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28 October 2014
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Dave Hill on TOTP with Slade
Dave Hill doing his thing in the 1970s

Slade star's Devon roots

Slade star Dave Hill wasn't born in Wolverhampton at all - he was born in Devon. Dave has been telling BBC Radio Devon's Judi Spiers all about his Devon roots.

Slade's Hits

Slade had a string of top 10 hits during the 1970s. Here are some of them - and you'll notice they weren't great when it came to spelling:

Cum On Feel The Noize

Skweeze Me Pleeze Me

Take Me Bak 'ome

Mama Weer All Crazee Now

Get Down And Get With It

Coz I Luv You

Look Wot You Dun

Gudbuy T'Jane

My Friend Stan

Far Far Away

How Does It Feel 

Radio Wall Of Sound

Merry Christmas Everybody

He may talk with a broad West Midlands accent, but Slade's Dave Hill was actually born right here in Devon.

Dave - he of the brightly coloured clothes, high heels and fringe - has been telling us all about his start in life, which was at Flete House in Ermington, near Kingsbridge.

The flamboyant guitarist is still with Slade (minus Noddy Holder and bass player Jim lea), and he's heading back to his 'home' county as part of a European tour this Christmas.

The glam rocker, one of the best known music stars of the 1970s, will be appearing in Torquay - another place he knows well.

Dave was born at the historic Flete House on 4 April 1946, when the building was a maternity hospital.

But why there of all places? Dave explains: "Mum and dad went down from Stoke. Mum was pregnant with me and dad got a job down there.

"They went there after the war - it was just a question of getting away from things for mum and dad.

Slade
Slade - pushing back the fashion boundaries

"I think they went down there to get away from the Midlands.

"Flete House was a maternity hospital and that's where I was born. I went to find out about it because I got a card from Lord Mildmay, who owned it.

"When I found out the story, I went in search of it with our drummer Don Powell. It's a beautiful place.

"It was really funny actually and so nice, because the guy running it used to make amplifiers for us in the 1970s. How weird is that?

"The best part of the story is that after being born there, I moved to a council house after that!"

Dave's family moved to Wolverhampton after their spell in South Devon, and he later met up with the other Slade members, who are all from the Wolverhampton area.

Dave and Don are still with Slade, but singer Noddy Holder and bass player Jim Lea have moved on to other things.

The band's 2006 line-up is completed by bassist John Berry (formerly of Mud) and vocalist Mal McNulty.

Slade in 2006
Dave in the 2006 line-up of Slade

The group are playing at the Princess Theatre in Torquay on 3 December 2006 as part of the Merry Xmas Everybody tour which also features T. Rextasy and Mud.

For Dave, it's a return to an old stomping ground because Slade used to play in Torquay regularly in their early days.

"I've got a lot of fond memories of Torquay," he said. "We used to play at a place called the 400 ballroom.

"We used to stay in a caravan park - I think it was called the Beverley Caravan Park Site or something like that.

"It was in the 1960s, and we had some wonderful times. Mind, I won't be staying in a caravan park this time.

"It's such a buzz, coming to Torquay again."

Slade fans can expect all the favourite songs at the gig, and Dave reckons he hasn't changed all that much in the 30-odd years since the group had a string of Number 1s.

"It's a sort of mature flash look," he says of his 2006 stage look, and of his famous hair style, he adds: "There's less of it but I wear a hat."

The main thing, says Dave, is to entertain - and make people smile: "People come up and say 'It's great to see you - you made my youth great'.

"I like that comment because it's a feelgood factor."

* Merry Xmas Everybody is at the Princess Theatre, Torquay, at 7.30pm on Sunday 3 December. Tickets are £19.50. There could also be a booking fee. Contact the box office on 08707 414120, or visit the Princess Theatre website which is linked from this page.

You can hear Judi's chat with Dave in full - see the audio link. And you can learn more about Flete House by clicking onto the link to our feature about the building.

last updated: 15/11/06
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