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.
Wednesday 31st January
Phew… the annual tax bill is paid: the conclusion of a completely frantic couple of months, and just in time to prevent making myself from being eligible for a fine. Might need a lie down in a darkened room, for a month or two!
Tuesday 30th January
Wet Sham 1 Palace 1. Thank God that's over and not only because of the excitable Saudi commentator on my webstream. It was a (s)crappy game contested by two very poor teams, and rendered all the more horrid by a complete homer of a ref (oh hang on, I've misspelled that). Still... a point's a point. The Eagles climb a place to 12th. Bring on the Toon on Sunday. COYP!
Monday 29th January
I'm thinking about trying to get into the Guinness Book Of Records for being the journo to conduct the most interviews with members of Wishbone Ash past 'n' present during a calendar year. A nice piece re-telling the story of the 'New England' album in a forthcoming ish of Rock Candy magazine ahoy!
Sunday 28th January
Hotel accommodation is now booked for this summer's Steelhouse Fest... complete with spa, naturally!
Glenn Hughes playing Deep Purple, Dan Reed Network, Black Star Riders, The Wildhearts, King King and the Quireboys... wow, that's a reat line-up. All playing at the top of a scenic Welsh mountain.
Saturday 27th January
Palace don't play this weekend, so I'm selling down for some intense work undertaken on behalf of Universal Recordd. It’s b-b-boogie time (again)! My desk is covered in cuttings as I conclude a first day of penning the next set of Status Quo sleeve essays… ‘1+9+8+2’, ‘Back To Back’, ‘In The Army Now’ and ‘Ain’t Complaining’.
Thursday 25th January
Kicked off the working day with a hugely enjoyable phoner with Pete Trewavas, who recalled the era when his Kino associate John Beck would open up for Marillion with It Bites. "Back then they were shockingly, shockingly good," Pete admitted. "I used to think, 'Gosh, we should be supporting them'." A great bloke to interview and I always love his honesty!
Wednesday 24th January
How unnerving to calculate that more than four years had flown past since my previous sighting of Laurence Jones as part of a New Generation Blues tour which also featured Federal Charm and Mitch Laddie. Though still in his mid-twenties since then he has released four further studio records, including 2016’s ‘Take Me High’, which was produced by Mike Vernon – a genre giant whose CV includes the fabled ‘Blues Breakers With Eric Clapton’ (AKA’The Beano Album’). Vernon doesn't waste time with losers and, sure enough, along with those all-important compositional skills, the lad's stage presence and vocals have improved markedly since I last saw him on the same Borderline stage.
But don’t be misled by the association with Vernon: Jones is a bluesy rock guitarist and not simply an exponent of the blues. The distinction is a subtle but important one. Along with a chunky, funky stab at ‘All Along The Watchtower’, one of his oldest tracks, ‘Thunder In The Sky’, was a rare slice of pure-blues. As I type this almost 24 hours later I’m still humming ‘Keep Me Up At Night’, a quite brilliant poppy hard rock number from the soon-to-be-released ‘The Truth’ album that would surely have been a huge hit in more sympathetic times.
Jones is laying the foundations of a promising career. Don’t miss him on tour in May. (Thanks to Laurence Harvey for the cool photo… mine were crap!)
Tuesday 23rd January
Going through the contents of my BlackBerry I just found this excellent photo of myself and my Skeggy colleagues – left to right Rob Corich, the lovely Amanda, yours truly and Mark Taylor – taken on the sea-front. Here’s a quick word about the event. The standard of the music was very consistent, and with 3,500 fans taking over the Holiday Village I witnessed no trouble whatsoever… not even a raised word. A lovely, friendly atmosphere was complemented by delicious food and comfy, warm chalets. If you’ve never been before, I can’t recommend the weekend highly enough.
Monday 22nd January
How else to begin the final day than a heavy metal spa morning? Amanda sprung it on me as a surprise, but I must say… what fun. Spas? They are the new rock ‘n’ roll.
Sunday’s program began with something a little different. “This is modern blues – not folk or pure-blues but songs of our time, I hope,” stated EDGAR BROUGHTON  to commence a fascinatingly spiky one-man set. Broughton’s voice unexpectedly elevated to an eerie yet somehow celebratory falsetto, but his between-song monologues were equally unsettling. How refreshing that at the ages of 70 and 66, Broughton and Marsden don’t depend upon Marshall stacks, backing bands and dry ice to convey their legacies. Songs, words and charisma are all it takes.
By their usual standards STRAY  were short on time but still led by the twinkle-eyed Del Bromham on guitar and vocals and with on-loan keyboardist Simon Rinaldo of Pearl Handled Revolver enriching the sound their allotted hour was used wisely, going back to 1971’s ‘Suicide’ for the rarely-played ‘Son Of The Father’, while a deafening ‘All In Your Mind’ reminded us why Iron Maiden felt the need to record their own version.
The much-travelled Carl Sentance has been the lead singer of NAZARETH  since 2015. With bassist Pete Agnew a final remaining original the Scottish band has nevertheless pressed on, and this year marks their fiftieth anniversary. Of course it isn’t the same without Dan McCafferty, who retired in ’13, but Sentence’s voice is developing the necessary gruffness and a set-list containing nowt released later than 1977 – ‘Silver Dollar Forger’, ‘Miss Misery’, ‘Razamanaz’, ‘This Flight Tonight’, ‘Beggar’s Day’, ‘Hair Of The Dog’, ‘My White Bicycle’, ‘Expect No Mercy’, ‘Love Hurts’, ‘Turn On Your Receiver’ and ‘Broken Down Angel’ – ticked all of the right boxes.
It was fitting that CHANTEL McGREGOR  brought the weekend to a close as the Yorkshire lass has a (bare) foot in the world of both rock and blues. A confident display included her space-rock epic ‘April’, while the hard hitting ‘Burn Your Anger’, ‘Lose Control’ and ‘I’m No Good For You’ suggested that McGregor is gradually shedding her reputation as simply a blues guitarist/vocalist.
How surreal to stop at the motorway services on the journey back to London and find Bernie Shaw returning home from completion of the new Uriah Heep album, 'Living The Dream', with Jay Ruston (Winery Dogs, Black Star Riders, Stone Sour) as producer. "I can tell you that Mick Box got out the old 12-string on a couple of tracks," Bernie confided with a grin that lit up the room. Roll on its release in September.
Sunday 21st January
Day #2 at Skegness saw DARE , reunited with guitarist Vinny Burns and bassist Nigel Clutterbuck, manfully juggle three styles of music; the AOR for which they became known in the 1980s, a heavier period and the Celtic-based sound of recent decades. It all gelled best with ‘Sweet Surrender’, while, from that first era of pink and fluffiness, ‘Abandon’ and ‘Into The Fire’ were positively glorious. How disappointing, then, to switch my phone back on and discover that my beloved Palace were losing 3-0 at the loathed Arse. FOR FUCK’S SAKE… TO THE BAR!!!!!
Former Whitesnake man BERNIE MARSDEN  performed alone to a huge early evening audience, dipping in and out of his catalogue and regaling us anecdotes about Jon Lord, Peter Green, Bobby Bland and, of course, David Coverdale. He was fantastic! Let’s start a campaign to get Bernie back with Old Cov, Micky Moody and Neil Murray… it would be like the Frantic Four all over again.
Another highlight was a typically belligerent but inspiring display from ROGER CHAPMAN and his FAMILY AND FRIENDS . Following the seemingly final dissolution of Family, Chappo is having fun again with a more career-repertoire, including a trip back to the Streetwalkers (‘Run For Cover’). The voice is no longer what it used to be, but sheer enthusiasm and the finesse of a crack backing ensemble sealed the day.
The so-called ‘graveyard shift’ – commencing at 11.15pm – fell to ZANDER & THE PEACE PIRATES  whose growing reputation was confirmed by a sizeable crowd. With plectrum attached to a prosthetic picking arm, Keith Xander is not only to be applauded for overcoming such a setback in life, he’s also a great guitarist – period. His band are bluesy, with a soulful, slightly countrified edge. Yesterday they left jaws gaping.
Saturday 20th January
No time for a full blow by blow report but the first night at Skeggy saw ATOMIC ROOSTER  set the standard for all to match. Steeped in gloomy, delicious Hammond Organ, ‘Devil’s Answer’ and ‘Death Walks Behind You’ defied the Hi-Di-Hi mentality in all its forms. If Uriah Heep worshipped Satan they’d sound like this.
Without the presence of their ailing, iconic namesake, it was hard to take FRANKIE MILLER’S FULL HOUSE  seriously, especially as their main lead vocalist Steve Whalley openly used a crib sheet for the lyrics. How disrespectful – learn the bleedin’ words, mate!
Friday 19th January
Def Leppard at the O2 Arena, Dec 6. 'Hysteria' in full. Support from Cheap Trick. Hmmm... let me check my diary!
In an hour or two I'm off to Great British Rock & Blues Festival in Skegness - a few days away from Gentling Towers. Some rock 'n' roll and recreation - and I'm reviewing for Classic Rock, so I can claw back a few quid from the bar bill. This is gonna be fun. Bring it on!
Thursday 18th July
Well what an opening night for King King’s ‘Exile & Grace’ tour, postponed when singer Alan Nimmo was forced to undergo vocal surgery. His band have been building for several years towards headlining venues such as Shepherd’s Bush Empire, and boy do they ever look at home on that big stage?
Three potential flies in the ointment stood in their way: firstly the departure of Hammond organist Bob Fridzema, such a huge part of their sound. Jonny Dyke is a fine, able replacement who joined too late to play on ‘E&G’. The latter is an album that doesn’t quite resonate with me the way its predecessors had done, however just one if its four selections – ‘Long Time Running’ – fell flat in a live scenario. Indeed, the emotive ‘Find Your Way Home’ slotted in wonderfully as a first encore. Most crucially of all, how would Nimmo’s voice sound? Well, the big Scotsman gave a masterclass from the first note of ‘(She Don't) Give Me No Lovin’’ to the singalong ‘Let Love In’. Powerful and dripping with passion, if anything his delivery sounded better than ever before. As usual, the magnificent ‘Long History Of Love’ provided the centrepiece of the evening, showcasing Nimmo’s mastery of both microphone and fretboard. Alan and his band make it all look so easy. Watch their rise continue. Fans of Bad Co and early Whitesnake (Nimmo's T-shirt was no coincidence!)... this one's for you.
I'm not a fan of what John ‘Rhino’ Edwards does in his day job with Status Quo, but the man’s Rhino's Revenge albums contain some very decent tunes, often with clever, engaging lyrics about a variety of subjects including politics (‘Republican’), celebrity culture (‘Famous’) and even a beloved pet pooch (‘My Name Is Stan’ contains the classic line “I lick my balls because I can”). Assisted by FM’s Jim Kirkpatrick on guitar, their 45 minute opening slot, which included Quo’s ‘Belavista Man’, ‘Gravy Train’ and ‘Two Way Traffic’, flew by very quickly indeed. Those songs and the Rhino’s Revenge material are infinitely better suited to Edward’s voice than the standards that he now murders each night alongside Mr Rossi. Ulp! Never thought I'd say this but I’d like to see them as headliners.
On an a Quo-related note I've just heard Ricky P's posthumous solo record, 'Over And Out' (March 23). It offers a strong mix of the two styles for which he rightly became so famous - hard-driving boogie and melodic crooning. Well done to all of those that worked to complete its contents after he passed... it does his memory proud.
Wednesday 17th January
Last night was spent at a central London press launch of the new Jimi Hendrix release 'Both Sides Of The Sky'. Festivities included an awesome Q&A session with its producer Eddie Kramer who was so into the music that he actually played air guitar to the songs on the stage. Great stories, superb sounds, drinks free... gosh, I hate my job!
Now playing at offensively loud volume here at Ling Mansions... 'Decades', the new double-disc retrospective from Nightwish (due via Nuclear Blast on March 9). I know that its subject matter is no longer an issue, but in sheer quality terms I'm left wondering why this fabulous song has been omitted? 80,403,731 YouTube hits really can't be wrong!
Tuesday 16th January
How to induce a state of nirvana (lower case 'n') here in SE6? An official listening link to the brand new FM album, 'Atomic Generation', drops into the 'in' box. I've had access to the album's material for quite a while, but this is the first time I've heard it with the correct running order. Suddenly a day working on those accounts doesn't seem quite so daunting. Press 'play' and say, 'Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah'. I'm wee bit biased, obviously, but there really isn't a filler song on the darned thing...
Monday 15th January
This prime slice of pomp-AOR-prog from Dukes Of The Orient - a band featuring my old pal John Payne (ex-Asia, GPS) and keyboardist Erik Norlander (Last in Line, Lana Lane) - is well and truly rocking my world. Shades of Asia's 'Silent Nation'... Bring on the self-titled album, which includes a cameo from the great Guthrie Govan.
Sunday 14th January
It's a dirty job but someone's gotta do it. There's yet another obituary to write. I hope I can do 'Fast' Eddie justice. Let's prepare the tools to do the job and turn up the classic first Fastway album to indecent levels.
Saturday 13th January
Back at home and cracking open a few cold tinnies after a nerve wracking yet exhilarating afternoon at Selhurst. In the first half Palace could have scored three or four against high flying Burnley, but after the break things were much more even. In the end Sako's goal claimed those three priceless points.
Roy's men have now lost just one of their last 12 Premier League games, climbing to 12th and leapfrogging Huddersfield and those Unmentionable Scum From The South Coast. I'm smiling like a loony as I type this. There's no way that we are going down - even Hennessey played well. Proud to be an Eagle. COYP!!
Friday 12th January
How nice to have interviewed Eddie Kramer (whose many credits include Zeppelin, Bowie, Hendrix, The Kinks, Kiss, the Stones, Clapton, Frampton, The Nice, Humble Pie, Angel, Anthrax and of course Fastway) yesterday. Gotta admit I was a bit nervous about that one, but what a warm, helpful and enthusiastic fella. You really don't have to become jaded with age. Another of those boxes ticked.
Thursday 11th January
Oh fuck... what Godawful awful news. The unexpected death of 'Fast' Eddie Clarke means that the Three Amigos is no more. Right up until Christmas I had been talking to Eddie, trying to persuade him to do a book. Fast Eddie was a lovely, lovely man, unflinchingly honest - if he thought somebody deserved to be called a c**t then he let them know, and chances are that his character assessment was right on the money. I'm so glad that he took Fastway out on tour again with Saxon and Girlschool in 2016 for what he called "just one last time" and got to see those insane crowd reactions. Yet another immense talent has gone. I will *seriously* miss him, both as a talent and a bloke. RIP 'Fast' Eddie.
Wednesday 10th January
Back in the 1990s when RAW magazine shared a Carnaby Street HQ with Kerrang!, Geoff Barton summoned me to his office and shut the door behind us. I thought, 'Oh shit, which band have I pissed off this time?' There was no need to worry. A batch of these boxed sets had been put together, possibly as part of the K! awards, and a single box was left as over. Did I want it? But keep things schtum as they couldn't give one to everybody on RAW. Naturally, it still lurks in the collection - 'Appetite For Destruction', 'Ace Of Spades', 'Blizzard Of Ozz', 'Introduce Yourself', 'Strangers In The Night', 'Led Zep II', 'Hysteria', 'Destroyer', 'Pump', 'Back In Black', 'Paranoid' and 'Master Of Puppets'... plus a couple of booby prize entries, 'Nevermind' and 'Ten'. Has anyone else still got theirs? Not that I'd consider selling, but I wonder what it's worth...?
Sunday 7th January
I can only add to the wave of sentiment at the loss of Chris Tsangarides, the Grammy-nominated producer best known for his work with acts including Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Y&T, Anvil, Gary Moore, Thin Lizzy, UFO and Helloween. I first met Chris in my days as a cub reporter in 1983 when he worked on 'Rough Justice' with Spider at London's Battery Studios. I was more than slightly in awe of him for having produced 'Mean Streak' for Y&T earlier that same year. Chris was hairy, gregarious, fun loving and very easy to get on with. Hi-jinks abounded. At the end of the session he hooted with laughter when the band presented him with a black, studded heavy metal cushion. Afterwards our paths crossed often at gigs and various industry events. Chris always found the time to stop and natter. Having made a full recovery he was taken aback by the affection and support after being placed in a medically induced coma for 10 days to combat Legionnaire's disease. Tsangarides was just 61 when pneumonia and heart failure overcame him.
Our final FB message conversation was almost a year ago in the wake of Joey Alves’ passing. Chris had felt awful for Dave Meniketti, aware that all of Y&T's original members had been childhood friends and 'cept for Dave were now gone. “It's getting to be the norm,” he joked. “You wake up and get onto the web to see who else has gone.”
Rest in peace, Chris. You were much loved.
On a far, far brighter note, how amazing to think that my youngest lad Arnie was born 19 years ago today. He's turning into a fine young man. Here are some pix from today's lunch with my dad at the newly renovated Catford Bridge Tavern.
Saturday 6th January
Anyone remember Jesus? No, not *that* Jesus, I'm talking about the unusual fella I used to see at just about every gig I attended back in the day. Here's an interesting update. Glad that he's still this side of the turf. The one time I actually spoke to the enigma known as Jesus was on the underground in the 1980s heading back into the West End following a gig at the Wellington in Shepherd's Bush. I had spotted that he was recording the show on a hand-held tape machine and asked how it had come out. "Oh no!" he exclaimed, realising for the first time that he had left the device back at the venue, shrugging cryptically: "Oh well, it served its purpose". And Jesus promptly got off the Central Line at the next stop.
Friday 5th January
What an astonishing way to begin 2018's concert calendar. The band we had assumed were no more, promoting the album we feared would never be made on a tour that the bookies might have bet against. Yeah, after an absence of six years Black Country Communion took to the stage at Hammersmith, delivering more than two hours of timeless, classic hard rock. Leading from the front, Glenn Hughes had grown his hair out - you ain't seen nuthin' yet, apparently... he's going for the full-on California Jam retro look! - and sang with the pipes of a man half his age. With musical chops to die for and a catalogue of material that sounds as though it was recorded back in the 1970s, BCC have all bases covered. And by golly... now THAT'S how to cover 'Mistreated', lol!! Just wait till the live album/DVD of this show is released... you won't believe your ears and eyes. This was sensational, awe inspiring stuff and it was great to have a catch-up natter to Glenneth at the after-show bash in the balcony, also to chat with Maiden's Adrian Smith, who like myself was blown away by the performance.
Oh, and for any guitar nerds reading this… during the gig, after I posted the live piccie, Andy Powell of Wishbone Ash responded: “Hmmm .... that looks like my old Flying V.” Andy had believed that Joe B now owned said instrument – one of just 98 manufactured. Afterwards, I asked Mr Bonamassa whether this was true. He replied emphatically that it wasn’t so. So now you know!
Thursday 4th January
There are still so many leftovers from the NYE bash. I'm on the all-Hula Hoop diet for the foreseeable future. At least we have a range of flavours... beef, salt and vinegar and... well, about 15 others. #feelingsick
Wednesday 3rd January
Here are the latest additions to the Playlist and YouTube pages.
Tuesday 2nd January
Saints 1 Palace 2. Nights such as this are why I support CPFC. A truly amazing comeback. Following Jimmy Mac's volleyed equaliser, Luka Milivojevic curls one into the net from 25 yards to win the points at St Mary's. What a dream goal. Watching on a stream in my office, Eddie and I went absolutely bonkers! Hodgson is proving to be a superb appointment for the Palace!! The Eagles soar back up to 14th again. COY-fuggin'-P!!
Monday 1st January
Gruuuhhhhhh... You know you've had a successful New Year's Eve party when:
1) You are still disposing of the empties and washing up at 6.50pm.
2) You use the cloak of darkness to dispose of the dead 'uns in the neighbours' recycling bins because yours could have been filled six times over. Easily.
3) There's still enough unclaimed / unconsumed alcohol to replenish Pete Way's mini-bar for a whole week. Well, maybe for a coupla hours anyway... lol.
Here are a few pics from the night/morning/aftermath.
As I type, Bruce Dickinson had just guested on the all-star edition of University Challenge. Very strange seeing him here, but a nice bits of kudos for the metal community which is, of course, generally regarded as a bit on the Neanderthal side... oh, and well done for the autobiography plug in his intro! For one horrible moment I thought he was gonna screw up the Mick Ronson answer!