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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Thursday 30th December
I've had my ups and downs with Sebastian Bach, but always believed him to be a pretty genuine guy beneath the bluster, brimstone and bullshit. Last night he went and proved it by posting a heart-felt and extremely moving tribute to Dimebag. It's quite long but worth the effort of reading (link here). The mental image of the Pantera guys throwing a barbecue in front of the stage during Skid Row's set is bloody hilarious, but the bits that really choked me up the most were Dime teaching Seb's young son guitar riffs, and Pantera taking Bach out on the road a solo artist as payback for their own original big break on the 'Slave To The Grind' tour. Nice one, Seb.
Amused at his November 9th namecheck in this section, Tim Bowness sent a nice package of his CDs that I finally got around to playing. Perhaps the best of the lot, No-Man's 'Speak' is an incredible slice of art-rock, though the 2001 live album from Porcupine Tree ('Warszawa') comes very close indeed. Somehow manging to be claustrophobic and sensual, 'Hotel' by Mike Figgis is also commendably diverse, even featuring a haunting guest spot from ex-Skunk Anansie singer Skin. All are well worth raiding the piggy bank for.
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Wednesday 29th December
Oh dear, got a sonofabitch of a hangover. Had to wade through a kitchen full of empties and half-eaten sausage rolls to reach the computer. My good pals Annick and Harj (godparents of our two fine lads) came over for a holiday piss-up, along with Jerry Ewing and his infinitely better half Rachel. My own party mood had been kicked off a few hours earlier by Andy 'The Messiah' Johnson's late equaliser for Palace away at Might Fart Lane - a terrific point for Dowie's Super Eagles. I'm still so ecstatic, it's highly tempting to just keep on drinking. Hic!!! Now, where did I put that cherry brandy...?!
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Tuesday 28th December
Last night's Hammered At Christmas gig from co-headliners In Flames and Lacuna Coil was hit and miss. A lively set from Chimaira belied their lowly place on the bill. Still don't quite understand the fuss about Lacuna Coil, an Italian goth-metal band who display all the personality and flamboyance of Coronation Street's Roy Cropper. All that synchronised headbanging?! Ugh, you've gotta be kidding. Going on last, In Flames were far more convincing than the last time I saw them, at the Astoria back in April. With loads of pyro and a killer sound mix, not to mention a neat version of Pantera's 'Fucking Hostile' (dedicated to the many thousands of victims of the recent Indonesian tsunami disaster as well as Dimebag Darrell), they at least finished the show in rousing style.
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Monday 27th December
Have got nothing whatsoever to say about yesterday's Palace-Pompey result, okay? Still fuming at my boys dominating the game, then succumbing to a suckerpunch from such mediocre opposition.
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Monday 20th December
Hawkwind played a blinder at the Astoria last night, though once again overlooked 'Silver Machine'. I've just returned from a playback of the new Judas Priest album, 'Angel Of Retribution' (due on 28th February). Glenn Tipton and KK Downing were on hand as five songs were aired to a room full of excited writers and deejays. What can possibly be said, except that what we heard was staggering? If the whole album is this consistent, the metal world should quake with fear. 'Judas Rising' is mid-paced and absolutely crushing, utilising all the band's classic-era trademarks, notably Rob Halford's banshee-on-heat wail. Faster and a notch more commercial, 'Deal With The Devil' provides the perfect platform for Glenn and KK's brutal twin-axe duelling. 'Revolution', the first single, is built around a merciless grinding hook, and although 'Worth Fighting For' is a tad less threatening it remains intensely headbangable for all its accessability. Plaudits go to Scott Travis for some superhuman double-bass drumming on 'Hellrider', a bowel-loosingly heavy number with a Wagnerian-themed climax. The Priest is back - believe it!
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Sunday 19th November
The neighbours joined us last night for Palace's televised game against Man Utd, and we broke out the cherry brandy. Being in a suitably numbed state definitely helped to soak up the pain of the result. Through a foggy alcoholic haze I recall James from next door, who works at Rough Trade Records, ringing none other than Mick Jones of The Clash to ask him - among other things - how many goals his own beloved QPR (referred to in this house as "QP-ha-ha-ha!") had lost by that afternoon. Much respect to the man from Number 26! Shame I fell asleep on the computer afterwards!
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Saturday 18th December
Awoke with the hangover from hell. Last night I caught one of the best gigs of 2004 - Arch Enemy laying waste to Kentish Town's Forum. Fortunately, multiple cameras were on hand to capture for posterity the quintet's best display to date in the UK's capital. On this form, they will be massive. The
Haunted also fulfilled expectations - the minute's silence for Dime was cool - and Dark Tranquillity did their best to overcome an unnecessarily quiet and tinny sound. To top it all, AA's Mike Amott had a present for me at the after-show bash; a Japanese bootleg of Rainbow that we'd discussed last time we met... top fella!
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Friday 17th December
It's official - I'm a c**t. I must be, 'cos last night Sebastian Bach stated from the Mean Fiddler stage that everyone at Classic Rock is, I quote, "a useless, piece of shit c**t". Ah well, it's nice to be loved. Skid Row's fiery ex-mouthpiece put on a good show that included songs from all three of that band's albums and even some unreleased new songs (one of which was called 'You Bring Me Down'), though some around me expressed frustration that Bach and backing musos - including former members of Sadus and Iced Earth - played the songs way too fast. Seb's always believed himself to be a secret thrasher, but I've gotta admit there was cause for complaint.
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Thursday 16th December
A promo of the new Glenn Hughes album arrived this morning. Forgive the pun, but Glenn has been going through a purple patch (ouch!) of late, and 'Soul Mover' is the masterpiece he's been working towards making for quite some while. With Chad Smith on drums throughout and Dave Navarro guesting on the single and video, it's been stuck to my player all afternoon. In a word - sensational!
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Wednesday 15th December
The sound at the Scala is dreadful. Having already seen King's X, Silver Ginger 5, the Black Crowes and others do battle with its high ceiling and naff acoustics, last night Dissection emerged with more credit than most. Jon Nödtveidt, who'd spent the previous eight years in prison for being accomplice to murder, at least seemed to be having fun. But the Swedes' mixture of black metal and death metal deserved far more clarity and power.
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Tuesday 14th December
It's exceedingly rare that I agree with anything Gene $immons has to say, but when the Kiss man comments of Dimebag: "He was a great guy. He's going to be sorely missed", and verbalises of "justice" that his murderer was mercilessly taken out by the cops, the bassist is a hundred per cent on his specialist subject - the money. $immons and Paul Stanley have donated one of their Kiss Kaskets for Dime to be buried in, as per the guitarist's final wish. A very nice touch.
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Monday 13th December
Here's an extract from a song intro at yesterday's gig at the Underworld: see if you can guess the band. "Any Darkness fans here tonight?" enquires the frontman. A thunderous, deafening silence ensues, finally shattered by a monosyllabic shout from an audience member... "Cunts". "So you like bands that sing like men, then?" Indeed, we do. Chariot are men, and they specialise in terrific meat and potatoes metal. No excruciating falsetto vocals; just one super-hooked, lager-soaked, enormo-riff after another. I sincerely doubt Chariot'll ever headline multiple nights at Wembley Arena or have a budget for elaborate stage props inspired by their name, but they entertain like few other groups.
It's nice to see that Ted Nugent has added his own words of praise to the tributes expressed to Dimebag by so many others. The Loudman has been quoted as saying: "It was horrible. Darrell was a big fan of mine. He expressed that every time we ever saw each other." Like, hello? HELLO?!
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Sunday 12th December
Like many rock fans, I'm still finding it hard to ratlionalise the death of Dimebag Darrell. I've spent quite some time pondering the insanity and sheer needlessness of this tragedy. Aren't we all supposed to be brothers and sisters in something special and unique; a genre that's misunderstood by outsiders? If any of this is true, why have we done something so unforgiveable to one of our own? Life is just too short - especially for Dime. I see that Dave Mustaine of Megadeth is apparently attempting to channel the disaster in a positive way, wiping the slate clean by apologising to Metallica, other former band-mates, managers and associates and trying to be "more friendly" in future. "I need to quit holding grudges," admits Dave. That's commendable... if he can stick to it. So why don't we all give it a go?
Starting with me. I was disappointed that Crystal Palace dropped two more points at home yesterday, against fellow relegation candidates Blackburn of all teams. However, in this new spirit of turning the other cheek I hereby forgive the cheating, diving, play-acting Paul Dickov (as Dee Snider would say, that's heavy on the 'Dick') for his unsporting behaviour and all round obnoxiousness. Okay? And I hereby retract all the insults that I hurled at the the short-arsed little wankbag Jock - also, of course, just hoping that my seven-year-old lad doesn't repeat any of them at school tomorrow. And I really don't think Dickov should have been sent off by the most biased and inept match official I've seen this season, alright?
Okay... I admit it - I typed most of that last part through gritted teeth. Hmmmm.... this charitability lark ain't gonna be quite as simple as it seems.
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Saturday 11th December
Well, what a cool week of concerts that last one was. Checked out Lamb Of God at the Mean Fiddler yesterday evening. Full of rippling power but kinda tuneful with it, hearing them felt a bit like being assaulted by someone in a pair of mink-lined, feather-filled boxing gloves. It was amazing, too, how many Pantera and Damageplan shirts there were in the crowd.
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Thursday 9th December
Was gonna waffle about a great Wildhearts gig last night till hearing of the murder of Damageplan's Dimebag Darrell. Omi-friggin'God, that's so senseless and quite, quite unbelievable. Reports are still somewhat sketchy, but some idiot got up onto the stage and apparently pumped multiple bullets into the guitarist, also apparently killing a tour manager and three others. I won't pretend to know Dime personally, though I did speak to him and the rest of Pantera in their days together (will post the best of those interviews as a tribute as soon as I'm able) and am full of respect for his playing.
Whatever your thoughts on the Damageplan vs Pantera debate, one thing is 100% certain: Dimebag loved life and seemed to live every day as though it was his last. Now his talent and joie de vivre has been taken from him - and us. I'm sickened and appalled.

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Wednesday 8th December
Drewe, who promotes shows at the Underworld, was utterly ludicrous last night. "What's got six legs, comes from Wales and plays fucking brilliant heavy metal?" he asked us while introducing the headline act. "Is it a parakeet? No! Is it Lady Amhurst's pheasant? No! Is it the Outer Mongolian Oooga-Looga-Booga Bird?" Wrong again. In fact, it was Budgie, whose robust 90-minute set of old favourites even included a rendition of 'Parents'. To top a spiffing evening, their manager gave me a set of re-issued Budgie classics - the first five albums, including 'Never Turn Your Back On A Friend' and 'Bandolier' (all available with bonus tracks from www.budgie.uk.com). Christmas came early this year, huh?!
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Tuesday 7th December
The Tubes were at Shepherd's Bush Empire last night. Had never seen them before and had my doubts about the tour's Wild West show theme. Sure enough, it didn't quite hang together as a concept, but there were more than enough pearls in the more than two-hour set. 'White Punks On Dope', with Fee Waybill tottering on unfeasibly high heels, a salami jutting from his spandex strides and looking frighteningly like Dee Snider, was worth the price of admission alone.
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Monday 6th December
Palace losing again in injury time was hard to stomach, so I trotted down to Brixton Academy to see Machine Head and swig a few consoling vats of dry white wine. Robb Flynn and company played well, though he had a bee in his bonnet about Led Zeppelin, promising inexplicably that there would be no covers included in the evening's set and sarcastically crooning the final lines of 'Stairway To Heaven' before throwing the mic to the floor and exiting. Stop press: Jimmy Page is enrolling for grief counselling sessions as I type.
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Saturday 4th December
Had Creed ever requested to play a gig in my back garden, I'd have closed the windows, drawn the curtains and maybe even bought triple glazing. So it's shocking that Alter Bridge - who feature three former members of that hugely overrated group - performed one of the best gigs of 2004 at the Mean Fiddler last night. What a band! What a singer! What a set of songs! Two great cover versions - Zep's 'Rock And Roll' and 'Highway Star' by Deep Purple. Wembley awaits!!
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Friday 3rd December
Last night was God Forbid and special guests Caliban at the Underworld. A German band produced by Anders Fridén of In Flames, Caliban went down very well, though the singer's inistence that people get involved in the mosh pit was sometimes a little too Teutonic (I was waiting for the words "Or you vill be shot", though fortunately they never came). God Forbid were in a different class altogether, the scorching twin guitar parts of Dallas Coyle and Doc Coyle refreshing the parts that few these days rarely reach. Amusingly, Byron Davis introduced the song 'Anti-Hero' with a tirade against George Bush, telling us: "He's a douchebag, but we're stuck with him for another four years. Why don't you cats go over there and kill his ass?" Why not indeed?

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Thursday 2nd December
Last night there was a choice between Therapy? (seen 'em loadsa times) at the Astoria or Skinny Molly (featuring ex-Molly Hatchet guitarist Dave Hlubeck and former Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Mike Estes) at the Underworld - I went for the latter. Seeing as they're a relatively new band with no album to promote, I had no idea what to expect. Arrived early to do a quick Classic Rock news story, and what a nice bunch of guys - Hlubeck signed all my old Hatchet vinyl and they even invited me to hang out and smoke a few illicit cigarettes (don't worry, mum, in true investigative journalist style I made my excuses and left). The crowd was small, but the set-list was excellent. From the Hatchet days we got 'Whiskey Man', 'Dreams I'll Never See' (okay, I know it's originally by the Allmans!), 'Bounty Hunter', 'Beatin' The Odds', 'Bloody Reunion' and 'Flirtin' With Disaster'. And Skynyrd classics included 'What's Your Name', 'Gimme Three Steps', 'Call Me The Breeze', 'Simple Man', 'I Know A Little' and 'Sweet Home Alabama'. The night's one original tune sounded good, but Skinny Molly's future obviously hangs upon their albility to develop a repertoire of their own. Here's one that'll be rooting - and indeed tooting! - for 'em.