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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Friday 28th February
A breakfast time phone interview with the one and only caped crusader of prog-rock, Rick Wakeman. What an utterly great way to start the day… and of course lead into the weekend!
They say that the blues is all about economy and this theory would certainly seem to apply to Chicken Shack. Guitarist/frontman Stan Webb still keeps a firm hold of the tiller but most of the oar power comes from the three musicians that back him so ably. It’s the job of Stan The Man to step forward and sprinkle the fairy dust, often via some wonderful slide touches. His sporadic contributions to proceedings dominate the early part of the show, with just five tracks – including the BB King-popularised ‘The Thrill Is Gone’, ‘Sweet Little Thing’ and Lowell Fulson’s ‘Reconsider Baby’ – filling its first 50 minutes. At one point mid-song he even leaves the stage completely... being a man of a certain age quite possibly to take a leak, who knows? However, there are times when Stan really does give it some real grunt, turning ruddy faced at exertion of it all, but it’s hard to overcome the impression that with a set lasting a mere 70 minutes (including encore and band introductions) that Webb didn’t really want to be here. The odd caustic aside to the audience – “Just talk among yourselves”, he tells us dryly above the annoying hubbub of audience chatter before signing off with ‘I’d Rather Go Blind’ – and his body language certainly seemed to suggest that he’d rather have been at home, feet up in front of the gogglebox.
Support came from a good time, frills-free four-piece called the Voodoo Sheiks, peppering a set of covers with some decent-sounding original tunes such as ‘Lone Star Groove’ and ‘I Wouldn't Treat A Dog That Way’. I’d be willing to see them again, no problem.
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Thursday 27th February
Off tonight to my local blues emporium the Beaverwood Club in Chislehurst for Stan Webb’s Chicken Shack. I haven’t seen the now 63-year-old Stan since the summer of 2003 at the Mean Fiddler on a bill with Savoy Brown and the Groundhogs. I sure hope that he does this one.
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Wednesday 26th February
A few days ago I joked that my office was starting to resemble an off license, and then what happens? A case of the Quo’s Piledriver beer turns up! I’m off the ale at the moment (match days excepted) so I shall save it until the Frantic Four’s upcoming tour...

Dave Ling Online

Had a nice lunch in Croydon with Wendy Campling – lots of laughs, jokes and smiles and some tasty food – and stopped off at the CPFC Club Shop on the way home. Went up to the counter with wallet in hand and was gutted to discover that they had sold out of the new range of Palace onesies. The sales assistant says there’s no new stock expected, either. Bah! I really should’ve gone in after Saturday’s game. Now I shall feel naked for the rest of my life.
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Tuesday 25th February
RIP Kelly Holland, singer of the hugely underrated Cry Of Love. Today I shall mainly be spinning ‘Brother’, the US band’s debut album from 1993. My prized copy is still inscribed by Kelly after an interview that we did almost two decades ago. It says: “Take care & all the best, vinyl rules!” Check out this nice tribute.
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Monday 24th February
I’m collating my melodic rock column for the next issue of Classic Rock, The new Winger album is very disappointing, I’m extremely sorry to say. It starts brilliantly but peters out after the first few songs. I’m also writing some reviews for Metal Hammer, including 'The False Awakening', a debut album from Collibus, the Mancunian progressive-metallers who count Dr Brian May of Queen among their fans. It’s a satisfying mature statement from a band with huge prospects.
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Sunday 23rd February
Extremely hung over today. Slept right through till 10am when a cold caller for Sky TV awoke me. He learned quite a few new swearwords, I can tell ya.
In the wake of Shrek Rooney’s new 300K pay deal here was to be no David versus Goliath shock at Selhurst Park. The reigning Premier League champions rolled up at Selhurst Park and collected the points with annoying ease. The penalty for their first goal was debatable – no shock there. But overall the Eagles afforded the visitors with way too much respect, defending deep and giving the ball away with annoying regularity. The fans, though, were another matter. The noise around the ground was incessant and I’m full of respect for the hours of graft that must have gone into the red and blue-themed display in the Holmesdale Road stand. Alas, the idiot that thought it was clever to throw coins at Shrek when he took corners in front of the home end deserves the ban they will receive – such pillocks give our club a bad name, and let’s face it the fat grannyshagger really doesn’t need the cash.

Dave Ling Online

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Saturday 22nd February
Off to Selhurst Park in a bit. There’s no Darren Ambrose to score a goal-of-the-season screamer this time around, but we’re a better team and I’m hoping a credible performance from the mighty Eagles against ManUre – a team that should beat us with ease on paper at least. I’ve just reminded eldest lad Eddie, who is buzzing with excitement, that win, lose or draw, these are the games we’ve waited years to play… let’s savour the moment.
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Friday 21st February
Er… wow. Talk about a blast from the past! Switched on the PC to discover an email from Motorcycle Irene, the semi-legendary manager of the long lost, now reunited, New Wave Of British Heavy Metal boogiemen Vardis! It was just the incentive I needed and on a whim I’ve gone and done it. Rail tix are booked to Newcastle for the final day of next weekend’s NWOBHM festival Brofest which features the first appearance from Vardis in 27 years. “Howay the lads”, as I believe they say locally. Anyone got a Geordie-English dictionary I can borrow?
And there’s further travelling ahead with the news that Europe are to headline this summer’s Steelhouse Festival in Wales. I had a ball at last year’s event… though it’s getting harder and harder to take time away from Ling Towers I won’t be missing this one unless I really have to.
Very cool – just received a new package from Hear No Evil Recordings. Believe it or not, this is the first time I have owned Motörhead’s ‘1916’ and ‘March Ör Die’ on CD! I’m a bit disappointed that though beautifully packaged these re-mastered editions don’t have proper sleeve essays… especially as both eras have such great stories to tell.
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Thursday 20th February
My Wednesday night was spent at the Islington Academy for the so-called Viking Funeral of former Sabbat and Skyclad and current Clan Destined frontman Martin Walkyier. I’ve a lot of time for Walkyier who hasn’t been one of the luckiest people on planet Earth but the eleventh hour cancellation of his intended backing band Elvenking reduced the event to the realms of farce.
Though I’d been commissioned to review online for Metal Hammer, link here, I’d have gone along anyway as the intended five-band bill – Walkyier plus Everlong, M:Pire Of Evil, Exumer and Ravens Creed – seemed pretty impressive on paper. The last time I saw German thrashers Exumer onstage was at the Spodek in Katowice, Poland, way back in 1988. On that night, along with Atomkraft’s Tony Dolan, who became ‘The Demolition Man’ of Venom, and late Kerrang! scribe Paul Miller I was arrested for being drunk and disorderly (it’s a long, embarrassing story – please don’t ask!). Of course, Dolan is now the frontman of M:Pire Of Evil, who also feature ex-Venom six-stringer Jeff ‘Mantas’ Dunn. Together with their drummer Marc Jackson they rescued what could have been a completely disastrous evening – it was certainly devoid of Skyclad-related content of any kind. For those that care the headliners’ set-list ran as follows: ‘Demone’, ‘Die Hard’, ‘Wake Up Dead’, ‘Don’t Burn The Witch’, ‘Blackened Are The Priests’, ‘Carnivorous’, ‘Temples Of Ice’, ‘Hell To The Holy’, ‘Welcome To Hell’, ‘Metal Messiah’ and ‘Hellspawn’, followed by the Walkyier-embellished ‘Black Metal’, ‘Countess Bathory’ and ‘Witching Hour’.
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Wednesday 19th February
More fantastic news on the gigging front: Scandi-rock sensations Eclipse are to play a gig in Camden (presumably at the Underworld, though it’s not yet on their website) on May 14. I won't be missing that!!!! 2014 is looking up.
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Tuesday 18th February
Great AOR News! The awesome Heaven & Earth, whose ‘Dig’ was among the very finest melodic hard rock releases of 2013 (think JLT-era Rainbow), are coming to the UK – and they just happen to play their fair city of Londinium on my birthday. I’m thrilled!
And some unwelcome AOR gigs news: Robin Beck and House Of Lords have cancelled their London show at the Garage on March 20. Why? Don’t ask me, no reason has so far been given.
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Monday 17th February
I’m happy to hear that record producer Chris Tsangarides is back at home and on the road to recovery after a serious illness that saw doctors place him in a medically induced coma. Get well soon, CT!
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Sunday 16th February
Here’s great news for fellow fans of AC/DC. The band are about to return to action for their 40th anniversary. My old pal Jerry Ewing will have his old fella in hand.
Sheesh, it’s been another long day. Once again I've been here at the PC since 7.30am and as I type it approaches 10.15pm. Still, it's given me the chance to play some really great music. Here's the playlist so far:
Magnum – ‘Escape From The Shadow Garden’
Steve Overland – ‘Epic’
Space Elevator - s/t
Robert Cray Band – ‘In My Soul’
Robin Trower – ‘Compendium 1987-2013’
H.E.A.T. – ‘Tearing Down The Walls’
Battleaxe – ‘Heavy Metal Sanctuary’
Nashville Pussy – ‘Up The Dosage’ (on white vinyl)
Kansas – ‘Leftoverture’
The Road Kings – ‘Dust & Gasoline’
Rush – ‘Permanent Waves’
Ben Granfelt – ‘Melodic Relief’
Fastway - s/t
Rory Gallagher – ‘Stagestruck’
Steely Dan – ‘Aja’
Lionheart – ‘Hot Tonight’
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Saturday 15th February
Just back from a mid-morning park run – was almost blown off my feet twice and my hair was flew horizontally, a bit like standing in the front row of a Ted Nugent gig. This really has got to stop.
The run was a nice distraction from work. I’m busy compiling the gig for Classic Rock’s Blues magazine. Arrived at my desk at 7.30am and will be here till at least 10pm.
Last night’s Dream Theater gig was utterly amazing. This was a fourth time as headliners at Wembley for the US/Canuck prog-metal behemoths, and although the rear of the hall was curtained off they really have become masters of arena rock spectacle. Not only did the quintet play for a whopping two and three-quarter hours, it really was a beautifully presented show, with cinematic back projections, lasers and, best of all, amazing, pinpoint-sharp sound. If someone dropped a plectrum, believe me you heard it – quite a feat at Wembley.
The show was broken down into two halves, the first of which included four of the best tracks from their new, self-titled album (the group’s twelfth full-length studio release, and second to feature Mike Mangini on drums). During the second portion they focussed on the ‘Awake’ album which is now twenty years old. After closing the set proper with the new record’s 22-minute, five-part ‘Illumination Theory’ the band returned for four tracks from one of my all-time favourite records of theirs, ‘Metropolis Pt 2: Scenes From A Memory’, itself now a decade and a half old. During the interval, the screens showed a variety of hilarious spoof adverts, doctored video footage and even silly crank calls that showed they do have a sense of humour. The playing was just jaw-dropping throughout. Mangini dropped a tastefully short solo into the instrumental ‘Enigma Machine’ and another of the new record’s defining moments, ‘Along For The Ride’, served as a two-fingered rebuke to those that say Dream Theater cannot do short, commercial songs. The set-list ran as follows: ‘The Enemy Inside’, ‘The Shattered Fortress’, ‘On The Backs Of Angels’, ‘The Looking Glass’, ‘Trial Of Tears’, ‘Enigma Machine’ (inc drum solo), ‘Breaking All Illusions’, ‘The Mirror’, ‘Lie’, ‘Lifting Shadows Off A Dream’, ‘Scarred’, ‘Space-Dye Vest’ and ‘Illumination Theory’, followed by ‘Overture 1928’, ‘Strange Déjà Vu’, ‘The Dance Of Eternity’ and ‘Finally Free’.
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Friday 14th February
There were no valentine cards nor pressies for me today – sob! – but I’m really looking forward to An Evening With Dream Theater at Wembley Arena. 2 x 90 minute sets… a truly epic experience according to those that saw last night’s Manchester show (hi Rich Wilson!).
Editor in chief Scott Rowley has revealed that Classic Rock is now the second best-selling music monthly in the UK as of yesterday with an ABC of 57,488 copies per month – overtaking Q and Uncut magazines for the first time. Awesome work from Scott and the team, I’m sure you’ll agree.
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Thursday 13th February
I’ve just completed my second Kiss interview in 24 hours. Wow, their drummer Eric Singer likes to talk – we nattered for about an hour and 15 mins which is pretty unusual. He’s very quotable too, I’m happy to say. And at the end of our conversation he said: “Here’s my email address, if you want to ask anything else feel free.” Top fella!
Talking of Kiss, I’m very impressed by the honesty of Paul Stanley, who has savaged the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame mere weeks before the induction of his band. The Starchild doesn’t mince his words, calling the HOF: “tainted, corrupted and distorted”. Wow…
I’m reviewing some albums for Prog magazine. Asia’s newie, ‘Gravitas’, is their first post-reunion effort without Steve Howe. Its more stripped down sound seems to be polarising opinion, but I really like it. The same is not true of ‘The Life And Times Of Scrooge McDuck’, the debut solo album from Nightwish leader Tuomas Holopainen… very grim indeed.
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Wednesday 12th February
With great reluctance, I’ve decided to pull out of the weekend’s half-marathon down in that Unmentionable Place On The Coast. We’ve had the wettest January since records began, and I’ve been unable to put in the training I needed. Didn’t fancy having a cardiac arrest halfway round the course. Though upsetting, it’s the logical thing to do.
Conducted an enjoyable interview with Andy Cairns, setting the scene for Therapy?’s ‘Troublegum’ anniversary tour. What a lovely fella (for a Chelsea fan… hahaha).
Talking of footie, Steve ‘No Relation’ Way and I had discussed driving to Merseyside for this evening’s game between Everton and the mighty CPFC. Thank the Lord we were unable to make the trip as due to the awful weather the game was postponed shortly before KO. I had to conduct a phone interview with Tommy Thayer of Kiss anyway…
I’m really getting into H.E.A.T.’s new album, ‘Tearing Down The Walls’. It’s a real grower. Check out the video for its first single, ‘A Shot At Redemption’.
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Tuesday 11th February
Dusk fell as I returned home from Minehead; I put down my overnight bag, made a very quick cuppa and straight back into the collation of Classic Rock’s news pages. No rest for the wicked, eh? Has anyone of note died over the weekend, I wondered? No… cool. That means just three mini-obits for the RIPs column instead of the usual five – more space for Fergie Frederiksen.
Oh wow, look – The Dictators are playing the Garage on August 7. I won’t be missing that one… have they ever even been here before??!!!
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Monday 10th February
Although I made it up in time for breakfast… somehow… I felt so darned awful that a beach-front run was impossible. I vowed to repeat Friday and have another sober day. Luckily for those of us in a bleary-eyed state it was THE DEBORAH BONHAM BAND that kicked off Day #3 in the Reds bar. A sedate, undemanding and at times soothing display was rounded off by an encore of Zeppelin’s ‘Rock And Roll’ that Bonham dedicated to “my little nephew [Jason], who won a Grammy last week”. Aw…
I bumped into Uriah Heep’s manager Martin Darvill, who had several other acts on Sunday’s bill. “You must come and have a drink with the Heep lads in the dressing room before the show. Come back afterwards, too,” he smiled. I replied that I’m not much of a dressing room person – even with bands that I know well, they’re generally a bit uncomfortable – and Martin accepted the statement. Challenge #1 to my sobriety and it remained intact… hurrah…
MARTIN TURNER’S WISHBONE ASH began with a brand new number called ‘Written In The Stars’ that tapped into the classic WA vibe, including a masterful version of the epic ‘Phoenix’ in a set of stirring power and melody. I could’ve watched them all afternoon. However, I’m still reeling from Turner’s onstage admission that he is a Chelski fan – the bloke was born in Torquay!! He’s really gone down in my estimation for that.
With Magnum’s Mark Stanway depping for the absent Adam Wakeman on keys, SNAKECHARMER were a pleasant surprise. Last time I took a proper look at them, supporting Heep in 2011 – Christ, was it really that long ago? – their entire set consisted of Whitesnake songs. Now, with a well-received debut album in the racks, it’s balanced almost 60-40 in favour of originals. They got the thumbs up from me.
If, like WILKO JOHNSON, you were living your life in ‘injury time’ (doctors had predicted that the terminally ill former Dr Feelgood guitarist would be pushing up daisies by last October) then what would *you* do? Wilko just wants to play music. And who the fuck can blame him? What could quite easily have been mawkish was in fact a moving display from a man still doing what he loves best while the opportunity presents itself. After an emotional (and apt) ‘Bye Bye Johnny’ Wilko smiled, waved, turned tail and headed for the wings. Who could possibly fail to be moved by his dignity and courage?
It was time for SWEET to kick some ass on the Centre Stage. I was so happy that they chose to emphasize their hard rock credentials by thrusting ‘Set Me Free’, the ball-busting opening track from 1974’s ‘Sweet Fanny Adams’ album, back into the set. My fanboy moment came when Andy Scott spotted me in the crowd and said: “Hello Dave… so it looks at though Classic Rock will be covering this weekend.” I was so stunned, all I could do was wave back gaily when a Wayne’s World-style “We’re not worthy” would have been far more appropriate.
An all-too rare one-off UK appearance from BLUE ÖYSTER CULT was the jewel in the crown of Giants Of Rock. The New Yorkers played and sang fantastically well, and though short but sweet (80 minutes) their set-list tells you more than I ever could. It ran as follows: ‘This Ain’t The Summer Of Love’, ‘Golden Age Of Leather’, ‘Burnin’ For You’, ‘Dancin’ In The Ruins’, ‘OD’d On Life Itself’, ‘Harvest Moon’, ‘The Vigil’, ‘ME 262’, ‘Then Came the Last Days of May’, ‘Godzilla’ (inc Kasim Sulton bass solo) and ‘(Don’t Fear) The Reaper’, with an encore of ‘Cities On Flame With Rock And Roll’.
Despite constant reminders of the headliners’ well stocked dressing room and our invitation to it, I had kept off the ale all day as URIAH HEEP time approached. Just before the house lights dimmed, Mark Taylor wandered over and opened his coat to reveal the box of wine I’d left in his chalet the night before. “No, really… I’m just gonna go back and sleep afterwards,” I told him. “Not even a sip…?” he challenged playfully. It was like Monty Python’s Mr Creosote sketch: “Not even a leeetle wafffer-thin mint?”
You can guess the rest. With a usual mix of classics and modern-era tunes, Heep were utterly magnificent, just the band needed to close the festival in style. The box of wine was emptied before an encore of ‘Free ‘N’ Easy’ and ‘Easy Livin’’, and of course we ended up back in the dressing room. Heed a word of warning: Should Bernie Shaw ever offer you something called a Piledriver (no relation to Quo’s new beer of the same name), *do not* accept it!!! However, the prize for drunkest men of the night goes not to Taylor and myself but to Dave Wagstaffe and Danny Willson, the guitarists of MTWA, who were in a spectacularly refreshed state. Good work, fellas… As the band left, Martin Darvill cheerily said: “Guys, take what you want of the leftovers”. Suffice to say that we returned to the Buckley/Taylor chalet till the early hours, and Noel’s car rattled all the way back to London!
So… would I recommend the Giants Of Rock experience? Hell yes!! Great bands, great food, nice people, killer sound all weekend and, in the experience of our little clique, wonderful company. The only downer was a plethora of hen and stag parties that were also on site. To say they were a pain in the arse would be an understatement. My *real* hair was a subject of great amusement for these wig wearing imbeciles. So sorry that I didn’t dress up as Slash, a Wookie or Elvis to have blended in a little better with you all – a major oversight on my part. Grrrrrrr. Anyway, I’m assured that should year #2 sell as well as the organisers hope, there will be no cause for complaint in 2015. Book it now for the early bird price! Thanks as ever to the living legend that is Dave Hill.
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Sunday 9th February
Only a madman would have undertaken a pre-brekkie run along Minehead beach in such Goddamn awful weather. I guess that makes me a madman! As I stood at the end of pier facing out to sea the wind was so extreme that I had to hold my glasses in place for fear of them being whisked off… sheesh.
For those that stumbled out of bed in time to appreciate a fabulous set, ELLIOTT RANDALL played the festival’s wild card hand. Aside from a glut of material drawn from his ‘Randall’s Island’ solo album, ex-Steely Dan/Doobie Brothers guitarist played the Dan’s own ‘Bodhisattva’ and wound things up with ‘Reeling In The Years’, the 1973 classic that features Jimmy Page’s all-time favourite guitar solo. It was a real goosebumps moment.
Back in Sarf London, Palace’s game with West Brom kicked off and new boys Tom Ince and Joe Ledley had quickly put the Eagles 2-0 up by the time MOLLY HATCHET took to the stage, much later than advertised. This was largely their own fault, having insisted that the support act from the European tour – a truly dire band by the name of IRON HORSES – should also feature on the bill, even if it meant cutting down their own set and missing out on a chance to soundcheck. 35 minutes and seven songs later (!), the Hatchet were done ‘n’ dusted.
Disgusted by this turn of events, Taylor and I headed back to my chalet for Final Score and box of white wine. Could the Eagles hang onto their 2-1 lead? No… in fact, thanks to a hotly disputed Marouane Chamakh penalty they won 3-1, climbing three points clear of the relegation zone. I was absolutely head over heels and suddenly felt extremely thirsty indeed.
Nothing could ruin my mood – not even a set from BIG COUNTRY. In fact, the Scotsmen’s surprisingly enjoyable display contained a very funny moment when Jamie Watson, who handles guitars, stooped the show to rebuke his dad Bruce for excessive swearing.
Next up, FM were complete rubbish. Awful. Dull as dishwater and just as emotion-free. Absolutely dreadful. Aw, c’mon… what did you think I was gonna say?!? With Steve Lagercan… er, Overland… in prime form they purred through a set that mixed the best of the ’80s (‘I Belong To The Night’, ‘That Girl’, ‘Bad Luck’ and the delicious ‘Closer To Heaven’) with new-era gems such as ‘Tough Love’, ‘Over You’, ‘Wildside’ and ‘Crosstown Train’… and no ‘Heard It Through The Grapevine’, either. Result.
HAWKWIND, ah… What a great way to end a fabulous day. Encoring with ‘Brainstorm’ and ‘Silver Machine’, their set alone was worth the journey from London. Though the crowd thinned out as the witching hour came and went, naturally we hung around for the graveyard shift from STRAY (God, that sounds awful… sorry). The presence of Pete Dyer, their guitarist for several key albums from the 1970s, who’s back in a how-long-to-be-determined capacity, allowed them to freshen up the set-list a little, and it was great to hear the likes of ‘Percy The Pimp’ and ‘One Night In Texas’ again. The delightful Cherry Lee Mewis joined the band for couple of songs I have a ghastly memory of a post-gig conversation during which I insisted she used a stage name, even demanding she showed me a credit card to disprove the theory. Christ… I hope I didn’t.
Anyway, after being ejected from the hall we celebrated Noel’s birthday by sitting in the Buckley/Taylor chalet till 4am, drinking booze and talkin’ bollox. Niall from Hawkwind had said he might join us but failed to show. Hawkwind, eh? They give it large but they’re just a bunch of lightweights…
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Saturday 8th February
There’s insufficient time for a detailed review of the events of Giants Of Rock, for that you’ll have to check out my double-page, 1,600-word essay in the March 26 issue of Classic Rock. What follows is more of a personal overview.
Having met my partners in grime, Noel Buckley and Mark Taylor, in East London we whizzed around the M25 and down the M4 with surprising haste, arriving in Minehead at around 4pm. The rest of ‘The Gang’ congregated for a livener or two in Buckley/Taylor’s den of inequity; Paul Newcomb and his missus Rita, Terri Weston and her mate Ronnie, and Classic Rock lensman Kev Nixon (who had the misfortune of co-habiting with yours truly). With my half-marathon taking place the following weekend, I, however, exercised restraint and stayed off the grog for the evening.
CURVED AIR got proceedings off to enjoyable, dignified start, but ex-Jethro Tull man MARTIN BARRE was better still. His re-workings of tracks such as ‘Minstrel In The Gallery’, ‘Fat Man’ and ‘Locomotive Breath’ were a breath of fresh air, and I jigged about a bit to a great cover of ‘Thorazine Shuffle’ by Gov’t Mule.
What to say about JOHN COGHLAN’S QUO? Membership of the Frantic Four will always guarantee Coghlan lifetime status as a personal hero but none of his group actually looks or sings like their better known counterpart. A set-list that deviated from the norm to include ‘Accident Prone’ and ‘Rockers Rollin’’ was pretty cool but before too long I found myself longing for a warm chalet and fluffy duvet. Hell-raising could wait another 24 hours, being Noel’s birthday. Oh dear… this could get messy.
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Friday 7th February
Okay, with Classic Rock on news deadline for the last several days I’ve burned the midnight oil to free up a long weekend of rawkenrawllll-based shenanigans at the Giants Of Rock Festival. A few important reviews are safely sent – it was great to hear Jon Anderson’s ‘Olias Of Sunhillow’ again – and most of my stories have been submitted, it seems that we can mop up the remainder on Tuesday morn – hurrah! Wagons roll… first stop Minehead. Precious freedom from the misery of Ling Towers – I cannot wait.
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Thursday 6th February
I was really looking forward to my copy of Stray’s new ‘Live In Japan’ CD on Angel Air Records but really cannot take it very seriously after the stage introduction of: “Riving regends… Stray!” Hilarious!
I’m fascinated by the latest news from Glenn Hughes, who has finally revealed the details of his new band California Breed with an interview at the Classic Rock website. As rumoured, the line-up *does* feature Hughes’ Black Country Communion band-mate Jason Bonham on drums, and the group are saying all the right things about their music. The fact that they are a power-trio perhaps articulates more than anything. The most burning question, though, is what the f**k is going on with Glenneth’s hair?! That is shocking!
Though regrettably I will miss tomorrow’s launch bash, I’m getting qite a taste for The Quo’s beer after reading this interview. To quote Mr Rossi: “After a few Piledrivers I’d be anybody’s!” It’s a phrase we’ll all be using before too long.
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Wednesday 5th February
Okay… Cage The Gods. A wee bit late to the party but… I’m in! Great little band with some killer songs. Their album, ‘Badlands’, is due on March 31. Wish I could see them with The Treatment this coming Friday night but will be en route to the Giants Of Rock festival down in waterlogged Minehead.
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Tuesday 4th February
Thanks very much to Spectrum Records for a finished copy of a new budget priced sampler from Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow (also for commissioning me to write the sleeve notes!) ‘Since You Been Gone: The Best Of’ contains a mix of hits and catalogue gems and will set you back around the price of a pint. I’ll go out on a limb and predict a bit of a Blackmore-tastic afternoon here in SE6.
I was hoping to have attended Uriah Heep’s gig up in Milton Keynes but pressure of work ended any such ambitions. However, it was cool to do a quick phone interview with Erik Grönwall, the lead singer of Swedish melodic rock sensations, as an aperitif for their rather splendid upcoming album, ‘Tear Down The Walls’ (April 15). Fortunately he agreed with me that its song ‘Mannequin Show’ sounds a little like ‘Oops! I Did It Again’, in fact we had quite a laugh about it!
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Monday 3rd February
My voice is shot to pieces following yesterday’s away game with Arsenal. Neither Eddie or I had visited the Emirates Stadium before, and roared on by a bunch of magnificently noisy away fans – did the Arse even sing a song??!! – the mighty Eagles put in a determined and well organised first half display. So it was disappointing to concede early after the break and, worse still, eventually lose 2-0.

Dave Ling Online

Here’s a photo of us drinking in stereo at the 12 Pins – a surprisingly welcoming ‘home’ pub in Finsbury Park – just before the game (today being a college day Eddie was on the Diet Coke. Not even a single Smirnoff Ice in sight for the poor lad). Good times! Thanks to my Gooner pals Gerry Rassool for the shot, Bruce Osborne for being a convivial host, Clive Aspinall for being Clive Aspinall and CPFC’s own Sam Pudney for making us all look extremely sober!
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Saturday 1st February
Sweet Jeeeeezus, we cannot be into the second month of 2014 already??!! Here are the usual updates at the Playlist and YouTube pages. And why don’t you trying washing them down down deeper ‘n’ down with something strong and foaming? Yes, anything Iron Maiden can do Status Quo can do too, and just in time for the expanded re-issue of their classic album of the same name from 1972, the mighty Quo have launched Piledriver Beer. It has a nice ring to it, don’t you think? ‘I got really piledrivered last night’… haha.
Last night was spent at a reunion of folks from RAW magazine, a UK-based rock music title that ran from 1988 -1995. The get-together took place in a public house called the Old Coffee House at the bottom of Carnaby Street. Though we ate lunch there most days I hadn’t set foot in the place since RAW’s demise. Being there again felt quite weird. I still recall Bruce Dickinson walking in on the day that he cut off his hair and showing everyone the ponytail that his wife has asked him to keep. There was also a memorable birthday piss-up with Würzel of Motörhead (RIP) which began as a quick celebratory pint and lasted the whole of the afternoon. And, lest I forget, it was at the Old Coffee House that I met the woman that I later married and had kids with.
Anyway, it was great fun to sit around and re-tell a few old war stories with the likes of Dante Bonutto, Malcolm Dome, Steve McTaggart, Dave Everley, Maria Davies, Maura Sutton, Mel Bradman, Valerie Potter and lensman Charlie Best, also to catch up with Lynn Seager who was married to another of the mag’s co-founders, the late Mark Putterford. We must do it again sometime!!
I’m extremely happy with CPFC’s new squad additions. Besides the aforementioned Messrs Ince and Puncheon, midfielder Joe Ledley joined from Celtic, Scott Dann made the switch from Blackburn and ’keeper Wayne Hennessey was signed from Wolves. Massive credit to the board, management and recruitment team.