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  • Writer's pictureLesley-Ann Jones


Proof, as though it were needed, that Slade's superstar drummer Don Powell is blessed with nine lives: his explosive album launch last night at hallowed rock hangout the Water Rats at London's King's Cross. His latest venture, Don and the Dreamers, is a Scandinavian five-piece into which Don fits as a resident (by marriage) of Denmark. Together, seasoned musicians Curly Erik (vocals), Henrik Littauer (piano), Knud Moller (guitar), bassist Helge Solberg and thumper Don have graced more than a thousand records, and are not done yet. These days, it's art for art's sake. Nobody's eye is on any giant commercial prize. They are simply playing and recording the kind of music they love to listen to. Their new album, 'It's Never Too Late to be a Rock Star', is an exercise in exuberance if ever there was. These guys can play. They whack it beyond the park, leaving pipe-and-slippers grandads and kidding-ourselves-young-uns in awe.


'I remember when my father was 76,' recalled Don when we heart-to-hearted at length at Christmas. 'The age that I am now. He was a retired, bored old man. I thought that was it. It frightened me. I've been through a lot in my life and I've always come out fighting. It's a cliche because it's true: all you can do is rock 'til you drop. There's a way to go yet. Watch me.'

Thus spake the survivor. Of what? Let's see. There was the fatal car crash that claimed the life of his young fiancee in 1973, the week when Slade topped the chart with 'Skweeze Me Pleeze Me'. Don broke both legs and five ribs, suffered brain damage and smashed his teeth. A collapse on Peterborough station in December 2018 while en route to a gig deprived him (for a while) of the use of his legs. There was a stroke in 2020, and , most recently, colon cancer. he takes no chances and zero for granted. He's in the gym at 5:30 every morning, running 12km on a machine and putting himself through a rigorous routine of stretches. He has never looked happier. We love him.


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