Dave's Diary
This journal of the comings'n'goings and musings'n'enthusings of Dave Ling will be updated daily
(except after nights of excess)

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Thursday 31st January
The debut album by Cavalera Conspiracy has just blown me away. As one of the diehards that witnessed Sepultura's first UK gig, destroying Sodom at the Marquee, I've followed the myriad twists and turns of guitarist/vocalist Max and drummer Igor Cavalera's careers with much interest. Max's acrimonious split with Sepultura deeply saddened me, as the Brazilians were on the verge of becoming enormous. Due for release on March 24, 'Inflikted' is a timely reminder of the chemistry between these two siblings. As Max puts it: "You bottle a monster for 10 years and then let it out, it's explosive." Let's have some live dates in the UK very soon please.
P.S. Listening to this album fondly reminded me of how Max - who took pride in his matted dreadlocks - gave Jason Arnopp of Kerrang! - notorious for a more layered, bouffant look - the affectionate nickname of "Ladies' Hair" when Sepultura first made an impact. Great days indeed.
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Wednesday 30th January
In the latest issue of Classic Rock, Stone Gods - the band formed by three ex-members of The Darkness; lead guitarist Dan Hawkins, drummer Ed Graham and bassist-turned vocalist/guitarist Richie Edwards (the line-up is completed by bassist Toby Macfarlaine) - are asked whether they have plans to perform any of their ex-band's songs during a low-key headline tour that began in Bristol on the 17th. The reply of "emphatically not" was enough to entice me along to last night's London gig at the Underworld. To make my feelings plain on this matter, I **loved** the music of The Darkness, but hated the flamboyant comedy falsetto of Justin Hawkins with equal fervour.
Make no mistake, Stone Gods are very different beast indeed. From the first chords of 'Burn The Witch', a statement of intent to be proud of, their heaviness is unmistakable. Edwards is an engaging, likable and talkative frontman with none of Justin's showbiz flash; the band just get their heads down and blast out the songs. 60 minutes later I walked back out into Camden High Street smiling like a loon and proclaiming the words: "Justin Who?" Stone Gods offer something for pretty much everyone, the only blot on their copybook arriving when Richie straps on a 12-string for an insincere and turgid ballad called 'Lazy Bones'. Nevertheless, I await their debut album with an unusual sense of excitement. I've no idea how many of the following songs will make it onto that disc, but here's what the band performed: 'Burn The Witch', 'Gunfight', 'Makin' It Hard', 'Where U Comin' From', 'Living Dead', 'Don't Drink The Water', 'Lazy Bones', 'Start Of Something', 'I'm With The Band' and 'Defend Or Die', coming back again for 'Magdalene Street' and 'Beero'.
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Tuesday 29th January
Christ, how I dislike Leicester City. The Foxes once accidentally beat Palace in the dying seconds of a play-off final at Wembley Stadium, the ball rebounding into Nigel Martyn's net off Steve Claridge's shin, and pretty much the same thing happened in last night's televised league fixture. The Walkers Stadium erupted in the 89th minute, Julian Speroni looking on in horror as Barry Hayles' hapless attempt to control a cross looped in at the far post. It was an ugly way to end the eight hours since Palace last conceded an away goal. Following a succession of brutish challenges, Hayles should have been taking an early shower ("Some of their tackles were almost manslaughter," observed Eagles boss Neil Warnock) and not celebrating an undeserved winning goal, but that's football. In truth it was a shockingly scrappy affair, contested on a soggy quagmire of a pitch. Our 15-game undefeated run had to end sometime, and I'd rather have lost this match than the imminent six-pointer against Clowntown Pathetic. Now it's about how the team responds against Southampton on Saturday...
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Sunday 27th January
Last night Alter Bridge played a sold-out gig at London's Astoria. For the most part, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm a big fan of this oustanding US combo, who are doing a sterling job of satisfying young and old rock fans alike. But surely with two full-length albums to their name they should be playing for longer than 85 minutes, and employing a sound technician who doesn't make them sound like a bass-drenched mess? Don't get me wrong, I'm more than content with where Alter Bridge are headed musically. Material such as 'White Knuckles' and 'One By One' from the current 'Blackbird' album is a notch heavier than 2004's debut 'One Day Remains', but with singer Myles Kennedy doubling up on guitar the beefed-up effect remained enjoyably consistent. UK pop-rockers Enjoy Destroy had done a fine job of warming up the fans, who it must be said went absolutely mental throughout the headliners' performance. Thankfully, the latter's ill-advised cover of AC/DC's 'Whole Lotta Rosie' (which apparently featured at earlier UK dates) was nowhere to be heard. Here's what the Alter boys played: 'Come To Life', 'Find The Real', 'Brand New Start', 'Buried Alive', 'White Knuckles', 'One By One', 'One Day Remains', 'Before Tomorrow Comes', 'Ties That Bind', 'Blackbird', 'Watch Over You', 'Metalingus' and 'Open Your Eyes', with encores of 'Broken Wings', 'Mudbone' and 'Rise Today'.
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Saturday 26th January
Well, it took a while but 2008's finally gathering pace. Next week is chocka with gigs, and yesterday's interviews included Black Sabbath/Heaven And Hell's moustachioed maestro, guitarist Tony Iommi, and Michael Monroe from Hanoi Rocks.
Hmmmmm... Iron Maiden have confirmed the first of two support acts for their hotly-anticipated open-air bash at London's Twickenhan Stadium on July 5. Judging by comments at the Classic Rock website, I'm not the only person to be hugely disappointed the 'special guest' slot has gone to Avenged Sevenfold. Though extremely popular with the younger crowd, the feisty Orange County quintet's fourth and current self-titled disc is a sometimes horrifying example of a band's grandiose ambitions being outstripped by moderate talent. And with the best will in the world ('cos I actually believe she has something to offer), what's the betting that Steve's daughter Lauren Harris gets to open the show?
What a marvellous selection of new stuff arrived this morning. The double-gatefold, white vinyl edition of Tarja Turunen's 'My Winter Storm' is a thing to treasure. Also received the three latest re-issues from Rock Candy Records; 'Reckless' by the female fronted Canadian quartet of the same name, 'Mother's Finest' from funk-rock icons Mother's Finest and, best of all, Money's 'First Investment'. The latter is an obscure yet irresistible slice of pomp-infused pop-rock that dates back to 1979 - I saw them opening for Praying Mantis at the Marquee, then Samson at the Music Machine, the following year - the Birmingham four-piece's sense of eccentric drama sometimes reminding me of The Darkness, only without those Godawful high-pitched vocals.
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Friday 25th January
I just had a bit of a shock. Almost dropped the receiver when I heard the words: "Hello Dave, this is Dennis DeYoung". A day or two ago I emailed Lori Lousararian, the California-based publicist of the former Styx keyboard player/vocalist, enquiring how to obtain a review copy of DeYoung's solo CD, 'A Hundred Years From Now'. Lori replied by saying she no longer represented Dennis but had passed on the message... and then the phone rang! I certainly didn't expect to hear back from DeYoung himself. He informed me that he is currently preparing some extra material for a revised edition of 'A Hundred Years From Now' for Rounder Records, the new edition of which will be despatched in a month or two's time. The album was well-received by those that wrote about it so far - hence my keenness to track down a copy. DDY made me laugh by signing off with the wry comment: "There's a very good reason that the reviewers were so kind. I have polaroids of them all with farm animals. I knew that camera would come in handy some day."
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Tuesday 22nd January
Just received finished copies of 'Rock 'N' Roll Gypsies' and 'Rough Justice', the first two albums from long-defunct Mersey boogie-rock combo Spider. Neither had been released on CD before, so it's a thrill to own them on that particular format at long last (they were originally released in 1982 and 1984), accompanied by various extra tracks. Hats off to Krescendo Records for caring enough to exume them.
Great footie news - with Palace already having secured terrier-like defender Clint Hill's services for a modest fee of £200,000, fellow loanee Sean Derry has also signed on permanent deal, the midfielder's signature costing around £50,000 more. This represents an inspired bit of business. We've also picked up 25-year-old midfielder Neil Danns from Birmingham for £600,000. I know nothing whatever about this fella, but Neil Warnock hasn't put a foot wrong so far, so here's hoping...
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Monday 21st January
Only just had a chance to address the fact that Canadian trio Triumph are reuniting for this summer's Sweden Rock festival. Their quintessential party anthem 'I Live For The Weekend' has been blasted at Ling Towers on many a Friday night, though I only ever saw Triumph once - in 1981 at Motörhead's now legendary Heavy Metal Holocaust gig at Port Vale FC. Guitarist/singer Rik Emmett, bassist Mike Levine and drummer/vocalist Gil Moore last worked together on 1987's 'Surveillance' album, and like most fans I'd given up hope that they would ever bury the hatchet to do so again. Triumph join a stellar bill that already includes Judas Priest, Def Leppard, Whitesnake, Saxon, Blue Öyster Cult, Tesla, Fastway, the reunited Shakin' Street and At The Gates, Uli Jon Roth and the Hensley-Lawton Band. Gonna have to get my ass out there in June!
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Sunday 20th January
Following yet another triumphant Saturday afternoon, it's lovely to sit down and wade through the Sunday papers. Yesterday's well-earned 2-0 stuffing of second placed Bristol City enabled Palace climb to fifth in the table. According to the News Of The World, our run of 15 unbeaten league matches suggests we are "genuine contenders to make it back to the Premier League". I'm not sure I'd concur with The Mail On Sunday's assessment of "unattractive yet effective - a depressing triumph of pragmatism over flair", but the team's football is certainly convincing, and though we were kept on tenterhooks before the second goal, the day out at Selhurst was a joyous affair.
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Saturday 19th January
Yesterday's phone interview with Ace Frehley represented the realisation of another lifetime ambition. I've always been fascinated by the enigmatic former Kiss guitarist, who admitted during our conversation: "On some days I wake up and feel like I can ponder the inner workings of quantum mechanics. On others I'm lucky if I can find my ass with both hands. With me, every day is a crapshoot". I was hooked up with Frehley to promote his gig at London's Astoria on April 11. Ace was suffering for a 101 degree fever and had a disconcerting habit of braying with laughter at the most serious questions, but was pretty candid in a throughly enjoyable encounter. He casually mentioned the times his well-publicised excesses brought brushes with death, but now claims to be 16 months sober. Even so, I was susprised when he stated that he can no longer be around drunk or drugged-up people. So did Frehley now realise why Gene Simmons has been so scathingly critical of him in the past? "Sure, to an extent", he replied, perhaps unexpectedly. Read the rest of the story in the next of Classic Rock.
The evening passed surreally at central London hell-hole The Fly, as My Ruin previewed their new album 'Throat Full Of Heart' before a gathering of fawning, oddball acolytes. Never before have so many grossly overweight people worn so much make-up or squeezed themselves into such ill-fitting outfits - men or women. Former rapper/Tura Satana singer Tairrie B's work isn't really my cup of tea, but I was pleasantly surprised by what I heard... and it wasn't all due to the reservoir of white wine that ended up in my gullet.
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Friday 18th January
Fair play to Michael Schenker, who seems to have (at least temporarily) cleaned up his act, and has been wowing fans during an ongoing UK club tour billed as Michael Schenker & Friends. Echoing other upbeat reports, Pete Feenstra, the promoter of last night's sold-out date at Sutton's Boom Boom Club emailed me overnight, playfully lambasting me for having advised him against booking Michael after the shame of last summer. Feenstra even dared to call Schenker "the Karl-Heinz Rummenigge of rock". Though cynical of how long it might last - can so brief a trip to rehab **really** generate such a radical about-turn? - I'm happy that Schenker appears to be proving me wrong.
My 'in' box also contained two heart-warming messages; one from White Lion singer Sir Michael Of Tramp, re-establishing contact after way too many years. The sound-clips of 'Return Of The Pride', WL's first new studio album in 16 years, are just what I'd hoped to hear, boding well for a soon-to-be-announced UK tour in early June. The second message was from Peter Andrew, my best pal from secondary school daze, and the chap with whom I shared my first experience of live rock music - Status Quo at Wembley Arena in May 1979. You've gotta love the interweb, doncha?
During the afternoon I chatted with Steven Wilson, who revealed that he is using downtime with Porcupine Tree to prepare his first ever solo album. Ever the workaholic, Wilson is also just about to release another record from his ambient-prog project, No-Man, and weighing up the possibility of doing some more Blackfield gigs with Aviv Geffen. Does the man never sleep?
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Thursday 17th January
Mr Postie, I bloody well love you. Today's little haul brought an under-the-counter DVD recording of Led Zeppelin's show at the O2 Arena (thanks Tony!), and, at last, a finished copy of The Eagles' comeback double-disc, 'The Long Road Out Of Eden'. I've been spinning the latter throughout the day and must reluctantly agree with the of the reviewers; at 21 tracks (including the UK exclusive 'Hole In The World') it's way too long for its own good, but contains some truly classic songs. The Eagles have made an art form of writing about good love gone bad, and with its delicious opening couplet of 'I came home to an empty home/And I found your little note', Don Henley and Glenn Frey's 'Busy Being Fabulous' shows that the masters haven't lost their touch. Better still, each time I play the bloody thing I come away with a new favourite song.
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Tuesday 15th January
Sitting here writing the Classic Rock news pages, accompanied by the annoying drip-drip-drip of a leaky wall in my office, I'm having a bit of a ZZ Top day. It all began this morning when Planet Rock Radio happened to be playing 'Got Me Under Pressure' when I visited the house to make a cup of tea. Four hours later I've spun 1973's 'Tres Hombres', 1975's half-live 'Fandango!' and the utterly brilliant 'Degüello' from 1979. Also hauled out a cherished live recording from London's Marquee Club in October 1983, which brought back some amazing memories. Here's hoping for more action from these much-missed (mainly) facially hairy honchos... and soon.
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Monday 14th January
It's a big thumbs-up for the Scorpions DVD from Wacken (see Saturday's entry). The camera work and sound are as immaculate as the choice of song selection. Uli Jon Roth, Michael Schenker and Herman Rarebell all make guest appearances, along with Michael's son Tyson and a less than lifelike robotic scorpion. Aside from Rudolf Schenker standing on his head, which takes place during an encore rendition of Ravel's 'Bolero', there's a marvellously mirthsome moment when Uli makes a grand entrance by walking through a door in James Kottak's drum riser - yes, it's that big - to join his former bandmates onstage. As the partition swishes aside to reveal him to the crowd, Roth peels off a Hendrix-stye florry of notes that leave you thinking 'Tonight, Matthew, I'm going to be...'. But if you're a Scorps fan, this is a DVD you simply won't want to be without.

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Sunday 13th January
Excuse me for purring contentedly like some over-stuffed tabby cat. I've always disliked Wolverhampton Wanderers for a number of reasons, including their over-inflated sense of importance and stature, the violence that's been dished out by their fans during past trips to Molineux, the unsporting antics of former striker Steve 'England Reject' Bull and now the club's current choice of manager (ex-Scumwall boss Mick McCarthy - what an inconsequential tosser). If only I'd been able to make the trip to the Black Country for yesterday's 3-0 victory, instead of merely listening to it on the radio. James Scowcroft's long distance volley for the third was an absolute peach, the 14th consecutive unbeaten league game representing Crystal Palace's best sequence of results for 29 years. We are now in the play-off places and, as the division's form side, beginning to believe the possibility of an automatic promotion spot. Robert Plant, Glenn Hughes, Noddy Holder, Bev Bevan, Reef's Gary Stringer, Peter Powell, Eric Idle, Suzi Perry - your boys took a hell of a beating.
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Saturday 12th January
Ah, deep joy! Classic Rock want me to review the new Scorpions DVD, 'A Night To Remember, A Journey Through Time: Live At Wacken Open Air 2006'. The track listing, the special guests (Uli John Roth, Michael Schenker, Herman 'Ze German' Rarebell), the packaging (Rudolf Schenker standing on his head, presumably during 'Fly To The Rainbow')... this looks like something very special. Speaking of which, a little later than usual, here are the latest Playlist and YouTube.
P.S. Def Leppard and Whitesnake are touring together in June, with Black Stone Cherry as openers - that's one not to miss. And Spock's Beard have announced a trek that brings them to London on my birthday, July 2. Result!
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Friday 11th January
I've just finished Ian Christe's hardback book on Van Halen, Everybody Wants Some (John Wiley & Sons). It's a good, thorough and entertaining read. One thing made made laugh about it, though. Christe reveals that before sitting down at the computer, he felt compelled to learn how to play Edward Van Halen's signature solo, 'Eruption', in order to acquire "at least a tourist's understanding of life in the land of big rock". Dunno why but that tickled me immensely. It also made me feel pangs of guilt for not having taught myself how to play 'Salisbury' on the kazoo, or at very least 'Easy Livin'' on the paper and comb, before beginning work on my Uriah Heep book, Wizards & Demons. Mark Blake's humongous tome, Pigs Might Fly: The Inside Story Of Pink Floyd (Aurum Press) is up next, followed by Martin Popoff's Judas Priest tribute, Heavy Metal Painkillers: An Illustrated History (ECW Press).
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Thursday 10th January
Aaaaaarrrggggh! A writer's worst nightmare struck last night whilst I was conducting a phone interview with Wishbone Ash guitarist Andy Powell. I changed cassettes - I've yet to succumb to digital technology in that regard - and we continued with our conversation. A few minutes later I looked down at the recorder only to see, too my intense horror, that the wheels had stopped turning. Removing the cassette, the tape was completely mangled in the heads. Luckily, Mr Powell was sympathetic to my moment of amateur indiscretion and after inserting a replacement tape we revised the affected moments of the conversation and continued like nothing had happened, but... grrrrr... I felt so stupid. A nice way to start the new year (not).
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Wednesday 9th January
2008 is kicking into gear at last. Yesterday brought my first real interview of the year, conducted over lunch with Martin Turner of Wishbone Ash fame in a pleasant Italian restaurant, followed by a trip to Shepherds Bush Empire for a stirring dose of Teutonic metal from Helloween and Gamma Ray. Fellow Germans Axxis opened the show. I enjoyed the songs from their current disc 'Doom Of Destiny', which see frontman Bernhard Weiss mixing his distinctive voice with that of a female singer (in this instance, Ana Mladinovici of Magica), but the band's earlier material was pretty woeful, and Weiss is even more of an embarrassing dad-dancer than Thunder's Danny Bowes.
Special guests Gamma Ray were outstanding, a final run-in of 'Heavy Metal Universe', 'Ride The Sky' and 'Somewhere Out In Space' deserving, and receiving, an encore in the shape of 'Send Me A Sign'. The last time I saw Helloween, the sound at the Koko in Camden was so Godawful that I ended up walking out halfway through. Last night's events more than compensated, though what on earth the band were thinking of when vocalist Andi Deris, guitarist Sascha Gerstner and bassist Markus Grosskopf materialised in a Punch & Judy-style puppet kiosk during Dani Löble's drum solo is beyond me.
Sporting silly hats and fluffy white beards the trio began playing 'Smoke On The Water', Deris joining in with an annoying chipmunk-style voice, before guitarist Michael Weikath proceeded to blow them all away with a toy Uzi so the solo could continue. Um, yeah... right! However, when the Weenies were actually playing music, all such sins were quickly forgiven. Given the 'history' between the two bands, it was pretty cool to see the members of Gamma Ray join the headliners for a two-song encore jam, with all four guitarists taking turns to blast out the solos. Here's what they played: 'Halloween', 'Sole Survivor', 'March Of Time', 'As Long As I Fall', 'A Tale That Wasn't Right', Drum Solo, 'King For A Thousand Years', 'Eagle Fly Free', 'The Bells Of The 7 Hells', 'Dr Stein', Medley - 'I Can'/'Where The Rain Grows /'Perfect Gentleman'/'Power'/'Keeper Of The Seven Keys', 'Future World' and 'I Want Out'.
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Monday 7th January
Metal Hammer have given me a real corker of an album to review... I just can't stop playing the darned thing. Benedictum are a female-fronted, devoutly old-school hard rock band from San Diego whose 2006 debut, 'Uncreation', rightly received rave notices from around the globe. Imagine a deliciously detuned version of Heaven And Hell fronted by every schooboy (and rock journalist)'s top-heavy S&M pin-up fantasy, the divine Veronica Freeman. Chocka with quality songs, 'Seasons Of Tragedy' is an extremely strong follow-up. I just wish that I'd been sent the digpipack edition which includes an acoustic re-make of the Rainbow classic 'Catch The Rainbow'.

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Sunday 6th January
Crystal Palace are out of the FA Cup, once again failing to negotiate the Third Round. I fully backed Neil Warnock's decision to blood a few of the club's youngsters against Watford, but the experiment failed badly. Reserve goalie Scott Flinders seemed superglued to his line for both of the home side's extremely soft goals, the only real ray of sunshine in a dour performance being England Under-21 starlet Victor Moses coming off the bench for an explosive second half run-out. Moses walks on water: official. Let's see more of him in the coming months please...
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Friday 4th January
Hard to believe that Philip Lynott died 22 years ago. How times flies. Must play my favourite Thin Lizzy album, 1979's 'Black Rose: A Rock Legend', today. Well, when I say my favourite, I mean of the less well-thumbed ones. 'Jailbreak', 'Johnny The Fox', 'Bad Reputation' and 'Thunder And Lightning' were all absolutely seminal studio releases that still make the turntable from time to time - that was the genius of the man.
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Wednesday 2nd January
You couldn't argue against the outcome of yesterday's home clash between Palace and Norwich - a goal apiece was a fair result. As a result of sharing the points, the Eagles dropped a place to eighth in the table yet extended their unbeaten run to 13 games. It's still too early to sing Neil Warnock's
name, but I'm fast warming to the man.