DAVE & HIS GUITAR
There's a good old standard ballad called 'Every Time You Say Goodbye' and I've always remembered one line of it in particular, because it says, 'How strange the change from major to minor'. The writer couldn't have said a truer word. It sure is strange, not only because to play the guitar in a minor key you have to learn a completely new set of chords, but also because minor chords dramatically after the mood of a song.
To put it simply, the major key is the happy key and the minor one is the sad one. We write most Slade songs in a major key for obvious reasons - because we like to be happy and make everybody else feel happy, too! But we have written one or two songs in a minor key, like 'This Girl', which you'll remember we sang in our film, 'Flame' and that single which was an enormous hit for us, 'Coz I luv You'.
What is minor? The easiest way to describe how it's formed is to ask you to sing the scale of C; C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C. Between these notes are half-notes, called semitones. These are the sharps and flats! Take the note of G, go down a semitone and you arrive at G~ (flat). If you were going up a semitone from F you'd get F # (sharp), the same note but with a different name.
Now sing the scale of C like this: C, D, Eb, F, G, Ab, B, C. That's the scale of C minor! As you can see, it's formed by dropping a semitone on the th ird and sixth notes of the scale.
I've chosen that lovely old traditional song 'Greensleeves' as one which perfectly combines the major chords you already know with your new minor chords. Nearly everyone learns this song in school so if you don't know the words, you can at least hum the tune. First of all, here are the new chords you need to enable you to master this song in two different keys for high and low voices. These are E minor (usually represent ed in chord symbols as Em, whereas E Major is just referred to as E) and A minor.
Tryout E minor, the first of these chords. I have shown you the fingering I prefer for this chord, because I can do more with my third and fourth fingers free, like adding the fourth finger to the first string in the third fret to form E minor sixth. But you can, if you prefer, play it using your third and fourth fingers instead. A minor is a smashing chord. When you can play it, try keeping your fingers in the AminoI' shape and sliding them up the frets of the guitar. As you strum the chord shape on different frets, it will suggest to you a lot more sounds that you can fit into songs as you get more advanced. ° minor doesn't belong to Greensleeves, but I've given it to you because it appears in lots of songs and is very useful to know. You can also play this chord leaving off the third finger, if it's easier, but please remember not to strum strings I've marked with a cross.
B7 is a difficult chord, but here again, it pops up in loads of songs and is an essential one for your chord vocabulary.
If you try humming the tune of Greensleeves and tapping your foot to the rhythm, you'll find it is in what is known as triple time, or three beats to a bar, whereas most rock music is in duple or quadruple time, i.e. two or four beats to a bar. You'll find that it comes quite naturally to strum a chord on the first and strongest beat, and the stress falls like this:
Ala's my l'ove, you d'o me wro'ng To c'ast me 'off disco'urteous'ly.
Now try strumming the chords to fit in with th is rhythm. Here are the chords you'll need for the E minor version. I've inserted a line like this -/- to mark when you come to the end of a line in the music.
Verse: Em,Em,D,D./Em, Em,Bb,Bb ./Em,Em,D,D,lEm,B7, Em,Em.
Chorus: G, G, D ,D.!Em, Em,Bb ,Bb./G, G,D, D./Em,B 7 ,Em, Em.
E MINOR A MINOR D MINOR B FLAT MAJOR
Remember, wherever there isn't an 'm' marked after a chord, you should be playing the major chord.
For the A minor version of this song, you've to all the chords, so I shall leave to you the experiment of fitting them in. But I'll start you off with a clue - the first line of the song is Am, Am, G, G. Now have you noticed something? Compared with the Em version of the song, all the notes in the Am version are five notes lower, so all you need to do is a spot of addition to find what chords you need for the song!
You now know all the chords necessary to play two of our greatest hits, 'Coz I Luv You', which I mentioned earlier, and 'Mama Weer All Crazee Now'. You can buy the sheet music from Diana at a cost of 20p.
The sooner you get a copy, the sooner you start playing along to our records! In the meantime, try a nice lazy strum to, "I won't laugh at you if you boo-hoo, coz I luv you". All you need for these first two lines are Dm and Am.
A WORD FROM JIM
Following below is my little piece for the Slade newsletter. The reason why you have received this early is because of the uncertainty of the post and I do so want to put my words to print. Now that we are spending more time in the States we do so want to keep our British fans informed of whats going on.
Dear Fan Club Members,
I am writing this sitting in my hotel room in Richmond, Virginia, and I must admit to feeling a little homesick. I suppose I miss my own home, as living in hotels gets you down after a while. I hope that not too many weeds have grown in my garden as it was looking loverly when I left.
The tour has gone very well and it has been fun seeing new places and meeting new people. Di has told me about the new look magazine and I am looking forward to seeing it.
We have a new craze at the moment, HATS! You may wonder what that's all about. Well we have a competition among ourselves to see who can find the most outrageous hat and be daft enough to wear it in public. So far Dave and Noddy keep winning as Don and I haven't got the guts to wear such flamboyant gear in the street.
At the preview of Flame in St. Louis during three days, 3,000 people came to see the film. Because of the success of the film the cinema wants to book it for an extended run later on in the year.
Goodbye for now. Love Jim.
Many of you have asked what type of equipment Slade use on tour.
The average gig needs 5,000 watts for the P.A. system and 1,200 watts in the backing gear. The P.A. system are WEM and are custom built for Slade. The mixer is a 24 channel Stero Master, the microphones are Shure and Don's drum kit is a custom built Ludwig. The guitars are made by Gibson and Fender with the Super Yob guitar being a John Birch custom.
Look out for an in-depth article by the Slade roadies in the Dec-Jan newsletter.
NEWS IN BRIEF
A DJ on WNEW (a sophisticated New York rock and roll Radio Station) played a Slade record and said "That's amazing!" and played it again ... The boys had a little problem at their hotel - it seems every time they ordered some beer, it came up promptly and ice cold, unfortunately they like their beer a little warmer.
Slade had their biggest audience yet in the States of 19,000 in Washington.
The boys will be spending 3 weeks at the beginning of October in a New York recording studio to compile their next LP.
Because of public demand Canada will be releasing 'Slade in Flame' originally released in November 1974 and being the same as the British release, but now to be similar to the American issue. This has the addition of 'Thanks for the Memory' and 'The Bangin Man' and the loss of 'Heaven Knows' and 'Summer Song'.
A glimmer of hope that Slade may be able to spend more time in Britain, now that MPs are beginning to talk about a reduction of the exorbitant tax imposed on successful rock stars.