The cast

Oral histories



- glam style

Dave Hill:
Let's put you on a clear path here. Things got indulgent, that's what happened. When our manager saw us, he said we were the breath of fresh air on the scene. What was happening was people were wearing duller clothes or denims and there was a hippy thing, they were looking at the floor. They were all post-hippies, you see, hadn't quite recovered from the drugs. And there was this thing about nobody dancing anymore, people staring at the band or sitting on the floor getting smashed. It was a sea, an atmosphere of pot. We didn't fit that, we kind of were around it. We went through the flower power bit, and we wore the flowers, but we went through that. And there was an aftermath and nothing new was coming along, except for a lot of silly things like funny records. So you could go on Top of the Pops with Max Bygraves maybe or something silly. But nothing new was happening, nobody kicked arse, nobody took a chance.
What happened was we took the long guitar solos and threw them out the window. So everybody standing up there going, 'Yeah, man, I'm really cool, I'm really spaced, you know' - all that went. You see, The Beatles and The Stones had constructive ideas on their records and that's why they stand up now, but you listen to some of the hippy records, and it's out the ruddy window with them. I mean, we weren't there to work it out. The audience took what we'd got to offer, and what we'd got to offer become huge.

Slade as skins

Trevor Bolder:
When I joined, all Bowie was doing was playing folk clubs, just like a folk singer - that's all he was, going out with his 12-string and he just played the folk clubs. Cos he'd had 'Space Oddity' as a hit and after that he failed with all the other singles he put out, he didn't have anything, and he just looked like a folkie: long blond hair, wore jeans and t-shirts, stuff like that. He was a folk-singer. I suppose that's why Hunky Dory's more of a folk-type album in a way.

Dave Hill:
I think the visual appeal of the band was as important, if not more important in some cases, in selling the music. Because it's one thing to have good songs, another thing to have a damn good salesman. And I always felt that our music could stand up, but we always had something going for us which took us out of the ordinary. And it wasn't something we were all sitting at home planning, cos the guitarist in the band might flippin' hate what I'm wearing. On Top of the Pops, for instance - the story that Noddy always tells everybody - I used to go in the toilet and change, and I'd come out and if they all fell on the floor laughing at me, we've got a winner. Cos I used to say: 'You write 'em and I'll sell 'em.'

Trevor Bolder:
It was a big jump from being a blues band in t-shirts and jeans with long hair and beards to wearing make-up and flashy clothes. That's one hell of a jump that is. We wouldn't do it at first. The first time I ever saw Bowie wearing make-up was at John Peel's show. He came out wearing his dress - you remember that dress on The Man Who Sold the World? I'd seen him in jeans and t-shirt, and all of a sudden this guy comes out wearing a bloody dress, covered in make-up, and I was like: what the hell's this? Cos I'd not seen him, I didn't know he was gonna come out with that sort of thing. I just thought he was going to come out like anybody else would play, nicely dressed or whatever. And it was a radio show with a small audience. So no one was gonna see him. But he did.
We did a couple of gigs with him doing the Hunky Dory stuff, after we made the album, and he come up with this concept of Ziggy Stardust and will you all wear make-up and will you all dress like this? Course Mick Ronson said, 'Bugger that, I'm not dressing up like that.' And we all said, 'Oh God no, not sure about this.' Eventually he convinced us into it: we went to see Alice Cooper, he took us to see Alice Cooper, and they were wearing make-up on stage, the band, but they were really heavy. The sort of music they were playing was great, I thought at the time, and it didn't look too bad, so it warmed us into it a bit. We thought: if Alice Cooper can be really big and he's doing that, it looks like something's gonna happen with this. So we agreed to do it.

Lorraine Kelly:
I liked Alice Cooper, cos I thought he was funny, I mean it was just daft. With my daughter, she's only three and a half, so God knows what she'll be into, but I cannot say to her, 'Look at the state of that.' Because I liked Alice Cooper. I don't have a come-back.
I really liked David Bowie. I remember vividly having a duffel-coat - cos everyone had to get a duffel-coat and your mother always bought it ten times too big so you would grow into it, and you never did - and I remember embroidering across the back 'Bowie'. And I remember going to school with a circle on my head, the way he used to be, and with my hair standing up. People must have thought I was completely bonkers. That was when you didn't really do things like that. I had all his album covers on my door. And I painted the cover of Alladdin Sane on my bedroom wall. It wasn't very good, mind you, but I had a stab. My mum was just so tolerant.

Dave Hill:
glamour The silver coat used to work great on a black and white TV. Cos people didn't need colour to see it, it would reflect. And it did work. I thought colour might screw it up for me, cos when the colour telly come in I wondered about the colours that we were wearing: 'this bloody colour TV', you know. And I was thinking about the colours, but silver's like a universal colour, somehow. It's a bit like black or white. There are some colours that do not work - a blue, maybe, something dull - but silver, a bit like white, will hit you. Black will hit you if you see it well-lit, it has its mood, but it's very sort of ... there. So I picked on the silver. And gold, I wore.
The outfits stemmed from a progression of things. What I wore on Top of the Pops on my first hit record, which was 'Get Down And Get With It', was a pink woman's coat. There was a fashion for dungarees - well, I had diamonds on my dungarees, under the pink coat, into the boots. Mott The Hoople used to wear their trousers in their boots with lace-up fronts, and I picked a bit of their brains but what I did was I brightened it up to make it me. And then I got the unusual hair-style. But I didn't wear glitter then. And the long coat was something interesting. So we went on Top of the Pops and we made an impression.
Then from that the kind of satin thing was around as well, blocks of different colours - still a good idea now actually. Flares were there. And then from the pink thing I saw a long black coat in Kensington Market, leather with a zip-up front. And I looked at it and I thought: black's no good, but what would that be like in silver. Cos I was messing around at home, spraying things with silver cans. So I sprayed one with metal spray in my dad's front room and he was freaking out because of the stink, and it really reflected. And I used to like putting moons on it - like, a bit cosmic. And people just said, 'Bloody hell.' On your black-and-white television.
In the old days with the fashion, I couldn't get anything bright unless it was a woman's thing. I'd go in and buy a blouse and make it look like a shirt: it may look hilarious in front of you, but on stage it could look bloody great. What I was capable of doing was taking an idea and making it more extreme. It's the best fun I've ever had in my life.


these words were brought to you by
Trevor Bolder
Dave Hill
Lorraine Kelly
the novel of Slade in Flame is reviewed on our sister site:
Trash Fiction

Gary Glitter
Top of the Pops
'The Funky Gibbon'
Fuck the critics
New Seekers
Gerry Shury
New Faces
'Rock On'
The Sweet
Sparks vs Rubettes
'Under the Moon of Love'
Generation X
Biddu's roster
Crisis, what crisis?
Glam fashion
Rock indulgence
The Drifters
The Real Thing
Bay City Rollers
'I Love To Love'
The death of Arnold