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Jim Lea | Don Powell


Jim Lea

Q&A / March 2017

Hi Jim.
I too have suffered with prostate cancer. I had mine out completely in April of last year, in an 8 hour operation, at the Christie Hospital in Manchester, about two months after my diagnosis. I wasn't offered Bracytherapy. I have had three 'undetectable' quarterly PSA readings since then. I can't thank the Christie enough.

More advice about this is at - I was utterly shocked when I read about your diagnosis. I hope you get the best recovery that you can.

My PSA level that triggered concerns was 19 (though when they examined my prostate, they said it was pretty fried and that my biopsy didn't show how bad it was). The hospital said a PSA of 4.5 was a top limit before they start to worry. I have heard of a 10000 PSA that has been reduced to 0 by treatment. I was curious about your initial reading. Reading anything about your experience that you are comfortable to release may prompt some guys into getting themselves checked out.

Also, How much of a leap was it for you to play guitar instead of bass at the 'Jim Jam' show?

All the best,

Hi Ian,
Yeah! We’re in the same boat except that my PSA was 53.6 on presentation. The biopsy was showing a prostate packed with the bad guys... luckily nothing showed up elsewhere but it made me a high risk case. If you’re having urinary problems of any sort especially a sudden excruciating need to pee, go to your doctor.

As for Jim Jam, I had a month from confirmation of the gig to work out what I was going to do. As a Who/Hendrix fan I wanted visual and auditory excitement. Jim Jam on reflection was my interpretation of important musical influences.

How did your parents react when you told then you were joining The 'Nbetweens ?
Can you remember what bass guitar you played at The 'N Betweens' audition?

Hi Chris
I didn’t tell them I was going to the audition but I’d got the job and they were up in arms.
The bass I used was a Bill Wyman early stones Framus.

Hi Jim,
* I was wondering why you put those photos of yourself on the pledge site asking info about dates etc. I particularly liked the one where you are on stage in Coventry and you are wearing an old battered cloth cap that I used to wear everywhere in those days. I still have it BTW although the moths have had a go at it.
* Also do you remember i sent you a VHS tape of Jim Jam that I filmed, it was my only copy and you said Id get it back, still waiting lol ! Hope to see ya again soon. Nomis

Hi Nomis,
I didn’t understand why the photos were put on Pledge. I have a good memory but I could only have a stab at a couple of them. (writes bemused of Wolverhampton). The VHS is somewhere but I don’t have it to hand. Hope you’re happy and well.

Over Slade's entire recording career, are there any album tracks that Jim would have liked to have seen released as a single?

After ‘Merry Christmas Everybody’ and the massive success of 1973 it was hard to find a follow up quickly. I wanted ‘When The Lights Are Out’ (not because I sang it) but I recorded it as the Dummies and it was playlisted at Radio 1 and record of the week on Radio Luxembourg too.

Why has there never been a Slade Ballads album? I did suggest it many years ago via the Slade fan club, cannot recall which band member said they thought it was a good idea.

Hi Sidari
Slade Ballads. Hmmm. I’d have to think about that. Interesting.

Do the BBC have the whole of the Reading set in their archive? The EP that came out after Reading contained at least one track that was not broadcast at the time?

Yes the whole set was broadcast on the Tommy Vance show so it does exist somewhere out there.

There is some great tv/video footage out there. Why haven't Slade released a decent DVD/Blu-ray compilation? It would be nice to see a decent and extensive compilation to surpass the 2005 The Very Best Of Slade release.

I wasn’t consulted about the 2005 DVD but I heard that the songs stood up really well but the DVD as a package was not so hot.

I'd like to ask Jim... Which Slade album are you most proud of and why?

The trouble with ‘old school’ recording schedules was that it was a permanent highly pressurised treadmill of songwriting followed by expensive ‘old school’ recording studios, so really it all flew by. That was followed by touring. ‘Flame’ had ‘How Does It Feel’ and ‘Far Far Away’ both were conceived as being especially for the movie and both stood out.

‘How Does It Feel’ was the first song I ever wrote as a young teenager. I don’t think I have a favourite album but I know I gave every one all that I could give. I took it very seriously.

Hello Jim, is there in the archives recording the 3 dates of the concerts for the realization of the album "Slade Alive"? There were over 7 songs playing these days, it would be great to hear them! (Like the song "Coming Home" for example) - from Gérard France fan

I’m sure there would be left over tracks but I don’t know what state the tapes would be in after all this time. That plus Nod is not keen on anything else coming out.

What three Slade songs are you most proud of?

How Does it feel, Far Far Away and Coz I Luv You.

Hi Jim - Did you ever get the letter I sent you about 18 months back? Some old family history stuff with my ancestors The Leas of Staffordshire from the early 1800s and wondering if we are distant cousins ? Best wishes with your health.

I do have distant cousins. Loads of them - but going back to the 1800s would be too tenuous to contemplate.

Hi Jim! First of all I sincerely hope that you will get well soon. I have never heard any official comments about Slade Alive 2 from any of the band members over the years. It was released in 1978 and never mentioned again. I have never heard the band play better before or since and I think it deserved a better fate whether it was a genuine live album or not. What are your thoughts about that album and how would you rate it? Cheers, Marcus Wright, Sweden

Slade Alive 2 was a genuine live album that was released when we were in a very uncool patch of our career. I never play old stuff so I don’t know what it would sound like now. Most live albums are generally recorded in the studio with added reverb and audience. That’s what people regard as great live albums. My own fave live album is ZZ top (Tejas) from memory half is live at least.

Did the band, Chas or the record company ever consider releasing 'Do We Still Do It' as a single? It is popular amongst Slade fans and thought it could have made the top spot on the charts? She Did It To Me was too good to be a B side. In hindsight, how do you feel about the song being held over to be released as an A side in 1975?

Hi Mark. ‘Do We Still Do It’ was never considered as a single but Chas really liked it. ‘She Did It To Me’ was a B side. Chas considered it to be A side material but resisted as it would have followed ‘Everyday’. Ballad after ballad. Good song though! While I was writing I would always feel what would be the single.

I'd like to ask Jim what his favourite Slade tune is and what it was like being Skinheads.

The song I was most excited about on release was ‘Cum On Feel The Noize’ it entered at no 1. First song to do it since the Beatles. That’s what it was built to do! Job done. Being Skinheads was strange and a little dangerous at first but after a while it felt good to be different.

Jim, You have appeared on a few occasions as a guest artist, is there anyone you would like to work with i.e Macca, Neil finn or the Gallaghers ?
How did Mamas JasJe record come about?

I have been asked to collaborate by quite a few big names over the years but I always put our band first which made it a no no. Mama’s Jasje came via my brother Frank who sent a demo of one of my songs to the band. They snapped his hand off and I believe it did very well.

Hi Jim. Firstly, I've really enjoyed all of your recent candid interviews. it's great to hear from you after so many years, also loving all of the new music and hopefully more to come (String theory?). As you said, "the older I get the better I was" but looking back what were you're biggest regrets about your career with Slade, what would you change if you could do it all again?

Thank you for all of the great memories (no pun intended) of so many great gigs, especially those in the late 70s/early 80's. Wishing you all the best with your health issues and please keep the music coming, no-one does it like you do!!

Over the last 6 months ive come to regret not going back to the States after I was ill in 1984. We did one gig with Ozzy and that was it. We should have gone back!!!!! The emergence of MTV would have made a huge difference. I agree with your late 70s gigs comment.

Hi jim - I've always wanted to ask you how did you perform Thanks For The Memory live regarding bass and piano I think I can remember you starting off on piano and then switching to bass guitar returning to piano for important keyboard parts at some shows, for me Newcastle City Hall '75.......... thank you very much Jim

Two stage keyboard tracks ‘Thanks For The Memory’ and ‘How Does It Feel’ Dave played bass on ‘How Does It Feel’ and Nod did bass on ‘Thanks For The Memory’

First of all , Slade were the best live band ever --- Better than Springsteen , Thin Lizzy , Quo , The Who etc ..... So my question may seem a bit cheeky ( it's not meant to be ). With a few exceptions , most successful band have an out and out lead guitarist , or at the very least an iconic one ( Angus , Townshend ). Did you ever consider that the band would have stood a better chance in the States if they had a more formidable lead guitarist , or do you think that the "Wall of Sound" was an even better weapon ??

Firstly the four of us made for a brilliant band and the way Nod put it (as he was lead guitar in The Mavericks) was that we had three lead guitarists. Dave was certainly an iconic lead guitarist without doubt. Our rebel rousing in the States was misunderstood but now everyone does it all over the world it’s our legacy.

Hi Jim. I've always enjoyed listening to you speaking about your life and times with Slade. Are there any plans for an autobiography?

Not Yet

Hi Jim, What about the 1971 album that has been talked about on this forum. Were there plans for a studio album after Play it Loud and before Slade Alive? In that case, which songs were planned for that one, except the natural choices CILY and GDAGWI. Why didn’t it happen? Thanks for all the fantastic songs you have written so far. I wish you a good recovery

I never liked the studio at first because it was so dry. Chas had the idea for ‘Slade Alive’ and I was so relieved. ‘Get Down And Get With It’ followed by ‘Coz I Luv You’ along with the album pointed to our direction and destiny. Thank heavens.

Hi Jim, Do you think that Slade get/got the respect they deserve as THE greatest rock band or were you considered as just a glam rock band? I seem to remember reading that you didn't like some of the colourfull clothes and maybe would have preferred to have acted more seriously and maybe been treated more as a serious rock band?

* How do you consider yourself and Dave & Don as musicians compared to other large rock bands-you hear of various artists as being the greatest guitarist or drummer but never anyone from Slade? ( I have my opinion on this and I know who I rate as the greatest guitarists and drummer).

* I'd love you to do an autobiography, Dons' I thought was totally honest and very revealing on a lot of facts. Did you read Dons' book and did you find any of it uncomfortable reading?

* You play most instruments, but can you play the drums or have you ever tried or did Don ever try and teach you and did you ever try and teach Don to play guitar?

* Finally, Don said in his book that you never owned a suit and often borrowed his because you were a bit "careful "with your money-is that true at all??!! Thanks for taking the time to answer some of these questions Jim.

I would have agreed with you 20 years ago about the ‘respect’ but as time has gone by we have become cool and our live power is acknowledged. The people who were fans have grown up and now have the radio and journalistic jobs are on our side. Back then we were frowned upon as young yobby upstarts which is what we were supposed to be. For me it was always about the music. Virtuosity at certain points became a big thing in rock but the biggest names ever were The Beatles and The Stones. No virtuosity but shit hot bands. We were the same. I rest my case.

I have heard good things about Dons book. The goalie scoring the goals. Good for Don. I helped him out a few times when he was stuck for info. Don must be the loudest drummer on the planet bless his cotton socks.

During my working life the tax man was on my back. So I was “careful” with my money.

Dear Jim What inspired you to write a song called Poland ? Always loved your dress-sense on and off stage - minimum effort- maximum effects And like me you seemed to keep your favourite stuff forever- is your famous Air Force leather sheepskin jacket still with you ?

‘Poland’ was written in Poland and yes I still have the flying jacket which is not in good shape.
I’ve never mastered ‘Flame’ , I wasn’t involved in that. To be honest I don’t often listen to what I’ve done once it’s done.

Hi Jim. Just wanted to say that Slade were my first luv and 40 odd years later I am still playing and loving the songs that I grew up with. I thank you for that. My question is probably the same as most in do you have any more new material planned for release and also is there any chance that you might do an album of your own version of Slade songs. It's been great to hear you back on the radio, I like the Therapy album. Best wishes with your health. Thanks for the memories

Yes! Hopefully there will be more, health permitting.

What do you do in your spare time?

What spare time?

* Hi Jim, thanks for taking the time to answer these questions. Are there any record producers or studio engineers from the past or present you would have liked to have worked with in the past or indeed the future ?
* Can you confirm that when both Radio Wall of Sound and Universe were recorded for release by Slade that both Dave and Don actually played on the tracks or were they simply your solo recordings with the inclusion of Nod's vocals only ?
* Did you ever feel under any pressure from the A&R men at RCA to come up with a certain style of material for release by the band ?
* Thinking back now, do you think that Slade's credibility was tarnished by releasing things like the Crackers album or indeed the Okey Cokey as a single ?

Recording is nothing like it used to be. It’s all DIY now. Many of the old school engineers and producers are twiddling their thumbs these days. With ‘Wall Of Sound’ and ‘Universe’ I had already recorded them but we all contributed to the Slade end product. There was always A & R pressure from above but that’s the business. Money matters.

‘Okey Cokey’ and ‘Crackers’ were a cred problem for me personally.

Hi Jim, I just recently discovered this site on Facebook. I just wanted to say the the songs you and nod wrote shaped my taste in music. Without slade were one of the best live bands ever. I never had the chance to see you live the closest I ever got to that was watching Top Of The Pops on a Thursday evening?

Hi Gerry. A shame that you missed us live. We were really something even though I say it myself. Many big name acts were apparently terrified of playing on the same bill.

Hello Jim and greetings from Finland! You was my idol since I was a teen, now I'm (soon) 26 and you are my hero in music! Started learning bass n guitar playing when a kid, because I thought wanna become as good musician as you are! Been recording some own jam sessions over the years. I'd like to ask you what bass guitar you most like? And what things gave you inspiration for songs? Thank you for the good music Jim!

I have to have a short scale bass as I have small hands. I played a Gibson E.B 3 in Slade but it was stolen. A copy was made which I have used ever since. The inspiration just comes to anyone with a creative mind. Open your eyes and ears and you are influenced.

When Therapy was first released why did you release it under the name James Whild Lea and then when re-released Jim Lea?

James Whild Lea is my real name. Over the years I put out various bits and bobs but I never wanted to take anything away from the band. Thus pseudonyms. Not many know my real name so it was ok. On re-release it was Jim Lea to avoid confusion. The reviews have been fab. The reviewers knew my musical history.

Hi Jim, How would Jim feel about doing a musical around Slade music, rather than an Abba type production something more unusual? There was supposed to be a Danish company did something on the lines of Oliver twist (bizarre but different). Things like My Oh My (swing version) show that the music is versatile enough. I'd like to wish you all the best health wise; and that your upcoming treatment goes well.

I agree but there have been so many duff musicals it makes me wary.

* Have you ever heard of an artist called Owsley. He did a great couple of albums end 90s, early 00s, that shared some similarities to Therapy?
* Another question. You had a great writing partnership with Nod. Is there anyone else you world have liked to collaborate with, and were you ever made any offers for a collaboration that you turned down?

Sorry I never heard of Owsley.
Yes I have had plenty of people. Some very famous. I think I’m better off on my own now though.

At the 1987 Slade convention, Nod was asked if they would do a farewell tour if and when the band called it a day. He said yes. When you and Nod decided to leave in 1992 was there ever any talk or discussion about a final UK tour? Do you wish there was? seeing as by then you hadn't played live in the UK for nearly a decade?

I always think that final tours are like attending your own funeral. I personally would not want to be there.

Hi Jim. This question relates to the image you had as the MIDLANDS MISERY ... Did your decision to study Psychology come from that part of your perceived image ? And did it help to make you understand what it is that makes you tick ? And , do you wish you'd had the opportunity to do learn Psychology when you were much younger , helping you to navigate all the stresses of being in a working band ?

I was never a misery. (I loved male banter when we were in the van early days but I slept a lot) I think the ‘misery’ tag may have come from never smiling on pics (a la posh spice and Becks or Bill Wyman) I have too much of a rubber face to smile.

The Psychology stuff helped me evolve from being shy to being confident. The course was an exercise where I discovered that I already understood the psycho dramas and machinations of being human. It was extremely useful.

Hello ol' chap, and by the way Phil McGarrity says hi as well. The Therapy album is a great album. when you approach doing an album, whether it was in Slade or now a solo venture, do you have a set story line to hang the compositions round to begin with, or does it fit together as the period of time goes by. All the best Jim

Very insightful Craig. Separate songs for Therapy made themselves into the psycho concept that it became.

Hi Jim, Slade were the ultimate live rock act! With this in mind, what would be your perfect set list? Thanks in advance, Paul

I can only answer from a personal point of view. When I did the Robin 2 ‘Jim Jam’ I chose tunes that everyone in the band knew but never realised that all of my influences for excitement were in there. Slade would have to play the hits which is limiting.

Dear Mr. Lea, I would like to know the correct lyrics in the chorus of "Leave Them Girls Alone", cos there are different versions of that lyrics in the internet. Thanks in advance and greetings from Austria.

Hi Mani. I haven’t heard that since we recorded it whenever it was. Sorry can’t help but thank you for your interest and thanks for listening.

* A couple of questions. Have you ever considered a song writing/producing/recording partnership with someone else? For me, the two obvious candidates are either Paul McCartney or Jeff Lynne. I think you working with either of them would produce some cracking results. (This doesn't mean I don't like your solo work....I love it! ).
* Secondly, in one of your very recent radio interviews, you mentioned you had re-designed parts of your home. Given that you gave up a potentially successfully career as an artist to join a pop group, it seems like you still have a keen interest in artistic pursuits, other than music. What other things have you designed, or have you done any actual painting, sketching or other fine art? I'd love to see some examples if you have. Take care Jim, it's good to have you bak! KOR Di

Jeff would be great but he is his own man apart from his dream come true Traveling Wilburys. Macca is always on the lookout for collaboration but the Lennon connection makes it problematic. The creative mind (of which there are billions) will pounce on anything and make it happen.



(CONDUCTED BY THE SLADE FORUM in association with

Jim kindly volunteered to answer questions posed by members of The Slade forum.
Here are his answers:

PLAY IT LOUD: Who brought such eclectic and different songs like Angelina and Could I to the band?
Ian Edmundson

Jim responded:
‘Angelina’ (Neil Innes) and ‘Could I’ (David Gates) were sourced by the one and only Johnny Steel. Johnny was the drummer in The Animals with Chas. He worked in the office for a few years. A great and very funny guy. Chas was keen on ‘Angelina’ (which sounded nothing like the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band) and Johnny liked ‘Could I’ (Bread). I had an aversion to both, but we showed willing as the management had to be listened to at times.

How long did the songs from Play it loud survive in the stage act?
Ian Edmundson

Jim responded:
We played a few onstage from ‘Play It Loud’, but the stage shows were changing, so as usual, anything slow would get left out. I didn’t think our stage sound was represented on P.I.L. TOO DRY.

The version of Ruby Red that was released is said to be the second version of the song. When was that song originally recorded and why was it not used?
Ian Edmundson

Jim responded:
Ruby Red was recorded first as the normal song process. I made an arrangement to make it more interesting and we re-recorded it.

What do you remember about when Slade recorded Andy Miller's song Another win?
Ian Edmundson

Jim responded:
Andy Miller was our recording engineer at the time. He’d given the song ‘Another Win’ to Chas who wanted us to record it. After much affray I agreed just to please Chas. NEVER RELEASED

How did Slade end up recording Love is like a rock by Donnie Iris and The Cruisers?
Ian Edmundson

‘Love Is Like A Rock’ had been on Radio 1 a few times. I liked it and it stayed in my memory. Roy Thomas Baker was producing at the time. I played him the tune and he loved it. Ozzy (Osbourne) was looking for a producer at the time and loved the drum sound on it and he was hired for Ozzie’s next album.

Does the first recording of 'the seasonal epic' still exist on tape somewhere, or was it consigned to the dumper?
Ian Edmundson

Jim responded:
The seasonal epic, as you call it, was recorded with me full of high anxiety. Don couldn’t remember anything and no-one would rehearse it with me. They were against the idea. What you hear on the track is me playing bass, acoustic guitar, piano and harmonium as the track was built out of thin air, through lack of rehearsal. Dave conceded to play electric guitar. Poor Don looked on in horror as he drummed a single rhythm just to get it down. I knew it was good, but there was only one player in the team. Everything I tried out is on the record as Dennis Faranti (engineer) liked all the ideas I had. I dreaded hearing the mix, as we were on the road, while Chas and Dennis mixed it. I was relieved when I heard what was born from STRESS.

Finally, do you ever look at websites like
Ian Edmundson

Jim responded:
I don’t look at ANY websites, social media etc. I am not a phone gazer either. Life is too short. CHEERS IAN.

Hello. I have always thought I could hear you play a bit of The Beatles "Day Tripper " on the fade out of "Mama Weer All Crazee Now" Do you remember doing this or have I always had a vivid imagination.

Jim responded:
HI CHRIS. DAY TRIPPER on the end of Mamma!  Yes it’s there! Chas didn’t like it, but Macca did. He was chuffed.

Is the song "All Coming Back To Me Now" going to be released "officially" on a physical release? So far it has been released in digital formats and also as "CD Single Promo".

Jim responded:
HI TOBBEBRORSSON. I have no idea what the record company are up to, so the answer is ‘Je ne sais pas’.

Like many Slade fans I am really interested to know what future releases are planned? It had been suggested that a special project was being released to celebrate the 50 year anniversary.

Jim responded:
We are working on something at the mo’. It’s for 2019. Wait and see!

Also, I for one would love to hear String Theory. It seems to have been a long time coming. Will it ever get a release, even as a web site only or digital release. Finally the cannon of songs that you have in the can. Will these ever be made available to the public. Apologies for three questions in one, but with no other members of slade recording, Jim you are our hope. The stuff that you have put out is right up there.

As for STRING THEORY... yeah!!! And it’s still stinging.

Dear Jim, do you think about writing your biography?
Gérard Goyer French fan since 1972

Jim responded:
I could do an autobiography but never have time.
Now I know why people do a memoir near old age in their ‘dotage’ (old age – derived from ‘French’).

Hi Jim, like most folk on here I'm sure we'd love to know how your health is today, and obviously wish you well. Do you think there is any chance of you going out with a full band ever again, to do few live gigs around the country, even if it was only a handful of shows? I understand the devastating and fatigue that comes with treatment, as I'm currently witnessing it first hand. I just wondered if you ever think you'd be strong enough to do any shows, as would love to see you again after all these years? All the best mate, and thanks for some of the greatest nights of my life, love you buddy.

Jim responded:
Health – marginally improving, but can’t imagine even one live show. Testosterone is on the rise though.

Hi Jim, will try again to get an answer to my Question, which was read out by Paul at that fantastic afternoon at the Robin, But trouble was, you had left the stage ready for our Surprise !!!! So here goes , was the extra verses of `Find yourself a Rainbow` which were on the Lyric sheet inside the Album ,ONB&B, ever used or recorded. Also what about letting us here the full `What in the world` with extra verses. Fantastic EP mate, and hope you are keeping well.
Alun Taylor

Jim responded:
I’m sorry I had to bugger off. Time was getting short. I don’t know about the ‘Find Yourself A Rainbow’ verses but L.P’s were restricted to a certain time so editing would usually happen. The ‘What in The World’ track went on for ever (seemingly) and was also edited as there was too much “wondering about the world” going for rock & roll. Don’t know where those verses are now. Will have a think.

Hi Jim
Here is my question(s): Once Slade began to fade a little bit in the late 70s did you ever then consider a solo career or did you feel Slade were always capable of making a comeback? How much do you feel your party/fun type image helped or hindered your career? Hoping you are well. Very best wishes
Denise Southworth

Jim responded:
I was very loyal to the band and certainly from a live point of view, no one could take that away from us. It was ‘a gas’ for us to walk on stage. America didn’t get the ‘party thing’ but history has shown that every act now wants to party on stage. We must have been right about that!! Having said Chas always thought that I was going to leave the band! He was wrong!!!! But I’ve now left.

Regards "Nobody's Fool" Album remember reading somewhere that the group wanted it to be like Queen and that "Nobody's Fool" was something like 20 Minutes Long, Any truth in this and if so would there be a Remastered / Deluxe Version in the pipeline.....
John Dalton

Jim responded:
The band never wanted to ‘do a Queen’, but I was in to them from the off. The album version of HOW DOES IT FEEL was six minutes long maybe? Pre Queen!!!

I’d like to ask Jim about the recording “BE” Where did the idea come from for the song? What it was about and even on record it was very complicated (a lot of words sung fast by more than one member of the band). How did they record it together and more so, when sung live, how long did it take to practice it to get to sound as great as it does on Slade alive 2 1976?
David Bridge

Jim responded:
Yeah, ‘BE’ was very fast vocally, but the backing was laid back. Nod was O.K, doing it live, but my brain pattern couldn’t cope at times. It wanders all over the place, all of the time.

Hi Jim... We are aware that Noddy is reluctant to release certain Slade material that we know is out there such as the 'Live in London' album or the full Reading 1980 set, but can you confirm the existence of the following rumoured recordings: 1 All Join Hands (swing version) 2 We'll Bring the House Down (re-recording/dance mix) 3 Love Is (unfinished demo) and would you be willing to work on any unreleased/unfinished Slade tracks to bring them to a releasable quality if a Slade rarities collection was ever planned? Best wishes and good health... John Barker.

Jim responded:
ALL JOIN HANDS – SWING No such thing!!! ‘House Down’ (Dance) I had a go at that! The band came to sing on it. RELUCTANTLY there was a female singer on it. If you closed your eyes it sounded like Nod. VERY ODD. I’ve written new lyrics to ‘Love Is’ as it never worked. Back in the 80’s it was deemed sub-standard as a recording. I can’t remember the lyrics so I’ve redone it. ‘We’ll see’!!! I wrote the chorus lyrics which have remained from the original.

Hi Jim, a few questions that might test the memory bank, here goes - When The Dummies compilation album was released it contained a version of Little Sheila. Was this version of the song recorded at the same time as the other Dummies songs on the album ie circa 1979/80/81 ? This song sounds so different to the other songs on the album which makes me think it was maybe recorded at a later date. Would this version have actually been the demo version of the Slade song used on Rogues Gallery, if so can you remember why it was included with the other Dummies songs on the album?
Neil Partridge

Jim responded:
Yes ‘Little Sheila’ was recorded later. Well spotted! It wasn’t the demo for the band. Nod sang that. I was always messing in the studio so things we recorded by me to play to other artists without the band sound )i.e. Nod’s voice was too strongly identifiable). Other people would be wary of attempting it.

Have you ever heard Cheap Tricks version of When The Lights Are Out? If so, what did you think of it and were you aware of this band previously?
Neil Partridge

I was aware of Cheap Trick. They had two great singles ‘SURRENDER’ and ‘I want you to want me’. I don’t know if they were Slade fans? They’ve recently recorded ‘When The Lights Are Out’

Mr. Lea, Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to submit a question for your consideration. Mine is: What 20 original songs spanning your career, in Slade and solo, would you include in a setlist for a (hypothetical, of course!) Unplugged Evening with Jim Lea? Regards,
Matt Shaughnessy Chicago

Jim responded:
HI MATT If there was ever an ‘UNPLUGGED’ set, the material would have to be ‘LAID BACK’ which is why it’s unimaginable. I am not often consulted about archive/re-release material. This is why sleeve notes are often way off the truth which is annoying.

Do all band members have a say in what archive material is released or is it solely down to yourself and Nod?

I am not often consulted about archive/re-release material. This is why sleeve notes are often way off the truth which is annoying.

My question is to Jim would he be prepared to if allowed get all the footage available and sit down with all concerned and go through it and if it can be mastered to a better condition then look to see if it can be achieved, also most fans will except any condition it's in, as there will come a time when there will be nothing I know nod is adamant of quality but it ain't gonna happen there can be footnotes with d-v-d explaining that the quality on some performances is not of excellent quality and has been restored to its best quality I'm sure other artists have come across this issue and accepted it.
Kev Read

Jim responded:
Hi Kev. Nod has a reluctance to release anything that is archive. Quality doesn’t come into it! All bands have historic stuff because it’s been ‘turd polished!’ THUS QUALITY. Technology knows no bounds!

I remember a piece in music star mag in '73 called ' Slade and the things they wouldn't tell there mums ' in which it was claimed that you saved your dinner money in secret to buy the latest Beatles single and sneaked jam butties out of the house for your dinner, was this true?
Ian McAdam

Jim responded:
Hi Ian. I always saved my pocket money (unlike my brothers) so I could buy something meaningful. I bought my own bike and a much loved train set. I did cheat by buying my parents a single by ‘the BEACHCOMBERS’, which was for me of course, not them. They laughed! They knew what I was up to!!

Hi Jim. You did some work with one of my favourite bands (Apart from Slade) World party. Any plans to work with Karl and the boyz again coz your voice would blend beautiful with his.
 Paul Goverd

Jim responded:
Yes I did become mates with Karl Wallinger and his band ‘WORLD PARTY’. He’s some got some DATS with me playing acoustic and vocal. KARL is very mercurial and hard to pin down. I recently gave him a piano which was taking up room. He now lives near Hastings and wants me to visit but it’s a long way from home. I GET TIRED – BUT ONE DAY!

Did the band ever look at producers like Mutt Lang, Bob Ezrin, Trevor Horn to produce the Slade sound in the 80s?
Paul Goverd

Jim responded:
There were all sorts of producers who were approached, but there was always problems preventing it, including finances which is why I stepped in. For free!

Which was your favourite studio to record in and why?
Paul Goverd

Jim responded:
Favourite studio
– No1 Olympic Studio (former cinema, now a cinema once more). It was huge – LIKE A GIG! We sounded and felt better.

Hi Jim. What’s your favourite slade album / Single / Gig and year - and for fun your best stage outfit? Thank you for all your great work. Wishing you love and peace.
Paul Goverd

Jim Responded:
It’s hard to judge one’s own work, because I had to be like a sausage machine banging them out. Which one is the tastiest is judged by the ‘ears of the beholder’.

Not sure if you’ve already covered this topic. It’s about live aid - Were Slade asked to play? If yes ...why not? If not, shame on Bob. Thanks Jim.
Paul Goverd

Jim responded:

Hi Jim, I’d like to ask you Jim …. in Slade when you played the bass you used a plectrum, just recently having bought a t shirt with a picture of Slade in the studio I discovered you appear to be playing the bass with your fingers on your right hand is this something you did in the studio only... or I might be totally wrong ha ha!! Also It was great to see you on 5th Nov in Bilston last year I loved the 2 recent singles, loved the ep too, best wishes Jim from
Kenny Bell

Jim Responded:
KENNY BELL (and his Jazz Men). Hi Ken – I always had short scale basses because my hands are small. I used a plec. Never fingers. It’s just something that’s up on the T-shirt.

Hello Jim, I wonder if you [in hindsight of course] think that Slade would have greater success by returning to America after your illness in 1984. My opinion is that had Keep Your Hands Off album gone top 10 plus both singles top 10 then the demands of CBS would have been too great given that Nod was not keen on touring.
Alan Whitney

Jim responded:
In retrospect we would have cracked it but we didn’t realise the bugegeoning M.T.V. was going to be all powerful. It was the perfect vehicle for the ‘look of Slade’. That, plus touring with our old mate Ozzy would have nailed it. Nod would have been placated by the presence of Oz. Sharon (also an old mate) would have been there too.

Would you say that the American sojourn 75-76 was worthwhile in terms of the band playing so much better? I saw Slade live 12 times from 1973-1982 through the glory years and the leaner years [still great shows] the 1980/81/82 gigs were great for me to take a few friends and convert them to appreciate how good Slade were live.
Alan Whitney, Stafford

Jim responded:
The ’75-76’ period was a realisation that we were an anachronism. Everything in place but not happening. A GLASS CEILING!!! Yeah we were shit hot then, All muscle and no flab in the early 80’s. Thanx for being a missionary and converting non-believers. Cheers Al.

Hi Jim, I for one am very grateful that you turned your bass up to 11 on those BBC sessions as it gave us a chance to really marvel at your inventive and wonderful bass-lines ... 1) The more flashy bass lines like SEE US HERE ( a particular fave of mine) seemed to be dropped in favour of a less fussy "straight to the point " bass line as the band got more successful ...Equally magnificent , yet different ... Agree ? and if so I'd love to hear your thoughts on your bass playing over the decades ...
2) The actual sound of your bass changes quite a lot over the years too , Play It Loud sounds very different to the fuzzy John Birch years on stuff like like Whatever Happened to Slade ....what led you in that direction?

Jim responded:
During the progressive period in the 60’s virtuosity was an asset. I loved that over the years. I’ve discovered (after meeting so many people who saw us) that they loved the band and my playing. I didn’t know they cared. SOME REALLY BIG NAMES without name dropping. When Don and I came up with the shuffle on drums, 4 to the floor bass drum and me following that with a WALKING BASS LINE, the basis of our sound was discovered. We used it on the hits in the glory years! The other ingredient was putting Nod’s resilient voice so high that he was screaming. ‘Maybe the first  of it’s kind’. I asked him (post Get Down With It) if he could manage it for a whole show. It didn’t phase him. Our sound was complete along with the fuzzy guitars sounding more like machinery than guitars.

3) Slade seemed the perfect band for your brilliant bass lines , but I'm curious if you can you pick a few bands that you imagine slotting in to and what approach to bass playing would you take ? Would you have liked a 3-piece , like Cream & Hendrix ? When Entwistle died, do you think you'd have enjoyed playing with THE WHO ?

Jim responded:
All of the above and more but great bands and born out of specific people who were present. Any change and it’s upset. If HENDRIX had lived I WOULD have jammed with him at least.

Your first bass guitar with Slade was, I believe, a Gibson EB3, which had a rosewood fret board. When you had your John Birch bass made, although it appeared to be virtually the same as an EB3, it had a maple fret board. What was the reason for the change? I play a Fender Precision with a maple fret board, which I prefer to a rosewood one, as I find the sound is a bit brighter. Thank you.
Simon Lloyd

Jim responded:
SIMON LLOYD HI SI. I was never about guitars or gear. My recording set up was a Laney guitar amp and a VOX T60 CAB. As time went by the speakers were replaced many times and the CAB eventually fell to pieces. I liked the distortion. It helped more than hindered. Chas hated it!

The guitar side was born out of economies too. What ‘short scale’ was available was what was used. I am very sensitive to the vagaries’ of change. My bass was stolen from J.B.’s workshop in Birmingham. He made something for me (I had a say in it). It was the only one available so that was it!!!!

Jim: Possibly a frivolous question, but did people ever mistake you and Don for one another? I always thought you looked like brothers. Mott the Hoople had a similar set-up, with Mick Ralphs and Overend Watts being lookalikes. Cheers!

Jim responded:
May I call u ‘UP’ for short? BANG ON. Don and I were mistaken for each other (and still are) all the time. Cheers ‘UP’.

Hello James, hope you are well and smiling! As you know, hindsight is a wonderful thing, and possibly a useless tool to many, but if you could turn back time, would you of released any different Slade album tracks as singles instead of the ones that were released. Mine would of been "Little Sheila" off Rogues Gallery for instance.
Phil Megarity and family say hi to you and Frankie. All the best
Craig Storey
Newbury, Berkshire

Jim Responded:
CRAIG STOREY  yeah! I liked ‘Little Sheila’. I agree with U! I heard it on the Graham Norton Show a couple of months ago. He was introducing Sheila Hancock. I liked what I was hearing on the intro not realising it was me!

Hi Jim. I hope you are well and are continuing to make good progress following your recent illness, my question to you is - If you hadn't been in Slade which group would you have liked to have been in and why|? Kind Regards
Geoff West Chorley Lancs

Jim responded:
Hi Geoff. There are loads of bands I would have loved to have been in over the years but we do what we do. When the band that was to become SLADE played it’s first notes it was very unusual. Unquantifiable even. I always played ahead of the beat and pushed it forward. But it was certainly striking. The 4 of us had instantly hit on something from the off!!!! We all knew it too.

Jim, What do you think was the biggest mistake Slade made career wise-in hindsight what did the band do or not do that you/the band maybe now regret?

Jim responded:
ANDY  The wacky clothes got us noticed and helped with the laddish-ness of our image. This may have been carried on too long. Nod and Dave for it and Jim & Don not so much.

You went to USA in 1984 after your success with Run Run Away but came home early due to your illness at the time. If you had stayed there and done a tour do you think that you could have become massive in USA and finally conquered it? Would love to see you turn up at Robins 2 again like November last year-any chance at all? All the best

Jim responded: I think we would have cracked it in the U.S. Record company fired up and the Ozzy tour. But there was a big piece of the band missing. The ability to get stuck in (PERSEVERANCE) had gone.

Hi Jim, thank you for taking the time to answer to some more questions from the fans. My question is: Every band of any significance from the 70's, 80's up to now have released a Live DVD at some point in their career, except Slade. Considering Slade's reputation as one the best live bands on this planet, is it really possible that of all the hundreds and hundreds of concerts that Slade did up to 1984 , not one concert was filmed with a decent quality from start to finish? We are quite a few out there who never got the privilege to see you live due to the fact that we lived in the 'wrong' country. I have followed Slade since 1974 and I have nothing to look back on compared to all the UK fans who could go and see you whenever they wanted. I realise that releasing a Live dvd in 2018 would be pointless since people dont buy live dvd's anymore, but this is something that has really bothered me over the years. What was the bands attitude to Live videos? Again, thank you for taking the time.
Marcus Wright, Sweden

Jim responded:
There was never a push to film live shows. Chas was a non-believer in such things. Also it was very expensive back then. As technology came along it became a lot cheaper and simpler to do but our live days were over then. There is footage of us at the Lochem Festival in Holland in the early 80’s.

Hi Jim. 1991 saw the release of the hit single RADIO WALL OF SOUND which I felt was and still is as good a Slade single as any. I spoke to Nod some years ago & he thought the song would be a bigger success than it was. Do you agree and do you think you guys maybe had another studio album within you? Thank you.

Jim responded:
Things were getting very dissipated by then. It was getting difficult to get concerted effort to do any work.

Mr. Jim Lea, I would like to know why such a strong and hard rock song like "Know Who you Are" was removed from the live set? Many thanks. Regards.
Luis Lopes. Lisbon, Portugal

Jim responded:
‘Know who you are’ was a very early song, but as the hits came along thick and fast something had to give so the older material was dropped. It happened to the Beatles and the Stones etc. There’s only so much room. Mind you – those guys were onstage (only) 20 mins.

Dear Jim. Loving the new stuff, What In The World and Pure Power are brilliant rockers, would you consider doing a video for these or future releases? You deserve far more recognition than you get and think it might help open things up to a bigger audience. Cheers.
Steve Bustard

Jim responded:
I have thought of doing filmed promos but my fatigue with my cancer treatment has made it impossible. Good thought though!

If you could collaborate musically (songwriting or performing/recording) with anyone of your choice, who would it be and why? Cheers Jim. Best Regards,
John, Willaston.

Jim responded:
I’ve had overtures made towards collaboration with others. Big names. I may try it one day coz, let’s face it, we’re not getting any younger.

As everyone knows you are a brilliant multi-instrumentalist. What is your favourite instrument?

Jim responded:
Yes Pete! I can get a tune out of anything but ‘brilliant’? No! “More of a Jack of all trades, master of none”. Virtuosos practice hours a day on an instrument! That’s why they’re brilliant. Cheers Pete.

Hi Jim. I hope your health continues to improve. My question is regarding Mama Weer All Crazee Now the song that started my fantastic journey following and buying all things Slade and its four individual members. Please can you tell me how the song came about the writing, construction and recording etc. Thank you for the 46 years of fantastic music and memories for me. Please keep the music coming! Thank you
Mark Cawdery

Jim responded:
I had to be permanently writing songs in those days. My then girlfriend Lou would ask me “Where are you Jim”? As I would be constantly creating to keep up. ‘Mamma’ was written in parts. Verse – bridge and chorus. I was so pleased with the chorus. I knew it was a bigee.
Fortunately or unfortunately, I’m still doing it to this day. I found that a ‘gift’ is not owned by a person, but the ‘gift’ owns the person. Medicine is now finding out why. It runs my brain. “Mamma” was recorded at the Olympic Studio in “Barnes”. Creative types do not run on the rails.

I think the final lyric in, In For A Penny is "Gee, they got a band". What is this referring to?
Mark Lion

Jim responded:
NOD liked an ad on the T.V. with a blonde gangster style gangster ’s moll in the 1920’s situated in a club. Music started up and she says to her gangster guy “Gee – they got a band”. ‘In For A Penny’ had that antique music club about it. From another time! He asked me if it would be cool to say that at the end. I concurred so there it is.

If you were offered to play bass in Status Quo at the right time, would you have accepted?
Mark Lion

Jim responded:
Top of The Pops is the nearest I will get to playing with Quo.

If the chance had come up to join The Rolling Stones when Bill Wyman left, what do you think could have happened?
Alan J Birch, West Brom.

Jim responded:
Hi Al. I can’t imagine myself on a tour that never ends at any time, never mind back then.



Jim handwrote his answers and then they were scanned to us as pdfs.
Jim still has his handwritten answers, so please don't ask us for them. Thanks.

Jim Lea Q&A 2018