This journal of the comings'n'goings and musings'n'enthusings of Dave Ling
will be updated daily - except after days of stress and nights of excess.
Saturday 28th February
Is there a fire drill?!?! What a brilliant score-line... Wet Sham 1, Palace 3. Though we attended last season's corresponding fixture I wasn't prepared to pay 43 quid (twice) for Ed and I to be there in person – it seemed far wiser to spend it on booze instead. So that's what we did, complete with party food and bar snacks. Glenn Murray scored twice before being sent off, but the Eagles’ ten men held out to secure all three points. The so-called ‘Academy’ taught a lesson and Palace move up to twelfth in the table. Love it. And just as you think things can’t get any better the new Todd Rundgren album arrives.
If Carling did a results service – Sunderland, Hull, Burnley and Aston Vanilla all lost in the Prem, Shiteon were defeated thanks to Nigel Roberts’s beloved Bolton, my second team Orient got a 2-0 win, a Palace loanee equalised against Scumwall (who ultimately dropped all three points to their relegation rivals), Vincent Tan – surely the best thing ever to happen to Cardiff – returned to see his clowns flop (again) and Scotland succumbed to Italy with the oval ball. In celebration of these facts I have now switched to White Ace cider (7.5% vol) – the choice of champs... er, tramps! Hmmmm, anyone think I might need a bit of a power-nap before the cricket?
Friday 27th February
Jeezus, this is grim - YouTube footage of the new video from Whitesnake. A re-make of Deep Purple's ‘Stormbringer’ that almost beggars belief. It’s lifted from ‘The Purple Album’, a set of tunes that sees the band revisiting material from David Coverdale’s tenure with that same group. “It’s a tribute, a huge thank you from me to Deep Purple for the opportunity I was given over 40 years ago,” explains the singer. Sorry, but to these ears it’s nothing less than an abomination. Thank you, David, for the treasured memories and songs. Now please turn out the light.
I’m currently reading – and enjoying – Strange Way To Live, the autobiography of Carl Dixon, best known as a lead singer of guitarist of Maple Leaf heroes Coney Hatch but also a member of April Wine and The Guess Who. It sees Dixon admitting to and confronting his failings; professionally, matrimonially (“On New Year’s Eve 1989 my wife bottled me from the audience while I was singing onstage – with a champagne bottle, no less. I probably had it coming”) and as a human being, and that’s before we get into the Lazarus-like recovery from a car crash that would have killed 99.9% of the population. On a lighter note, though it predates his tenure with the group the book made me want to revisit this beauty from April Wine – a band that UI never got the see back in the day. Much to my great regret.
I had been considering a Crobar visit till lunchtime and the receipt of an official-looking letter marked: ‘Parent or guardian of Arnie Ling’. Yikes!!! Those things never contain good news, do they? But the l'il critter has only gone and got himself into Sixth Form, subject to achieving the right grades. Methinks some sort of takeaway and a bucket of vino collapso might well be in order.
Thursday 26th February
There's an interesting interview with Paul Raymond in the new issue of Fireworks magazine in which he addresses the thorny situation of UFO’s set-list: “People would like to hear a few more obscure songs, we really need to do something about that. I’ve been putting some songs into my own [solo] shows that normally wouldn’t feature in a UFO set and people have been going mad for the ‘No Place To Run’ songs. Maybe, as UFO, we could learn from that?” Lo and behold... here’s what they’ve been playing on a tour that’s just got underway (with ‘Venus’ and ‘Shoot Shoot’ added for good measure). Me likey! Very much indeed!
I was surprised that ‘Kipper’ also stated, without any form of enticement: “Realistically, UFO have achieved everything we set out to. It would be nice to get together the line-up from the 1970s while we're still alive. Michael is doing really well at the moment and he’s in great shape so I don't even know if he would entertain something like that. It would be nice to do it one more time though.” Personally, I’m not so sure I’d agree.
Wednesday 25th February
What a bloody terrific night at the launch party for John Mitchell’s Lonely Robot project, which included a wonderful five-song acoustic set (‘Construct/Obstruct’, ‘Why Do We Stay’ with guest vox from Heather Findlay, ‘Oubliette’ featuring a cameo from Kim Seviour, ‘Humans Being’ and ‘The Red Balloon’) that the audience actually stood and *listened to* instead of chattering over. For wristband wearers the bar was gratis all evening, too, which only made things better still. For a report click here.
With Steven Wilson, Steve Hogarth and Nick Beggs present among an impressive guest list there was a lot of love in the room for It Bites, *Frost and Arena man Mitchell, who it must be said is one of the good guys. The record, entitled ‘Please Come Home’, is a beautiful, thoughtful and bewitching set of tunes and here’s hoping that the album does very well for him. Oh, and how odd that I was talking about ‘Brave’ on the morning of the show. It was nice to have a wee chat with Mr Hogarth, who I hadn’t seen in a very long while (thanks to Sue Ashcroft for this great photo).
Tuesday 24th February
Oh look, it’s Marillion's ‘Brave’. I have just dug out this album for work-related purposes; hadn’t heard it in many, many years and forgot just how awesome it is. I remember going to the launch party at the Planetarium. It’s put me in a very proggy mood which is kinda fortuitous as something very special is happening this evening! I’ll tell you about it in the morning.
Monday 23rd February
Somebody should’ve shot those f**king bagpipe players that insisted upon making such an excruciating noise during England’s game with Scotland in the Cricket World Cup! My eldest son Eddie thought it truly hilarious that I kept scowling in annoyance and hitting the ‘mute’ button – which he would then undo with the second remote! Hahaha! You little git! Bagpipes make such a hideous din, intentionally so. That’s the whole point – they are meant to distract and annoy potential foes. However, their hideousness could not prevent England from winning the game so yah boo sucks, and shove yer deep-fried haggis right up yer arse, Hamish!
My weekend closed with a fascinating in-depth phone conversation with Alan Lancaster about the ‘Hello!’ and ‘Quo’ albums. How tantalising to learn that the band came “very, very close” to doing the latter’s ‘Don’t Think It Matters’, one of their very finest heads-down-see-you-at-the-end anthems, on the second Frantic Four tour.
Sunday 22nd February
Dodgy pen, 2nd goal offside. Clattenberg is a c**t. Yeah, it would be fair to say that I didn’t really enjoy yesterday’s trip to Selhurst for the visit of Arsenal – especially as the Eagles came within the width of a post from claiming a plucky draw, having gone two goals down. Aaaaarg!
However, a degree of cheer was restored by the arrival of the new UFO, ‘A Conspiracy Of Stars’, on double-gatefold blue vinyl, complete with an excellent non-album bonus track, ‘King Of The Hill’. A ‘back of the net’ moment that even the oafish Clattenberg couldn’t ruin!
Oh... and many congrats to the Thunder dudes for entering this week’s album chart at Number #9 with ‘Wonder Days’. In this era of internet music thievery that’s quite an achievement.
Saturday 21st February
It’s gone midnight and I’m snuggled up in bed with the new issue of Classic Rock (dated April, with Deep Purple on the cover), reading Paul Elliott’s excellent feature on Thunder. It sees the band returning to Habersdashers’ Aske’s, the south London school at which singer Danny Bowes and guitarist Luke Morley met more than four decades ago.
Besides their new album, ‘Wonder Days’, the band principals also talk candidly about the illness and recovery of guitarist/keyboard player Ben Matthews. It’s a moving tale on a great band, well told by my old pal ‘Gooner’.
Friday 20th February
Ulp! I awoke to discover that England had lost to the Kiwis in the Cricket World Cup by eight wickets with a whopping 37.4 overs to spare?! How utterly embarrassing. Thank Christ I didn’t get up early for that one! Let’s try fielding the women’s team in the next game, maybe? I’m sure they’d stand a far better chance of winning.
Another busy day or tape transcript lies ahead… Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Gary Rossington, Jim Kerr from Simple Minds, Tyketto’s Danny Vaughn – who spilled the beans on an upcoming two-man tour of the UK with Dan Reed – and yet another Danny, Daniel Lanois. Mind if we call you all Bruce to keep it simple?
Thursday 19th February
It’s 35 years ago today that AC/DC icon Bon Scott left this planet? You’ve got to be kidding me... I was lucky enough to have seen the singer’s last ever show in London, at Hammersmith Odeon on 17.12.79 – my one and only time with Bon on vox. To commemorate this sad fact here’s one of my all-time fave tracks from that glorious era.
Wednesday 18th February
What wonderful, wonderful news. Following the liver transplant that nearly killed him last year, Walter Trout has announced a full return to action, with a date at London’s Royal Albert Hall in June and some additional shows towards 2015’s end. Just try keeping me away from that RAH gig.
Tuesday 17th February
Last night was spent in the West End, chinking a glass or two with an overseas visitor in town. I first met Charrie Foglio back in mid-1980s during the early days of Metal Hammer magazine. Based in California she went on to work with Bon Jovi, Skid Row and a long list of heavyweight acts. We don’t see one another too regularly but it’s always fantastic to catch up. After a curry we ended up in the Crobar – Charrie’s first visit – telling rock ‘n’ roll tales and enjoying Jäger shots… well, I was drinking mine and she sipped hers. What a lightweight.
Fellow Van Halen fans, if you’ve an hour to spare this footage of Edward Van Halen’s recent appearance at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History is great! I love that EVH mentions being inspired by ‘Glad All Over’ (the Dave Clark Five song to which CPFC take the field at all of their home games) and had almost forgotten how he had set out to be a drummer and not a guitarist... thank Gawd for the decision to swap over with sibling Alex!
Monday 16th February
With gigs and nights out in alarmingly small supply, I've spent the last couple of weeks working my way through a small pile of books. I was absorbed by the casual debauched salaciousness of Ratt frontman Stephen Pearcy's memoir Sex, Drugs, Ratt & Roll: My Life In Rock. Pearcy is so brutally honest about his rise and fall, it's a bona fide page-turner every step of the way. Armed with a brilliantly glib turn of phrase, Deke Leonard of the Welsh band Man is among my favourite authors. His previous books Rhinos, Winos & Lunatics and Maybe I Should've Stayed In Bed left me guffawing, so it was fantastic to receive a latest effort, Maximum Darkness: man On The Road To Nowhere, which picks up his story in 1977 with Man disbanded and a solo career on the horizon. I'm three chapters in and I've already laughed aloud twice – notably at a great anecdote about Phil Lynott. Next up is Jerry Bloom's fascinating-looking trivia book about Deep Purple, A Matter Of Fact, followed by Strange Way To Live: A Story Of Rock 'N' Roll Resurrection, the autobiography of Coney Hatch frontman/guitarist Carl Dixon. Not that I'm complaining but my office is beginning to resemble a library, haha!
Sunday 15th February
Oh well… once again it's time to trot out that old cliché about 'focussing on the League'. Palace deservedly took the lead against Liverpool during yesterday's televised FA Cup home game against Liverpool but in the proverbial game of two halves were outplayed after the re-start. Breaking a recent hoodoo, it's the Scousers that advance to the quarter-finals. Despite the fact that Palace looked woeful and bereft of confidence and ideas during the last 20 minutes some positives could be drawn from a performance that once again took place with players switched from their usual roles and minus the towering presences of James McArthur and skipper Mile Jedinak, notably a promising debut from new left back Pape Souare. At times the atmosphere inside Selhurst was pretty good, too. The Holmesdale Fanatics' latest banner reminding us of Supa Al's winner in the 1990 Semi Final was very cool indeed.
Saturday 14th February
What a waste of time and effort that turned out. I arose at stupid o'clock for England's game against the convicts in the Cricket World Cup. Well, when I say 'up' I mean crashed out in my living room chair with duvets and faithful feline company! Eng won the toss and opted to bowl first, but were thoroughly outclassed by an impressive Australia, the tournament's red-hot favourites, succumbing to a 111-run defeat. I had an appointment to take Eddie to the bank and was rather relieved to switch off before the end. Gone are the days when it felt as though England were capable of winning any game. Long gone. Time moves on and nothing lasts forever, I get that, but we should at least be competitive, Goddamit!!
Friday 13th February
Well, here's something I learned today.... during this afternoon's phone interview Rick Parfitt just informed me that he and Alan Lancaster wrote 'Backwater' from the 'Quo' album about Beckenham Junction Station! It seems that Al used to have a flat nearby. ("Down at Backwater Junction/Rolling down the line"... "In a house on the corner/Looking over the track"). Ling Towers is a mere two or three miles away! Having put down on the phone on Ricky P (who answered with a chorus of Chuck Berry's 'My Ding A Ling'… git!) I had another great retro-based chat with John Coghlan. I do so hate my job! Hehehe…
Thursday 12th February
Crystal Palace 1, Newcastle 1. Oh well… at least we didn't lose. Somewhat against the run of play, Papiss Cisse put the Geordies ahead with their first (and only!) shot on target as I queued for my half time pint of Palace Ale… grrrrr! After Fraiser Campbell equalised I thought the Eagles would go on and win it, but the goal just wouldn't come. Palace are now 13th in the Premier League table, very tidy thank-you! Can the season end now please?
It's still too cold to go out running, so it's time for 45 mins on the exercise bike with this little beaut at deafening volume! An audience recording of Montrose playing in Germany back in 1975, courtesy of Ross Halfin… nice one Ross!
Wednesday 11th February
Most of yesterday afternoon was spent tinkering around with news stories for the next issue of Classic Rock, FM's forthcoming album 'Heroes & Villains' blaring away in the background. It's monu-fucking-mental. 12 tracks, all killer no filler. I'm hard pushed to name a favourite. Believe me, fans of melodic hard rock are in for a treat on April 17. As usual my fellow Classic Rock scribe Paul 'Gooner' Elliot is quite right... it's hard to imagine anything topplng this in 2015's 'best-of' lists.
Anyway, in an hour two Eddie and I are off to Selhurst for the game between Palace and Newcastle. May the best team win, as long as their stripes are Red & Blue and they're managed by a fella called Pardew. COYP!
Tuesday 10th February
Mixed feelings as I'm back safely at Ling Towers. It's good seeing my kids again and also to sleep in my own bed, but whaddya mean I've gotta make my own breakfast??!! That's just not on…
The journey home in my friend Paul Newcomb's car was chilled and relaxed, conducted with a soundtrack that included Phil Mogg's $ign Of 4 album (I'd forgotten how brilliant that was!), some Royal Southern Brotherhood and The Best Of 10cc. What utterly brilliant arrangements to songs such as 'I'm Mandy' Fly me', 'Rubber Bullets' and 'Life Is A Minestrone'... I've got the 10cc catalogue on vinyl but will have to starting picking them up on CD, I think!
And talking of Monsewer Mogg, during my absence the postie delivered a finished CD of new UFO album, 'A Conspiracy Of Stars'. For the first time ever (with UFO) I get a mention in the special thanks list! Wow, file under 'life highlights'! That means so much!!!
Monday 9th February
[Sighs deeply]: It's time to leave Minehead… and it feels as though we got here about 25 minutes ago!
Filing my third and final report was a toughie. For the second consecutive night we celebrated Mr Buckley's birthday into the small hours. Alas, wifi issues compounded the more obvious problems and I was gutted to still have been tap-tap-tapping away at the laptop as Cregan & Friends hit the stage. CR's snapper Kevin Nixon later informed me that they were so good, he was almost moved to tears. Dammit, dammit, dammit!
Having tumbled out of bed mere hours before, Cregan's Family band-mate Roger Chapman returned for a far more energized and boisterous display with the Shortlist… what a brilliant set – another highlight of a superb weekend of music. I loved hanging out with pals old and new – it was great to spend time chin-wagging with original Stray bassist Gary Giles – drinking cider by the flagonload and soaking up a friendly vibe. Giants Of Rock You were a complete and utter blast but I fear I am going to need a new liver. See you next year!
Sunday 8th February
My pal Noel Buckley is a bit like the Queen, in more ways than one, though I refer specifically to the fact that the lucky fella has two birthdays. Post-show we drank till the early hours once more… only to be invited to another party in his (dis-)honour 24 hours later. Once again I thought it best to exit as the hell-raising reached new peaks. Listen, I like my rock 'n' roll excess as much as the next guy, maybe more, but when people ruin the party with crumpets – yeah *crumpets* - while the rest of us are trying to drink, I'm outta there. That's just a bridge too far.
So who were my bands of Saturday? Well, 16-year-old Aaron Keylock had quite rightly got the place buzzing over on the Introducing Stage – an area for up 'n' coming acts to stake a claim for a place on the main stage in 2015. He has some great self-penned songs including 'Medicine Man', 'Spin The Bottle' and the Peter Green-inspired 'Just One Question' and a cover of Johnny Winter's 'Self Destruction Blues' belied his a tender age.
I'd never seen Family before and by golly they were fantastic. Somebody tapped me on the shoulder and waved a Palace hat in my face as I stood mouth agape in front of the stage during their set. It was Gary 'Harry' James, one of several musicians putting in multiple shift over the weekend (Harry could be seen with Magnum and Cregan & Co). Together we celebrated Crystal Palace's possibly season-defining victory at Leicester, though I'm willing to bet that up on the stage Foxes nutter Roger Chapman was feeling considerably less chuffed (at Family's reunion show in 2013, they were introduced by LCFC player Frank Worthington). However, yesterday afternoon, not even City manager Nigel Pearson's rugby tactics could prevent the Eagles from returning to SE25 with the points! Yippee… time for more ale!
My Classic Rock website report can be viewed here.
Saturday 7th February
Well, we arrived safely in Minehead and I managed to stay off the grog till checking into my chalet (which is more than can be said for somebody, no names mentioned, who sank several cans of vodka-based brew and a bottle of wine during the journey). I was pleasantly surprised by The Yardbirds' set, and Black Star Riders kicked some serious ass. One of the weekend's funniest moments came as Scott Gorham and company played their 90-minute set. Lots of grim faced Welsh rugby fans began to materialise in the crowd following the evening's defeat to bitter rivals England. Though he didn't intentionally stoke the fire, BSR frontman Ricky Warwick enquired about the result – hahaha! Cue: even longer faces among those wearing red shirts. As I too had no idea the outcome until witnessing their crestfallen reaction, it was very, very hard not to leap around with joy.
There's a knack to working *and* partying. Though everyone else was still going strong, I made my excuses and headed for the pit at around 3am… despite Mr Warwick having kindly invited me to a party at one of the BSR chalets. With copy filing deadline a mere nine hours away, it was time to hit the hay. Here's the report that I filed.
Friday 6th February
It's 6am as I type… I'm up earlier than usual to finish some final stories before heading off to the second annual Giants Of Rock festival in Minehead with the usual suspects. We're due to leave Croydon for Somerset in a couple of hours. I'll be back in a few days, so see you at the bar if you're there. My pal Noel Buckley celebrates his [coughs loudly] birthday over the weekend and if it's anything like the 2014 event, things could end up getting rather messy. Okay, I've gotta do some 'work' (if you really wish to use the term) while I'm there, filing daily online reports for the Classic Rock website by the following lunchtime, but nothing too backbreaking!
Though it means missing Palace's crucial six-pointer at Leicester Shitty – always an easy one to get to – I really can't wait for this; given the scenario here at Chateau Ling, it's probably the only real holiday that I'm likely to get in 2015!! How utterly ludicrous is that??!!
Thursday 5th February
Many apologies to my postman who must have given himself a hernia ferrying my contributors copy of this superb, autographed denim-lined coffee table book on the Frantic Four to the door of Ling Mansions. It has photos sourced from the band's own archives, my own new interviews with Frame, Rick, Nuff and Spud, plus forewords by Bob Harris and the so-called fifth member of the FF, Bob Young.
Just 750 copies exist and it arrives in a box laminated with the cover of the 'Hello!' album, carries a certificate of authentication that shows the four band members signing the book's centre section, plus a personalised lanyard. Very classy, and I'm extremely proud and honoured to have been involved. If you are feeling flush, some copies are still available. Go to www.thefamousmarqueeclub.com for details on how to order.
An emotional message released by Daevid Allen reveals that the Gong mainman has just six months to live. "I can only hope that during [the] journey [of my life], I have somehow contributed to the happiness in the lives of a few other fellow humans," he writes. It's such a shame. I had the great pleasure of interviewing Daevid on a couple of occasions. The time we met face to face he complimented me on my extremely bushy eyebrows: "They're really great... maybe you should make a feature of them?" Needless to say, the tweezers came out as soon as I got home! Allen is a complete and utter fruitloop but he has made his fair share of truly amazing music. Here's wishing him well for his final days.
Wednesday 4th February
I'm still chuckling at yesterday's news that Harry Redknapp has resigned from QPHaha, reportedly on the grounds that he needs a knee operation! What a shabby excuse. I've always disliked Redknapp… the way he considers himself "a football manager" and takes exception to being tarred as a wheeler dealer… and that's before the get into all of the murky financial subterfuge follows him wherever he goes. I wonder whether his dog Rosie – who jurors learned in 2013 was the subject of secret payments made to 'Arry's s Monaco bank account in the pooch's name – will now become the red hot favourite to take the job? In fact… hold the front page, here's a photo just in from the training ground!
Just had a very cool phone chat with Johnny Van Zant. There will be no new Skynyrd album till 2016, which is a shame as the last few have been great, but I can't wait for those UK dates in April! Yee haw!
Tuesday 3rd February
My Monday evening closed with a great phone conversation with an upbeat sounding Lemmy Kilmister. "What's the weather like in London?" he asked. When I replied: "Utterly freezing... my feet have turned to ice under my desk" he laughed: "It's only 75 degrees here today. And people said I was unreasonable moving to LA." Git!
As the UFO tour draws nearer, my friends and I have been planning which of its shows to attend (besides London, of course). Arrangements are being made to send a small, elite team behind enemy lines at That Place On The South Coast That Cannot Be Named... dangerous but worth the risk! Cambridge is also being mentioned. I can't wait to get my mitts on one of the brand new UFO hoodies that are now on sale here.
Monday 2nd February
Welcome back young Wilfried. Now, would you like somebody to show you around? Hahaha!
Yes, Wilfried Zaha has rejoined the Eagles following a torrid spell at ManUre. I'm pretty satisfied by Pardew's business in the transfer window. We have signed a real international-quality left back at last (Pape Souaré is his name), Wilf is back at home with something to prove, Glenn Murray has signed a new contract and the acquisition of Lee Chung-yong from Bolton is a great bit of business (so long as he remains fit), while Sohola Ameobi and Sonogo provide extra options up front.
Sunday 1st February
I had a horrible day at football as out-of-form Everton scored in the second minute and Palace could not muster a reply. The Eagles seem to specialise in such games; allowing teams on a losing streak to simply come to Selhurst, fill their boots and exit with the points (the same thing happened against Aston Vanilla, who couldn't buy a win at the time). Post-match I had a massive argument with eldest son Eddie, the takeaway arrived two hours late, and I fell asleep and woke up in front of telly at 1.30am, enviously reading FB posts of friends who were out having fun at Heavy Load... but then remembered I had put on the electric blanket when the Linglets turned in... aaaaaaaaaahhh, bliss! Mistress Sleep I am yours! Zzzzzzzzzzzzz.
The current Facebook craze is to invite friends to share seven unknown or interesting facts about themselves. Here's mine:
1) My parents tell me the first word I ever said was 'condensation'. Yes, really…
2) I have been physically threatened by three of Iron Maiden's singers – Paul Di'Anno, Bruce Dickinson and Blaze Bayley.
3) As a kid, when my younger sister had a bizarre gardening accident – she put a spear right through her foot – I disgraced myself by hooting with laughter.
4) My first embarrassing incident with alcohol involved a school friend's birthday party and a bottle of ouzo. When my dad came to pick me up, I was shirtless, face down and comatose in the back garden. He made me go back and apologise the next day.
5) The first time I met Geoffrey Downes of Asia, I had been drinking all day with Malcolm Dome and as he reached out to shake Geoff's hand I deposited a huge tumbleweed of some foul smelling noodly-type substance at his feet. We became friends.
6) The first autograph I collected was of impressionist Mike Yarwood, aged around six or seven. I've still got it somewhere.
7) The first record I ever bought was 'The Ballroom Blitz' by The Sweet for 49 pence. I cried when the Simon Park Orchestra's 'Eye Level' kept it off the top of the chart in September 1973.
This posting inspired a flurry of enquiries: 'What went wrong with the Maiden singers?' Well, I didn't actually write the thing that got Bruce so worked up, though it did cause him to throw chutney at me and threaten to "punch my glasses down my fucking throat". I went back and found my name check in Di'Anno's book. He didn't really chase me "through the London traffic like a hound after a fox", but I admit I had to go to M&S the following day to purchase new undergarments. We're fine now, though, I think…
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