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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Sunday 27th February
Were there two more inebriated individuals in the entire country than myself and Mrs L after yesterday's fine victory over Judas Bruce and his bedraggled Brummies? I doubt it. It would be a significant understatement to say that one or two glasses of wine were consumed in SE6 following Andrew Johnson's two goals. All was good in the world as I sat in my office post-game, the excellent new Rush tribute album (starring Kip Winger, Seb Bach, Vinnie Moore, Jani Lane) blaring. Then I receieved an email in which Bruce had the audacity to call AJ a diving cheap. I quote: "He goes into the box, and does very well at falling over. He does it remarkably well." My response to this disloyal, despicable, fat, whinging colostomy bag on legs (cut and pasted from a mail sent out immediately afterwards): Suck my motherfucking
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Thursday 24th February
Mountain gigs are bitter-sweet experiences for me, and so it proved again last night. Leslie West always delivers onstage, but enjoyable as his gigs are, I end up thinking about the guy that turned me onto the band, my old mate Paul Samson. Leader of the NWOBHM group Samson, poor old Paul used to waffle for hours at a time about Leslie's prowess as a guitarist, till Paul died of cancer in the summer of 2002. A Mountain gig always makes me remember him. Fittingly, the band played a blinder at the Underworld. They'd been stuck in a bit of a rut of late, but changing the set-list around worked a treat, and the jamming and extended solos really livened things up. I'm sure at one point I saw Leslie break into a smile!
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Wednesday 23rd February
Having been unable to attend last week's Nazareth gig in Croydon (it clashed with Waysted), last night I headed North to check them out in Milton Keynes. What fun and japes. Stayed with my friends Simon and Gry, who live round the corner from the gig, and several bottles of white were consumed before, during and after the show. Dan McCafferty's voice is still awesome, and to top it all Palace didn't drop into the relegation zone as West Brom could only draw with Southampton. Result!
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Tuesday 22nd February
Back to a packed Mean Fiddler (again) last night, this time for Dragonforce. Who'd have thought a UK-based power metal act could enjoy such popularity? It doesn't seem so long ago that the Dragons were mere unsigned kiddies, opening on these boards for Rob Halford (although it was almost four years ago - ulp!). Without a plastic sword to wave, an instamatic camera or the rest of the crowd's compulsory short hair, I felt a bit out of place. It was an enjoyable gig, though a little on the long side. The band's energy and levels of musicianship do them credit, but when play so many of their songs one after another they sometimes sound a little interchangable. Opening act, Brazil's Angra, were making their London debut. Adding progressive rock into the mix, their 65 minutes suggested that the UK will open up for them in time.
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Saturday 19th February
Last night's Waysted gig - their first public appearance in more years than anyone can care to remember - was a lot of fun. No, make that a LOT of fun. They played just four songs ('Toy With The Passion', 'Love Loaded', 'Night Of The Wolf' and the newie 'Garden Of Eden') in 25 minutes, going on before the Quireboys. It was an early start, and not having time for anything to eat I went into the Sainsburys next door to the Mean Fiddler to pick up a sandwich. Who should be hovering about but Pete Way, deliberating upon a purchase of his own. "I've been told to behave, but I've crept out to buy a bottle of wine for the soundcheck," he confided, looking over his shoulder. Some things in life never change. Pete is one of them. The Quireboys sounded good, as did the other band, the Tokyo Dragons, but by then the white wine was starting to take hold. So my pals and I headed around the corner for a top-up at the CroBar, where who should we find but Batttttty enjoying the attentions of two toyboys... and drinking orange juice! Hold the front page!!
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Thursday 16th February
Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye. I've never been too fond of Germans (save for a handful of very notable exceptions - hello Goetz, Oliver and the rest!), but from this day forwards Mille Petrozza of Kreator is granted status as an Honourary Englishman. Supported by Dark Tranquillity, Mille's band played a set of quite wonderful old-school thrash metal at the Electric Ballroom last night. Christ, my neck still bloody aches. This morning, tendons sore and groaning in protest, I went over to Sanctuary Records to meet Bruce Dickinson. I'm writing the biography for his new solo album. I can't give way too many details at this stage, but I heard about three-quarters of it, and it's immense and very, very heavy. Hot off the Judas Priest album, Roy Z has done a great production job, and it picks off right where Bruce's last outing, 1998's 'Chemical Wedding', left off.
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Wednesday 15th February
Glenn Hughes was in amazing form at the Mean Fiddler last night. On paper, it seemed a suicidal move to have thrown out many of his vintage tracks in favour of material from the new 'Soul Mover' album, but it worked. The audience had absolutely no complaints about the content of the set, and there ain't many too people who can legitimately encore with a song from both Black Sabbath ('The Seventh Star') and Deep Purple ('Burn'). However, I wish I hadn't worn my Palace scarf to the show. What part of, 'I don't want to talk about the f**king football' is it that people don't understand? Two nights ago it had been Gooners 5, Eagles 1. F**king gutted. It was of little consolation that Arsenal had scored three unstoppable goals, strikes that no team on earth could've prevented. Our own performance was well below par. I'd consumed three bottles of white wine whilst watching the game on TV, but Dougie Freedman's own inept performance suggested he'd been drinking more than me. Unacceptable.
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Sunday 13th February
Nightwish are an awesome live band, but I find them very frustrating. Last night they had a sold out Astoria rocking in the aisles, but stunned the place by announcing at just gone nine o'clock that the next number would be their last. The set was eventually stetched out to about 75 minutes (even including a cover of Pink Floyd's 'The Division Bell' track 'High Hopes'), but for a group with so many albums under their belt I consider that even less generous than Simon Jordan's CPFC transfer window budget. It felt like a bit like coitus interruptus. Nightwish deliver quality, that's undeniable, but with a little more quantity they'd be unstoppable.
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Saturday 12th February
Yesterday was busy. Interviewed the Brain Surgeons in the afternoon. Featuring ex-members of Blue Oyster Cult, the Dictators and Manowar, they had lots to say. Soundcheck, including a rousing 'Godzilla', was also very cool. Unfortunately their debut London gig clashed with The Sweet's return to the Underworld. My plan was to watch most of Sweet, jump on the tube and catch the end of the Brain Surgeons. Due to a bombscare I ended up watching all of Sweet's gig instead. They were a bit under-rehearsed, but the set-list was incredible. One song ('Everything') from 'Sweetlife', and the rest hard-rock/bubblegum classics. Get this: 'Hellraiser', 'Burn On The Flame', 'The Sixteens', 'Cockroach' (dedicated to the journalist from the Daily Mail), 'Lost Angels', 'Wigwam Bam'/'Little Willy' (ahem!), 'Teenage Rampage', 'AC/DC', 'Love Is Like Oxygen', 'Action', 'Blockbuster', 'Fox On The Run', 'Peppermint Twist', 'Set Me Free' and 'Ballroom Blitz'. Wow. On a personal note, the girl who'd complimented me in the bar on my classic T-shirt from the 70s turned out to be one of two daughters of Brian Connolly that were in the house. In the bar after the show she said some nice, moving things about her dad.
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Thursday 10th February
A bit Mega-deaf this morning. Guess who I saw last night? Mr Mustaine and his latest hired hands, playing what's promised to be their last ever UK show. I'd heard less than encouraging reports of previous dates, but what I saw was throroughly enjoyable. On the downside, the band played at uncontrollably loud volume; bits of the show were crystal clear, others so distorted you had to strain to recognise the songs. But besides lots of tracks from 'The System Has Failed', we got a veritable greatest hits. 'Skin O'My Teeth', 'Symphony Of Destruction', 'Wake Up Dead', 'Hangar 18' and 'Peace Sells...' all ruled, and there was also a killer version of 'In My Darkest Hour'. Diamond Head, complete with new boy Nick Tart (perfect name for a singer!), did a better than expected job of warming up a Astoria crowd that included Merv Goldsworthy, formerly of DH and the mighty FM.
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Wednesday 9th February
Yesterday I went to the Marquee for the launch party of this year's Download Festival. It was a lot of fun, with Ozzy Osbourne among those in attendance. Alas, the free bar ran out earlier than expected, and the rumoured live set from Billy Idol (who also plays the festival in June) didn't materialise. Afterwards I met my mate Paul Newcomb for a drink with Micky Moody. What a nice fella. The white wine was flowing, and I ended up falling asleep again on the train and missing my stop. Hic!
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Tuesday 8th February
I'm getting pissed off at having my favourite TV programme interrupted by progress reports of Ellen MacArthur and her round the world yachting exploits. Okay, she shaved a day off the record, but couldn't she have done something more worthwhile with the time and money? Let's not even consider the wasted resources of the rescue services that were standing by. Last night, the BBC News seemed to think it was a bigger story than a possible peace deal in the Middle East. The radio bulletin that awoke me this morning called MacArthur "Britain's greatest ever sailor". Hello? Have these people never heard of Admiral Nelson? Sir Francis Drake? John Inman? Malcolm Dome?
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Monday 7th February
Even 48 hours afterwards I'm still at a loss to comprehend how Palace managed to lose against Bolton on Saturday. We had just about all of the match, played with class and confidence and still those f**kers stole the points with a hotly disputed 'goal' that didn't seem to cross the line. However, Everton's injury time equaliser against Southampton - thundered into the roof of the net yesterday by ex-Eagle Marcus Bent - was celebrated with utter jubilation here in Catford.
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Friday 4th February
This evening I did phone interviews with James Young and Chuck Panozzo of Styx. Both were interesting conversations, but the latter was particularly poignant. For those that don't know, Chuck was a founder member of Styx, though these days he plays with them on a sporadic basis. To say the poor fella has had 'health issues' is like saying Eric Cantona is a mildly dislikable individual. Having seen his younger twin brother (and Styx drummer) John die in July 1996, Chuck was diagnosed with AIDS two years later, and has had the bravery to come out as a gay man in the ultra-macho world of heavy rock. To top it all, he recently won a battle with testicular cancer. Panozzo may make some guest appearances on Styx's long-awaited UK tour in June, but - guess what? - he's now recovering from painful leg surgery (all of this with a dodgy immune system). For a lesson in just how bloody lucky you are, go to Chuck's website.
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Tuesday 1st February
Today began exceedingly well with the arrival a promo of Porcupine Tree's 'Deadwing' album. It's bleedin' awesome. The relief of last night's dramatic injury-time equaliser for Palace by Aki Riihilahti is still sinking in. To have lost against West Brom after leading for so much of the game, and playing the bulk of it with 10 men, would have been a bitter pill to swallow. Thanks, Aki! I listened to the commentary in a Camden Town boozer before going into the Underworld to check out Adler's Appetite, a new band formed by ex-GN'R drummer Steve Adler, and singer Jizzy Pearl (Love/Hate, Ratt). So late was Palace's leveller that I was under the impression we'd lost... till a 'bouncebackability' text enlighened me! Shame to report, Adler's Appetite were good - but not really what you'd call great.