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.
Sunday 29th April
Still coming down to earth from the fact that Dan Reed has played a house concert in my living room! Happy 50th Amanda, happy 21st Eddie. What a night! And what a pleasure to have the great man here in our midst. Dan was the perfect gentleman to everybody who attended. One of the best bits was when he sat on the sofa and serenaded my dad with an Elvis song, 'I Can't Help Falling In Love With You', the first chewn he ever taught himself to play. Should you wonder, here's the set-list: 'Stronger Than Steel', 'Tiger In A Dress', 'Day One', 'The Salt Of Joy', 'I Can't Help Falling In Love With You', 'Mix It Up' (complete with a cameo from Bob The Dog, who from out of nowhere appeared next to Reed, dropped the ball at his feet and demanded he throw it!), 'Taming The Wild Nights', 'On Your Side', 'Long Way To Go', 'Losing My Fear', 'Ritual', 'All My Lovin'', 'I'm So Sorry', 'Rainbow Child', 'Holy Diver' and 'Get To You'.
[Edit: 5.30am and still dancing to Wham! The lightweights have all gone, and Dan The Man is in a taxi back to his hotel in Lewisham – it's down to the hardcore now.]
[Edit #2: I think that's the first time I've sat up drinking thru the night to watch the re-run of MOTD. Am loving seeing those goals again! Cheers! Hic! COYP!]
Saturday 28th April
CPFC vs Leicester... yeah go on and pick the ball out of the net, Son Of The Devil. I believe that's 5-0 to the Palace!!!!
Friday 27th April
It’s another of those melodic rock-flavoured Fridays. Sifting through a pile of interesting-looking albums from, among others, The Senior Management, Grand Design, Mass, Universe Infinity, Frontline, Oliver Hartmann and, last but not least, ‘XIII’ - the typically oddball newie from TNT. I’m still scratching my head over the latter. What is up with this once-superb band? Why can’t they just focus on what made them so brilliant?
Monday 23rd April
Given the contents of this brilliant interview, I wonder how Lee Cattermole is feeling this morning, as he pulls up in the training ground. What a difference three years makes, eh?
What an incredible five-star Amazon.co.uk review of the deluxe, limited edition 30-CD boxed set 'Wishbone Ash: The Vintage Years 1970-1991' by somebody calling themselves 'Welsh Wizard' (who, let me be plain, I do not know and haven't bribed!). Such comments make the hours of toil worthwhile. I quote:
"Dave Ling has done a magnificent job in authoring the 156-page coffee table hardback book, interviewing the band members and giving a balanced, well written, orderly history. No ‘family’ exists in isolation, and no effort is spared to reveal the tribulations as well as the triumphs, the high points of 'Argus', counter-balanced by the sheer despair all the band experience with 'Locked In'. This is a warts and all story, but the love the guys had for each other shines through the angst! The history of the band is fully portrayed in detail, all 5 members making interesting and informative comments, there is no bias here, Dave Ling’s editing is exemplary - every album is dissected, cover art, producers, managers, decisions dissected. This package is not cheap, but it’s a totally comprehensive, beautifully crafted and curated joyous piece of work. I was frankly blown away by how professionally produced this item is. Madfish Records and the author should be congratulated and applauded.. Thank you Madfish and Dave Ling, but most of all thanks and congratulations to Andy, Martin, Steve, Ted and Laurie for the memories, but mostly for the music."
Saturday 21st April
Twatford 0 Palace 0 - very disappointed not to have won that and made ourselves all but safe of relegation. It was definitely a pen on Wilf in second half - booking him for the so-called 'dive' was outrageous. Up to 15th on 35 points, six clear of trapdoor and with a useful goal difference. Three games left - home to Leicester, away to Stoke and a final game of season as hosts to the Baggies. Quietly confident but still not counting those chickens.
Friday 20th April
I’m genuinely shocked and also a little saddened by today's news that Arsene Wenger is to leave The Arse. He really was pants this last few years, so I guess it's about time. May I humbly suggest that they get Agent Pardew next?
Well, the sun is beating down and of course I'm stuck indoors invoicing for my work - the worst part of what I do. I'm a words man: I hate numbers! Thought I'd lob some classic-era Aerosmith onto the turntable. Had forgotten that I got this gem signed by the Toxic Twins back in the 1980s. Magnificent and apposite re-titling of the album there, Mr Tyler! Happy Friday y'all!
What a brilliant way to end the working week, a chilled out Skype interview with Monster Magnet’s Dave Wyndorf which began talking about the new album, ‘Mindfucker’, and descended into a bit of a Hawkwind love-in – a plume of cigarette smoke engulfing Dave as he waxed lyrical about seeing the full-on ‘Space Ritual’ show at the Academy Of Music in New York City at 14 years old: “Lemmy was there, of course, so was Stacia – a six-foot woman with giant boobs, almost completely nude and dancing right in my face – while the saxophonist [Nik Turner] played solos through a papier maché frog’s head using a wah wah pedal and a delay pedal. It was a glorious, hellacious, pre-punk noise that completely changed my life – the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.”
Both bands share the stage in London at next month’s Desertfest. Think I will have to be there.
Wednesday 18th April
This afternoon I'm revisiting an all-time great by Queensrÿche for the pages of Rock Candy magazine. Those London shows at the Astoria and Town & Country Club on the 'Operation: Mindcrime' tour will never, ever be forgotten!
Sunday 15th April
Still thinking about yesterday and the final whistle... that precious moment when you beat your fiercest, most hated rivals - I can't even say the name of the place! - to reclaim bragging rights... Shiteon, you were shit! Big shock! The result of 3-2 flattered you... mind how you fuck off.
Saturday 14th April
I don't think I've ever drunk as much champagne in my life: Strangefest... the 50th birthday bash of legendary booking agent, manager, musician (well, he's a drummer...) and all-round great guy Steve at the newly renovated and soon to be reopened Subterranea in Ladbroke Grove. So many faces - Rod Smallwood, Luke Morley, John McManus... Jerry Ewing showing us how drinking is *really* done - it's hard to know where to begin. Christ alone knows how I made it home. And now I've gotta top up those alcohol levels again - off to Selhurst Park, COYP!!!
Thursday 12th April
Well, that one will surely go down among the best gigs of 2018. The Sheepdogs at the Lexington… just fantastic. Back in '16 I caught the end of the Canadian band’s set as they opened for The Temperance Movement at the Forum. Better still to see them play a full show before a small, sold-out crowd (230 people). The group cite their influences as the Allmans, Humble Pie, Creedence Clearwater, Sly Stone and Crosby Stills Nash & Young, but the slow-slung 'Who?' is a tune that ZZ Top could have written during their early years, and there's plenty more where that came from.
They *look* like a band, too. Lead guitarist/fiddle player and pedal steel specialist Jimmy Bowskill dares to wear a dazzling banana yellow jump suit with red fringes, decorated with marijuana leaves. Alongside him, singer, guitarist and occasional keysman Ewan Currie is only marginally less resplendent in black jacket and strides, featuring white birdies and red roses. The outfits were brighter than the Lexington's ineffective overhead lighting and follow spots which kept the stage fairly dim and mysterious - or at least whilst the band's fabulously tacky illuminated backdrop was idle. 'Downtown' and 'The Way It Is' commenced a much-deserved encore before Currie announced a song by "maybe America's greatest band of all time", the Allmans' classic 'Ramblin' Man'. Oh joy of joys! What a spine-tingling way to finish a first-rate night. Come back soon please!!
Monday 9th April
The legendary Shark Island at the Lounge in Archway... what an unusual gig! Four bands on a Sunday night, with a 10.30pm curfew?! Inevitably it was the headliners that paid the price, time restraints forcing them to slash one of their essential tunes - 'Shake For Me' - from what turned out to be a frustratingly brief 45-minute set.
However, there was much to enjoy. Richard Black still has all of the killer frontman moves, as Axl, the man who stole them (allegedly!) will testify, and he remains a fascinatingly quirky character. No doubt about it, the singer's current line-up (which includes the indefatigable Alex Kane on geetar) was pumped up and ready to rawkkkk. Personally speaking, had they played the 'Law Of The Order' album in its entirety I'd have died a happy man. But what the heck... the earth moved during 'Paris Calling' and I'm glad that I made the trip across London to see them.
Sunday 8th April
I'm getting heartily sick of the phrase: How did we not win that game? With the clock ticking down and Palace headed for three priceless point Joshua King scored a dramatic, sickening 89th minute equaliser for Bournemouth. I agree with Roy Hodgson. The Eagles will stave off relegation if they continue to perform as they did in the 2-2 draw with Bournemouth, but will my poor ol' ticker last the pace?
Saturday 7th April
There were wild scenes last night at a sold-out Borderline for Massive Wagons, a boisterous five-piece from Carnforth in Lancashire. Any band that begins with an intro tape of Slade’s ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Preacher’ (“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here tonight to join together this r-r-r-r-rock and this r-r-r-r-roll in ear-holy catastrophe”) was always going to be a winner with me, and though the comparison isn’t a very fair one Baz Williams exudes a certain Noddy Holder-esque hooligan-ness. Massive Wagons… they’re beardy, hairy, bawdy, baldy, hooky, noisy, fatty, skinny and er… Flying V-y. Earache are onto another winner. I will be seeing them again.
Thursday 5th April
How cool is that? My eldest lad Eddie has his first ever special thanks on an album, FM's splendid newie 'Atomic Generation'. Thanks Merv!
Wednesday 4th April
Oh my gosh, RIP Ray 'Butch' Wilkins. You only played one half of a game for the Palace back in '94, and we lost it 6-1, but at your peak... my, what a super footballer!
Oh yeah, here’s this month’s Playlist
Tuesday 3rd April
Following last year’s critically praised debut ‘Shooting The Breeze’, I had been dying to check out Blackwater Conspiracy. The Irishmen were caught in a three-way stage clash at Ramblin’ Man Fair and there were transport issues when they played Dingwalls a few months back, so this was a third attempt.
I’m no fan of the Boston Music Room – a poky, distinctly shabby pub venue in Tufnell Park that always seems beset with sound gremlins. To my dismay, the PA was once again distorting at the top end of its range, though its inadequacy couldn’t mask the superb lead vocals of Phil Conalane nor Brian Mallon’s marauding lead geetar. The band really does have some contagious, good time rock ‘n’ roll tunes, with much more to follow on the evidence of newies ‘The Healing’, ‘She Gets Me High’ and ‘Goodbye To Yesterday’ – indeed, that second-named track was possibly the best of the night, barring ‘’85 Rockstar’, the encore song popularised by Paul Anthony of Planet Rock Radio. Venue-related woes aside this was an encouraging UK debut as headliners, and so long as their next show takes place somewhere else I’ll be checking out Blackwater Conspiracy again.
Monday 2nd April
Many a worthy band has stumbled and fallen at the Royal Albert Hall (the names of Queensrÿche and Cheap Trick spring immediately to mind), whilst others flourish and shine on one of the most prestigious stages in the world. Last night Toto fell into the latter category, performing a stunning show that comprised global smashes such as ‘Hold The Line’, ‘Rosanna’ and a hypnotic ‘Africa’ plus rarely performed deep cuts in two hours and 20 mins of pure aural bliss. As one would have expected, the musicianship was off the scale and Toto also had a further secret weapon in Lenny Castro, housed side-stage in a man cave of additional percussive paraphernalia. Groove-tastic!
A mid-set acoustic interlude saw them chill out, kick back and discuss the origins of several of these tunes. Sure, it was a little frustrating to hear ‘Georgie Porgy’, ‘Holianna’ and a pant-wetting ‘Stop Loving You’ dealt with in truncated form but with so much prize material from which to cherry pick, what were the band to do? When they plugged back in and let rip with ‘Girl Goodbye’, ‘Angela’ and ‘Lion’ I swear that the earth moved.
"Thank you for coming to our fortieth birthday party! We'll never forget London!" cried Steve Lukather. Believe me, it was *our* pleasure - well worth the Planes Trains & Automobile-style pilgrimage across a monsoon-like London. Bring on the big five-zero (but not too soon!) And a big thanks to Nick S for the ticket!
PS I’m very happy to have received a finished CD of the album that this week entered the UK Chart at Number Four. ‘Over And Out’ is not only the highest charting posthumous release of all time – it outperforms any other Quo-related material issued since 1982! ’Nuff said!
Sunday 1st April
I don't really wanna talk about yesterday's game, settled at the death by a Salah goal after the Eagles had led from the 13th minute. It always hurts to lose to those scummy Scousers.
To describe myself as a fan of Evanescence would be something of an exaggeration. I own a copy of their multi-million-selling, Grammy-winning debut ‘Fallen’, and I’m on speaking terms with its single and video ‘Bring Me To Life’, but after that Amy Lee and myself parted ways. Jeez… this was almost 15 years ago.
Okay I admit it; attending their symphonic gig at London’s Royal Festival Hall wasn’t really my idea (Amanda is a big fan), but you know what? It was a fun night. We h...ad been given great seats, just a handful of rows from the front. Lee has a tremendous, powerful voice and although the consistency of Evanescence’s material can be a little on the erratic side the sheer pomp and circumstance of the event pulled them though – big frocks, expensive lighting and plenty of drama. At just an-hour-and-a-half in duration (the ‘Synthesis’ album plus a few bolt-ons) the show was concise and fairly flab-free, if perhaps a little short on personality. It wouldn’t have hurt Amy to remember the name of the orchestra she was sharing a stage with, would it? Or did she credit them and I failed to notice? Would I go to see Evanescence again? Um… well…. can I plead the Fifth on that?