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)

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Wednesday 30th April
Yet more phone interviews. Yesterday’s was with Max Cavalera. Soulfly’s mainman is always entertaining, and once again he didn’t let me down.
*Sighs deeply*: Farewell to one of my cinematic icons: Bob Hoskins, RIP. I must watch The Long Good Friday this evening. Such a great movie.
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Tuesday 29th April
I’d love to have attended Rick Wakeman’s ‘Journey To The Centre Of The Earth’ shows at the Royal Albert Hall, but the phoners keep rolling in. Mick Box at lunchtime for Classic Rock, Aerosmith’s Joe Perry for the Download Festival programme. I’ve just stumbled upon some great YouTube footage here and here of the ’Smiths and Jimmy Page playing together at Monsters Of Rock in 1990, also at the now legendary warm-up gig at London’s Marquee Club. They don’t quite get into “Are we gonna do ‘Stonehenge’ tonight?”, but it’s a close thing!
Sweet Christ on a bike... Triptykon’s new album, ‘Melana Chasmata’ (Century Media), is a complete metal monster. I wondered how on earth it could live up to Dom Lawson’s completely OTT review in the pages of Metal Hammer… but amazingly it does! A real contender for album of the year, and no mistake. \m/ \m/ \m/ to Tom Gabriel Fischer.
Strange goings-on in the Scorpions camp, with drummer James Kottak having been nicked in Dubai for removing his pants at an airport and cursing Muslims. There have been rumours for quite a while that the band would sack the former Kingdom Come percussionist… this might speed up that process…
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Monday 28th April
Oh well, Palace’s five game winning run came to an end yesterday at Selhurst at the hands of the team that now looks set to claim the Premiership title. In a disappointingly below-par display the Eagles who fell behind as early as the fourth minute, leaking a second just before the break. Game over. City looked impressive, Pulis’ men less so. Thank the Lord we’re already mathematically safe.
I’m very, very saddened indeed to learn that Harry Doherty died over the weekend. Harry gave me my first job in music journalism as part of the team that launched Metal Hammer UK in 1986. Had he not done so, life for me would be very different. He was a great boss and, while we worked together, a very good friend. I will never forget the editorial meetings (“Are you sober??! Here, drink this...”), the numerous trips to Dortmund to put the magazine to bed (the typesetters didn't speak English, we knew no German except how to order beer and schnitzel mit pommes), and the encouragement that he gave when it was most needed. Harry, you old rogue, I will miss you. RIP.
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Sunday 27th April
As I type this on my shiny new BlackBerry I’m in a social club at Norwood Junction limbering up for penultimate home game of a triumphant season. The billionaires of Man City are the team visiting Fortress Selhurst. It speaks volumes of the club’s improving fortunes that I fancy us to sneak a cheeky point. With three hours till KO the sun is now officially over the yardarm. Hic!
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Saturday 26th April
Up early for the long ol’ journey back to London. There was haggis for breakfast though. What’s that they say about silver linings? But fakkin’ ’ell… doesn’t haggis make you phart?! I pity the poor bastid that sits next to me on the train! On the bright side, I’m so glad that I stayed off the ale from start to finish. Didn’t want to meet and greet my new paymasters by vomiting on their shoes… hehe. Bagpipe agony aside it was an enjoyable and worthwhile trip, and it was nice to sit for a while in a pub called the Crystal Palace, just across the road from Central Station, before the train left.
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Friday 25th April
Let’s build a bonfire, put all the bagpipes in the world in one big pile, add paraffin – and pass me a Godammned match. Please save me from this infernal fucking din. I’m at the Crown Plaza in Glasgow for the first birthday party of Team Rock, the company that now owns Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and associated brands. All was going well till the arrival of a metal band augmented by a strangled cat going by the name of Bag Of Rocks. In all your born days you’ve never seen so many people vanish outside for a fag break – I almost took up smoking myself. Great fun but next year I shall bring earplugs and quite possibly a flamethrower should the organisers hire the same so-called entertainment.
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Wednesday 23rd April
Though I’d like to have attended tonight’s launch of the new Weapon (UK) album over in Camden at the Purple Turtle, this week I find myself lined up with heaps and heaps of phone interviews. Some are for the programme of the Download Festival, others to be used in an upcoming commemorative issue of Classic Rock. Today there are four phoners and tomorrow I’ve another three (so that rules me out of taking a look at Vandenburg’s MoonKings, too, pah…)
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Tuesday 22nd April
Oh dammit. The rumours are true, ManUre have sacked Moyes. He was doing such a wonderful job, I reckon they should have given it to him for life. The only upsetting thing is the strong possibility of whoever gets the job looking more favourably upon Wilfried Zaha, who according to rumours was to be sold during the summer for a sizeable loss. A familiar home in SE25 awaits! You know it makes sense, Wilf!
Now spinning at top volume here at Ling Towers, ‘This Is Your Life’, the splendid tribute to the one and only Ronnie James Dio, featuring members of Metallica, Anthrax, Priest, Motörhead, the Scorps and a gazillion more. I really like the Scorps’ remake of ‘Temple Of The King’ and Metallica ‘Rising’ medley kicks some serious ass. Still missing you, Ronnie! Here’s a photo the Classic Rock Awards in 2006, taken just after the album’s subject received his Metal Guru award! (Thanks to Kirsten for the finished copy).

Dave Ling Online

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Monday 21st April
My Easter Sunday eve was spent at the smaller of the Academy’s two rooms in Islington for a virgin sighting of The Hoax. Given that the headliners have been called “arguably the most influential British blues band of the last 20 years”, the gig’s intimate location was pretty surprising. But by golly it was great to see them up close and sweaty.
The show was opened by Stockport’s own Federal Charm, a four-piece whose self titled debut album has quite rightly been praised in blues-rock circles. The problem is that FC can be considered blues in as much as Led Zeppelin, Montrose, Bad Company, Humble Pie and Cry Of Love were blues bands – though an excellent emotive remake of Lowell Fulson’s ‘Reconsider’ is falls squarely into that category, the likes of ‘Gotta Give It up’, ‘I’m Not Gonna Beg’, ‘No Money Down’ and ‘Tell Your Friends’ are big-riffing, high-energy hard rock tunes, voiced manfully by Nick Bowden. Though at the start a mere handful of people knew about the band as a thunderous half-hour display reached its conclusion quite a few peeps were filming them on their mobiles. I can’t wait to see how they do when supporting somebody a little more compatible.
Well Hung Heart (“Don’t forget the Heart, or if you Google us you will get something very different indeed”, laughed frontwoman Greta Valentini) are a Cornish-New Orleans-based male-female duo with added drummer that plays what the current issue of Classic Rock calls “artfully course-grained garage-blues punk-pop with echoes of Joan Jett, Shirley Manson and Polly Harvey”. With Robin Davey alternating between guitar, bass and keys and the turquoise-haired Valentini leaping up onto the bar to deliver a song or two there was a definite alternative edge to WHH’s sound. They went down respectably well, though they were not my cup of tea… at all… just too shouty and self-important. WTF were they doing on a bill like this?
Save for a five-page story that appeared in Issue #9 of Classic Rock Blues, I was largely unfamiliar with The Hoax, the Wiltshire-based combo responsible for four albums (two of which were on major labels) during the 1990s and now making a comeback after 15 years with the partially fan-funded ‘Big City Blues’. The first thing that stopped me in my tracks was: ‘Wow! What great songs!’ – reference points would be The Yardbirds, Mayall’s Bluesbreakers and early Stones. The second was the standard of their playing. At more than ten minutes long, the languid, slow-burning ‘Swallow My Pride’ almost caused me to melt on the spot. The new album’s ‘Two Steps Back’ was a further showcase for yet more goosebump-inducing blues guitar. At encore time they were joined for a wonderfully ramshackle jam with Ian Siegal, who played some exquisite guitar and shared vocals with Hugh Coltman on BB King’s simmering ‘How Blue Can You Get’. A few bars into a follow-up, Coltman roared with laughter as he demanded: “Wait! Hang on a second, everyone’s playing a different song!” ’Twas a great evening…
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Sunday 20th April
What a great day out at Upton Park where Palace confirmed their Prem status for another season with a fifth straight win. Eddie and I met our friend Steve Taylor well before KO and with the pubs were packed double rounds were bought. Seated (or rather stood) four rows back, right in front of the goal we had a superb view. The CPFC faithful were in fine voice, heaping volleys of abuse upon Hammers striker Andy Carroll, reminding him that he’s not good enough to go to this summer’s World Cup in Brazil. When Julian Speroni made a fantastic save to deny a bullet header from Carroll, the long-haired striker was fuly informed: “That’s why you’re staying home”. I went bonkers as a Mile Jedinak put away a second half penalty – the only goal of the game – and there was disbelieving laughter as the Red & Blue Army sang: “We’re Crystal Palace, we’re win every week”.
After the final whistle, Steve, Eddie and I trawled around the pubs of my East End stamping ground – I lived in Leytonstone, just around the corner from Steve Harris, for eight fun-filled years. We ended up in the Cart & Horses at Maryland Point, Stratford, the hallowed scene of Iron Maiden’s earliest gigs – talk about placing your head in the lion’s mouth. The trip back to Sarf London was followed by a kebab and plenty more to drink. Steve Harris, Bobby Moore, Alf Garnett, Russell Brand, Noel Buckley, Alfie Moon, Ray Winstone, Dennis Stratton, Jeff Gilbert, James ‘Fat Talentless Unfunny Wanker’ Corden, Billy Mitchell, Debbie Shaw, Phil Collen, Tony Cottee, Harj Hallah, Prince Harry, Frank ‘Know Wot I Mean ’Arry’ Bruno, Paul Gillooly… your boys took one hell of a beating! See you again in 2014/15! Hic!

Dave Ling Online

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Saturday 19th April
Today Eddie and I will be venturing beneath the Thames to the East End of London as the mighty Crystal Palace FC seek five straight consecutive Premier League victories. COYP!!!! ’Ammer those ’Ammers!
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Friday 18th April
Not before time I’ve replaced the old steam driven model 8320 BlackBerry with a top of the range Q10. It’s such a handsome device! But bugger me... you need a degree in quantum physics to work the damned thing. It’s Good Friday and I made the most of the holiday status to zoom into the West End for my purchase. Leaving at 9.30am, I’d be back in plenty of time for a midday phoner with Chris Squire of Yes – or so I thought. Jeez. Getting from SE6 to Tottenham Court Road, where I had an appointment with a dude to transfer the data from one BB to another, turned into a bizarre remake of Planes Trains & Automobiles. My anxiety built as each ‘essential engineering’ screw-up escalated. Reaching my desk at 12.15 I called Mr Squire who informed me he had to go out, and we should re-schedule for another day. Thanks a lot for nothing TF-friggin-L. Must confess, it felt a little ironic that I had kept Squire waiting, as the bass player is so laid back with his own timekeeping that he’s jokingly been referred to as ‘The Late’ Chris Squire. Hehehe.
In the evening I took the lads to see the Amazing Spider-Man 2 in 3D... a great way to spend Good Friday and the movie is highly recommended. As I sat in the cinema’s bar supping a large glass of house white whilst awaiting the arrival of E and A (I’d paid a quick lone visit to the Record & tape Exchange) I bumped into Carl Glover, the designer responsible for Steven Wilson and Porcupine Tree’s artwork. He was doing the same thing as me – small world!
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Thursday 17th April
Here’s my first (admittedly very poor) attempt at a selfie, along with my new mistress the delightful Ms Prosecco, after Crystal Palace all but retained their Prem League status with last night’s magnificent 3-2 victory at Everton. Unable to make it up to Goodison, I watched it with my friend Paul Newcomb in the Prince George at Thornton Heath, a stone’s throw from Selhurst. It was a great, boozy night but my best memory was sitting on Norwood Jct Stn with Eddie, who had led many of the evening’s chants, and I both sipping pino coladas, and him saying: “I’m so happy, I could go over there and dance on the roof off that train… but I might fall off.” You and me both, son! You and me both. P.S. can we still overtake ManUre?

Dave Ling Online

As most of the music industry winds down for a long Easter weekend, I remained industrious. I did a phone interview with Francis Rossi, who said some interesting things about the Frantic Four reunion, and then had a nice phone catch-up with Bob Young, before heading into town to meet Tesla’s Brian ‘Shredded’ Wheat, who over a cup of coffee offered a sneak preview of some tracks from his band’s new studio record, ‘Simplicity’ (due via Frontiers on June 6). I really liked what I heard... Jeff Keith has still got a truly great voice.
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Wednesday 16th April
I’ve just conducted a very amusing phone interview with Michael Starr. When I asked how the Steel Panther frontman felt about the recent 20th anniversary of Kurt Cobain's suicide, he replied: “I kind of wish he was still alive; that way he could see that grunge is dead.” Couldn't have put it better myself. Call me a humourless old git if you must – I’m sure you will! – but witty banter aside I remain unconvinced by the spoof hair-metallers from California. The albums are good, that’s undeniable. And they’re the kind of group that everybody should see – once. But it’s hard to believe that at this summer’s Download Festival they are going onstage after Joe Bonamassa, Richie Sambora, Buckcherry and Winger.
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Tuesday 15th April
I’m signing off for the day a little later than usual, at almost 11pm. Why so? Well, I’ve just been afforded a phone interview with one of the biggest selling rock musicians of the current generation. Chester Bennington is the lead singer of Linkin Park, whose debut album ‘Hybrid Theory’ has sold a whopping 30 million copies and will be performed in its entirety for the first time at this summer’s Download Festival. I’ve interviewed Bennington twice before, and he seems like a cool guy. Not being a bandwagon jumper or anything but I really liked ‘Hybrid Theory’ when it was released back in 2000. I even attended an early UK show of theirs at the miniscule King’s College in London the following January… haven’t seen them since! Haha. Chester talks a good game. When he describes the Californian group’s new album ‘The Hunting Party’ as packing “the power of a nuclear reactor” I’m not completely sure that I believe him, but I will certainly be checking it out.
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Monday 14th April
Phew – that was cutting it fine. My train pulled into Hammersmith tube station a mere seven minutes before FM took to the stage for last night’s gig at the Apollo. There was just enough time to claim my guest tickets and locate the seats, five rows and a matter of feet from the stage, before the house lights dimmed. Such a great view, though the sound was a little muddy, burying Jim Kirkpatrick’s guitar in the mix. However, save for Steve Overland clouting himself on the lip with the mic, which all onstage found hilarious, the quintet’s segment of the show was performed slickly enough and elicited a thoroughly warm response. What’s not to like about a rapid-fire 38 mins of seven old and new songs – namely ‘Tough Love’, ‘I Belong To The Night’, ‘Don’t Stop’, ‘Closer To Heaven’, ‘That Girl’, ‘Crosstown Train’ and ‘Burning My Heart Down’?

Dave Ling Online

Special guests Europe used their allotted hour perfectly, satisfying both those who’d come along to hear the golden era tunes from their original big-haired heyday, and demonstrating exactly why the Swedes’ most recent two albums (‘Last Look At Eden’ and ‘Bag Of Bones’) were regarded as triumphs in the realm of melodic hard rock. Joey Tempest commanded the boards, shadow boxing, whirling the mic stand around his head and throwing all manner of rock star shapes whilst sporting a cheek-to-cheek grin. Quite possibly as a mark of respect to his heroes Thin Lizzy, Tempest, who these days resides in London, inserting a few lines of that band’s ‘Cowboy Song’ to ‘Superstitious’. Later on he told us how as a 16-year-old he’d undertaken a boat journey from Sweden to see a Lizzy concert at “Hammersmith Odeon, the holy grail of rock 'n' roll!” The singer’s enthusiasm was as contagious as Europe’s songs, which ran as follows: ‘Riches To Rags’, ‘Firebox’, ‘Superstitious’, ‘Let The Good Times Rock’, ‘No Stone Unturned’, ‘Carrie’, ‘Scream Of Anger’, ‘Sign Of The Times’, ‘Cherokee’, ‘Rock The Night’ and an encore of… what else but… ‘The Final Countdown’?
Truthfully, I found myself wondering how Foreigner might go about following Europe’s triumphant set. Not to have worried; with Mick Jones joining the rest of the band five songs in and after 25 mins – the ailing 69-year-old was too unwell to perform in Nottingham a new nights earlier – they produced a performance cocky and accomplished enough to banish any such worries. Kelly Hansen has flourished in the role of the group’s current frontman, leaping into the crowd, demanding that everyone place an arm around the person next to them during a singalong rendition of ‘I Want To Know What Love Is’ enhanced the Portsmouth High School girls’ choir, and prancing around wearing a very colourful jacket borrowed from a bloke in the front row… there was much laughter when Hansen found a wallet in the garment’s pocket and announced triumphantly: “I’d like to order drinks for everybody!” It was that kind of a night. Here’s the set-list: ‘Double Vision’, ‘Head Games’, ‘Cold As Ice’, ‘Waiting For A Girl Like You’, ‘Feels Like The First Time’, ‘That Was Yesterday’, ‘Dirty White Boy’, ‘Starrider’, ‘Urgent’, Keyboard Solo, Drum Solo, ‘Juke Box Hero’, plus encores of ‘Long Long Way From Home’, ‘I Want To Know What Love Is’ and ‘Hot Blooded’.
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Sunday 13th April
Were there a shred of justice, CPFC supremo Tony Pulis would be hailed as the Premier League’s manager of the year. Yesterday’s 1-0 victory over Aston Vanilla was not only Palace’s third consecutive victory but the club has kept a clean sheet throughout that timeframe, scoring five goals in reply. Having leapfrogged their opponents Palace now occupy 12th place in the table, a cushion of seven points above the dreaded trapdoor. Survival is by no means a certainty though some bookies are no longer accepting wagers on the matter. But do you know what most annoys me? You go out to buy the Sunday papers and their reports are all about Villa being sucked into relegation scrap, with barely a mention of the team that actually won the friggin’ game. Journos? They’re all scum!
Following a long, long, long, long day of imbibing, Saturday night was spent at the White Horse pub in Selhurst where a surprise birthday party was thrown for my good friend Paul Newcomb by his better half Rita. It’s a measure of the man that various members of our usual going-going clique – take a bow David Boyce, Noel Buckley, Kevin Nixon and Terri Weston – would dare to brave the supposed horror of South London’s suburbs to celebrate the occasion. It was quite a night… eldest lad Eddie has revealed that he escorted me to my bed after we had watched Match Of The Day, cheering like loonies as Jason Puncheon’s shot cannoned in off the inside of the post. Oh, the shame… hehe.
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Saturday 12th April
Oh bugger, here’s another example of those wanky gig clashes. All of the following bands are set to play in London on Weds July 9: Extreme (at the Forum), Sebastian Bach (in Islington) and Vain (at the Camden Underworld). Grrrrrrrr! How stupid is that? It’s the worst example of schedule collisions that I can recall since we were forced to decide between The Brotherhood Of Man, Dawn, Julio Iglesias, the Wombles and John Denver back in ’74. Hahaha.
Anyway, it’s a *huge* day for my beloved Crystal Palace FC, who this afternoon are set to take on the Benteke-less Aston Vanilla at Fortress Selhurst. The sun is shining. Time for a quick park run and shower, and a bottle of wine to calm the nerves before leaving. We’ve already beaten our opponents at Vanilla Park earlier this season… Three wins in a row, maybe? We can do this!!!! COYP!
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Friday 11th April
As another frantic week draws to a close I’m busy compiling the gig guide for the May issue of Classic Rock’s sister magazine, Blues. My listening material includes Little Feat’s ‘Live In Holland 1976’, an excellent CD+DVD two-disc set from Eagle Vision, and a double-CD of ‘The Best Of Wilko Johnson’. Crank up dat volume!
Of course, the first three albums from Led Zeppelin are to be re-issued on June 2, each re-mastered by Jimmy Page and containing a host of unreleased companion audio. Check out the official trailer.
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Thursday 10th April
Last night I was among a sold out crowd for Halestorm’s gig at the Forum in Kentish Town. I’d enjoyed seeing the female-fronted Pennsylvanian band twice before – once with Shinedown at the Roundhouse and also opening for Alter Bridge at Wembley – but never experienced them as headliners. Their show was excellent. Led by 29-year-old singer/guitarist Lzzy Hale, they are really catching on popularity-wise, especially with females… I can’t recall the last time I heard anywhere near as much girlie screaming at a rock concert.
No wonder: Hale certainly ticks all of the necessary boxes. She’s smart and able to get a crowd behind her from the very first note to the last. She’s also talented, sharing guitar duties equally with Joe Hottinger and tinkling the piano during the haunting ballad ‘Breathe In’ in addition to possessing an emotive, powerful voice. In a musical sense she’s well educated, crooning Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Gold Dust Woman’ mid-show and screaming down the walls during a great remake of ‘Dissident Aggressor’ by Judas Priest (when they played with Shinedown she offered a great acapella rendition of Heart’s ‘Crazy On You’). Clad in killer heels, leggings and sporting a pair of shades that were thrown into the crowd two numbers in, she’s also smoking hot in a visual sense, though unlike Taylor Momsen from The Pretty Reckless, who makes a point of rubbing her sexuality in your face at every available opportunity, Hale prefers to infer things with a degree of subtlety.
Few of the quartet’s songs outlast the three minute mark and each is possessed of a fist-punching hook. Though an almost ten-minute drum solo from Lzzy’s brother Arejay represented a severe test of patience, I can only I agree with the late, great Ronnie James Dio (whose ‘Straight Through The Hart’ the band covered five songs in): Halestorm are firmly established among an elite group of acts capable of carrying the torch onwards for this style of music. Okay I’m not particularly sure that I’d still like to see Lzzy gone to seed at the age of fifty, complete with bingo wings and hair extensions, bawling out ‘You Call Me A Bitch Like It’s A Bad Thing’, though it would be no less embarrassing that many other sights currently available to concertgoers of a certain age. Aired at the start of the encore, a brand new song titled ‘Mayhem’ from a soon-to-come third studio album screamed out the message in ten-foot letters: This band will be enormous. In some ways they already are. Here’s the set-list: ‘Miss The Misery’, ‘Love Bites (So Do I)’, ‘It’s Not You’, ‘Freak Like Me’, ‘Straight Through the Heart’, ‘You Call Me A Bitch Like It’s A Bad Thing’, ‘Innocence’, ‘Don’t Know How To Stop’, ‘Rock Show’, ‘Gold Dust Woman’, ‘Break In’, ‘Familiar Taste Of Poison’, Drum Solo, ‘Dissident Aggressor’, ‘Mz Hyde’, ‘Daughters Of Darkness’ and ‘I Get Off’, followed by ‘Mayhem’, ‘Get Lucky’ and ‘Here’s To Us’.
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Wednesday 9th April
Oh wow… I’ve spent the afternoon investigating an advance listening link to ‘Pale Communion’, the forthcoming album from Opeth (amusingly, the spellcheck just amended that to ‘Palace Communion’ – hahaha, force of habit or what?!). As expected, it’s little short of immense. Band leader Mikael Åkerfeldt has certainly achieved his goal of “doing something more melodic with this album”. It drops via Roadrunner Records on June 16, and unless you’re one of the final remaining diehards that wishes the Swedes still favoured growly death metal, it’s hard to consider anybody being disappointed.
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Tuesday 8th April
Following last night’s wonderful 5-1 annihilation at the hands of Tottenham, I wonder how Sunderland’s Lee Cattermole feels this morning. The midfielder recently gave a provocative interview in which he boasted: “If we [Sunderland] go down this season and Crystal Palace don’t, there’s something very wrong here.” All I can say in reply to that is… thanks very much for this season’s four points, you conceited, deluded asswipe. Enjoy life in the Championship.
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Monday 7th April
Here’s an interesting interview with Francis Rossi from the Irish Times, in which he confirms his own reasons for the Frantic Four having “run its thing”. I suppose I can understand his opinion, but that doesn’t mean I must like it. Haha.
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Sunday 6th April
What a cider-tastic night at Wedfest, the nuptials of the newly spliced Mr & Mrs Riddles. As arranged I met my partner in grime, Mark Taylor, at Liverpool Street station for the outward journey just as the Cardiff-Palace game kicked off. My innumerable anxious glances at the BlackBerry paid off as the Eagles took the lead and then doubled it. I’m happy to say that the game finished 3-0 to the away side – three absolutely priceless points for the men from SE25.
It was time to celebrate. The party was already underway as we bowled up at the Corn Exchange in Hertford. Indeed Stampede’s Reuben Archer was already in ad advanced state of refreshment, having spent the afternoon in the hotel bar making the most of cheap double shot with Gaskin’s Paul Gaskin – top work fellas! As we grabbed some drinks the live music began with a band that included the groom, Dave ‘Bucket’ Colwell of Bad Company fame and ex-Tank drummer Mark Brabbs, who blitzed through the likes of ZZ Top’s ‘Gimme All Your Loving’, and ‘Working Class Man’ by Jimmy Barnes. As these things tend to do when you’ve a glass in your hand, time flew by. The NWOBHM band Desolation Angels arrived onstage for a very decent short set that previewed the first new material in 20 years, namely ‘The Sweeter The Meat’ and ‘Set The Spirit Free’, with Mr Riddles stepping up to join them for their final song, ‘Valhalla’.
Some nosebag seemed in order and following one of the hottest vindaloo curries I’ve enjoyed in many a long year it was time for some serious drinking. The final part of the evening was spent popping up the bar with Tino Troy of Paying Mantis, who has a great mine of rock ‘n’ roll stories, and the guitarist’s ‘better half’, Ash. Before long security were in ‘finish your drinks and get out of here’ mode. However, it had been a first-class evening and loath as I am to saying anything positive about the institution of matrimony, the bride and groom made a lovely couple. Here’s wishing them love, life and continued happiness.
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Saturday 5th April
Okay, a new web article details the five grounds with the best atmospheres in the Premier League. And guess which club came top? (*Blushes with pride!*) And WFT is this all about? Cardiff boss Ole-Gunnar Solskjaer reckons he will force ex-Palace star Wilfried Zaha to celebrate should he score against his former side in today’s relegation six pointer. Keep your Goddamned nose out of another individual’s business you no longer babyfaced Norwegian c**t. He ain’t even your player. COYP!!!
Sadly, I won’t be at today’s game as Mark Taylor and I are set to trek into the wilds of Harlow for the wedding for former Angel Witch and current Tytan man (mountain) Kevin Riddles to the delightful Julie Wickenden. A hotel has been booked for an overnight stay. Hospital release forms have been signed. All those TV programmes about wild behaviour in Essex? In the words of Bachman-Turner Overdrive, b-b-baby… you ain’t seen nuffink yet.
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Friday 4th April
Dave Ling OnlineAs you can see from this rather silly photograph my friend Mark Taylor and I experienced a basic arithmetic problem at last night's launch party for
'Homo Erraticus', the new solo album from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson: Too many beers and too few mouths!
It was a great evening, with Steven Wilson, Danny Cavanagh of Anathema, Bryan Josh and Olivia Sparnenn from Mostly Autumn and No Man's Tim Bowness (who recently a signed a solo deal with Inside Out) all among a fairly large gathering at the Record Club in Camden. As the bottles of Beck's flowed, Anderson was the subject of a typically lively audience Q&A, the course of which touched upon matters political, unusual handshakes and... er... rectal bowel cancer check-ups. A few short snippets of 'Homo Erraticus' were played amid the banter, and they sounded great. My friend Jerry Ewing of Prog magazine has heard the entire album and awarded hearty approval.
We have having such fun that wallets were produced after the bar tab expiration and (inevitably), Taylor and I ended up in a local pub for a final tincture or two. In the cold light of day, that was a pretty silly decision..
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Thursday 3th April
Just received a great email from Dante Bonutto at Spinefarm Records, asking whether I can review ‘Diamond In The Firepit', the new album from Finnish melodic rockers Brother Firetribe that feature Nightwish’s Emppu Vuorinen on guitar, in the new issue of Classic Rock. Dante and I have been acquainted for many, many years and he knows my Achilles’ heel all too well. “Is it just me or does the cover artwork look a little like a crystal palace?” he wrote, somewhat gamely. So my reply was perhaps inevitable: “Okay, let’s put them on the cover, then.” Hahaha. It’s a superb record, actually.
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Wednesday 2nd April
Not much to report as Classic Rock is on production deadline – I am reviewing a brand new Gotthard album that’s suitably entitled ‘Bang!’ as I type this; thankfully it’s much better than the group’s previous offering! – and my dad has just come out of hospital after a knee op, so Ling Towers is even busier than normal. The monthly Playlist updates are here and YouTube here.
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Tuesday 1st April
Eldest lad Eddie sat up in bed and roared: “Nooooooo!” when I woke him with the shock overnight news that ManUre have sacked Moyes and, distressingly, replaced him with Palace kingpin Tony Pulis. He was a little happier that Wilf Zaha is coming home to Selhurst Park as a sweetener for the deal. And then I reminded him of today’s date. After he calmed down the poor blighter laughed: “I am disowning you as my father!” What a brilliant wind-up…
What a strange night at the Hammersmith Apollo as the Frantic Four played the third and final of their London reunion shows. I was allotted almost the exact same seats as on Friday and Saturday, three rows back and with a glorious view of the stage. The set-list remained identical – obviously! – but with the venue less than sold out there was no way the atmosphere could touch the fever pitch of Saturday’s performance. Rossi was quite rightly annoyed by a persistent backline buzz that could be heard through the PA for a number or two, but the band played wonderfully well. There were broad smiles on the faces of all four band members when John Coghlan threw in a spontaneous mini-drum solo at the end of ‘Bye Bye Johnny’, and I won’t have been alone in experiencing extreme sadness as the final curtain bows were taken. Messrs Parfitt, Lancaster and Coghlan seemed reluctant to take their leave, finally doing so with arms around each others’ waists, but you knew that by the time they’d done so the evening’s other, less enthusiastic, participant would already have been in his cab and on the way home.
Incidentally, whilst arriving for the show Alan’s delightful wife Dayle introduced herself to me, smiling broadly whilst relaying that before they’d left Australia for the tour a doctor’s report had given the bassist the all-clear of multiple sclerosis… great news, I’m happy for them both.
And as if the well of emotions wasn’t already deep and complicated enough as my favourite band bade farewell, let’s just throw in the news that the news that West Ham had stuffed relegation rivals Sunderland by two goals to one up at the Stadium Of Shite. A wonderful Brucie bonus for all Palace fans. So I decided that I *would* have a wee post-gig drinkie after all.