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.
Saturday 30th April
Yay! Good ol' Bruce Dickinson. Maiden are on tour, of course, and what with piloting Ed Force One and fronting the best heavy metal band in the world he didn't have enough time for a regular phone interview, but has emailed the answers to my questions for the Download Festival programme - a bit of an epic, too!
Very well done to Eddie Lemmy Selhurst Ling for attending two consecutive days at our new gym... also for managing to avoid laughing as I fell backwards off the treadmill on my own first visit. However, the lad does lose brownie points for the somewhat brazen suggestion that we "drop in for a cheeky pint" at the Black Cat on the way home. Tut tut...
Friday 29th April
"Some of these songs are like prayers," observed Rodger Hodgson from the stage of last night's gig at the London Palladium. He was quite right; they do have whimsical, hymn-like qualities, and how great it was to see him backed by a full electric band that included Aaron Macdonald, a Canadian woodwind specialist who recreates the fruity saxophone parts of John Helliwell. From the opening bars of 'Take The Long Way Home' to a final, arm waving 'Give A Little Bit', the ex-Supertramp frontman held the audience spellbound, flitting from acoustic and electric guitar to keyboard, grand piano and even a set of electric drum pads. For a 66-year-old, he retains a voice that's still slightly nasal yet undeniably moreish, its and charisma and power undiminished and unmistakable. "Let's leave our problems outside [the hall] for the next couple of hours, shall we?" Hodgson suggested whilst introducing 'School', "and let's just celebrate life." Mission accomplished (even if the bugger missed out 'Bloody Well Right', Goddammit).
Check out the repertoire: Set #1: 'Take The Long Way Home', 'School', 'Lovers In The Wind', 'In Jeopardy', 'Breakfast In America', 'Hide In Your Shell', 'Along Came Mary', 'A Soapbox Opera', 'Lord Is It Mine' and 'The Logical Song'. Set #2: 'Child Of Vision', 'Babaji', 'Death And A Zoo', 'Even In The Quietest Moments', 'The Awakening', 'Dreamer' and 'Fool's Overture', followed by 'Two Of Us' and 'Give A Little Bit'.
Thursday 28th April
I'm looking forward to tonight's gig at the London Palladium from former Supertramp man Roger Hodgson. The last time I saw him, a one-man show at the Royal Albert Hall back in 2007, I ended up in his dressing room, providing valuable assistance in drinking the backstage rider. I'm generous like that, y'see.
I'm sitting in my office surrounded by all sorts of Iron Maiden memorabilia and reference material. Scott Rowley, Classic Rock's Content Editor, has commissioned me to write a quiz on Steve Harris and company - 30 questions with multiple choice answers. "Make 'em hard", was the demand, "and that means making the possible answers feasible, too." Yessir, Mr Rowley, your wish is my command. I shall post the link when the page goes live. Beware, there will be a test!
Wednesday 27th April
What fun last night as former Strangeways frontman Terry Brock played the Underworld… a superb, relaxed evening with a master vocalist and a trusty acoustic six-string. Brock repeatedly apologised for his guitar skills ("I'm used to playing with Mike Slamer and Ian J Stewart!") but there was no need; they perfectly suited the mood. We got some enjoyable storytelling and a damned fine set-list: quite a few from his 2010 solo album 'Diamond Blue', Strangeways material from both of his eras with the group (I swear that the earth moved during 'Only A Fool', 'Where Do We Go From Here', 'Where Are They Now' and 'Love Lies Dying'), and a heart-felt 'Desperado' in tribute to Glenn Frey. There was also a very nice shout-out to yours truly before 'Another Chance': "This is for my brother Dave Ling. Thanks for the many years of support. And no, I'm not kissin' ass to Lingy; he's run me through with a knife before, but I'm sure I deserved it." I left the place bathed in a warm, comfortable glow, it was a crying shame that so few had been present to see it despite admission having been set at a mere fifteen quid on the door. In the face of such apathy one can only wonder how much longer US artistes might possibly consider making the journey.
Monday 25th April
With Classic Rock entering another production week, this time for the May 18 issue, it was a case of straight going straight out into the office a 9am phoner with Andy Copping for the Download Festival's official programme, before picking up my normal duties. I'm deskbound, obviously, and have spent much of the morning soaking up a wonderful double-album from Bad Company. 'Live In Concert 1977 & 1979' is the first-ever official concert album to spotlight the classic line-up of Rodgers, Ralphs, Kirke and Burrell. It's really helping soothe away the final remnants of that post-Wembley hangover. Here's a YouTube clip of its highlights.
Sunday 24th April
Oh… my… 'kin… God! Crystal Palace are in the FA Cup Final for only the second time in the club's history. What a day out at Wembley for the Semi-Final. Eddie and I were unsure of how long the journey might take from Catford, especially on a Sunday, so we arrived at the chosen rendezvous, a pub in the Finchley Road, well before midday. There was nothing to do but buy a bloody great bottle of alco-pop and drink it whilst waiting for the doors to open. Luckily, that happened a wee bit before midday. With several hours of boozing ahead, there were about ten of us… maybe more… and the mood was buoyant. Spookily, I ended up discussing the now-legendary 1990 Semi-Final, which Palace won 4-3, thanks to a flick-on header from Andy Thorn at the near post, Alan Pardew nodding in for the winner. Such goals were something of a trademark for Palace during that particular era, during which the manager was Steve Coppell. "Blimey," somebody remarked wistfully at the memory (it might have been Dave Gulvin), "we don't score many like that anymore, do we?"
I was a proud dad as Eddie led some of the singing on the tube to Wembley Park. We found our seats and, blow me down, Palace only opened the scoring goal from near-post flick-on after just six minutes, Yannick Bolasie nodding home from close-range following Damien Delaney's header. Though Twatford equalised, the lead was quickly restored thanks to another header – a real thumper this time from Connor Wickham – and the Eagles were deserved winners. After going back to the pub for more beer, Ed and I crawled home to South London clutching more alcopops and in deliriously happy mood.
ManUre, the same odious opponents that we faced in 1990, are the foe once again in the Final on May 21. Thanks to Ian Wright's heroics we were a matter of minutes away from winning that day. 26 years later, I would sell my very soul for revenge. COYP!
Saturday 23rd April
What is the best way to hear the new Hawkwind album, 'The Machine Stops'? It's easy... 1) Turn up at a lunchtime press reception at the Assembly Hall in Islington and drink vast quantities of free beer and wine. 2) Watch the band play their soundcheck. 3) Hear the darned thing blasted out over a massive PA system. There are worse ways to spend a Friday afternoon, that's for damned sure.
It turns out that 'The Machine Stops' is Hawkwind's best album in a while, a fact reflected by its Top 30 position in the UK chart. No surprise, then, that the evening's gig was a bit of a classic. This was the first time I'd seen the band with their new bassist Haz Wheaton, a man who looks a little like Lemmy and brings them a new sense of urgency. The new tracks worked brilliantly and I was especially thrilled to hear personal fave 'Shot Down In The Night' raise its head toward the end of a thrilling night. Hawkwind have an odd relationship with the talismanic 'Silver Machine', performing it sparingly, so hearing it close proceedings on this occasion was another treat.
Here's the set-list: 'All Hail The Machine', 'The Machine', 'Katie', 'King Of The World', 'Orgone Accumulator', 'In My Room', 'Thursday', 'Synchronised Blue', 'Hexagone', 'Living On Ear', 'The Harmonic Trail', 'Yum Yum', 'A Solitary Man', 'Lost In Science', 'Utopia', 'The Watcher', 'Tube', 'Shot Down In The Night', 'Assault And Battery' and 'The Golden Void', plus 'You'd Better Believe It' and 'Silver Machine'.
Friday 22nd April
Here's an interesting quote from this afternoon's phone interview with Gene $immons of Kiss. Discussing why most marriages are doomed to failure, Gene said: "Dave Ling is a big, hairy stinky man. He looks like a middle-aged man, but all of the women out there must realise that just like every other male he's actually a 16-year-old horny toad. As the male of the species, he is pre-engineered to mount anything that moves." Gee, thanks. But at least I don't wear a wig.
As I type, the music world is howling with grief over the loss of Prince Rogers Nelson, who died yesterday at the fairly young age of 57. I was never what you'd call a huge fan. My collection includes a worn vinyl copy of the soundtrack to 'Purple Rain' and I went to see him at Wembley Arena in 1986 on the 'Parade' tour... think I might even have paid for the ticket on the grounds that he'd been on the cover of Kerrang! issue #82. It wasn't really my thing if I'm honest. The show didn't really burst into life till encore time when he performed 'PR's title song... from memory, he had scarcely touched the guitar until that point. I'm not trying to say the fella wasn't a good musician - Prince nonchalantly wipes the floor with Tom Petty, Steve Winwood and Jeff Lynne in this excellent clip from the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Inductions in 2004 - but I'd have preferred to have heard a lot more playing and seen a little less dancing, if you get my drift.
Thursday 21st April
On just about any other night of the year you'd have found me in my office glued to a stream of last night's ManUre versus Palace game. Instead I jumped onto a bus to the O2 Arena for the first of four sold-out London shows from Jeff Lynne's ELO, a band I'd waited almost my entire life to see. It was bloody fantastic – which is more than I can say about the Palace result. Lynne was a bit of a childhood hero of mine, so it was a thrill and a privilege to talk to him for Classic Rock a few issues back. What a modest, unassuming fella. Referring to ELO's comeback gig at Hyde Park in 2014, he actually said: "I had wondered: 'Ooh 'eck – how many people will have stayed to watch us?" Only a Brummie would say, 'Ooh 'eck", hahaha… The answer was that almost nobody had gone home, and the gig lit the blue touch paper for a revival of one of Britain's best-loved bands.
Since then, of course, Lynne has recorded a new ELO album, 'Alone In The Universe'. It's rather good, but he was in no mood to force-feed the audience with fresh compositions, limiting things to the single, 'When I was A Boy', and another called 'Ain't It A Drag'. Mostly this was a golden oldies jukebox-style evening; one classic track following another, enhanced by a truly stunning visual presentation. 'Wild West Hero' a fresh undergarments moment, straight into 'Telephone Line'. I felt 15 years old again. I think there may even have been a spillage during 'Mr Blue Sky'.
During my interview-ette, Jeff told me that he is already writing songs for a follow-up to 'Alone In The Universe', but you know what? Even if I never saw ELO again I shall go to my grave content that another of those bucket list moments has been ticked off.
Here's the set-list: 'Tightrope', 'Evil Woman', 'Showdown', 'All Over The World', 'When I Was A Boy', 'Livin' Thing', 'Ain't It A Drag', 'Can't Get It Out Of My Head', 'Rockaria!', '10538 Overture', 'Secret Messages', 'Steppin' Out', 'Shine A Little Love', 'Wild West Hero', 'Telephone Line', 'Turn To Stone', 'Don't Bring Me Down', 'Sweet Talkin' Woman', and 'Mr Blue Sky', with a finale of 'Roll Over Beethoven'.
Wednesday 20th April
Well, that might be one of the very best gigs I've ever seen. I refer to Udo Dirkschneider's Accept-only set, plus support from Anvil. However, first we had to endure a third act. I'm sorry but ICON were woefully inept pub-metal shit, the kind of unintentionally hilarious piffle that gives this genre a bad name. That their set was bookended by the seemingly casual genius of Zeppelin's 'Houses Of The Holy' over the PA only rendered them all the more risible.
Few derive us much sheer pleasure from what they do as Steve 'Lips' Kudlow, who once again elected to play Anvil's opening number, 'March Of The Crabs', from within the sweaty clutches of a very noisy crowd. The three-piece Canadian band was on fine form, Lips gurning like a loon whilst using a vibrator as a slide effect during 'Mothra'. 'Bad-Ass Rock 'N' Roll' and 'Die For A Lie', songs from new album 'Anvil Is Anvil', also worked brilliantly, though as gifted a percussionist as Robb Reiner might be there's no need for a drum solo during a 45-minute 'special guest' slot - none at all.
As the headliners arrived it felt as though the sold-out Academy had been transformed into a Bavarian bierkeller. Pugnacious singer Dirkschneider might be 64 years old but that voice hasn't changed in decades, and with its reference to "the foggy streets of London town", 'Starlight' was the perfect choice of opener, as a ruthlessly efficient band despatched more than two hours of crisp, steely, stirringly melodic classic German heavy metal. When the encore consists of 'Metal Heart', 'I'm A Rebel', 'Fast A Shark', 'Balls To The Wall' and 'Burning' you know that it's been a special night indeed. But in some ways it was also pretty sad with Dirkscheider consigning these songs to the past, many will never be played in London again. Here's hoping that the full show will be recorded and professionally film somewhere along the way.
Meanwhile, take a butchers at the 24-song set-list and drool: 'Starlight', 'Living For Tonight', 'Flash Rockin' Man', 'London Leatherboys', 'Midnight Mover', 'Breaker', Bass Solo, 'Head Over Heels', Guitar Solo #1, 'Neon Nights', Guitar Solo #2, 'Princess Of The Dawn', 'Winterdreams', 'Restless And Wild', 'Son Of A Bitch', 'Up To The Limit', 'Wrong Is Right', 'Midnight Highway', 'Screaming For A Lovebite', 'Monster Man', 'TV War' and 'Losers And Winners', plus the aforementioned five-song encore. Truly unbelievable stuff, right?
Monday 18th April
I've just signed Eddie and I up to a brand new gym that opens in Catford at the end of this month. Though I enjoy my park running it's something of a first for yours truly. I am determined to shed two inches and get back to a 30-inch waist if it bloody well kills me. How about this, then? I'm blushing a little as I transcribe my short interview with Dave Mustaine for the Download Festival programme, conducted a couple of days back. I can't believe he picked up the phone with the words: "Oh my God… your voice is like music to my ears. It's so good to hear you – it's been a long time." He's right; indeed it had.
Sunday 17th April
Yesssss… a late strike from Yannick Bolasie rescued a point for Palace in yesterday's away fixture at the Arse to send the Eagles nine points above drop zone. 'Yala', as he is known to the faithful, rifled home from 20 yards out whilst goalie Petr Cech, busy doing the Times crossword (or so it seemed), left his near post completely unguarded. Of Palace's equaliser, the ever-dour Wenger said: "It [the shot] did not look unstoppable". Hehehe. Deserved or not, the goal sent Eddie and I into rapture and upon expiry of household stocks of ale we headed off to the Catford Constitutional Club for further refreshment. BTW, to all of you Arsenal fans – just a very quick reminder of the man responsible for providing the assist… you may remember his name: Emmanuel Adebayor.
Saturday 16th April
I've gotta be honest, last night's gig by Tigertailz didn't really "blow me away" (to quote from the mighty 'Love Bomb Baby'). The band's current album, 'Blast', is characterised by as many peaks and valleys as their Welsh homeland. Some of its songs are great ('All The Girls In The World', for instance), others like 'Pipped It Popped It' are little short of risible, while that cover of Mud's 'Dynamite'... ouch. Just ouch. Rhythm guitarist-turned-bassist-turned-frontman Rob Wylde throws all of the shapes and has sufficient enthusiasm to get the job done, his voice is okay too, but though I tried to fight the feeling for the first time since he left the group in 2012 I found myself pining for the charisma of the Tailz's lead singer before last, Kim Hooker.
Don't get me wrong, the set had its share of enjoyable moments - most of them lifted from the classic album 'Bezerk' - and it was great to see guitarist Jay Pepper, the band's final remaining member, as pumped up as ever, introducing the big ballad 'Heaven' with the words: "I recognise so many faces out there. All the hot chicks have turned into even hotter chicks this last thirty years... though the hot guys are now not so hot", tempering this silliness with a dedication to the late, great Pepsi Tate. However, a medley of 'Noise Level Critical', 'Nine Livez' and 'She'z Too Hot' was sloppily executed, and why were they even including a medley of those songs when the set was a mere 75 minutes long? For a band with a half-dozen albums to their name, that's not really good enough… especially as two of my own faves, 'I'll Tear Your Fuckin' Heart Out' and 'Hollywood Killer', were omitted.
Here's what they *did* play: 'Just For One Night', 'Sick Sex', 'Star Attraction', 'All The Girls In The World', 'Twist And Shake', 'I Can Fight Dirty Too', Medley: 'Noise Level Critical'/'Nine Livez'/'She'z Too Hot', 'Bloodsuckers', 'Heaven' , 'Bite The Hand', 'Livin' Without You' and 'Call Of The Wild', followed by 'Shoot To Kill', 'Pipped It Popped It' and 'Love Bomb Baby'.
Friday 15th April
Well, it's been a rather shitty day due to some stuff that I probably shouldn't talk about here and I'm really gonna need a few drinkies. I'm looking forward to getting the weekend underway nice 'n' early in the company of Tigertailz (well, their latest incarnation...) down at the Underworld. Here's my favourite song (and video) of theirs. "1-2-3... go!"
Wednesday 13th April
It's gone midnight and I'm back from the home of football. Gosh, I love an evening under the floodlights at Selhurst with a belly full of cider. With 19 shots to 9, Palace should really have put at least one goal past ten-man Everton after James McCarthy saw red for the visitors, but the Toffees defended as though their lives were at stake and Joel Robles' goal bore a charmed existence, Adebayor almost claiming the spoils for Palace with a last-gasp header. All the same, a further hard-earned point goes a long way towards survival in the Premier League for another season. And Ed got out his wallet to buy the post-game pitcher of Disaronno Breeze as we returned to our new watering hole of choice, the Albert Tavern. Love it!
Tuesday 12th April
Last night was something a little unusual for me: Cult Of Luna at the Assembly Hall, Islington. They're not a band that I'd usually go too far out of my way to see – I last caught them at Nottingham Rock City in late 2002 – but I was reviewing for Prog magazine. The Swedes were celebrating the tenth anniversary of their much-loved fourth album, 'Somewhere Along The Highway', a concept piece that's apparently about male loneliness. Blimey. Set on a mysterious, dimly lit stage, with the seven musicians little more than silhouettes (Ross Halfin would have done his bloody nut!!), 'twas a two-hour feast of layered, clanking, often ferocious but sometimes beautiful post-metal noise. Would I got and see the band again? Truthfully, perhaps not. For me, the presentation – or lack thereof – didn't help matters. Performing one song after another without verbal introduction of any kind wears terribly thin after a while, but it was an interesting experience all the same. Even from a seat up in the balcony, my ears are still ringing.
Monday 11th April
News of a solo album from Angel guitarist Punky Meadows has got me pretty hot under the collar. Due via Escape Music on May 20, 'Fallen Angel' is his first album since that group's demise in 1981 and features former bandmate Felix Robinson on bass, along with alumni past & present from Monster Magnet, Shotgun Symphony and Outloud. [Edit: A promo CDr of said record has just dropped onto the mat and wow, it's *really* rather good].
Sunday 10th April
Phew. With so much riding on it yesterday's game between Palace and Norwich was incredibly close. The Eagles looked the better team throughout but had nothing to show for their superiority until the 68th minute when a 20-yard wonder-strike from Jason Puncheon sent Selhurst Park into delirium. A LEAGUE VICTORY AT FUGGIN' LAST! It's incredible to think that apart from FA Cup glory the team last won away at Stoke back on December 19. Puncheon, whose game-changer ended a run of 26 Premier League games without scoring, ran to the corner flag and was engulfed in a scrum of team-mates. He's a local lad who not only grew up streets away from the ground but played for the club as a junior and had been taking a lot of stick from some sections of the crowd… no wonder there appeared to be a tear in his eye. I was chuffed for him.
Despite opposing Norwich keeper John Ruddy joining the attack from set-pieces as his team's despair grew deeper and deeper, Palace saw out the game to scenes of relief and joy. The result was slightly harsh on the visitors who had had what look like perfectly good penalty appeal waved away in the first half when Damien Delaney appeared to barge over Matt Jarvis. So with Palace 10 points above the relegation zone it was time to head back to the Albert Tavern until closing time for pints, shots and cocktails. Arriving back at Ling Towers, more quantities of pino colada and cider were consumed but for some reason Eddie decided we had to watch Britain's Got Talent before MOTD. He can be a very strange lad.
By the way, let's not forget that following his incredible marathon feats, celebrity superfan Eddie Izzard also donned the famous red and blue, plus high heels and lipstick too, for a lap of honour at half-time, high-fiving those at the perimeter and, I believe, acquiring the phone number and inside leg measurements of my good friend Mr Neil Pudney, who now sits at the other end of the stadium. Izzard also got a great reception from the Norwich supporters, which was nice. That's more than two million quid raised for Sport Relief so far... What a guy!
Saturday 9th April
Oh I did like to be beside the seaside! Last night was spent in Hastings for a dose of shit-kicking rock 'n' rawwwwll with Nashville Pussy and pardner in crime Andy Beare. The drive to the coast from London was speedier than expected and we had time some kill before the show. To be honest, I was quite freaked out being back in the town where my grandparents on my mother's side had lived for so long. My sister and I used to visit them often, and on the way to the venue we drove past Alexandra Park where I had spent a lot of happy time - *way* too many years ago. I recalled vividly those houses with the long paths of steps leading down St Helens Road; back then the climb had seemed massive to me as a toddler... very spooky.
We grabbed a bite to eat and sought out the gig's location - The Brass Monkey, a great little boozer, with the emphasis on the world 'little'. Maybe 150-200 people? Mr Beare and I claimed a vantage point as soon as the last of the support acts finished, and blimey... we were just two rows from the front of the tiny stage. Guitarist/singer Blaine Cartwright drank beer out of his hat and dedicated 'Up The Doseage' to Status Quo ("we rip them off on every album, this was our attempt to sound just like them"), while his lead guitar-toting missus Ruyter Suys was a blur of headbanging, shape-throwing and squealing notes. The 80-minute set-list included a Pussied-up snippet of the Marshall Tucker Band's 'Can't You See' during 'Go To Hell', while delicious locally brewed cider cost a mere £2.50 per pint - c'mon what more do you want? So here's an official warning: Hastings, we shall return... even if you are a little too close to comfort to that other place we simply cannot mention.
Thursday 7th April
I just conducted a nice phoner with Saxon's Biff Byford for the Download Festival's official programme to start the day. There was no point in asking him about the set-list that's being planned as he's likely to walk out on stage, screw the bloody thing up into a ball and eat it, as he did last year at Ramblin' Man Fair. "Yeah," he agreed with a laugh, "set-lists are very tasty."
Oh look, the Postie's been. I opened the big one first and emitted a very loud cheer. God alone knows what the neighbours must have thought when I saw the contents of the smaller envelope.
Wednesday 6th April
Anyone that continues to moan on and on about the dearth of new(-ish) talent should have been at the 100 Club for last night's gig by Monster Truck. These guys fuse the power of metal, the soul of Southern rock and the wide-tread groove of stoner rock into something that both energises and mesmerises. Heavy-hitters like 'Don't Tell Me How To Live', 'Why Are You Not Rocking?' and 'For The People' (think the Marshall Tucker Group on steroids!) filled the early stages, but a brilliant two-song encore set the seal on a triumphant evening; 'For The Sun', gnarled, bluesy and unusually, tortuously slow, while 'Sweet Mountain River', sounded like the work of a band from deepest, rural Carolina and not Hamilton, Ontario. But a sold-out audience were the night's real stars, echoing every 'woooah woooah!' and leaping around, spilling beer everywhere (at a fiver as pint it was their loss, I guess).
So here's a word of friendly advice, leap on board this Truck when it rolls back into the UK. Don't just take my word for it. "Monster Truck is one of the few really great down to earth rock 'n' roll bands... they're hard, soulful and heavy", says Slash. Twisted Sister's Dee Snider roars: "Holy Fuck, this band rocks!" Mike Inez of Alice in Chains adds: "Monster Truck is the Real deal. Familiar. Comfortable. Lik an old pair of gig boots or sweaty pig sex with an ex-girlfriend." And don't forget Dave Navarro (Red Hot Chili Peppers/Jane's Addiction): "Killer band, great guitar playing."
Tuesday 5th April
So today marks the 22nd anniversary of Kurt Cobain's suicide. I remember it well. I smoked a very large cigar. Now that I'm a grown up (allegedly), and with kids of my own, I feel a little bad about the fact... but it's true, I did celebrate rather wildly. More importantly to yours truly, drummer extraordinaire Cozy Powell also died on this day in 1998 - and it was not his choice to do so. RIP, Cozy.
Monday 4th April
Absolutely gutted and still in disbelief that England did not triumph in yesterday's T20 cricket world cup final. Ben Stokes bowled out a nightmare final over, Carlos Brathwaite smashing four sixes as the West Indies sealed an unlikely victory to steal the trophy from under England's noses. FFS!!
Just conducted a great phone interview with Terry Reid, the now Californian-based Englishman nicknamed 'superlungs' and best known for turning down the lead singer spots in Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. What a great, humble and funny guy, describing his earliest vinyl appearances as sounding "like a canary on acid" and refusing to be dragged into any negativity about decisions me made in the past, for very good reasons. "You've got to keep your sense of humour about that stuff, mate, or it'll drive you nuts," he advised. Quite right, too.
Sunday 3rd April
There's still no league win for Palace in 2016, but yesterday's away point against Wet Sham... yup, I'll take that, with bells on. Kouyaté was controversially sent off in the second half and Palace had chances to claim the spoils. It is now 14 League matches without a win for the Eagles, but I echo Pardew's comment: "It was a tremendous game of football and [from CPFC's perspective] it was a significant point in the scheme of things."
To be honest, I needed a little pick-me-up after Friday's evening of excess, so thank goodness for these - the new double disc re-mastered editions of 'On The Level', 'If You Can't Stand The Heat…' and 'Whatever You Want', with sleeve essays by a certain resident of Catford. Am currently leaping around the office with a tennis racket grooving out to 'Long Legged Linda'.
A memorable Saturday night was spent cleaning the shower and bathroom. #livingthedream
Saturday 2nd April
Well… what a wonderful Friday night spent watching Romeo's Daughter at Borderline in the company of my eldest lad Eddie and a group of booze-swigging loonies (step forward Andy Beare and Richard Thompson). We enjoyed a few pre-show aperitifs in the Crobar, and exiting to walk to the venue just a few doors down bumped into Merv Goldsworthy of the mighty FM. I'd pre-warned Merv and his missus, Leigh Matty of RD, that Ed was gonna be with me. "Are you looking forward to the gig, then?" he asked, laughing aloud at Ed's super-honest response: "Well, fifty-fifty."
In the end he really enjoyed the show. And why not? It was a top-notch display from a great band, one of the best that I've ever seen them give. They have given up all pretence of replacing Tony Mittman in the line-up, keys are now sampled, and the four-piece band seems to have relaxed. The 17-song set-list was extremely well-balanced; five tunes from the current disc 'Spin', plus a varied selection of tracks from their catalogue. The set list ran as follows: 'Heaven In The Back Seat', 'Velvet Tongue', 'Touch', 'Radio', 'Bittersweet', 'Alive', 'Lightning', 'Already Gone', 'Perfect Plan', 'Enemy', 'Keep Walking', 'Trippin' Out', 'Attracted To The Animal', 'I Cry Myself To Sleep At Night' and 'Inside Out', with an encore of 'Will Be (Acoustic)' and 'Wild Child.
The band were nothing but lovely to Eddie. Introducing 'Alive', Leigh said "This is for a young man who's at his first rock gig", and here's a photo of three of my fave peeps on Planet Earth. Afterwards Merv told me that he'd been standing a few feet away from Ed at the bar and loved watching him punching the air, flying the devil horn and swigging back pints. "He's a real chip off the old block", he said. "It was just like watching you [from the stage, watching FM] back in 1986. You should be very proud." I am, sincerely.
With the Crobar closed due to local sewer problems (being honest the gig had stunk a bit, too), we ended up in in the Royal George, an awful boozer just off Tottenham Court Road that should really have been swallowed up by the Crossrail development. There was a woeful, non-rock clientele but as pissed as I might have been, I managed to avoid strutting my stuff on the dance floor. Just. It was a close thing, tho.
Friday 1st April
Now here's an odd thing. Two generations of Lings will be at this evening's London Borderline gig from Romeo's Daughter. Eddie's taste in music lies on the poppier side of things, which is fair enough, but after I emailed a few YouTube links - the ballad 'I Cry Myself To Sleep At Night' is his favourite "Wow, that one is brilliant!") - he said he'd like to give them a try. Expect a few liveners at the Crobar first, of course. #prouddad
BTW, a very happy 40th birthday to the '2112' album by Rush, such an implausibly fine piece of music. Now where did I put that silk kimono?