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 10th May
With further gigs on the way from Devon Allman, Martin Turner and Sari Schorr coming up, I'm gonna be spending quite a lot of time at the Beaverwood in Chislehurst. My series kicked off last night with Davey Knowles, a guitar hero who grew up in the Isle of Man before relocating to Chicago with his band Back Door Slam. I've a copy of the 2009 album 'Coming Up for Air' which I saw him promote with a gig at the Borderline though afterwards I lost track of the fella and, to be quite honest, forgot all about him. No wonder; it turns out Knowles hasn't toured here since those days, despite carving quite a reputation on the other side of the pond. Peter Frampton called him "the gunslinger guitarist of the 21st century," Joe Satriani: "My favourite modern bluesman."
Well, I don't exactly know about 'modern'. During an acoustic interlude, Knowles addressed the crowd: "It might not be a secret but one of my biggest heroes is..." "... Rory!" they laughed back. "Is it the flannel shirt?" Knowles grinned in acknowledgement. No, it's more than the shirt. During the show he wields a batterered-to-hell-and-back 1966 Telecaster and also a 1932 National Triolian that's just like Rory's, throwing in a mean version of Tony Joe White's 'As The Crow Flies' which was of course covered by the G-Man on 'Irish Tour '74'.
It's a cool show, and I'd definitely see Knowles again but maybe I need to pick up the most recent albums first. The slow, ponderous blues of 'Falling Apart' from latest disc 'Three Miles From Avalon' was particularly impressive, alongside the more familiar title track of 'Coming Up For Air', and Knowles has a great, tight and often funky backing band built around some significant interaction with keysman Andy Toombs.
I hope he spends a little more time in the UK in future.
Tuesday 9th May
This afternoon I had a great chat with ex-UFO bassist Sir Peter Of Way, talking about his autobiography, the impending solo album and of course lots and lots of footie chat ("I knew that Benteke would get goals for Palace!" says the staunch Villa-ite). Despite wearing a heart monitor that will hopefully come off tomorrow Pete says that he is enjoying good health. He sounded upbeat and was, by his standards, extremely lucid. Its final third is harrowing and it includes segments that are hard to read without crawling under a chair, but the book is great, by the way. Ghost writer Paul Rees (an old colleague of mine from the RAW magazine days) intersperses the anecdotes with testimonies from Way's brother Neill, Michael Schenker, Slash, Joe Elliott, Geddy Lee, 'Fast' Eddie Clarke, Ross Halfin and Pete Makowski, engineer Mike Clink and Way's drug dealer buddy Gary Lee. Needless to say, it contains all of the sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll that can possibly be syringed into 261 pages.
I asked Pete why there is no input from Phil Mogg, Paul Raymond or any of the other current UFO members, likewise why Phil and Andy Parker are 'thanked', but the rest of his former band-mates - even Paul Raymond! - were overlooked. His response - "When I had my minor heart attack and prostate cancer, they didn't call me. Andy did, he's a good soul, but nobody else from the band asked how I was. Maybe Phil doesn't have my latest number, but then again I don't go out of my way to call them either" - was pretty revealing.
Monday 8th May
Just in: Steely Dan and The Doobie Brothers confirmed for London BluesFest October 2017. How exciting!!!!
Sunday 7th May
Just picking things up for what should be the final day's transcript of the Wishbone Ash boxed set book with Steve Upton discussing the disastrous Tom Dowd-produced 'Locked In' album from 1976. "If someone were to write a school report on that one it would say, 'Must do better'." Luckily, of course, the band would more than redeem themselves that same year with the brilliant 'New England'. Anyway… I'm very glad that I stayed in last night, I'm in the mood to get this sucker finished.
Saturday 6th May
THANK YOU SUNDERLAND!!! Palace's televised 5-0 lunchtime battering at Man City was pretty hard to stomach. It was the club's heaviest defeat of the season, and to be honest we were lucky to get 'nil'. However, with the pressure off the already relegated Mackems did the Eagles a colossal favour by stuffing Hull 2-0 at the KCOM Stadium. Swansea's 1-0 defeat of Everton means that the Tigers drop into the dreaded bottom three. Palace and Hull go head to heed next Sunday. Sam's mean need to avoid defeat to stay up, for the visitors it's shit or bust. What an exciting and somewhat terrifying prospect, but as the cliché goes, it's all in our own hands.
Friday 5th May
Last night I went to a lunchtime launch party at the Borderline for the new Hawkwind album, 'Into The Woods'. The band played a few unplugged tunes, it was great fun. Afterwards I went back to the Crobar - maybe one drink. I betcha can guess what happened? Yep. Got home at 1.30am. Fecking hell. Tomorrow - sorry, today - is gonna be a bit tricky. At least it's a Friday.
During my mammoth Cro session I had a long and interesting chinwag with the band's newest member, bassist Haz Wheaton. The poor fella was supposed to be getting a 7pm train back down to the group's base in Devon, but of course that became 8pm, 9pm, 10pm and so forth. When I left to catch my midnight service from Charing Cross he was still sitting there with my pal Keith Barton. Those guys looked set for a few more hours yet!
Thursday 4th May
Uli Jon Roth's 'Tokyo Tapes Revisited' show last night at the Underworld... wow, just wow. My friend Harj and I pushed our way right to the front (Harj is a little geezer and wanted to see as much of the fast-fingered fret action as possible); this morning my ears are *seriously* ringing, but boy was it worth it?! Roth's band featured three guitarists including singer Nicklaus Thurman, also a keyboard player. Despite the volume, the tones were exquisite. Their 100-minute gig was based upon the Scorpions' legendary double-live album from 1978, plus a handful of Uli-era Scorps gems, including a quite brilliant 'Yellow Raven' from 'Virgin Killer'. We also got guest vocals from Nathan James of Inglorious on 'Sails Of Charon' and 'In Trance' and a couple of Hendrix re-workings during a lengthy encore. If this show comes to your town, DO NOT MISS IT!
Check out the set-list: 'All Night Long', 'Longing For Fire', 'Sails Of Charon', 'Sun In My Hand', 'We'll Burn The Sky', 'In Trance', 'Fly To The Rainbow', 'Pictured Life', 'Catch Your Train' and 'Dark Lady', followed by encores of 'Yellow Raven', 'All Along The Watchtower' and 'Little Wing'.
Tuesday 2nd May
This afternoon my heart sank – not for the first time I was summoned to the bank to transfer some money so that the mortgage payment wouldn't bounce. The mood dipped further still when the middle aged be-suited guy behind the desk proposed a meeting to discuss my finances and said mortgage, which in two months stops being a fixed payment. "How soon do you think you could do that?" I replied that time is short at the moment as I'm in the final stages of finishing a book. When the fella asked its subject I expected his eyes to glaze over. Instead there was a 180-degree attitude flip and he sat upright in the chair: "Wishbone Ash?! Oh my God, I'm from Devon, I grew up just down the road from those guys! 'Argus' is one of my favourite albums!"
I think it's gonna be okay… Hmmm, if I get the fella a signed photograph I wonder whether he might write off my overdraft?! Haha. If only…
Monday 1st May
I'm very, very disappointed that I didn't get to say goodbye to those pesky Black Spiders. Their London appearance was at Desertfest, which clashed with Saturday's game for the Palace. Yesterday my friend Andy Beare suggested a trip down to Southampton, but I was so rammed with work that I had to decline. I'd love to make the final show in Nottingham but for the same reason that's just gonna be impossible. And so, I must bid a fond adieu to the Spiders, a band with so much unfulfilled potential. I shall miss ya. Here's my favourite song of theirs. By the way, *everything* is Gene's fault. We all know, that, right?
Phew. Phew. And Phew again. When it comes to the Wishbone transcript marathon, I'm into the home straight at last. Those epic interviews with Andy P, Martin T and Laurie W are now fully transcribed. Ted and Steve are up next.
For those that care, the Playlist and YouTube pages have been updated.