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.
Thursday 30th April
The British Library is on the hunt for rare collections of music. I shall give this some serious consideration as I have often wondered what to do with my vast archive of LPs, CDs, magazines, press releases, books, concert minidiscs and interviews when I'm gone. When the BBC were here at Ling Towers recently, it's a course of action that they actually advised.
I've just got my best (and only!) suit out of the loft – youngest son Arnie graduates today – and I am listening to the new Moxy anthology ('40 Years And Still Riding High') in the sunshine before putting together a few questions for Black Stone Cherry. Life could be worse, right?
Wednesday 29th April
Given the somewhat hilarious events of last night, I wonder whether The Millwall Café has extended its menu to include sour grapes and humble pie? Though I'm not a fan of Rotherham boss Steve '12 Bellies' Evans by any means, but I loved his post-game retort to Lee Gregory, the hapless Scummer who had predicted Rotherham would "bottle it": "I've got 12 bottles of pink champagne. Enjoy League 1. Keep your trap shut, son." #numberoneinsouthlondon
Just for once eldest lad Eddie was up bright 'n' early and on the phone at 8am prompt to buy a ticket for the Summertime Ball, a pop all-dayer at Wembley Stadium. He's now walking round the house, beaming like a loon and demanding man-hugs in the wake of being successful. I love that music means so much to him, even if it's not *my* music.
Annoying, I've just realised that Spock's Beard are to play London on the same night as Steven Wilson at the Royal Albert Hall… d'oh! That's another hefty clanger!
Tuesday 28th April
Last night was spent at a packed Borderline for a show by the up 'n' coming South African blues-rock guitarist/singer Dan Patlansky. His new album, 'Dear Silence Thieves', is for the most part extremely strong but for me the set sagged rather badly in the middle. I certainly didn't get anything like the same feeling of inevitability that came from seeing Bonamassa and, more recently, King King up on those same boards. Towards the end Patlansky launched into a 13-minute instrumental version of 'Voodoo Chile' – to be honest, I wanted out by that point! 'Twas a 6/10 at best.
A little belated, I know, but only just heard the news due to being at the Borderline. Congrats to Bournemouth on making the top flight of English footie for the first time in the club's history, just seven years ago they were within minutes of liquidation. I fully expect there to be nine months of misery ahead (© Steve Coppell), but a bit of a sporting fairy story, that.
Before signing off for the evening I just did a quick interview with Rob Halford for the Download Festival programme. He told me that when he checked into his hotel in Brazil, he'd been left an enormous chocolate brownie decorated with the Judas Priest logo. "I didn't know whether to eat the thing or leap around the room, waving it as a trophy!" The Metal God always makes me laugh. When I called him once before he was watching The Golden Girls – and he admitted it!
Monday 27th April
'American Trash', the new album from ex-Crown Of Thorns dudes Jean Beauvoir and Micki Free is here... it's what Monday mornings were invented for. Just like grunge never happened... LOVE IT!!!! A couple of hours later bright sunlight is still streaming in through office front door, and I'm nursing a glass of something cool (with ice) – perfect conditions to review 'Spin', the newie from Romeo's Daughter. And what a little beaut it is! Check out the YouTube of the single, 'Touch', here.
Sunday 26th April
Hummmmphhhhh. Another bloody home defeat, and a rather shoddy display from the team… the first time I've said that for quite a while. Next week I'm going to try saying what a nice bloke Mourinho is, see if it makes a difference.
Saturday 25th April
Last weekend I didn't boo Pulis – even when his latest team beat us at home. But today I *WILL* be booing this flat-nosed scumbag! The man the term 'gardening leave' was invented for. I recall that when he became Crystal Palace manager the club put his face on the season ticket wallets... until I cut it off mine with a scalpel. Take that!!! COYP!!
Having ruled himself out of any further Frantic Four activity Francis Rossi has apparently given an interview encouraging Rick Parfitt, Alan Lancaster and John Coghlan to find a new guitarist/singer, effectively forming a unit that might be known as PLC. Wow... yes please!!!!!! So long as the right newcomer is found, I would love this!
Friday 24th April
Here's a tale of two gigs – both of which took yesterday yet each being vastly different. During the afternoon I attended a launch party for a new album from The Darkness. It wasn't until arriving that I realised the band were actually going to perform but by that point it was too late to back out. So I stood right at the back, in the bar of course, and grimaced though 40 excruciating minutes, sinking as many berry ciders as possible to numb the pain – regrettably, to no avail.
As soon as the final notes rang out – oh joyous sweet relief!! – and a few mores ciders had been slung down the neck, it was time to head across to the Hammersmith Apollo. Lynyrd Skynyrd had recently performed the band's first two albums in their entirety on home turf in Jacksonville, so it was hardly shocking that they turned a retro-based display here in London. However, the extent of its nature caught me by surprise. There was nothing whatsoever from the reunion years, and with 'I Need You', from 'Second Helping', and the debut album's 'Mississippi Kid' thrown in for good measure, also special guest Mick Ralphs sitting on 'Sweet Home Alabama', this was a stone cold killer classic-era display from a band that eats and shits hits. Check out the set-list: 'Workin' For MCA', 'I Ain't The One', 'Call Me the Breeze', 'What's Your Name', 'That Smell', 'Saturday Night Special', 'The Needle And The Spoon', 'I Need You', 'Swamp Music', 'Simple Man', 'Tuesday's Gone', 'Mississippi Kid', 'Gimme Three Steps', 'Sweet Home Alabama' and 'Free Bird'. Awesome, just awesome.
Thursday 23rd April
I really enjoyed last night's gig from Space Elevator, Upstairs At The Garage. Terrific vocals and great songs (all orginals bar two covers; 'Day Tripper', the Beatles tune later covered by Whitesnake, and a rip-roaring encore of 'Love In An Elevator' by Aerosmurf). It's time to call a halt on the wardrobe/biology gags and take them seriously. The band deserved to be playing for a much bigger crowd and I would go and see them again any day of the week.
Goddamn it, this is tough. There are nine high quality melodic rock/AOR albums for the May 20 issue of Classic Rock. I'm allowed to do two of them as standalone reviews, with five going into my round-up column. Which ones to leave out… GRR???!!! *Tears out hair*
House Of Lords
Dennis Churchill Dries
Wednesday 22nd April
Well, my red & blue catsuit is just back from the dry cleaners, and I'm looking forward to reacquainting myself with Space Elevator. My last sighting of the band at the 100 Club resulted in all sorts of confectionary-inspired filth ("That's an unusual place to hide a Twix"). In the same spirit, tonight's drinking partner, Andy Beare, would like to be known that his "finger of fudge is just enough". Ahem. Anyway, the Elevator are an extremely underrated act. Check them out here.
Tuesday 21st April
Fuck it, it's been a beautiful day. I undertook a very long park run, and Eddie and I just took Bob The Dog out for a kickaround. There's also some potential positive news about a book project. I'm in a good mood... spontaneous Crobar visit ahoy!
Monday 20th April
As detailed in the entry below, my Sunday was pretty tedious though I did get to conduct great, revealing phone interviews with the Brewster brothers of the Aussie-rock legends The Angels to promote a first UK visit in 35 years. Rick Brewster provided wonderful entertainment. At the end of our conversation the guitarist posed a question of his own: "Say... do you guys still serve beer warm in London?" *Facepalm*!
I'm feeling bad for giving the new Jettblack album, 'Disguises', a lukewarm review in the new issue of Metal Hammer. It's a grower, folks. Don't listen to me: I'm talking bollocks.
Sunday 19th April
The best way to sum up yesterday's result - a 1-0 away victory for West Brom Albion – is that Palace were 'Pulis-ed' by the visitors. I'm disappointed but not downhearted. Oh well, next week we renew hostilities with against Flatnose Bruce... that's the one I *really* want to win, the man that that term 'gardening leave' was coined for.
After a long day on the lash, I ended up sat at my office desk in a state of very, very advanced inebriation. Just looked at my Facebook page where it seems I posted the words: "I've played FM's 'Heroes & Villains' maybe three times since getting in from the match. And I keep rewinding back to 'Incredible', the best ballad I've heard in maybe ten years. I've played the f**ker over and over and over again. We need to get this song into a Superman movie NOW!" Hahaha, that's brilliant!
Being the single dad of two teenaged boys can be such a life-affirming experience. I'm just off to fumigate the shower and bathroom. Back online later if I don't pass out from the reeking stench or contract some sort of bubonic plague. And how did you spend *your* Sunday afternoon?
Saturday 18th April
The day that I tire of watching UFO please shoot (shoot) me. Last night I went on a road trip to Cambridge with my buddy Steve ‘No Relation’ Way, where we witnessed another great set, with a marginally more adventurous than usual set-list that included a pair tunes from the precious Chapman era. Baby steps, boys… keep em coming! However, I was disappointed that the set included just two tracks from the excellent record ‘A Conspiracy Of Stars’ (‘Run Boy Run’ and ‘Killing Kind’), ignoring my own favourite ‘Devil’s In The Detail’. They really should just rotate the ‘Strangers In The Night’ songs, there’s no need to play them every year. It’s what all the other bands do to keep things interesting.
Full of beery (Gatorade-ish?) bonhomie, Phil Mogg was superb entertainment on his own, as ever, raising the subject of a missing front tooth though failing to explain its absence. I’m told the dental anomaly has more to do with bread rolls than rock ‘n’ roll though it generated some great audience interaction (“That was cruel... wow, that was even crueller”). When someone shouted for an unscheduled ‘Let It Roll’ to howls of laughter Mogg deadpanned: “You really wanna hear that? No, it would put too much pressure on the lads, and they're already exhausted picking out their wardrobe choices.” Later on there was another great moment when he introduced ‘Cherry’ with the words: “This is off our ‘Force It’ album” to somewhat confused looks from his band-mates. “Okay, this is from our ‘Obsession’ album.” Brilliant.
The set-list ran as follows: ‘We Belong To The Night’, ‘Fight Night’, ‘Run Boy Run’, ‘Lights Out’, ‘Killing Kind’, ‘Venus’, ‘Only You Can Rock Me’, ‘Burn Your House Down’, ‘Cherry’, ‘Love To Love’, ‘Making Moves’ and ‘Rock Bottom’, followed by ‘Doctor Doctor’ a jammed ‘Shot Shoot’ that included inflections of ‘Norwegian Wood’ and ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’).
No Relation is a bit of a demon driver and to the sound of my newly arrived CD of FM’s pant-wettingly excellent ‘Heroes & Villains’ we burned up the miles on the way home. I was back in my local kebab shop by 12.20am – result!
Friday 17th April
Back to Shepherd’s Bush Empire for the second time in 24 hours. I had really been looking forward to seeing Anathema again. It’s hard to believe that, for one reason or another, I hadn’t experienced a full-length, plugged-in show since the Scala way back in 2006. Reflecting the changes in their sound, from doom-metal to prog-rock and various shades in-between, the band were to play three different sets, each with different line-ups. The gig was as tremendous as everyone had hoped it would be. The band played for a whopping 165 mins and I could’ve listened for another hour! It was hard to single out highlights but the final set, with Darren White on vocals, tore the roof off. A great exercise in people-watching, too, with Metal Hammer’s Dom Lawson headbanging like a loon from the front row of the top balcony.
Juxtaposing that, a luscious duet between Lee Douglas and Vince Cavanagh, ‘A Natural Disaster’, performed with house lights dimmed and the beautiful auditorium illuminated by mobile phones, was a real goosebump moment. The final quote from the stage kinda said it all: “Go home and tell your friends you saw something that may well never happen again.”
Here’s the full song-list: Set 1: ‘Anathema’, Distant Satellites’, ‘Untouchable, Parts 1 & 2’, ‘A Simple Mistake’, ‘A Natural Disaster’, ‘Closer’, ‘Pressure’ and ‘One Last Goodbye’.
Set 2: ‘Shroud Of False’, ‘Fragile Dreams’, ‘Empty’, ‘Lost Control’, ‘Eternity, Parts 1-3’, ‘Sunset Of Age’ and ‘A Dying Wish’.
Set 3: ‘Crestfallen’, ‘Sleep In Sanity’, ‘Kingdom’, ‘Mine Is Yours To Drown In (Ours Is The New Tribe)’, ‘Under A Veil (Of Black Lace)’, ‘Lovelorn Rhapsody’, ‘They (Will Always) Die’ and an encore of ‘Sleepless’.
Thursday 16th April
I had brilliant ringside seats for last night’s superb gig from Kenny Wayne Shepherd at London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire.
Great show from a young – relatively young; for a blues-rock guitarist 37 isn’t exactly old! – talent who’s really going places. Read my review at the Classic Rock website.
It’s time to fire up the turntable for a little revision of the 10cc album ‘Sheet Music’ before this afternoon’s phoner with Mr Gouldman. Very hard to believe it’s 40 years old... it still sounds *great*!
Wednesday 15th April
Oh, look what has just arrived! Expanded double-disc editions of the first two Bad Company albums… Indispensible music and the perfect soundtrack for the hottest day of the year so far!
Tuesday 14th April
Whoop! The chiropractor says my spine has made “a full recovery” after the slipped disc I suffered four years ago (followed closely by a rather nasty shoulder injury). He doesn’t need to see me again for another 12 months... and that’s for what he called “an MOT”. There's nothing worse than back pain. Except for ... well... front pain! Haha! Thanks to Roland Hyams for the recommendation. Should any fellow Sarf London peeps ever have back problems, let me know and I'll pass on this guy's details - he's the business!
Monday 13th April
Back from a wonderful trip to the North East, crowned by Palace's stuffing of Sunderland. I must've drunk my Units Of Alcohol quota for the remainder of 2015 and I also learned an important life lesson: Never, ever sing songs about dirty Northern bastards when you’re in the North. The only disappointment was not being able to schedule a pre-game sherry with Don Airey, though despite the scale of his team’s defeat he was sportsmanlike enough to leave a voicemail complimenting the Palace fans’ noise (“the best away supporters I’ve ever heard – amazing!”). Top fella, great weekend... Palace till I die.
Sunday 12th April
The Stadium of Shite became the Stadium of Emptiness as Palace delivered a blitzkrieg second half display. This piccie was taken with five mins to go, but the ground emptied as soon as Bolasie scored his third and the team's fourth. Just imagine how many beers Palace fans were bought afterwards during a night on the Toon! As you can see, it all got a bit silly!
Saturday 11th April
Here's a piccie for fellow fans of the Tygers Of Pan Tang, haha.
Yeah, the Eagles landed last night in the North East for a soiree of grog-fuelled destruction. The Northbound train journey was washed down with cider. Whilst we waited for Mark Cousins, the third member of our team to fly in from the West Country, my pal Kev Denman and I checked into the hotel and filled our bellies with Persian grub – very tasty and competitively priced. From there we took root in a local bar till closing time. Given the sheer volume of ale imbibed during the daytime I was ready for my bed by midnight, though today, of course, is a whole other matter. COYP!
Friday 10th April
A long weekend on the ale lies ahead. It's my last blow-out before the 'big changes' in June. Leaving King's Cross at lunchtime and returning to Ling Towers some time on Sunday. Nothing less than carnage is expected. CPFC on tour!
Thursday 9th April
Okay, I'm rather thrilled. The Tom Robinson Band are to reunite in November. Their debut album 'Power In The Darkness' was – in a word – brilliant. 'TRB Two' (produced by Todd Rundgren) also had its moments. Missed 'em in their heyday but I did see a revised line-up at the Marquee Club in the late 1980s and that was superb. My understanding that that Danny Kustow, responsible for that fiery rock 'n' roll guitar work, will be an absentee this time around, but try keeping me away. Just three shows announced so far (Holmfirth, Manchester & Gateshead) – there had better be a London gig!!!
And here's a brilliant story: Kurt Cobain's 22-year-old daughter Frances Bean is pictured wearing an Iron Maiden shirt in this interview, during which she insists she is not a fan of Nirvana. Well, that's one thing we've got in common. Haha!
Wednesday 8th April
Aw bollox. I've just learned that Farage is a fan of Crystal Palace FC. That is a seriously depressing development. Methinks I might even have to find myself another team to support.
Tuesday 7th April
People looked at me as mad when I stated pre-kick off that we could take at least a point from Man City on the latter's indifferent current form. And look how things turned out: Crystal Palace 2, Citeh 1 - yet another triumphant televised game under the floodlights at Selhurst, the eyes of the sporting nation upon us as yet more title hopes crumble and turn to dust. Let's not forget that one member of the visitors' squad cost more than Palace's entire starting eleven. And still the cry rang out: "Can we play you every week?!" The eagles must be almost mathematically safe from relegation now, surely? Fuck, I am *loving* this season!!!
Monday 6th April
I've seen some really great acoustic gigs in my lifetime. And then there was Joe Lynn Turner at the Borderline. Ho hum. And before we get into the reasons why it left me so stone cold… it wasn't about the former Rainbow/Rainbow/Deep Purple frontman's voice… okay? The poor fella commented several times that he'd caught a cold up in Edinburgh – it happens, you live with it. No, this was more to do with a perplexing, ill-fitting and poorly conceived set-list. We got some JLT-era Rainbow (which, to be fair, was rather great), some Dio-era Rainbow (wha?!), some non-JLT-era Purple ('Hush'? 'Smoke On the f**king Water'?!), a little from the Hughes-Turner project, *three* friggin Beatles songs (!), a Van Morrison track and, to end it all, a Doors cover. Along the way there were one or two good anecdotes (for instance, we learned that 'Stone Cold' was inspired by Roger Glover's divorce), but to me, while the likes of Kip Winger and Carl Dixon exert so much more effort within the same format, JLT simply didn't give enough of himself. Despite that previous statement, he was gloriously indiscreet about "multi-million dollar deals with Live Nation", Blackmore's mother-in-law, and the alleged Rainbow reunion [see Classic Rock's web story here].
Here's the full set-list: 'Stone Cold', 'Street Of Dreams', 'Catch The Rainbow', 'Mystery Of The Heart', 'Blackbird', 'I Saw Her Standing There', 'I've Just Seen A Face', 'Moondance', 'King Of Dreams', 'Hush', 'Love Conquers All', 'Smoke On The Water' and 'Roadhouse Blues'. Lame or what?
It's not really the place to re-quote him in such a public forum, but talking via my own Facebook page Live Nation's Andy Copping would later poke fun at JLT's claim that a Rainbow reunion is imminent, suggesting that so far as he knew Turner's "crazy manager" hadn't even spoken to The Man In Black and daring to suggest that Dave Grohl had been proposed for the role of drummer (!)... without checking first to find out whether the Foo Fighters were on the road. I have no words to describe such a farcical situation.
Sunday 5th April
On no – there's been yet another classic rock casualty. Bob Burns, the co-founding drummer of Lynyrd Skynyrd and an inductee to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2006, has died in a car crash at the age of 64. For the story go here.
Saturday 4th April
Well, against the odds that turned out to be a night of convivial, easy-going imbibing. Really enjoyed myself but resisted the temptation to stay out ridiculously late. With no Palace game to attend – we play against Man City on Monday evening – my weekend will comprise some work, domestic chores, maybe some tidying up of my accounts and plenty of laying prostrate in my armchair in front of various forms of sport.
Just back from the local Tesco, my own personal Easter Egg in hand. Well, no other fecker was gonna buy me one – and I was getting a bit tired of scavenging from the boys! Yum-yum!
Friday 3rd April
Many happy returns to my pal Paul Newcomb – the jammy ol' sod gets to celebrate a birthday on a Good Friday and thus has no need to be working. Some drinkies have been lined up in his (dis-)honour in the West End… this could all get rather silly.
Thursday 2nd April
What an arse I can be. A finished copy of Randy Bachman's 'Heavy Blues' CD has been sitting in my to 'play pile' for more than a month. I've just spun it three times in succession! LOVE IT! Check out this link. I'm also having my ears syringed by this little beaut – the newie from Raven. *Real* heavy metaaaaaaaaaaal!!!
Wednesday 1st April
Last night was spent at the Underworld in Camden for the London Stop on the Snake Oil & Harmony tour, featuring Danny Vaughn and Dan Reed. Instead of separate co-headline sets the pair played together for the unplugged show's duration of more than two hours, taking turns to take the lead and hold back where required. I'd conducted an interview with DV to talk up the tour in Classic Rock, and when I asked: "We've heard of The Two Ronnies but never the two Dannys", he replied: "We're not nearly as funny as The Two Ronnies, but I'm sure the shows will be a lot of fun." How right he was!
Vaughn and Reed offered a lovely mesh of voices and personalities, and their warming, lively mix of often self-mocking anecdotes, impersonations of cartoon characters, jokes and catalogue requests resulted in lots and lots of laughs onstage and off. Dan R's tale of living in a monastery, trying to explain the origin of the Queen song 'We Will Rock You' to one of its inquisitive residents was both hilarious and in its own way rather moving. There's talk of the pair writing new material together later in the year, and this tour was masterstroke. Let's have more like it please!!
The set-list ran as follows: 'Baby Now I' (Dan Reed Network), 'Is That All There Is?' (Vaughn, the band), 'What Dreams May Come' (DR solo), 'Restless Blood' (DV solo), 'On Your Side' (DR solo), 'Soldiers And Sailors On Riverside' (Vaughn band), 'Rainbow Child' (DRN), 'Black And Blue' (Waysted)', 'She's Not You' (DR solo), 'Standing Alone' (Tyketto)', 'My Home Town' (Bruce Springsteen cover), 'Heaven Tonight' (Waysted)', 'Avalanche' (DR solo), 'Think Of Me In The Fall' (DV solo), 'Sacred Ground' (DR solo), 'Paradise Ain't Home' (Vaughn band), 'Get To You' (DRN) and 'Forever Young' (Tyketto) with encores of 'Holy Diver' (Dio) and 'Long Way To Go' (DRN).
The only bad thing: I dashed straight home with my kebab to watch the highlights of England's friendly in Italy and some asswipe had wiped them from the Sky+. Aaaaaaaarg! It wasn't until this morning that I actually got to see the goals – one apiece. You've no idea how annoyed I was.
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