade
Noel Gallagher has paid a remarkable tribute to Black Country glamrock icons Slade – insisting that without them Oasis would not have been formed.
He even went as far to say that Slade were more influential than the Beatles to the legendary ‘90s band.
Writing in Slade guitarist Dave Hill’s newly published autobiography, Gallagher said: “No Slade = No Oasis. It’s as devastating and as simple as that.”
Oasis, the most popular band of the Britpop era, modelled themselves on the Beatles and were greatly inspired by fellow Mancunians, the Stone Roses.
But the band’s former lead guitarist and songwriter said: “The Stone Roses? Yeah, they played their part. The Beatles? Well they were undeniably great... but Slade?
“I felt their songs could’ve been written at the end of my street... in a house just like mine.”
He also paid tribute to the book’s author: “Dave Hill? He was keeping it casual during the Glam Wars on Top of the Pops and he had a gold Rolls Royce! What’s not to love?”
Hill, who grew up in a council house on the Warstones Estate, Penn, was able to publish his life story, So Here It is, with the help of fans who directly funded it via a new publishing website Unbound that Hill has set up. As well as Gallagher’s words, the book also includes a touching tribute from Noddy Holder, with whom he had a difficult relationship after the former Slade frontman declined to join Hill’s reincarnation of Slade.
Holder and Jimmy Lea, Slade’s songwriting partnership, have enjoyed a comfortable living on their royalties since the band split, while Hill and drummer Don Powell, were forced to go back on the road to pay their mortgages. The pair have since reconciled.
In the book’s foreward, Holder writes: “Since I left the band, we have not always seen eye to eye but we have always respected one another.
“Dave has come down from Planet H in the last few years and has got his priorities in life all sorted. We are now both in our 70s and we’re still able to make each other laugh a lot, no mean feat... ‘COZ I LUV YOU’ Mr H.” In the 274-page story, Hill recalls how his mother got him his first job, at Tarmac, while his dad bought him his first guitar, paying seven pounds and 10 shillings - ‘a fortune’, says Hill - from the Kay’s catalogue, paying in weekly instalments.
He went on to travel the world with Slade but recalls being aghast when invited to join a group in Bilston because it was miles from Penn and ‘we couldn’t even understand what they said in Bilston’.
Fortunately he braved the journey as that band, The Vendors, where he met Powell, were offered a month’s contract under their new name, the ‘N Betweens, to play in Germany, leading Hill to hand in his notice at Tarmac and turn professional.
In early 1966 he and Powell, both 19, put an advert in the Express & Star which was answered by a 16-year-old Jimmy Lea. Dave later bumped into Noddy outside Beatties in Wolverhampton and he, too, joined up after going to hear them rehearse at Willenhall Baths.
There are many local references in the book, particularly venues where they played, including The George Hotel , Walsall, and the Civic Hall and Connaught Hotel, Wolverhampton. When the band took off and they got their first number one, Coz I Luv You, amazingly Hill was still living at home, returning after a day recording Top Of The Pops to his box room at his parents’ council house in Rindleford Avenue.
Even more surprisingly, the band was still doing local gigs, performing at the Queen Mary Ballroom in Dudley and the odd working men’s club to 50 people. Hill says: “A lot of people didn’t know we had a number one.”
He puts Slade’s success down to a combination of their big, energetic sound and the fact they were an antidote to the strikes, power cuts and economic gloom of the 70s. The grandfather-of five, who still lives in Wolverhampton and tours with Don Powell in a reformed Slade, has survived financial struggles and a stroke to find inner peace.
“I proved to myself that the power of the band was still there, that I still had worth,” he says. “It’s still a thrill to go out on stage. I hope there are plenty more gigs to come.”