This journal of the comings'n'goings and musings'n'enthusings of Dave Ling will be updated daily - except after days of stress and nights of excess.
Wednesday 17th July
Yesterday evening was spent attending an event at the Everyman Cinema in the Angel. Under Stars saw Lonely Robots John Mitchell joined by a gang of friends and ne'er-do-wells. Preceded by an enjoyable chat about sci-fi movies and soundtracks hosted by my former Metal Hammer Alexander Milas, LRs trilogy-closing and seemingly final album Under Stars was then presented in full, with stunning specially-commissioned CGI films accompanying each track on the big screen. Finally, Mitchell returned to the stage for a Q&A in the company of a spectacularly refreshed Rowland Rivron. We could tell this as Rivron whooped loudly whilst walking down the aisle.
The alleged 'comedian' knew less than zero about progressive rock and things very quickly descended into hide behind the sofa territory. Marillion bassist Pete Trewavas who sat next to me couldn't contain his mirth. Finally, I felt compelled to take the mic and congratulate Mitchell on the film and also salute Rivron for reaching such a spectacular plateau of inebriation. The poor fella didnt seem to grasp that I was mildly mocking him, which made things funnier still. His head will be pretty sore today .
Although the Lonely Robot event kept my attention I also had an eye on Palaces pre-season game at Barnet. Eddie was there. When the Eagles took the lead in the first minute and followed it with a second from Wickham he joyously informed me of these facts, and we joked about parking the bus and can we play you every week?, etc. So when Barnet equalised just before half time he was pretty irate. And when the home side banged in another FOUR goals after the break, without reply, Eds state of fury was pretty extreme. I dont blame him. Each year the friendlies cause me to trot out the cliché of Its going to be a long season. It seems that 2019/20 is no exception.
Tuesday 16th July
Just back from a visit to Rossi Towers in deepest Surrey and an interview with two gentlemen that helped to write the soundtrack of my life. What a rib-tickling chat with the Rossi/Young writers' guild, sharing stories from 50 years of friendship and music for Classic Rock magazine in promotion of Quo's surprisingly strong yet depressingly Parfitt-free new album 'Backbone' (which features three songs co-penned by Young). Both threw themselves into things with gusto; it was so much fun. Lavatorial humour and industrial language were the order of the day. At one point Bob was in tears of laughter.
First question: What were your first impressions of one another when you met?
Francis: "Well, I didn't realise that Bob was gay till he was about 60.
(Gales of laughter)
Me: Bob, did you know that?
Bob: "Only when Francis kissed me when I was 60, for my birthday."
It all went downhill from there...
In all seriousness, I found time to quiz Rossi about the fact that nobody in the current band can do justice to Rick's songs onstage, and suggested that there's a case for them being retired for good, which he fielded with unexpected good grace. This one is gonna be fun to write.
Sunday 14th July
The Super Over. The 'catch' on the boundary which went for six. The freakish deflection off Stokes' bat. The final stumping off the very last ball. What a staggeringly exciting game of cricket that was. This was the most dramatic sporting event I've ever seen. It will stay with me till the day I croak. Commiserations to New Zealand; nobody deserved to lose such a close run contest and the Kiwis showed complete dignity amid their crushing disappointment. But hell yeah, the luck of the gods was on our side and for the first time England are the one day champs of the world. I still can't quite believe that it happened.
Saturday 13th July
What an awesome meet & greet souvenir photo from Thursday nights Kiss gig at the O2 Arena. As Amanda and I lined up to have our photo taken with the band drummer Eric Singer chirruped: "Oh look, Dave Ling." When I turned around to say hi to Eric somebody bellowed out: "Don't talk to the band!" Well, pardon me for breathing... (Thanks to the wonderful Charrie Foglio for making it happen!).
Oh, and it was cool to catch up for a while with Lee Kerslake, who also had Gold VIP hospitality passes. Lee was with Tayla Goodman, the director who is in the process of making Lee's rockumentary Not On The Heep. The day before she had shot Kerslake in conversation with the entire Kiss band at their hotel and Lee was still pretty euphoric over the experience. We also met Jake Libretto, the guitarist who played on Lee's forthcoming solo record 'Eleventeen'. Sitting around the table Jake asked: "Have you got two sons called Eddie and Arnie?" When I nodded in confirmation he revealed: "I used to teach them both at Forest Hill School - I was their Jack Black at the School Of Rock!" What a small world, eh?
Despite planning to do so we didnt make it to ZZ Top at Wembley in the end as at the last minute Live Nation said that the press list was oversubscribed. In a way Im glad as although I'd love to have seen special guest Jimmy Barnes a friend just texted to say the Rev Billy and co played two encores and still only just nudged 75 minutes. That's a bit rubbish if you ask me.
I'll always have the memory of seeing their 'secret' gig at the Marquee Club on the 'Eliminator' tour in 1983 billed as 'That Little Ol' Band From Texas'. What a night that was.
Friday 12th July
Kiss at the O2 Arena In London: Okay okay, I've been reminded more than once that after last time I vowed 'never again' but having been a fan for so many decades - I first saw the band at Wembley back in 1980, supported by Girl - I just couldn't resist my old friend Charrie Foglio's kind offer of passes for this farewell London concert. It's a dazzling, blockbuster, spellbinding show. The rocket-firing guitar; Gene spitting blood and breathing fire; the riser, er, rising during the drum solo; Eric crooning 'Beth' on a piano that comes up through the stage, and enough pyro to be seen from Uranus - all the usual elements present and correct.
Once Kiss have gone for good it's very tough to imagine a band with such an overpowering presentation and the essential bonus of decent songs (yes Rammstein, I'm talking about you). Given his much publicised vocal issues, Paul Stanley muddled through and I'm not sure how much was live or on tape. That screechy introduction to 'Cold Gin' was plain horrible. But given the finality of it all and that I could've woken up today and cursed myself for staying home I'm very, very glad that we decided to come.
Thursday 11th July
I write with great excitement minutes after England beat the dreaded Convicts by eight wickets to claim their place in a first Cricket World Cup Final in 27 years. To quote a Facebook post from my fellow CPFC enthusiast Andy Nathan: Norwegian commentators don't do cricket, but if they did... Allan Border. Nicole Kidman. Kylie Minogue. Steve Irwin. Cathy Freeman. Barry Humphries. John Farnham. Rolf Harris. Tim Cahill. Dame Nellie Melba. Sir Don Bradman. Paul Hogan. Olivia Newton John. Jason Donovan. Richie Benaud. Mark Webber. Men At Work. Bob Hawke. Cate Blanchett. Shane Warne. Shane Warne can you hear me? Your boys took a hell of a beating! Let's add my old Metal Hammer editor Robyn Doreian, John Farnham and Madge and Harold Bishop from Neighbours to that list! Cobbers... you were clobbered!!! Bring on the Kiwis in Sunday's final.
Wednesday 10th July
David Lee Roth's admission that the members of Van Halen "always hated each other, right up until the last phone call" is not exactly 'news', I guess, though it's fascinating nonetheless. And it might help to validate the theory that internal pressure can ramp up levels of creativity. To these ears the first three Van Halen albums are flawless (from 'Fair Warning' onwards each album had its share of fillers).
Well, that was a whole lot of fun… my working day concluded with a riotous five-way conference call with Jason Ringenberg, Dan Baird, Warner E Hodges and Richard Young to discuss the upcoming Scorchers, Homemade Sin and Headhunters tour of the UK in September. Miss it at your peril!
Tuesday 9th July
A very happy 64th birthday to Sir Steve Coppell, esteemed manager from 1984–1993, 1995–1996, 1997–1998 and 1999–2000. Seen here with myself a baby Eddie Lemmy Selhurst Ling, he's still the greatest boss that Crystal Palace FC ever had.
This morning was spent at Hither Green Cemetery looking after my Dad and saying goodbye to Bill Newman, the larger than life childhood family friend who took me to my very first footie games. In the process he set me on the path to becoming a Crystal Palace loony, so no apologies for the choice of attire - black jeans and a black sweatshirt featuring the CPFC logo. This bloke was quite a character who never let anyone push him around and didn't give a damn what others thought (indeed, the congregation smiled knowingly as we filed out of the room to the strains of Sinatra's 'My Way'). I kinda wish I could've been a bit more like him in that regard. Sleep well Uncle Bill. And of course Mum's here, too... I still miss ya xxxx.
Monday 8th July
There's a brand new song from Eclipse, one of my favourite Swedish bands. Though I despair of its title of 'United' (SPIT!), it bodes very well for a full-length album called 'Paradigm' which is scheduled for released on October 11.
Issue #100 of Prog magazine has fallen onto the mat. I’m very proud to have been a contributor to this fine magazine since its inception a decade ago. Exceptional work from Jerry Ewing, Hannah May Kilroy, Russell Fairbrother, Jo Kendall and the rest of the team. Here's the to the next century's worth... and beyond.
Sunday 7th July
Another day spent house-hunting in Hastings… well, to be more precise going back for a second look at some properties that we liked. There are lots and lots of important decisions to be made. A couple of snifters at the Carlisle helped to soothe the ol’ grey matter.
After some lovely Chinese nosebag down on the seafront we rushed back to London to catch Hats Off Gentlemen It’s Adequate topping the bill of the Prog The Forest all-dayer at the Fiddler’s Elbow in Camden. This was a charity event with proceeds going to environmental causes. In the end the show raised enough money to protect in perpetuity five acres of threatened wilderness land, so very well played in doing so to all concerned. HOGIA are a duo of vocalist, guitarist and keyboard player Malcolm Galloway and bass player Mark Gatland, with occasional contributions from flautist/backing singer Kathryn Thomas (i.e. they have no drummer, relying instead on sampled rhythm parts and a variety of pre-recorded embellishments). Though Galloways's self-mocking explanations of largely sci-fi/technology-themed subject matter of the songs can be relied upon to raise a smile, what the duo offer is pretty earnest and understated in nature, and I think they'd be much, much better driven along by a real percussionist.
Saturday 6th July
Last night, having dug their debut album ‘Vol 1’ I’d been intending to check out Sin’Dogs, the band formed by ex-Sensational Alex Harvey Band guitarist Zal Cleminson, at the 100 Club but having spent the day with Amanda house hunting in Hastings I was just too exhausted. According to the Iphone we did more than 27,000 steps whilst trudging from one property to the next… whew. However, there was still time to take a break for some light refreshment at the Carlisle, a cool little rock bar situated within view of the ocean that we nicknamed the Crobar-on-Sea. I suspect we will be spending quite a lot of time here in the future.
Wednesday 3rd July
Although yesterday was my birthday, I had a set of Classic Rock news pages to close so I was at my desk early doors and had to stay there till pressing 'send' on a column of News In Brief snippets. With the iTunes on shuffle, bright sunshine flowing in with the office wide open and Bob snoozing a few feet away, it was a pretty cool day. In the evening a gang of South Londoners (and my friend Harj Kallah) invaded the Moonsoon Indina Restaurant in Catford. A delicious meal in great company. I've had far worse evenings. However, it was a mistake to break open a bottle of Kraken Dark Spiced Rum upon our return to Gentling Towers, especially as we had no mixers and head to drink the stuff neat. Am paying the price for it now.
Tuesday 2nd July
Last night I conducted a great Skype interview with former Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy, during which we talked at length about my favourite DT album, 'Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes From A Memor'.
Turns out its also Mike's fave of the records he made with the group. A few mins later he put up this cool post on Facebook.
Its official: Aaron Wan-Bissaka has left Crystal Palace to join ManUre in a deal which, with add-ons, will end up at £60m. A 21-year-old with less than one full season under his belt and who is yet to play a senior international game becomes the most expensive English player in the world. Football is crazy - OFFICIAL! I had hoped we'd get another season out of AWB before the sharks began to circle, but so long as the proceeds are used wisely there's no complaint from me. Aside from the inevitable loss of a locally born and nurtured talent and future England star, it's sad that we won't be able to sing our best song anymore (to the tune of 'Rock The Casbah'): "Your wingers won't like him... Wan-Bisakka! Wan-Bisakka!" Good luck Aaron... and please remember to score an OG for us in the game at O*d Tr****d.
STAR DATE: MONDAY 1st JULY
Well, it’s been a trying few months but the Diary is back online. Getting it up and running again was always my solid intention, but the past year and a bit has been among the most trying of my entire life. Long story short: We were forced to put Ling Towers on the market and undertake a whole lifestyle downsize. Money has been incredibly tight. There have been health issues (nothing life-threatening). We had builders in the house from before Christmas 2018 until late Spring working on a complete refurb. And to top it all my father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The lovely Amanda and I are currently in the process of defying the clusterfuck known as Brexit to up sticks and relocate to the coast (though of course not to the steaming shithole known as B****ton). Fingers crossed that will happen sooner rather than later. It’s time for a slower pace of life and to soak up some sea air. Right about now, mortgage free status sounds like heaven.
If you want to know what I’ve been up to since last November, well… I’ve compiled a Month In Pictures-style entry for each of those months - click on the Archives link below. The Playlist has also had a refurb!
Tomorrow being my birthday, a whole new start begins. There will be regular updates, I promise.
Many, many thanks to my long suffering, hard-working, patient, attractive and very, very thin web mistress for pulling out all the stops to make this happen. COYP!