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 29th February
A whopping three-hour journey to travel just 30 miles, Eddie and I are behind enemy lines for the biggest game of the season: Don't let us down Eagles.
[Edit: Shiteon 0 Palace 1, bragging rights restored. Fuck off back to the Championship! Following a long day of travelling Ed and I popped into the Sportsman in Bexhill for a pint before final leg of journey. When Bowie's 'Starman' came on the jukebox and we started singing the Andros Townsend song, so did a bunch of loonies over in the corner - more Palace fans! Party time (cont'd). An exhausting day on the road, but after such a wonderful result, who cares?!]
Thursday 27th February
How's this for a TBT memory: Way back in 1988 Metal Hammer sent me to Katowice in Poland to cover an all-day show that featured, among others, Nasty Savage, Atomkraft, Exumer and Slutt. Venom's Tony 'Abaddon' Bray was the tour manager and no word of a lie, over the course of several days everybody from our UK-based posse necked the local vodka from the moment we awoke until falling over and doing it all again. Here we have (L-R): Ronnie, Ian Davison Swift from Atomkraft, yours truly and Atomkraft's Tony Dolan. Just look at the state of my eyes - they're more glazed than the original Crystal Palace. One morning at 5am a foolishly inebriated trio of Tony, Paul Miller from Kerrang! (RIP) and myself were collared roaming the streets by the Polish police. As waves of realisation and terror began to dawn upon us (the country was still behind the Iron Curtain at the time) we pooled together a wedge of zlottis and the officials allowed us to stumble from their vehicle and off into the night in search of our hotel. Young, foolish and very, very lucky.
Wednesday 26th February
Amid fevered cries of: "Can I get an amen?" The Marcus King Band seduced a jam-packed Electric Ballroom. Armed with a two-man horn section that really allowed him to bring the funk, it's nigh on impossible to believe that this guitarist/vocalist from Greenville, South Carolina, is still in his mid-twenties.
"We're gonna leave it all here on the bandstand for ya; we ain't gonna hold nothing back," King promised at the start of a delicious, swaggering 110 minutes of music that dipped in and out of various styles - including blues, velvety Southern rock and lashing upon lashing of delicious, sweet soul. Besides his obvious skills with the guitar, Marcus has a voice like runny honey. I could have watched the guy all night. He's gonna be massive.
From the sublime to the ridiculous, I just conducted a phone interview with Gary Kemp about his love of progressive music - and music in general. When I pointed out that there had been some surprise when the former Spandau Ballet man had joined Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason in his new group Saucerful Of Secrets, the guitarist laughed: "Yeah, but it was the same feeling when people learned I was going to play Ronnie Kray [in The Krays, 1990]; sometimes you just have to take [the astonishment] on the chin because I knew I was going to be good enough. I wouldn’t have been cast if the director didn’t like me." Good point well made!
Tuesday 25th February
Chris Robinson is the latest rock musician to express fury at audiences that talk over the music. I don't blame him. Check out this footage. He has his say, they begin the song and the crowd starts chattering again - WTF!!!
Monday 24th February
Myke Gray Featuring Kim Jennett at the Camden Underworld: what a bloody great gig. The word 'extraordinary' should be used sparingly but it's the only term applicable to Kim's stunningly powerful, emotive voice. Her rendition of the Red White & Blues song 'Counts For Nothing' gave me goosebumps. What a phenomenal talent. So very glad I ignored my hangover to make the journey to The Smoke on a Sunday night.
Saturday 22nd February
Woooo-hoooo! CPFC 1 Newcastle 0. Before the game my lad Eddie and I had predicted that the score would be 1-0 to somebody. I’ve gotta say... Palace deserved the win. Beer o'clock.
Friday 21st February
Last night Dream Theater performed the first of two shows celebrating the 20th anniversary of 'Metropolis Pt 2: Scenes From A Memory', my fave of their albums, in its entirety at the Hammy O (I will never call it anything different). Upon reaching the box office to collect my review tickets, Amanda and I were shocked to find that we had been placed in the front row, dead centre, right in front of James LaBrie! Wow... what an amazing experience!
P.S. We are in Jordan Rudess' Instagram video.
Wednesday 19th February
Another large tick in the checklist of my career - just interviewed Alan Parsons. Our conversation was for a future issue of Prog magazine, focussing on the newly expanded edition of the Alan Parsons Project’s seventh album, 'Ammonia Avenue'. Thousands of miles away in California, Alan was yet to lay eyes or ears upon said re-issue and sought my opinion. I reassured him that the deluxe version – featuring three CDs and a Blu-ray disc, a double-45RPM 12-inch vinyl cut at Abbey Road, promo videos and a lavish coffee table book – is a thing of complete beauty.
“Oh good,” responded Parsons warmly. “I’m so glad that it turned out well.” Top man.
Sunday 16th February
I've just woken up on sofa, fully clothed including glasses, jacket and boots. The Crobar posse were in Hastings yesterday, with Jerry Ewing dropping by to deejay at our local rock club night, Aquarius. Must have been a good evening!
Friday 14th February
I’m on the way back to St Loenards from a media playback of the rather splendid new Nightwish album, rather bizarrely entitled ‘Human. :II: Nature.’.
During proceedings I had to remind two chattering, disrespectful twats in front of me that this is, in fact, a listening session and not a public bar. The world is going mad.
Another train journey; yet more quality reading material. This book on van Halen was written by their long-time manager Noel Monk. I can't recommend it highly enough.
Thursday 13th February
Mr George Thorogood And His Destroyers and Foghat have been added to the bill for this summer's Ramblin' Man Fair - now that's more like it!!! Foghat haven't played the UK since 1973, so that's something not to be missed!!! (And I can make an early exit for Rival Yawns...)
Tuesday 11th February
Transcribing a fascinating phone interview with Artimus Pyle, former drummer of Lynyrd Skynyrd, about his upcoming movie Street Survivors: The True Story Of The Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash, and the legal battle to get it onto the screens later this year. First question:
Why did you feel the need to make this film?
He replied: "For years, Skynyrd fans have wanted to know what happened. I was on the plane. I’ve been in three airplane crashes. My father was killed in a plane crash and so were several of my friends. And I’m a pilot. So I thought I was qualified to tell the story."
Monday 10th February
I'm often asked: 'Whatever Happened To Burke Shelley from Budgie?', and I did know some of the information that follows here, but not all of it. Check it out and prepare to be saddened.
Saturday 8th February
Up bright 'n' early to take in a record fair in St Leonards-on-Sea. A record fair in a pub, actually. Does it get much better than that? I left clutching 'Get Yourself Up', a 1976 album by the hugely underrated US hard rock band Head East that was missing from the collection. Mint-quality vinyl for a quid complete with lyric insert. No complaints there!
I had to abort my plan to see Beth Hart at Hammy Odeon due to pressure of work, which was a shame, but I wasn't gonna miss the televised lunchtime clash between Everton and Palace. Given the respective differences in form I'd have bitten your hand off for a point, crocodile-style. Having equalised just before half time the final score of 3-1 to the Toffees seemed harsh, but I must admit the Eagles were never really in the game.
Thursday 6th February
Listening to the new three-disc Deluxe Edition of 'Rock 'Til You Drop' (bonus features including my sleeve essay, with comments from Mr Rossi); the band's last LP of the Vertigo Records era and in my view among their final worthwhile releases. After that it became the occasional song, and albums of sporadic greatness: 'Heavy Traffic', 'Quid Pro Quo' and bits of the newie, 'Backbone'. With 'Rock 'Til You Drop' there are way too many songs and what's that iffy re-make of 'Forty Five Hundred Times' all about? But it's far better than I remember it...
Monday 3rd February
This month's Playlist is up. Check it out here.
Sunday 2nd February
Palace 0, Sheff Utd 1... what a terrible, disappointing game of footie, and such an undeserved result. Vicente Guaita, the keeper who has saved us so many times had obviously borrowed Hennessey's gloves, dropping the ball into his own net in the 68th minute for what turned out the only goal of the match. The Eagles drop to 13th in the table, six points outside of the bottom three. I feel no animosity towards Guaita, mistakes happen and the Spaniard has had a brilliant first season between the sticks, though the result tarnished an excellent, boozy day out with a terrific bunch of blokes I've met. The Hastings Palace posse are a bunch of fellow Eagles-crazy pissheads from East Sussex. I look forward to many more away days in their company.
On the way from Selhurst I took comfort from Elton John's amazing autobiography, Me. What a superlative book. Nobody is safe from the man's wrath. Not even his mum. Seriously, if you haven't read it then please do so...
Saturday 1st February
Last night was spent at London's Wembley Arena. How great to see Mr Mustaine back onstage, bearded, happy and cancer-free. The crowd went mad when Megadeth's motormouth spoke of his brush with told the Big C, telling us: “A year ago, we were working on our new album and I started to feel some pain. I went to the doctor and he said, ‘Dave, you have cancer.' And I went, 'Fuck!' I was so shocked. “At first, I thought, 'Am I afraid?' And then I said, 'No. I'm fucking pissed.' I went into treatment. It was 51 radiation treatments and nine chemo treatments and when it was all said and done, every day I would think, 'I can't face not playing again,' so I would pray. A lot of you guys know that I pray. I say that in 'Peace Sells'. I pray every day. But I thought about you guys every day, too. And I thought about my family. And I got this power from you guys. And I just kept thinking about it. And on October 16, I went to go see the doctor and he said, 'You're 100% free of cancer.'" And what about the music, you ask? How about this for a 65-minute set-list: 'Hangar 18', 'The Threat Is Real', 'Wake Up Dead', 'Sweating Bullets', 'Trust', 'Tornado Of Souls', 'Dystopia', 'Symphony Of Destruction', 'Mechanix', 'Peace Sells' and an encore of 'Holy Wars... The Punishment Due'.