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 26th February
Well, we’re building towards another of those super-exhausting Classic Rock production deadline weeks. Yesterday’s interview itinerary included chats with Gary Moore, Glenn Hughes and Rod Argent of The Zombies. I was so knackered by yet another marathon day, my head hit the pillow well before eleven o’clock – most unusual. Logging on this morning I was interested to learn that the long-rumoured Faith No More reunion seems to be taking place, though it’s likely the band will only tour Europe. To commemorate this fact, the Classic Rock website has posted 10 Amazing Facts About Mike Patton And Company. I can’t really better any of those, though my all-time favourite FNM nugget was related to me by Sepultura drummer Igor Cavalera who happened to be over at Patton’s place one day during a hectic interview schedule. Igor was equally amused and bemused when Patton thrust the phone into his hand and told him to speak to a journalist with the instruction, “Pretend to be me – say whatever the fuck you like!” I was never exactly the hugest of FNM fans, but the return of such wilful unpredictability can only be a good thing – unless you happen to be a journo that Patton dupes into asking the building’s janitor or tea lady how it felt to have invented funk metal.

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Wednesday 25th February
Last night’s 0-0 draw at a sparsely attended Selhurst Park convinces me that Bummingham City are not automatic promotion material. Granted, the visitors were without Phillips and McFadden, but the likes of Cameron Jerome, Marcus Bent and Scott Sinclair are flair players that will always carve out a few good chances. But as a force I was underwhelmed by the Bluenoses. Palace were no great shakes either, to be fair. We should’ve had a first half penalty, though, when Keith Fahey hauled Neil Danns back in the area. And given that the Eagles ended the game with ten men after Nick Carle was sent off for a rash two-footed challenge, perhaps we were quite fortunate to hang onto a point at the death. But it certainly wasn’t the mauling that the two clubs’ relative positions might have suggested.
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Monday 23rd February
Oh wow, the bill for the next Firefest has just been announced and it’s the most Ling-friendly so far. The very thought of FM, White Sister, Drive, She Said, Romeo’s Daughter and (joy of joys!) the reunited Airrace being together under one roof is just too much for my underwear to contain. Check out the entire two-day programme, which takes place in Nottingham on October 23/24, at: www.thefirefest.com. I will be there, no matter what Palace’s fixture list should have in store. Wouldn’t it be great if Nottingham Florist stayed up (and Charlton went down), with Palace visiting the City Ground on the day of the show? That’s too much to hope for…
Sheesh… it’s approaching 9pm and high time I called it a day. Since this morning I’ve interviewed Dan McCafferty from Nazareth, Warrior Soul’s Kory Clarke, spoken to Billy Sheehan about his new solo album, ‘Holy Cow!’ and the imminent Mr Big reunion, and chewed the cud with one of my all-time heroes, one of the men that set me on my life’s path, Sweet bassist Steve Priest, who kindly gave up time to talk on his birthday. Quite a day. Now it’s time for a rest!
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Sunday 22nd February
Aggrieved though hardly shocked that Palace lost yesterday’s game at Sheffield Wednesday, I headed across London for the Priest Feast at Wembley Arena. After several worrying reports of earlier shows on the tour, including one from a Manchester-based acquaintance that walked out early on a concert for the first time in nearly 30 years of gig-going, proclaiming: “I couldn’t bear to witness a once mighty band [like Judas Priest] reach the end of their shelf life”, I was prepared for the worst.
My friend Andy and I had tickets to one side of the stage, with a terrific view and a loud, crystal-clear sound that benefitted Testament’s rampaging early-bird opening set. Though Chuck Billy and company failed to play ‘Over The Wall’, it was good to see them elicit a strong reaction from the decent-sized crowd. With a huge digital clock set up at Dave Mustaine’s side of the stage that counted down from 60.00 to zero, one can only assume that Megadeth were making some kind of point about the brevity of their allotted time, but as the seconds ticked by, they eschewed small talk and all forms of procrastination to somehow shoehorn a dozen tracks – ‘Sleepwalker’, ‘Wake Up Dead’, ‘Take No Prisoners’, ‘A Tout Le Monde’, ‘Washington Is Next’, ‘She-Wolf’, ‘In My Darkest Hour’, ‘Symphony Of Destruction’, ‘Skin Of My Teeth’, ‘Hangar 18’, ‘Peace Sells’ and a razor-sharp ‘Holy Wars… The Punishment Due’ – into an amazing tornado of sound. For me, though Priest were a lot better than I’d feared, Megadeth were (just about) the band of the night. The instrumental players all covered themselves in glory (as usual), and although it sometimes threatened to crack, especially after he’d given everything to ‘Sinner’, Rob Halford’s voice held up pretty well. I loved the part in which Halford, who these days looks uncannily like Emperor Ming from the original Flash Gordon movie, sang ‘Death’, seated on some kind of ornate throne. It was frustrating that the band stuck to the same festival set they played last summer, but rumours of the Priest’s ceremonial defrocking would appear greatly exaggerated. Here’s the set-list: ‘Prophecy’, ‘Metal Gods’, ‘Eat Me Alive’, ‘Between The Hammer And The Anvil’, ‘Devil’s Child’, ‘Breaking The Law’, ‘Hell Patrol’, ‘Death’, ‘Dissident Aggressor’, ‘Angel’, ‘The Hellion’/‘Electric Eye’, ‘Rock Hard, Ride Free’, ‘Sinner’, ‘Painkiller’, ‘Hell bent For Leather’, ‘The Green Manalishi (With The Two-Pronged Crown)’ and a song I could now do without, ‘You Got Another Thing Coming’.
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Saturday 21st February
As much as I’m a fan of Exodus, I probably wouldn’t have attended the first night of Hellfire Festival had Metal Hammer not asked me to write a review. But I’m glad that I agreed to do so, as my first live sighting of Irish thrash leprechauns Gama Bomb was rather fun. Tired and a little frustrated by a trying seven days, their booze-fuelled chainsaw-like thrash tunes about zombies, Robocop and, er… attacking people with giant hammers were the perfect way to kick-start the weekend. I must get hold of a copy of their album, ‘Citizen Brain’.
As someone that never really understood the appeal of Overkill, I was sceptical about the prospect of Exodus being forced to fill the night’s special guest spot, but the T-shirt count – if not the relative performances – probably vindicated the decision. Gazing into my crystal ball, a short, concentrated burst of Exodus always seemed like to leave Overkill looking pretty stupid in attempting to close the show. It didn’t really turn out that way. With frontman Rob Dukes understandably riled by the fact that the band’s album, ‘The Atrocity Exhibition... Exhibit A’, had been so widely for free by those in attendance, Exodus (featuring guest drummer Nick Barker) fulfilled their side of the bargain, whipping the Islington Academy audience into a frenzy with oldies like ‘Fabulous Disaster’, ‘And Then There Were None’, ‘A Lesson In Violence’ and ‘Toxic Waltz’.
However, Overkill were no poor relations. A few months away from his fiftieth birthday, Bobby ‘Blitz’ Ellsworth still has a terrific voice and no one was more amazed than me as the New Yorkers paraded a selection of pedal-to-the-thrash-metal dandruff dispensers, including ‘Evil Never Dies’, ‘Hammerhead’, ‘Hello From The Gutter’, ‘Rotten To The Core’, ‘Elimination’, ‘Feel The Fire’ and ‘In Union We Stand’, an encore rendition of ‘Fuck You’ morphing into a version of Motörhead’s ‘Overkill’. I laughed aloud when Ellsworth previewed something a little more contemporary, ‘Skull And Bones’, from the band’s current album, ‘Immortalis’, with a knowing chuckle: “We’d better do one of the new ones; give Kerrang! something to talk about.” It reminded me of an incident at last summer’s Bloodstock festival when a deejay from Kerrang! Radio foolishly announced his identity whilst welcoming a group to the stage and was rewarded by sarcastic chants of “S! Club! Seven! S! Club! Seven!” for his pains.
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Friday 20th February
Last night was spent in company of The Groundhogs and Stray at the Beaverwood Club, on the borders of London and Kent. Due to wrongly advised running times and a Number 160 bus that seems to reach Chislehurst via Guatemala and the Outer Himalayas, Stray were already into their stride by the time my friend Andy Beare and I arrived at the Beaverwood, a warm and welcoming, if slightly makeshift-looking, cricket pavilion-turned-suburban blues emporium that’s run by promoter Pete Feenstra, an industrious bloke whose network of eight clubs has helped to keep blues-rock alive within the M25 perimeter.
Starting with a support slot to Saga at the Lyceum in February 1981 (a show that also featured the semi-legendary Quartz), I’ve seen Stray many, many times. In fact, for a while there I probably overdosed on them. Strictly my own fault, I know. But the band’s new album, the Chris Tsangarides-produced ‘Valhalla’, has renewed my enthusiasm for their music. Del Bromham might be the last remaining original member of a group that has made records since 1970, but the enduring guitarist/vocalist has surrounded himself with able and (comparatively) young talent in John Bonham-obsessed drummer Karl Randall and a Steve Harris lookalike bassist called Stuart Uren. Three universally-themed songs from ‘Valhalla’ – namely ‘1600 Pennsylvania Avenue’, ‘Free At Last’ and ‘Harry Farr’ – justifiably stood their ground in the set. Bromham largely resisted the temptation to showboat, but as the performance closed with the Iron Maiden-covered ‘All In Your Mind’ he threatened to remove ceiling tiles by waving around his axe, depositing it atop an amp and controlling its feedback with a lead. The audience responded warmly.
Which, sadly, is more than can be said for The Groundhogs. It pains me to say this, especially having enjoyed their set at Shepherd’s Bush Empire on the ‘Classic Legends Of Rock’ tour last November, but it’s easy to see why Tony ‘TS’ McPhee and company are now considered an underground band. McPhee’s 40-year track record of speaks for itself, and though the ’Hogs still include material from their seminal ‘Split’ and ‘Thank Christ For The Bomb’ albums (1970 and ’71 respectively), his plectrum-less picking technique is a thing that the listener will love or loathe. What its wide-tread, high-density effect lacks in accuracy is compensated by sheer power, but the band’s songs are hardly big on hooks and, now in this mid-60s, the guitarist’s nonchalantly delivered vocals are another big minus point. It can’t have escaped McPhee’s attention that much of tonight’s initially sizeable crowd sidled exit-wards considerably before the show’s end.
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Thursday 19th February
There are two great pieces of news. Firstly, and most importantly, Iron Maiden struck a long overdue blow for hard rock/heavy metal by winning ‘Best Live Act’ at last night’s Brit Awards. Reportedly, the band triumphed by a “landslide” vote. It’s about bloody time, if you ask me. Manager Rod Smallwood’s quote of: “The black sheep finally invades your lounge!” is most apt. Frankly, it’s laughable that anybody could deem handbag-wielding nonces like Coldplay, The Verve, Elbow (who?!) or Scouting For Girls (not even worthy of a ‘who?!’) as being superior entertainers to the mighty Maiden. I love the way that in his excellent acceptance speech Bruce Dickinson thanks not only the group’s fans but their wives, girlfriends and families for tolerating them “for the past 20 years”, adding: “And probably having to tolerate us for a lot longer after we received this”. It’s particularly welcome as, in a November 2005 interview for Classic Rock, Steve Harris told me: “A few years ago we thought about retiring. Now, no way.”
And secondly, following the success of their rockumentary (see Diary, Monday 16th) Anvil have apparently been taken on by Slayer’s management and the booking agent that works for Coldplay (them again). There are also whispers of the Canadian band being lined up to play at the Download festival this summer. Let us not forget that they opened the bill of a Status Quo-headlined Monsters Of Rock some 27 years back. Ouch, that makes me feel old. “This is the Rocky Balboa of heavy metal,” proclaims guitarist/vocalist Steve ‘Lips’ Kudlow.

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Wednesday 18th February
I’m starting to realise that I’ve dwelt far too much upon the imminent relegation of Palace’s south London neighbours (**NOT** rivals), Clowntown Pathetic. Last night, whilst my beloved Crystal Palace were busy notching a useful away victory, beating under pressure Plymouth Argyle 3-1, I found myself switching back and forth from Sky Sports 2, where Shiteon & Homo Albion – the only club that most Eagles fans **REALLY** hate – sought the right to play on the hallowed turf of Wembley in the final of that most illustrious of competitions, the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy. To be honest, the level of sheer bounteous joy that I derived from watching them lose on penalties to Luton surprised even myself. And with Hereford and Crewe both winning, the Feeble Seaweed’s own trapdoor to League 2 opened that just little bit more.
Musically, I’ve been playing a lot of great stuff. Just received expanded versions of three vintage Camel albums (1975’s ‘Music Inspired By The Snow Goose’, the following year’s brilliant ‘Moonmadness’ and ‘Rain Dances’, from 1977). Brand new live albums from Procol Harum and Return To Forever just dropped onto the desk. A few days ago, during a visit to Fopp Records, I picked up Sly & The Family Stone’s ‘Fresh’, first issued in 1973, at budget price. I’ve also been re-examining the Nazareth catalogue, with emphasis on ‘Razamanaz’ and ‘Loud ‘N’ Proud’ (1973 and ’74, respectively). And listen out for an album from a San Diego-based prog combo called Astra that comes out via Rise Above in May – it’s sensational. How on earth does Lee Dorrian keep on digging up these pearls?!?
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Monday 16th February
Well, I’ve seen it at last and I’m hugely impressed. I refer to Anvil: The Story Of Anvil, a quite superb rockumentary about the long-lost (to many, at least) Canadian metalheads that will be best remembered in the UK for spots at the 1982 Monsters Of Rock event, and the following year’s Reading Festival. Opening at a Japanese open-air bash in 1984, where they appeared alongside Bon Jovi, the Scorpions and Whitesnake, the movie begins with testimonies from Lemmy, Slash, Scott Ian and my buddy Malcolm Dome before tracing Anvil’s now middle-aged guitarist Steve Kudlow, AKA ‘Lips’, and drummer Robb Reiner as they make a futile attempt to return the group to the limelight. If you’re anything like me, the results will make you weep with sympathy and cry with laughter – sometimes simultaneously. No matter how many obstacles are placed in front of them, Kudlow and Reiner simply refuse to give up their dream, and the film’s (comparatively) happy ending had the premiere’s audience at Shepherd’s Bush Empire on is collective feet, whooping unmitigated approval.
Imagine how badly the place lost its mind, then, when as the credits began to roll, a spotlight picked out Kudlow on the venue’s middle balcony, grinning like a loon whilst peeling out a noisy guitar solo. Yes, making their first official appearance in London for 27 years, Anvil were on hand to play a brief five-song set (‘March Of The Crabs’, ‘This Is 13’, ‘666’, ‘White Rhino’ and ‘Metal On Metal’), the final number featuring a guest performance from Anthrax’s Scott Ian. It was a quite fantastic night; I’m so glad I ventured out on a Sunday evening.
P.S. How surreal is this? I just took a very strange phone call from UFO singer Phil Mogg, who sounded buoyant at having almost completed the band’s new studio album (which is apparently to be titled ‘The Visitor’). Once the pleasantries were out of the way, it went something like this:
“How are your jeans?”
I beg your pardon?
“Your jeans. Every time I think of you, I think of tight jeans.”

I told Phil that I would not divulge the first thoughts to enter my head at the mention of his own name. Damn cheek!

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Saturday 14th February
I’ve a mild hangover, and I didn’t even go out last night. There’s a good reason for this. Throughout my entire journalistic career, each magazine I’ve worked for (Metal Hammer, RAW and Classic Rock) has been forced to live in the shadow of Kerrang! And for a lot of that time, those involved with The Big K! have delighted in rubbing everyone else’s noses in their superiority. As you will imagine, after enduring two decades of this situation – Metal Hammer launched in the UK in October 1986, largely to a hail of derision (albeit much of the abuse deserved) from the industry’s esteemed market-leader – it gradually evolved into something of a personal bugbear. Memorably, at an album launch party from a few years back, Malcolm Dome and I found ourselves sharing a table with a couple of K! scribes who were such snobs that they scarcely acknowledged our presence. Our attempts to make any sort of small talk with these people, who treated us like we were something on the underside of their shoes, didn’t last long.
Well, no more. Classic Rock has outsold Kerrang! (also, for that matter, the New Musical Express) for the past year. Now the latest batch of ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulations) figures confirm that Hammer is on the verge of achieving the same feat. K! sales have dipped by 32.1% year on year to 52,272, those of Hammer soaring by 9.7% over the same period, to 50,269. As someone that learnt his trade by working on the amateur hour, typo and error-strewn German-owned Hammer and has seen it gradually put its house in order to become the force it is today, I can assure you this represents a Herculean achievement. No wonder I received an email from current Hammer editor and ex-K! employee Alex Milas that volunteers: “[It] feels like we just blew up the Death Star [from Star Wars] or something.”
P.S. Maybe, just maybe, CR and MH’s publisher, Chris ‘Mr Scooge’ Ingham, will take the above into account when compiling the next set of freelance budgets in April??!!

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Friday 13th February
No, I’m not about to join The Answer’s fan club (see Wednesday’s Diary). Planet Rock has just re-spun ‘Demon Eyes’, the song from the band’s forthcoming album that served to whet my appetite for seeing them live once more, and it’s excellent. But last night’s show at Dingwalls, a cosy venue in London’s Camden Lock, was not. I wouldn’t go as far as Ross Halfin, who responded to my own Diary observation by slamming the Irishmen as a mere “pub rock band”. They have a professional delivery, an above-average retro sound (albeit way too much like the Black Crowes) and a fantastic singer in Cormac Neeson. Paul Mahon is a tasty guitarist, too. And on the evidence of last night’s sold-out and boisterous crowd, people seem to like them. My problem is that their songs have the words ‘incredibly’ and ‘ordinary’ written through them like a stick of rock. Having snuck out before the end I trudged home from Dingwalls in gently falling snow, struggling to recall a single chorus. It was a six out of ten gig, and that’s being generous. So what’s the fuss about? Frankly, I have no clue…
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Thursday 12th February
There were positives and negatives to be drawn from last night’s friendly footie international which saw England capitulating to Spain by 2-0. There’s no shame in losing to the best team in Europe, some might even say the world. Under Fabio Capello’s iron grip, England have improved in so many ways. But watching the way the Spaniards held onto the ball, then put their chances away so emphatically, one quickly realised how far the national side still has to go.
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Wednesday 11th February
Unlike the rest of the Classic Rock team, until now I have been monumentally underwhelmed by The Answer. The Irish hopefuls seem pop up in the magazine with such alarming regularity that I have half-joked it should be renamed The Answer Monthly. Having being left unmoved by their forgettable debut album, I’ve also seen the band live on several occasions. When my friend John Dryland and I witnessed them opening for UFO at the Chepstow Castle Festival in the summer of ’07, one of us (I don’t recall which) dubbed them: “Fastway without the songs”. But yesterday I happened to hear a track on Planet Rock Radio that sounded rather good – echoing a familiar style, and doing it rather well. Great vocals, too. As I struggled to eliminate the name of various Ling-favoured artists that definitely **hadn’t** been responsible for recording it, a golf ball-sized lump appeared in my throat as I found myself thinking: “Christ, I hope it’s not The Answer”. Well, blow me down – it was!!! So, I have requested a copy of ‘Everyday Demons’, the new album that drops on March 2, and a ticket for a low-key gig in London on Thursday night. Who knows – they may even make a convert of me yet!
As I type, I am spinning an expanded re-issue of UFO’s 1980 album, ‘No Place To Run’. As it was the very first of the band’s albums that I bought, it holds a particularly warm place in my heart. Once again EMI’s re-mastering boffins have done a great job, while Malcolm Dome’s sleeve notes are almost as entertaining as the music. I’d love to have been a fly on the wall when newly arrived UFO guitarist ‘Tonka’ Chapman happened to meet Michael Schenker, the man he had just replaced, at the Rainbow Bar & Grill in Hollywood. The thought of the pair sharing “something powdered” at a party in Paul Raymond’s apartment afterwards is too surreal to consider. And how brilliant that the compilers have seen fit to rustle up three tracks (‘Lettin’ Go’, ‘Mystery Train’ and ‘No Place To Run’) from the band’s now legendary three-night residence at London’s Marquee Club. I’m proud to say I was present at two of those shows, and they rank among the sweatiest, most exciting of my life.
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Tuesday 10th February
I’ve been meaning to say how thrilled am that the original line-up of Mr Big are giving things another go; singer Eric Martin, guitarist Paul Gilbert, bassist Billy Sheehan and drummer Pat Torpey burying the hatchet to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their self-titled debut album. A Japanese tour in June is all they’ve committed to so far, though unofficial sources say that other appearances are possible. Eric Martin is a singer to die for, and besides the ‘Mr Big’ album and 1991’s ‘Lean Into It’, I was an enormous fan of ‘Bump Ahead’ which at the time of its release in 1993 always seemed to be on the death deck at the office of RAW magazine.
To be honest, I’m amazed it’s happening at all. Despite their joint interest in power tools, Sheehan never really got on with Martin, and Gilbert – replaced by Richie Kotzen for the band’s last two albums before a split in 2002 – rarely speaks of those days with much enthusiasm. When I interviewed Sheehan for Classic Rock in late 2007 he didn’t seem to hold much hope, nor indeed interest, in a reunion. “A lot of people like Eric Martin. I suppose I’m just not one of them,” he chuckled. “But I don’t think that Paul would do it anyway.”
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Sunday 8th February
Here’s a fact that made me feel quite old. Today marks the 25th anniversary of guitarist Phil Campbell joining Motörhead. I vividly recall being in a sparsely attended balcony for a gig at London’s Hammersmith Odeon as Lemmy introduced his new twin-guitar line-up (completed, of course, by Würzel). So the story goes, Mr Kilmister couldn’t decide between Campbell or Würzel for the job, so he hired them both. “I’d been with Persian Risk for five years and we supported at some of Motörhead’s last dates with Brian Robertson,” Campbell told me in an unpublished 2000 interview. “I saw an advert in Melody Maker and although I wasn’t sure whether to bother, the wife told me to send in a single. I was delivering frozen chickens to restaurants for my dad’s business at the time.” Well, it must’ve been a tough decision…
For all the band’s ups and downs popularity-wise, life in Motörhead has never been boring. Drummer Mikkey Dee – Motörhead’s ‘new guy’; he’s only been with ‘em for 17 friggin’ years – once told me of an incident when, following an afternoon of serious drinking, Campbell vanished before that evening’s gig at the San Jose Civic Centre. Because it was an important opening slot for Black Sabbath before 9,000 fans, the rest of the band weren’t best amused when Phil was located ten minutes before show-time in a pissed and comatose state. So they decided to play as a trio, with Würzel handling all the guitar parts. “Suddenly,” related the still disbelieving drummer, “Phil stumbled onstage and proceeded to play his best show of the whole tour. Nobody could fucking believe it.” Motörhead – you’ve gotta love ’em.
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Saturday 7th February
Well, it’s been a pretty awful week. As I type, I should be en route for Barnsley and Palace’s game at Oakwell. The snow – which sent the country into meltdown – put paid to that (also our home clash with Birmingham on Tuesday). There were no gigs to speak of. Even with the heating on ‘max’, my office has been so cold, the bones were left chilled. Then the microwave went on the blink… so it’s cold food only or things like pot noodles and fishfingers and chips – fabulous for the diet! On top of Pete Way taking a leave of absence from UFO for “a medical condition which affects his liver” – I think the technical term is ‘having a mouth’! - my much-anticipated copies of the band’s latest re-masters (‘No Place To Run’, ‘The Wild, The Willing And The Innocent’ and ‘Mechanix’) appear to have been half-inched by a devilish Post Office employee. With a ‘night pass’ still booked, I might just have to go out and get bladdered this evening; blow off a little steam.
There’s one ray of light, however. I’m sitting here in my office with a new version of The Who’s ‘Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970’ double-set blaring at top volume. The performance is absolute magnificent, and the sound – rre-mastered by Pete Townshend's brother-in-law Jon Astley – is out of this world. The only expense that’s been saved is the eight-page CD booklet – economical compared to the lovingly assembled, info and photo-crammed 20-page equivalent of Castle Music’s original version, released back in 1996 (now out of print, if the press release is to be believed). I’ll have to keep hold of both editions. The package also contained the Blu-ray edition of the show… now all I need is a machine on which to watch it! Or are Blu-ray discs compatible with regular DVD players? Fucked if I know. I’m **such** a Luddite; how many other journalists still record all their interviews on audio cassettes besides myself and fellow Classic Rock scribe Peter Makowski? The word ‘anachronism’ springs to mind… but I’m not ashamed of the label.
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Thursday 5th February
Robert Plant has explained that fear of failure, also the absence of late drummer John Bonham, were behind his non-participation in the proposed Led Zeppelin reunion tour. “Once you commit to comparisons to something that was fired by youth, it’s hard to go back and meet it head on and do it justice,” he says in a new interview with Absolute Radio, adding: “The reason that it stopped was because we were incomplete [without ‘Bonzo’], and we’ve been incomplete now for 28 years.” It’s hard to argue with Percy’s reasoning, I suppose…
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Wednesday 4th February
I’m a sucker for stories with happy endings. Several months ago I watched a moving TV documentary on Acrassicauda, a band that was persecuted for playing the music it loves – heavy metal – in Baghdad. Stuck in a war-torn land where the mere act of headbanging is considered un-Islamic (and punishable by death), Acrassicauda’s practice space was bombed and they ended up scattering to flee the country. Now all four members are resettled in the United States having been granted refugee status, which allows them to apply for green cards in a year. In a backstage encounter a few nights ago at a Metallica gig in Newark, James Hetfield handed them one of his guitars, signing it: “Welcome to America”. It goes to show: Perseverance will out.
Though Palace only took three points from a possible six against Charlton this year, you have no idea how much satisfaction I am deriving from the roles played by various ex-CPFC alumni – managers and players – in the downfall of our south London neighbours. Last night, for instance, agent Tom Soares – on loan from Stoke, but a former Selhurst Academy trainee – popped up with a headed goal to lull the Clowns into a false sense of security during a must-win fixture at Bristol City, only for deep undercover agent Adebola (an Eagle between 2002-2003) to sink ‘em with two second half goals. Absolutely priceless!!!
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Tuesday 3rd February
For the second successive day the UK is snowbound. Luckily, working from an office at the end of my garden the inclement weather doesn't really affect me and with the wife and kids home from work and school a regular supply of piping hot tea has been trailing up and down the path. Sadly, however, the freezing conditions have put paid to tonight's home game between CPFC and Birmingham City, likewise my plans to interview Asia's John Wetton and Geoffrey Downes up in Bedford (it'll have to be done on the phone instead).
And with the treacherous conditions moving north, it seems extremely unlikely that Palace's weekend trip to Barnsley will take place; annoying, as my travel tickets are already paid for. I am, however, deriving some mirth from the following Rush-related YouTube classic "Give the toboggan to your roadie to take back up the hill"... oh, those crazy Canadians!
Meanwhile, I'd like to encourage all DL site regulars to vote for Iron Maiden, who are nominated in the Best Live Act category at this year's Brits. Just click here. Anyone that fails to do so is, by default, a Scouting For Girls Fan - er, wait a Goddamn minute... who the fugg are Scouting For Girls, and which halfwit decided they were fit to share Maiden's oxygen??!!
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Sunday 1st February
I’m still furious following one of Palace’s most pitiful displays in many a long year. Yesterday, at a freezing cold Selhurst, the club’s losing streak was extended to four games as they failed to beat a Blackpool side that played for 87 minutes with just ten men. After Rachubka was red-carded for upending Sehki Kuqi the Tangerines went ahead via a 41st minute penalty. The Eagles went on to dominate possession and launch wave after wave of attacking play but even with the addition of Arsenal loanee Rui Fonte, young brother of defender Jose, our frontline displayed about as much cutting edge as a baby’s plastic feeding spoon. Still owned by a chairman that wants to sell and managed by a boss that appears to be treading water till his imminent retirement, my beloved club is in a mess from top to bottom. Thank God we have already accumulated 40 points this season…
P.S. Here are this month’s Playlist and YouTube.