Black Country Slade star Don Powell talks ahead of Wolverhampton homecoming

By Mark Andrews | Music | Published:

For more than half a century he has been the Bilston Bangin' Man, the energetic drummer behind the unique sound of glam rock favourites Slade.

But when Don Powell returns to his old stamping ground tonight, he will need to take things a little easier – on doctor's orders.

"I will probably be playing the tambourine," he jokes.

Don, now 73, will be appearing – appropriately enough ­– at the Slade Rooms in Wolverhampton, with his latest musical collaboration: Don Powell's Occasional Flames.

Tonight's show will be the first public outing of the new project, which sees him team up with Nottinghamshire-based musician Les Glover and poet Paul Cookson.

"It will be a mixture of music and chat, with Paul reading some of his Slade poems," says Don, who now lives in Denmark.

The trio will also be performing some of the new music they have written together, but Don will not be playing the drums due to an injury he picked up last Christmas.

"It was during the Slade Christmas tour on December 27, I was waiting at Retford railway station for a train to Wakefield when I just went crashing to the floor and I couldn't get up," he says.

"Two guys from the station picked me up and carried me into the office and called an ambulance.


"Both legs were bent behind me and I couldn't move them, and when I go to the hospital they told me I had snapped the tendons in both knees."

Since then Don has been in physio, and has been told he risks permanent injury if he plays the drums.

"It is an injury that happens to a lot of footballers and athletes, and when I said I played the drums they said that could be similar thing."

Don says he hopes to return to Slade with lead guitarist Dave Hill, but was told he must take at least a year out.


"At the moment they are carrying on with a couple of stand-in drummers."

Don says he met Les and Paul after being invited to one of their shows in Retford, Nottinghamshire.

"We got on well, and started writing music together," he says.

"The music does have a connection to Slade, that's only natural, but it is different.

"It's a sort of like glam rock, but a bit more modern."

The show will be the first opportunity to hear new recorded material featuring Don for the first time.

It will also mark the launch of the band's Christmas single It Isn't Really Christmas Until Noddy Starts To Sing, with the seven-inch record being released on vinyl for the first time.

Fans will also get the chance to see the video before it is released on social media.

It will be followed tomorrow by the Slade Fans Convention, also at The Slade Rooms. The event will include quizzes and exhibitions, as well as a performance by tribute band Slade UK on the evening. Further guests at the event include Pouk Hill Prophetz, The Original Wanted, Slady, Andre Heagen and Kenny Bell.

Mark Andrews

By Mark Andrews

Senior news writer for the Shropshire Star specialising in in-depth features and commentary, investigative reporting and political matters.


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