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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Monday 30th January
Thank Gawd I braved dodgy transport and frostbite to investigate Stream Of Passion. Formed around the Netherlands-based Arjen Anthony Lucassen, of Ayreon/Star One/Vengeance/Bodine fame, this band of varied nationalities and influences is very special indeed. Mexican-born femme fatale Marcela Bovio offers sultry lead vocals and violin, Lori Linstruth is a Schenker devotee and plays as good as she looks, keyboardist Alejandro Millán has a jazz background, while Holland natives Johan van Stratum and Davy Mickers nail down the rhythms with a mixture of elephantine power and ballet dancer-style deftness.
I'd simply expected SoP to perform highlights from their debut album 'Embrace The Storm', which turned out to be the case (highlights including 'Passion', 'Wherever You Are' and 'Haunted'), but was gobsmacked by the addition of various Ayreon gems including 'Into the Black Hole' and 'The Castle Hall' (both featuring opening act Damian Wilson), plus an encore of Led Zeppelin's 'When The Levee Breaks'. This was Lucassen's first London appearance since playing the Marquee with Vengeance two decades ago. He and Stream Of Passion undoubtedly deserve a swift return visit. The Borderline is possibly my favourite London venue right now, but are they likely to grace such an intimate environment again? Only to borrow from the recent parlance of Iain Dowie if "I'm a Dutchman".
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Sunday 29th January
On a weekend when Chelsea announced a barely believable pre-tax loss of £140 million, my faith in the FA Cup's David and Goliath spirit remains truer than ever. Yesterday, Palace were pitched against Preston North End, the team one place below us in the Fizzy Pop Championship. Predictably, the result was a 1-1 away draw. So a replay adds to an already congested fixture list, and we face The Lilywhites at Deepdale again in the League on Tuesday night. That's the one Dowie's men must win.
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Saturday 28th January
Ginger's new 'Valor Del Corazón' double set has been lodged in my CD player since arriving, and the former Wildhearts/Silver Ginger 5 leader played a large chunk of the album with his new band The Sonic Circus at the Garage last night. Before things began I bumped into ex-Wolfsbane drummer Steve 'Danger' Ellett, who was crewing for Ginger, the band also featuring another former 'Baner, guitarist Jase Edwards. With a percussionist and two female backing vocalists, the stage got pretty cramped, the congestion only worsening when former Silver Ginger 5/Electric Boys guitarist Conny Bloom[quist] strolled for the set's latter half. Besides a romp through SG5's 'Sonic Shake', we got most of the new album ('Ugly', 'Yeah, Yeah, Yeah', 'My Friend The Enemy', 'The Drunken Lord Of Everything', 'This Is Only A Problem', 'Drinking In The Daytime,' 'Bulb', 'Ten Flaws Down', 'Only Lonely' and 'Mother City'), the audience's rousing singalong during 'The Man Who Cheated Death' almost leaving Ginger speechless with emotion. Encores consisted of covers of Bowie's 'Boys Keep Swinging', an ambitious stab at 'Love Hurts' (Ginger's vocals have improved beyond recognition in recent
years, but the Everly Brothers' tear-jerker is still quite a way beyond him), 'Pump It Up' by Elvis Costello, plus a rousing finale of the Wildhearts' own '29 x The Pain'. Even the failure of Spike from the Quireboys and UFO's Pete Way to make their rumoured guest appearances - maybe they shared a few too many bottles and went to Ginger's garage instead?! - couldn't remove the gloss from a sensational night.

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Friday 27th January
My sprained rib played up a little last night. I was watching a great set from Children Of Bodom at the Astoria when the painkillers suddenly wore off during a manic version of 'Follow The Reaper'. It was maddening to have to sneak out and find a chemist; I must double-dose for this evening's show by Ginger & The Sonic Circus. To tell the truth, it always annoys me when bands call their audience "mothertruckers" and assure us that we "know how to rock". I know we know how to fuggin' rock, don't patronise me! The Bodom boys managed both of these cardinal sins within their first 10 minutes, but quickly redeemed themselves. The Finns' brand of molten metal has a sublime melodic edge, Alexi Laiho and Roope Latvala's probing guitar runs evenly balanced by the effervescent keboards of Janne Warman. Returning home disappointed at missing the end of a great set, I was mega-chuffed to find finished copies of the new Quo re-issues on my doormat. Something for the weekend, sir?
P.S. I'm pretty content with England's draw in the qualifiers for the next Euro championships. Our group has two potentially difficult sides - Croatia and Russia - plus Israel, Estonia, Macedonia and Andorra. Amusingly, Scotland are matched up against their old sparring partners the Faroe
Islands, plus Italy, France and Ukraine. Somebody's staying at home to wash their sporrans in 2008, eh?
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Thursday 26th January
How disappointing that Palace took home just a point from last night's dour 0-0 away draw with Southampton. The Eagles bossed the game's second half and could have had a hatful, with Andy Johnson of all people guilty of profligate finishing. Despite their excellent stadium, the Saints are in a huge mess. We've now collected 15 points from the last possible 18, but it was a long way back to Catford after such a lame performance.
The motorway was rendered a more pleasant place by a darned good blasting of 'Age Of Winters', a thoroughly excellent debut from Texan band The Sword that'll be among 2006's finest. Bastard sons of Black Sabbath and Mastodon, the quartet's heavy, groove-laden rumblings have already been acclaimed by Rolling Stone, Billboard, MTV and Spin. Watch 'em fly.
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Tuesday 24th January
So hapless England footie coach Sven Gormless Eriksson is to depart after this summer's World Cup? Very fine news indeed, if you ask me. The Swede supposedly has ice in his blood. Well, he certainly hasn't got much going on between his ears - I'll never forget his obscene lack of tactical nous in June 2002's sickening 2-1 defeat to Brazil - and we all know he can't keep his old fella locked away in his trousers. And as for picking red-hot Eagles striker Andrew Johnson and playing him wide on the right... words fail me. Please bring back the World Cup, Sven, then fuck off out of everyone's lives forever.
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Sunday 22nd January
Most of this weekend was filled by the writing of some Strangeways sleeve notes for Majestic Rock Records - gosh, what a fabulous record 1987's 'Native Sons' is - but yesterday afternoon I broke for an overdue visit to Lewisham Hospital's Accident & Emergency. After Monday's Ricky Warwick gig, and whilst stone cold sober let me add, I tripped up the kerb and have been in agony ever since. Last week being a Classic Rock news and reviews deadline, I was unable to get myself checked out and have been guzzling painkillers like M&Ms (the brown ones removed, obviously). Expecting a long wait, I took along four brand new Helloween re-issues that I'd written the notes for ('Walls Of Jericho' through 'Pink Bubbles Go Ape'), but was seen in less than an hour. It's a sprained rib, which means another week or so of sleepless nights and pills by the buckletload. Bah.
It's been ages since a chicken update, and there have been new arrivals Chez Ling. A couple of months ago we acquired a crazy, bad-tempered cockerel with an uncontrollable libido. Mrs L decided he had to be named Di'Anno. Well, Di'Anno has apparently been doing the dirty with Coppell, and we now have four more fluffy chicklets, and one egg still to hatch. If they're anything like their parents they'll handle themselves in a fight, and might even make exceptional football managers (though there could well be weaknesses in the transfer market if they're ever given decent funds).
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Saturday 21st January
Saw a great game of footie last night, a 1-1 draw that Palace could and should have won against the Fizzy Pop league's runaway leaders, Reading. But what a pathetic away turnout - an easily travelable Friday night fixture for a team unbeaten in 28 games, on top of the league, and pitched against a team on a good run of results... and still Reading only filled around 500 seats (we took 3,500 there on a Tuesday night - I know 'cos I was one of 'em).
All credit to Steve Coppell for his sterling achievements at Madejski Stadium, but his team and their supporters are in for a hiding in the Premier League. The funniest thing was when both of their fans sang, "We'll never play you again", like they were headed off to some European Super League or something. Twats.
On to brighter matters. A brand new Manowar studio album is due on April 3, preceded on February 27 by a single called - wait for it - 'The Sons Of Odin'. The single is a 10-minute epic, apparently in "classic true metal style". I'm about to start polishing my faithful Broadsword in anticipation. The Kings Of Metal already announced shows in Greece, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Germany as part of their 'Demons, Dragons and Warriors World Tour'. if no UK gigs are added I might just have to buy an air ticket.
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Friday 20th January
With a knowing glint in her eye, an acquaintance recently advised me to check out an apparently hilarious rant about Richie Blackmore at photographer Ross Halfin's excellent website. Ross is one of the most obnoxious individuals I've ever encountered, and he's inordinately proud of his vileness, yet I'm reliably informed if you get on his right side he's as good a friend as you're likely to get. Expecting the worst, I went to his diary and scrolled down till finding the November 1st 2005 entry, written in obvious deep shock and dismay after returning home from a Blackmore's Night gig at the Aylesbury Civic. Gotta say, I nearly pissed myself with laughter. For all his skill at photography, Ross is obviously in the wrong job. "In the lobby [were] some of the saddest people I've ever seen," he wrote, with unnerving accuracy. "Middle-aged men who obviously still lived with their mum, drinking real ale and thinking they were in medieval times. It was pathetic." Ross reckoned the stage set resembled a school play, "except no school would've constructed anything as amateurish". Singer Candice Night was likened to "a poor Steve Nicks", the whole experience dismissed as "tragic". Having once seen BN myself, it's hard to disagree with a single word. Thinks aloud: I must check out Halfin's diary more often.
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Thursday 19th January
Well, it's finally official. The Monsters Of Rock festival is back, with Deep Purple and Alice Cooper the first names to be confirmed on a bill that takes place on June 3. There's been no Monsters Of Rock in Britain since Kiss headlined there back in 1996. Obviously, let's hope some good support acts are confirmed (I'm told the final running order will feature five more groups) and it'll be interesting to see see how things go at Milton Keynes Bowl instead of Castle Donington... but it's about bloody time, eh?
More good news: the postie just brought the latest batch of Rock Candy Records re-releases - John Waite's solo debut 'Ignition', the second Coney Hatch album, 'Outa Hand', and 'The Tale Of The Tape' by Billy Squier.
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Wednesday 18th January
Last night I attended Deep Purple's gig at the Astoria. Given that the show was a launch party for the band's new album 'Rapture Of The Deep', it's perhaps churlish to complain that they played way too many new songs - I made it seven in all. 'Wrong Man' and the title track can hold their heads up high in the group's extensive repertoire, but some of the other newies are just mediocre. Ian Gillan was also struggling to hit way too many of the notes. On the plus side, 'Pictures of Home' was a great way to set things rolling, 'Lazy' and 'Perfect Strangers' sounded as wondrous as ever, and it was good to hear 'Living Wreck' (from 'In Rock') again. When Purple hit a roll towards the show's end with 'Space Truckin'', 'Highway Star' and 'Smoke on The Water', they were darned near unstoppable. Also enjoyed the opening set from new Irish hotshots The Answer, whose debut album should be well
worth checking out.
Post-show I had a quick chinwag with Roger Glover about Purple's involvement in the to-be-reactivated Monsters Of Rock bill. He seems like a very personable fella, but it was kinda amusing that he didn't know the festival had ground to halt a decade ago. However, he did tell a good story about the late Cozy Powell trying and almost succeeding to blow up the stage when Rainbow played there in 1980.
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Tuesday 17th January
I've received some emails asking my verdict on the promo of Queensrÿche's 'Operation: Mindcrime 2' album. Am happy to say that while it's not as awesome as the original - how could it be? - it's nowhere near as bad as I'd feared. Yesterday I met with vocalist Geoff Tate for an upcoming Classic Rock story. Couldn't resist asking him whether Queensrÿche's former apprentices, the mighty Dream Theater, have caught up and overtaken their mentors. You'll have to read the feature to find out his answer, but it should get a few message boards buzzing.
In the evening I headed up to the Barfly in Camden for Ricky Warwick's one-man solo show. The former Almighty frontman has some great songs to his name, with 'New Neighbors Old Fences', 'Guilty', 'Three Sides To Every Story', 'Can't Live With Maybe' and 'Mysterioso' all especially strong. His song intros, about encountering Iron Maiden's mascot Eddie The 'Ead while tripping on acid, were for the most part hilarious, and the 70-minute set also featured two Almighty tunes; 'Jesus Loves You... But I Don't' and 'Wild And Wonderful', the latter backed up by Floyd London.

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Sunday 15th January
Yesterday Iain Dowie took charge of his 100th game as manager of Crystal Palace, a fine 2-1 away victory at Hull City. According to the radio commentary, the club's fifth straight League win was a fairly straightforward affair, though there were a few nervy moments to endure in the second half.
In the evening I cracked open a few cold ones and listened to my interview on Planet Rock Radio. To my delight, it was sympathetically edited, and in between the chatter with deejay/host Nicky Horne they played most of the songs on my list, including the Quo's 'Mean Girl', 'Cherry' by UFO, Sweet's 'Set Me Free', Iron Maiden's 'The Flight Of Icarus', 'Shallow' by Porcupine Tree, Ted Nugent's 'Wang Dang Sweet Poontang', 'Cyclops' by Bruce Dickinson and as a finale to the show, FM's immaculate 'Frozen Heart'.
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Saturday 14th January
About to slip a watermarked promo CD into the Death Deck, I'm both excited and a little anxious. What happens if the bloody thing's crap? Why such trepidation? Well, while I was out at at a gig at the Underworld last night a bike messenger delivered my advance preview of Queensrÿche's long-awaited 'Operation: Mindcrime 2' album. Typing this, I've just got to the part where Ronnie James Dio makes a cameo as Doctor X. Will get back to ya when I've played the whole CD once or twice.
The band I went to see was Mendeed, a Glaswegian quintet that really impressed me whilst opening for DragonForce at the end of last year. They're a splendid fusion of thrash, hardore and power metal. "Modern metal with a classic twist," is how they describe it - and I couldn't agree more. I think we'll be hearing a lot more in the future of songs like 'Ignite The Flames', 'Stand As One And Fight For Glory', 'The Reaper Waits' and especially 'Glory Be Thy Name'.
Finally, just a reminder that my interview with Planet Rock Radio airs tonite at 7pm (for details see January 6 entry).
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Friday 13th January
My second hangover of the new year has arrived. New Year's Eve was the 40th birthday of my good friend Harj Kallah, and on that night his family and friends threw a surprise party for the fella which due to a variety of boring reasons I won't bore you with, the Lings were unable to attend. So yesterday we held a belated second birthday soiree for him in the Crobar. Various Classic Rock, Metal Hammer, TotalRock and Sanctuary Records bods were huddled around a table and the drinks (not to mention the gossip) flowed like the Niagara Falls. The eternally pleasant Sharlee D'Angelo from Arch Enemy was also around, looking slightly nervous at having agreed to interview Deep Purple's Ian Gillan for TotalRock this morning. I told him not to worry, so long as you know what you're talking about (and Sharlee certainly does) then Gillan's a pleasure to talk to.
Switched on the computer this morning to an email from Barbara Schenker. A former member of the band Viva (remember them?) and of course the sister of Michael and Rudolf, she is one of life's loveable eccentrics. As well as raising pop star budgerigars and writing jingles, it seems that Barbara is now attempting to educate Talk Radio station LBC 97.3 to rock music. It must be in the genes.
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Monday 9th January
I'd intended to attend last night's Obituary gig at the Mean Fiddler, though thankfully learned in advance that the band were stuck at immigration and couldn't turn up in time to play - a blessed relief considering the freezing cold, pissing rain and friggin' awful Sunday night transport. My afternoon was spent soaking up more of the FA Cup's romance, as non-league minnows Burton Albion played magnificently to take former Premier League Champions Moan United to a replay. The result was a 0-0 draw, but Fergiescum's team could easily have joined Spurs and Fulham in being giant-killed. Such hard-fought and well deserved triumphs are what football's really about; not pretentious nonces like Thierry Henry strolling around the pitch in pursuit of £100,000 a week paycheques.
Meanwhile, there's Asia reunion speculation over the John Wetton website's guestbook. Some people there seem to believe that Wetton is planning to reunite with Geoffrey Downes, Carl Palmer and Steve Howe. With Yes off the road for the immediate future, the latter's involvement could be possible. Palmer doesn't exactly seem too busy right now, though I find it hard to believe that Downes would 'betray' (for wont of a better word) his long-time working partner John Payne, especially with a new studio CD called 'Architect Of Time' on the way. You might recall that we've actually been here before, another likely looking reunion attempt running aground back in 1999. I guess that only time will tell, as the old song goes.
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Sunday 8th January
Yesterday was my youngest lad Arnie's seventh birthday. Among the pressies he received was a kit of electronic drum pads; you press buttons and they allow you to bash away like Animal from The Muppets to various tunes. All well and good... till we realised that one of these chosen tunes is 'I Hate Everything About You' by Ugly Kid Joe - a song I will loathe till the last breath of life departs my body. Of course, Arnie quickly picked up on my fury and now plays the damn song whenever he wants to wind me up.
During the afternoon Arnie and his mum went to Toys R Us in Croydon to blow yet more cash, while Eddie and I trundled along to Selhurst Park, where a surprisingly strong Palace team knocked Northampton Town out of the FA Cup by four goals to one. I say 'surprisingly strong' because it featured Andrew Johnson (who Eddie was thrilled to have his photo taken with post-match), Dougie Freedman, Michael Hughes, Jobi McAnuff, Gabor Kiraly and most of the first team, though once again Iain Dowie awarded the headless chicken Wayne Andrews a place. Andrews' cross-cum-shot helped with the second Eagles goal, but otherwise his contribution to the game was laughable. He's been quoted as saying: "I need to be playing. If I was to leave I'd be upset, but would hardly be crying." However, let me assure you now that on that joyous day, tears of happiness will be rolling down my face.
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Saturday 7th January
What a way to get 2006's gig calendar underway. Last night I attended a charity reunion show from The Almighty, with all proceeds going to leukaemia relief. Bassist Floyd London has been stricken by the condition but is now in remission - he certainly looked well enough when I bumped into him in the Mean Fiddler foyer pre-show. With a set-list chosen by the group's internet community, the night always seemed likely to be a treat. 'Welcome To Defiance' got things underway, before the big riffing of 'Wrench' set the place bouncing. 'Destroyed' then took us on an unexpected visit back to the band's debut album, released in 1989. I'll admit to feeling unexpectedly nostalgic by this point. I've seen Ricky Warwick and cohorts in various different settings and circumstances - as an unsigned support act at the 'old' Marquee in Wardour Street; at Folkestone's Leas Cliff Hall opening for (ulp!) Wolfsbane; tearing off the roof at the Cathouse in Hollywood; making new friends at Castle Donington in 1992, plus many times on reunion tours - and it was a pleasure to reacquaint myself with so many underrated tunes. The rest of the show ran as follows: 'Over The Edge', 'Way Beyond Belief', 'Bandaged Knees', 'The Unreal Thing', 'Addiction', 'Jonestown Mind', 'All Sussed Out', 'Jesus Loves You... But I Don't' (my own fave from the band's repertoire), 'Free 'N' Easy', 'Crucify', 'Full Force Loving Machine' and 'Wild And Wonderful'. Coming just a coupla days after the 20th anniversary of Phil Lynott's death, encoring with 'Cowboy Song' was a fitting tribute, and 'Do You Understand' sent the audience home grinning like the sad, wizened fools that we are now fast becoming.
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Friday 6th January
Just found out that my Planet Rock Radio interview will be airing on Saturday 14th January - a week tomorrow - at 7pm. It can be heard on DAB Digital Radio, Sky Digital Channel 861, or by logging on at www.planetrock.com. The show was a lot of fun to do. I'm not sure how many of the songs I chose they'll actually have time to play, but hopefully there'll be some classic Quo, Sweet and Genesis, maybe even some FM, plus a few silly stories.

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Thursday 5th January
Well, the first great album of 2006 has arrived. I'd been primed with a few soundclips and even the odd full track from Toto's 'Falling In Between', but was unprepared for the full extent of its greatness. With guest appearances from former members Joseph Williams and Steve Porcaro, plus Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull among others, this little beaut more than makes up for the fluff of 2002's 'Through The Looking Glass'. When I spoke to Steve Lukather before Christmas for a Classic Rock special on 1970s Rock Music that I believe is now on sale, the guitarist proudly declared: "We wanted to prove there's still something left in the tank." How right he was. Get y'selves down to the shops on February 10.
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Wednesday 4th January
It's hard to believe that Thin Lizzy leader Philip Lynott passed away exactly two decades ago. Sadder still that he was just 36 years old at the time - Christ, as a mere kid at the time I remember that was ancient. Last year a statue of the great man was finally erected in Dublin, and apparently there's a film of his short life on the way (though they've been saying that for yonks). It's great and just that Lynott's enormous talent is still celebrated after all this time. I met him just the once, but he was an absolute gentleman to me, going out of his way to please a cold and bedraggled fan. I will make a point of playing 'Jailbreak', 'Johnny The Fox' and 'Black Rose' later today. RIP, Philo.
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Tuesday 3rd January
I believe that most people return to work today - welcome back to reality, suckers! Personally, I'm feeling more than a little hung over this morning after yesterday's match. Goals from Jobi McAnuff and Andrew Johnson secured Palace's fourth successive league win, this time over a stubborn Leicester City. All I need to set the year rolling is the confirmation of a few exciting shows.
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Sunday 1st January 2006
Happy New Year to all. Although I wasn't on hand to witness it, Palace got 2006 underway with another win - a disputed 72nd minute penalty from Andy Johnson, putting Watford to the sword and taking all three points back to Selhurst Park.
If you're a site regular you might like to check out the latest addition - my guide to some of rock's most amusing quotes.