Dave's Diary
This journal of the comings'n'goings and musings'n'enthusings of Dave Ling will be updated daily
(except after nights of excess)

Back to the Diary Archives

Monday 30th April
Much of my Sunday was spent glued to the computer, persistent rain pitter-pattering against the windows of my office. When it left off awhile I seized the opportunity to take a lengthy walk/run with Bob The Dog. It’s amazing to think that I had lived here in Catford for almost a decade without paying a visit to the local landmark of One Tree Hill, among the highest points in South London, formerly a picnic spot for Elizabeth I in 1602 and, allegedly, a vantage point from where Dick Turpin would pick out his victims before swooping down upon them. After checking out its leafy view, which extends across the city to the Alexandra Palace, Bob and I did five circuits of Peckham Rye Common… never let it be said that I do not live the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle to the max (ahem!).
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Sunday 29th April
Crystal Palace’s 2012/’13 season petered out yesterday with an uninspiring 2-1 home defeat by promotion-chasing Cardiff – all the more frustrating as Wilfried Zaha had deservedly given the Eagles a lead during the first half. Worse still, I was forced to partake of the game in a semi-sober state thanks to its ridiculously early kick-off time of 12.30. How’s a man supposed to achieve oblivion with the pubs and clubs closed…?
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Saturday 28th April
My reasons for last night’s visit to London’s West End were twofold; first and foremost to chink a glass or seven in the Crobar as my friend Steve Hammonds joined the Half A Century Club. Steve and I worked together on a fanzine called White Lightning way back in the early 1980s and perhaps unsurprisingly have very similar tastes in music. After a spell with Universal Records he now has his fingers in a number of different pies. It’s good to see him happy ‘n’ healthy, even if his support of a certain alleged ‘football team’ from the South Coast casts an ugly, unforgivable blight upon his character.
During the evening I also nipped next door to the Borderline for a terrific gig from Martin Turner’s Wishbone Ash. Unlike his rival Andy Powell’s version of Ash, MTWA do not purport to push forward the group's sound, indeed when I asked him recently about the possibility of recording new songs, the bassist replied: “That’s tricky. I’ve got material, but my gut instinct is that people prefer to hear stuff we did in the 70s.” Neither are they entirely serious. We know this because they insert two lines from Monty Python’s ‘The Lumberjack Song’ into ‘Warrior’, also prefacing the immaculate ‘Phoenix’ with a piss-take snippet of ‘The Birdie Song’. There was a mischievous glint in Turner’s eye as he plugged his forthcoming autobiography No Easy Road with the words: “It's full of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll – it might be good to order a copy before Mr Powell’s lawyers get hold of it!” And how about this for a top quality set-list: ‘The King Will Come’, ‘Front Page News’, ‘The Pilgrim’, ‘Warrior’, ‘Throw Down The Sword’, ‘No Easy Road’, ‘Sometime World’, ‘Lady Jay’, ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Widow’, ‘F.U.B.B.’, ‘Lifeline’, ‘Ballad Of The Beacon’, ‘Phoenix’ and ‘Blowin’ Free’, topped off by ‘Living Proof’ and ‘Jailbait’.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Friday 27th April
A flood of emails and Facebook postings began to arrive just as I was preparing to leave for last night’s gig by Stackridge. The breaking news of the sudden closure of the UK office of Roadrunner Records astounded me so much that I almost had to remove my glasses, rub my eyes and re-read what was before me. Roadrunner have the best artist roster, the most efficient promo staff and a reputation and kudos that is second to none. This excellent story at the Metal Hammer website does a fine job of summing up the consternation and sadness caused by the label’s ludicrous decision. If you ask me the façade represents yet another landmark in the systematic dismantling of the record industry as we know it. Sad days indeed…
So thank God for Stackridge, who put on an excellent show at the Beaverwood Club in Chislehurst. Five years had elapsed since my last sighting of the West Country eccentrics, which took place at the 100 Club. On that night their show came across as a bit of a lunatic-charged circus. Trimmed to a five-piece this time around, due “practicality and economic viability”, James Warren and Andrew Cresswell-Davis are all that remains of the original line-up. I missed the mysterious presence of the disturbing ‘Crun’ Walters but Claire Linley’s violin-playing was exquisite, serving to fuse a smorgasbord of psychedelic, pop and prog sounds. The band are often hailed as “the missing jewel in the crown of British pop music”, largely due to the fact that George Martin produced their third album, 1974’s ‘The Man In The Bowler’ – a cult classic record that Marillion’s Steve Hogarth still cites among his all-time favourites. For all of Stackridge’s typical olde English whimsy, ‘Something About The Beatles’ and ‘Everybody’s Gotta Learn Some Time’ – the latter a Top Five hit for Warren and Cresswell-Davis with The Korgis during the group’s 1980s hiatus – seal the pair’s credentials as ‘serious’ songwriters. All those lucky enough to have seen this fabulous gig will surely have hailed Stackridge among this isle’s foremost hidden treasures.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Thursday 26th April
Okay it felt a little bit dirty to support the Germans, but how good was it to see the world’s most egotistical player, the insufferably vile Cr***iano Ro***do, miss that penalty as his team Real Madrid crashed out of some irrelevant competition called the Champions League. No, I hadn’t heard of it either… The sight of José Mourinho on his knees on the touchline, as prayer turned to despair, was equally side-splitting.
For the third consecutive year I’m honoured to have been asked to work on the official programme of the Download Festival. Saxon’s Biff Byford and Brent Smith of Shinedown were the latest participants to agree to phone interviews about their big day, whilst Ozzy Osbourne, Joey Tempest of Europe, Slipknot and Stone Sour frontman Corey Taylor, Edguy’s Tobias Sammet, Gun’s Dante Gizzi and Halestorm’s Lzzy hale have all answered my questions by email. I’m looking forward to editing down their comments over the next week or two.
Thanks to Mr Postie for a double anthology, ‘The Essential Blue Öyster Cult’. I wouldn't care if I never heard ‘(Don't Fear) The Reaper’ again during my time on this Earth, but a few of its more obscure selections (step forward ‘Flaming Telepaths’, ‘The Marshall Plan’ and ‘In Thee’) will deffo be going onto the iPod.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Wednesday 25th April
Given that Curved Air reunited some four years ago, also their appearance at last year’s High Voltage Festival, it’s perhaps pretty surprising that I’ve only seen them onstage once (opening for Argent at the Forum in December 2010). Last night the Borderline’s miniscule stage struggled to accommodate six large personalities, but it was the perfect venue in which to have seen the band taking another step back up the ladder. Their current line-up features just two original members: Florian Pilkington-Miksa on drums and frontwoman Sonja Kristina. The latter, now known as Sonja Kristina Linwood, doesn’t look 63 years old and certainly doesn’t sing like a pensioner. The evening’s 105-minute set was culled entirely from the group’s first four albums, ‘Airconditioning’ and ‘Air Cut’ (released between 1970 and 1973), Paul Sax acquitting himself well whilst recreating the violin parts of Darryl Way who exited the band in ’09. Sax linked up well with guitarist Kit Morgan and keysman Robert Norton. The blond-haired, bare-chested Morgan riffed it up a storm during ‘Marie Antoinette’ but for the most part the music was considerably more laid back: charmingly, eloquent and irresistible. Here’s the set-list: ‘Overture’/ ‘Armin’, ‘It Happened Today’, ‘Screw’, ‘Hide And Seek’, ‘Young Mother’, ‘Melinda (More Or Less)’, ‘Propositions’, ‘Easy’, ‘Purple Speed Queen’, ‘Marie Antoinette’, ‘Back Street Luv’, ‘Everdance’, Metamorphosis’ and ‘Vivaldi’, with an encore of ‘Stretch’.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Tuesday 24th April
Hahaha, yesterday’s interview with Jimmy Barnes was great… spelled G-R-E-A-T! Among the many things we discussed was a report of Cold Chisel being booed offstage whilst supporting Ted Nugent during a 1981 tour of America. Take it from me; somewhere The Loudman’s ears must have been burning!!!
I’m enjoying Rush’s newly uploaded track, ‘Headlong Flight’, the first single from the long-awaited ‘Clockwork Angels’. It’s great to hear the Canadians playing like a kick-ass power-trio once again. Check it out here. Sadly, I’m less enthused about Soundgarden’s newie, ‘Live To Rise’. To these ears it sounds a little too much like a Chris Cornell solo tune.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Monday 23rd April
The Underworld was packed for last night’s gig by Axel Rudi Pell and Mad Max. Every German in London was there. Seriously, anybody with the foresight to have opened a sauerkraut and wienerschnitzel stall would have cleaned up. Though I own a few records by ex-Steeler guitarist Pell the presence of Mad Max was what tempted me across London on a rainy Sunday evening. Fronted by Michael Voss of Michael Schenker fame, the Münster-based quartet are currently promoting ‘Another Night Of Passion’, a sprightly, melodic and deeply appealing sequel to 1987’s cult classic ‘Night Of Passion’. Voss has a terrific voice and is no slouch on the guitar, leading his band-mates through an annoyingly truncated set (they were due to have played for 50 mins but ended 10 mins early) that comprised: ‘Burning The Stage’, ‘Welcome To Rock Bottom’, ‘Metal Edge’, ‘Wait For The Night’, Guitar Solo, ‘Fallen From Grace’, ‘Love Loaded’ and… hell yeah… ‘Night Of Passion’. Judging by the reaction, I daresay we’ll see them again before too long.
Given the capital’s dodgy weekend transport links, having decided to watch Axel Rudi Pell for 15 or 20 mins and make an early exit, I retreated to the back of the hall. Big mistake. With Hardline’s immaculate Johnny Gioelli on vocals, the headliner went down a storm on songs like ‘Strong As A Rock’ and ‘Before I Die’, the latter from the new album ‘Circle Of The Oath’. However, the place was so full that it was impossible to see or, more importantly, hear the performance to anything like the standards that I demand. So with a heavy heart I stuck to Plan A and opted to beat a premature retreat. With Classic Rock is on production deadline this week, it seemed the sensible option.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Sunday 22nd April
Having resisted the lure of Crystal Palace’s game at the Madejski Stadium, I spent Record Store Day spinning me some wax! Started off with Killing Joke’s ‘MMXII’, a double-gatefold on crimson red vinyl, before remembering that the Mötley Crüe catalogue stood in the corner of the office, on 180-gram vinyl, still shrink-wrapped. It certainly killed some time till the radio commentary began!
Given that the Royals had already sealed promotion back to the Premier League, it was pretty astonishing that Freedman’s men delayed the home side’s championship party till later that same evening when Middlesboro beat Southampton. Although Reading played much of the game with ten men, reports suggest that my beloved Eagles deserved their point from a 2-2 draw.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Saturday 21st April
Not that I’m complaining, I must be in the running for the Guinness Book Of World Records’ title for the most phone interviews during a single week. Yesterday I brushed aside my post-Chantel hangover for an early morning link-up with Phil Small and Don Walker of Cold Chisel, whose new album ‘No Plans’ has been rattling the walls for the past few days here at Ling Towers (encounters with Jimmy Barnes and Ian Moss take place on Monday). 1979’s ‘Breakfast At Sweethearts’ and the following year’s ‘East’ are long-established turntable favourites, so I cannot wait for my first live experience of the Chisel at this summer’s Hard Rock Calling. ‘No Plans’ is the Aussie band’s first new record in 13 years… by heck it’s good! Among the plethora of other phoners was a chat with the lovely Charlotte Wessels of Dutch symphonic metalheads Delain, who came up with one of the greatest ‘let’s take a rain-check’ excuses I’ve ever heard. I was all ready to go at 3pm when Roadrunner Records emailed to request a later slot as Charlotte had been “delayed at the hairdresser”!!! Hahaha… now that doesn’t happen with Kerry King, does it?
During the evening I knocked back a few drinks during a first glance at Night By Night, a bunch of young UK-based rockers who were playing at a sold-out Borderline. They’d been recommended to me by Paul Anthony of Planet Radio… the estimable Mr Anthony did not lie; the quintet looked good, sounded better (especially the multi-part backing harmonies) and went down a storm. At times they reminded me a little of early Def Leppard, especially some of the dual-guitar phrasing and the voice of Daniel Rossall. One to watch, deffo.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Friday 20th April
Although south London was splattered in almost monsoon-like conditions I made it to Chantel McGregor’s show at the Beaverwood Club in Chislehurst to grab a few words from her for Classic Rock. For those that are unaware, last year McGregor self-released an extremely impressive debut album entitled ‘Like No Other’. She has been lumped in with the UK’s new blues-rock explosion, but as proposed by ‘Fabulous’ a defiantly Lady Gaga-esque track that kicks off her record, a certain “spangly factor” (her own term) separates Chantel from the likes of Virgil & The Accelerators, Joanne Shaw Taylor, Oli Brown and the rest. During our dressing room chat, I asked which act McGregor would most like to support… sure enough, “Probably somebody like Lady Gaga, She’s a brilliant business model,” responded Chantel. “Seriously, I do like her music though I could never wear a meat dress… I’d probably end up eating it!”
Following a tip-off from Simon Eldridge, the fellow CPFC and blues-rock disciple responsible for pointing me in the direction of Chantel, Virgil and many others, I caught the opening act. I was glad that I did so. Hailing from Norfolk, Ron Sayer Jr lays down an agreeable bluesy hard rock sound, sometimes smooth others very funky. His set peaked with a tribute to Etta James that featured guest female singer Charlotte Joyce (I think it was called ‘All My Loving Gone’). I would deffo go and see Sayer and his group again. Check him out here.
Chantel McGregor’s headline spot was marvellous. Backed mostly by a bassist and drummer she also took centre stage unaccompanied, delivering the swampy blues of ‘I’m No Good For You’ (which I had no idea was inspired by the TV vampire show True Blood!), Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Rhiannon’, songs by Metallica and Bob Dylan/Jimi Hendrix (which her Yorkshire accent served to re-title as ‘Now’t Else Matters’ and ‘All Along T’Watchtower’!) and even a surprisingly enjoyable rendition of Gaga’s own ‘Edge Of Glory’. Another of the best moments arrived when McGregor decided to perform ‘Sloe Gin’, a Joe Bonamassa-popularised number that her drummer had never heard, let alone played. Somehow he was nursed though it with comedic results, though these moments of hilarity should not be allowed to undermine the show’s excellence on a musical level. Pick up a copy of ‘Like No Other’ here.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Thursday 19th April
Yesterday’s workload included two rather good phone interviews; Russell Mael of Sparks and Saga’s Michael Sadler. After informing him that I’ve been going to see his band since they opened for Styx at Hammersmith way back in 1980, I struck up a very good rapport with Sadler. Late on, the singer, who recently returned to the Canadian group, began ruminating upon the temptation of allowing commercial sensibilities to override artistic integrity. He laughed loudly, sighed deeply, then cackled again with amusement as I asked: “Hand on heart, tell the truth… have there been occasions when Saga crossed that line?” “Saving the best questions till last, eh?” he responded before another long and distinctly nervous-sounding pause. “Yeah,” I replied, “it’s typical trait of English music journalists.” Kudos to Sadler, who answered the question with what felt like complete honesty, though I’m not gonna ruin things by revealing details of it here.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Wednesday 18th April
Crystal Palace’s run of woeful form continues. Though hardly unpredictable, the home side having to claim all three points to maintain their narrow hope of survival in the division, last night’s 2-1 defeat to Pompey was the club’s seventh without a win. It’s all getting rather tiresome.
Speaking of which, it’s a drizzly, depressing day here in south London. The arrival of Rock Candy Records’ new Max Webster re-masters (the Canuck group’s first three albums… complete with lengthy Suterian sleeve essays) should drive away those pesky rainclouds.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Tuesday 17th April
I’m still wading through the new issue of Prog magazine, which besides the tale of my recent trip to Hawkwind HQ features an excellent At Home-style cover feature by Dom Lawson on Mikael Åkerfeldt and Steven Wilson’s Storm Corrosion project and a truly hilarious account of the night in 1974 that Keith Emerson outdid his ELP band-mates by playing a flying, rotating grand piano for 250,000 fans at the California Jam (“I’m sure roadies are still laughing their arses off about it in bars all over the world!”). Terrific stuff.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Monday 16th April
I was only going to stay for an hour or two at yesterday’s video shoot for ‘Nothing To Lose But Our Minds’ by The Treatment, but ended up being filmed standing next to the recording console used by the Beatles at Abbey Road, surrounded by sexy nurses and necking Jägermeister from the bottle. I think there was some more disco dancing involved, too. Regrettable scenes and no mistake. No wonder I don’t recall too much of the journey home. The nurses were extremely useful when I fell down the stairs whilst attempting to leave. It was not very dignified, I’m afraid...
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Sunday 15th April
Despite going for a nice curry afterwards with my friends Kev Denman and Mark Kentfield (chicken phal, mushroom pilau… mmmmmm!), yesterday’s 1-1 draw between Crystal Palace and Ipswich Town was a bit of a yawn. Having begun the season so strongly, even flirting with promotion for a few weeks, the wheels have well and truly come off, and its conclusion simply cannot come quickly enough for me. It’s a sorry situation, as form quite often continues into a successive campaign. I would hate for the Eagles to go into 2012/’13 looking as abject and unimaginative as they do right now.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Saturday 14th April
Well, it was a fairly typical Friday the 13th. During the evening I headed to the Hob in Forest Hill, just a brisk walk away from Ling Towers, for a gig by the up ‘n’ coming UK rockers Four Wheel Drive. As I chatted with the guys for a short while before they played they told me of receiving electric shocks during the soundcheck. Worse still, the power supply packed in during their very first song – hardly an ideal way to begin a gig! Luckily they have a creditable repertoire of tunes – imagine a Southern Rawk version of AC/DC, with some Aerosmith-flavoured riffs thrown in for good measure – and given the quality of newly penned material a really strong second album is in the pipeline. Following a week of working on my accounts, the band provided a good soundtrack for the blowing off of some steam. If you’ve not yet checked out 4WD then take a lookee at the video for ‘High Roller’
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Friday 13th April
Classic Rock’s Editor In Chief, Scott Rowley, has a lot to answer for. A few weeks ago he demanded in friendly but firm tones that I get to grips with iTunes, as from now on (for the purposes of the magazine’s iPad edition) audio content must accompany all future stories. Well, it’s certainly turned out a bit of an iOpener! After submitting ten essential Uriah Heep songs from the David Byron era I felt compelled to add some material from the ‘Head First’ and Abominog’ to my menu. From there, I bunged on a few of my favourites by Sweet (**a few**??… try 48!!!), then some tracks from Paul Stanley’s first solo record, some classic It Bites, some Steely Dan, UFO, Roadmaster, Rush, Quo, Van Halen, Supertramp, Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake, Starz and Strangeways’ entire ‘Native Sons’ album, plus ‘Love Bomb Baby’ by Tigertailz. Yeah, it’s all gotten a bit out of hand. There are now 453 tunes on my playlist, and that’s **before** I get around to adding any FM, Iron Maiden, Rainbow, Deep Purple or Mötorhead. Though I’m sure that Steven Wilson will never talk to me again I’m considering the purchase of an iPod to take with me when I go out running. So, yeah… I’m now on Facebook and getting to grips with downloading music… whatever next? Should I ever feel the inclination to start Tweeting, you have my full permission to shoot me.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Thursday 12th April
Last night was spent at the Dorchester Hotel on Park Lane, of all places, where a playback of a new Metallica-related docu-film took place. Mission To Lars tells the unusual yet heart-warming tale of Tom Spicer, a 40-year-old affected by Fragile X syndrome. Although he lives in a care home in Exmouth, for half of his life metal-mad Spicer has wanted to meet Lars Ulrich. However, there are problems… besides his condition (an extreme form of autism), Tom is terrified of volume and large crowds. Nevertheless, his sister Kate and brother William (the latter of whom just happens to be a filmmaker) set out on a seemingly hopeless quest to make their sibling’s dream come true, flying to the States, hiring a camper van and following the group around, all the while attempting to overcome Tom’s psychoses. When the drummer finally enters a backstage room, greets Spicer warmly (and without a whiff of patronisation), and encourages him to play his warm-up kit, the look of profound joy on Tom’s face is just wonderful. Speaking as somebody with autism issues in his family, I was extremely moved by the film (as, apparently was Lemmy Kilmister, who attended a previous preview). With proceeds going to MENCAP, the Spicers could have an unlikely hit on their hands when Mission To Lars debuts in UK cinemas in June.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Wednesday 11th April
Hurrah, the new website for Prog Magazine has finally gone live. Crammed with news, features and celeb blogs, it’s a must-visit for fans of the genre.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Tuesday 10th April
Oh dear… A depressing result from Selhurst: Crystal Palace 0, Southampton 2… dammit! However, during the first half I thought that the Eagles more than held their own and spent quite a while in the ascendancy. Losing a goal in the 39th minute was a bad time to concede (especially as it was set up by ex-SE25 hero Danny Butterfield), but after the break the visitors showed the gulf in class – certainly inside the penalty area. Nevertheless, Norwich loanee Martin really should have pulled a goal back and thanks to one of the worst refereeing displays in recent memory - Gary Sutton of Lincolnshire, you’d better not venture to Catford anytime soon! – CPFC were also denied a spot-kick right at the death. However, with six home-grown players featured in the squad, including a first League start for 17-year-old Kyle da Silva, there were plenty of positives to take away.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Monday 9th April
In a while I shall be off to the real Home Of Football (Selhurst Park) after a few Tesco wine pouches to numb the pain. My beloved Eagles have shipped 10 goals in their last four games. Facing promotion-chasing Southampton, and with just a solitary win in eight matches I’m fearful of a bit of a whupping. At least we are mathematically free of relegation... anyway, let Operation Obliteration commence! Hic!
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Sunday 8th April
To the chav lowlife that tried to snatch my BlackBerry yesterday on the way to Laurie Mansworth’s 50th birthday party... FOAD, you utter wank-stain! Otherwise (apart from Palace conceding three more goals, this time away to Birmingham City), I had a truly great night. Take it from me, LM is a beast... vodka jellos at 8.15pm, followed by shots of Jägermeister, then some incendiary, cinnamon-flavoured red gunge, followed by disco dancing (!) till 4am... Oh dear... I hope and pray that there are no photographs of this alleged jitterbug action.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Saturday 7th April
Ahead of an upcoming phone interview I have just been listening to Saga’s new album, ‘20/20’, which is due in July. As implied by the title it’s the Canadian group’s 20th release, marking the return of lead singer Michael Sadler. To these ears it’s a vast improvement upon 2009’s ‘The Human Condition’, which featured Rob Moratti (Final Frontier) on vocals. I’m particularly taken with the song ‘Anywhere You Wanna Go’… one of Saga’s finest!
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Friday 6th April
Carl Dixon just added me to his Facebook page. Whilst lurking there I was thrilled to see the following post: “Basking in the afterglow of three days of Coney Hatch recording for new album! I like ‘Bounce Back’ for a title, but that’s just me.” Personally, I prefer ‘Bouncebackability’ (© Iain Dowie), but what the heck – I’d love to hear a new Coney Hatch record. It’s been way too long since ‘Friction’ way back in 1985, and the Canadians ruled supreme at last year’s Firefest.
The postman just delivered a finished copy of ‘Essential Terrorvision’, a rather good two-disc anthology of the Bradford terrors, for which I wrote the sleeve notes. It looks really good.
P.S. This month’s Playlist and YouTube amendments are up.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Thursday 5th April
It’s mid-afternoon and I’m still recovering from a night of no sleep following UFO’s gig at the Forum in London (don’t ask!). Although it was the birthday of my friend Paul Newcomb I managed to extricate myself from the pub in time for the Heavy Metal Kids’ support slot. With two just bands on the bill instead of three as per the previous night, the Kids had time for some extra tunes. “Excellent news”, I thought: “Maybe they’ll balance things out with a couple of oldies.” Blow me down, instead we got two more from ‘Hit The Right Button (namely ‘Message’ and ‘Whiskey’). Eh??!!
Having stood in front of Vinnie Moore the night before, I obtained a slightly different perspective by watching UFO from Paul Raymond’s side of the stage. The sound was fantastic, my sole annoyance a female with a voice like a foghorn who kept bellowing out at ear-splitting volume for ‘Love To Love’. Once they’d played the song concerned everybody assumed it would stop, but instead she began screeching her adulation of Phil Mogg. “We love you Phiiiiiiilllll”… followed by: “You look awful but we looooooove you.” When I turned around the voice was coming from the wheelchair section, and it belonged to somebody who definitely shouldn’t be throwing stones in any greenhouses. Most odd…
Anyway, the band played the same set (see yesterday’s entry for details), with Mogg appearing marginally more sober than in Br***ton. At times the singer seemed in fine spirits – “Gatorade have changed the colour of their liquid; it now appears to look like beer!”, he announced before a sprightly ‘Let It Roll’ – though as the show progressed he was increasingly distracted by a couple of guys heckling him. By ‘Doctor Doctor’ Mogg told them: “If you say that one more time I’m likely to get off this stage and deal with you – give you a good clock,” and for a while it seemed like he would do so but thankfully the moment passed.
At the after-show party I had a frank exchange of views with Cosmo and Justin from the HMK, who asked me what I thought of the gig. I gave them the politically correct answer (my friends Harj Kallah and Andy Beare hadn’t seen them before and really enjoyed them, which I proposed could only be a good sign), and they replied: “Okay, now tell us what you **really** thought… you can be as brutal as you like”. And I did so. In fairness, they seemed to take it pretty well.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Wednesday 4th April
Okay, here’s a bit of a quiz. The lead singer of which band last night admitted the following during a gig in Br***on: “I’ve got that Michael Flatley feeling, you know… where your feet move in a different direction to your body? The bar’s over here, but your body’s going over there…” Clue: It's the same fella that a few numbers earlier had gazed down at the stage and pretended to read a pre-prepared note, before announcing: “Talk to the audience casually. Make out you haven’t had a drink”.
Yes, UFO played the Gay Capital Of The World and Sir Philip Of Mogg was ‘as the newt’. It made for great entertainment, though the bit where he asked us: “Did anyone come here to see Boys 2 Men...?” was a bit surreal. I also loved it when, during the new album’s ‘Wonderland’, somebody at the side of the stage appeared in a gorilla suit to enhance its lyric about monkeys. Mogg merely shrugged: “Wow, I didn’t see that coming!”
The show was kicked off by the new-look Heavy Metal Kids, with former Down ‘N’ Outz bassist Ronnie Garrity having succeeded Ronnie Thomas before the tour due to “personal reasons”, and guitarist Justin McConville on vocals. They left me somewhat perplexed. With 40 minutes to fill the Kids played two covers – The Angels’ ‘Marseille’ and a thumping ‘Rock Candy’ by Montrose – plus a glut of material from the era in which Danny Peyronel fronted the band. Great songs undoubtedly, but Peyronel is no longer in the band and neither guitarist Cosmo nor McConville appeared on the album concerned, ‘Hit The Right Button’. In terms of the classics all the audience got was ‘Chelsea Kids’ and ‘She’s No Angel’ (featuring a ‘guest appearance’ from Ronnie Thomas), leaving ‘The Cops Are Coming’, ‘Squalliday Inn’ and ‘Delirious’ out in the cold… I didn’t get it.
Amazingly, Mogg held things together just fine. I was a little disappointed that UFO didn’t include ‘Angel Station’ from the new album ‘Seven Deadly’, but the four songs they **did** choose were excellent, especially ‘Burn Your House Down’. It was good to hear ‘Venus’ from ‘Walk On Water’ again, though the unadventurous nature of their set-lists really is becoming an issue (certainly for yours truly). A jam-packed Concorde 2 whooped and hollered as UFO played ‘Mother Mary’, ‘Fight Night’, ‘Wonderland’, ‘I’m A Loser’, ‘Let It Roll’, ‘Mojo Town’, ‘Burn Your House Down’, ‘Only You Can Rock Me’, ‘Love To Love’, ‘Hell Driver’, ‘Venus’, ‘Too Hot To Handle’, ‘Lights Out’ and ‘Rock Bottom’, followed by ‘Doctor Doctor’ and ‘Shoot Shoot’, but to these ears the show cries out for a tune like ‘Cherry’, ‘Alpha Centauri’/‘Lettin’ Go’, ‘Chains Chains’, ‘We Belong To The Night’, ‘Blinded By A Lie’, ‘When It’s Time To Rock’… the list really is endless. The band say the audience doesn’t go as apeshit for these tunes as the ‘SITN’ material though I bet they would if they stuck to their guns.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Tuesday 3rd April
Am off to Br***ton later this afternoon for the first of two UFO gigs a 24-hour timeframe. This audio interview with drummer Andy Parker has certainly whetted my appetite. Mr Parkaaaaah certainly pulls no punches in his update on the current status of Pete Way. I think the term ‘unflinchingly honest’ applies here.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Monday 2nd April
Besides writing some DVD and album reviews – I am really liking the forthcoming CDs from Trixter and Tyketto (titled ‘New Audio Machine’ and ‘Dig In Deep’, respectively) – much of my Sunday was spent prepping for and conducting a phone interview with Stuart Nicholson, the frontman of the veteran Dorset-based neo-proggers Galahad. A video preview of their album ‘Battle Scars’ can be seen here. Nicholson had some rather good stories; we both giggled as he recounted the time that Galahad performed a gig in the unlikely location of a Southampton car showroom (!).
Later in the evening I also managed to complete LZ-’75, a paperback account of Led Zeppelin’s 1975 tour of the USA written by Stephen Davis. Compiled from a previously lost set of notebooks by the Hammer Of The Gods author, who travelled on the Starship with the band, it’s a good, undemanding page-turner (or should that be Page-turner) of a book… well worth the modest £3 that I paid for it at my favourite music vendor, Fopp Records.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Sunday 1st April
How embarrassing… Crystal Palace 0 Nottingham Florist 3 was the result from yesterday’s clash at Selhurst Park. Scrapping for their lives at the foot of the table (a place the Eagles are relieved to be away from this season), Florist simply wanted the points that much more and thanks to a well taken hat trick from Radoslaw Majewski plucked them with the simplest of ease from the home side’s back pocket.
Still seething over manager Dougie Freedman’s negative tactics – playing 4-5-1 at home???!!! – and the manner of his side’s capitulation, I bought two litres of gut-rot cider and headed over to Brixton Academy where The Treatment, fresh from being confirmed as the opening act for a Stateside tour with Kiss and Mötley Crüe this summer, were closing out a run of dates with Steel Panther. Accompanied by chicks waving Union Jack flags, the lads from Cambridge took to the stage to the sound of ‘Land Of Hope And Glory’ and proceeded to whip the crowd into a frenzy. Tunes from the ‘This Might Hurt’ album sounded great, and they’re really growing into a set-closing rendition of Slade’s ‘Get Down And Get With It’. For The Treatment the future is looking extremely bright.
By the time Steel Panther began with ‘Supersonic Sex Machine’, my cider haze was taking hold. Truth told, I’m slightly ambivalent to the Panther whose joke is something that becomes old very quickly. However, from my place in the backstage bar (admittedly behind a Perspex window high above the throng), their command of such a huge and devoted audience was pretty damned astonishing.