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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Sunday 31st July
Awesome news just in from Los Angeles. Received an email from bassist Chris Heilmann, who informs me that the Shark Island reunion album is well underway and "is turning out to be a fucking great record". Can't wait to hear it!
A promo of Stryper's own reunion album has just arrived. During the 1980s, the Californian band attracted a great deal of suspicion for their Christian beliefs. Nobody knew for sure whether or not it was all one huge gimmick. But despite the fact that they threw Bibles into the crowd it was hard to dispute that Stryper made at least three classic albums; 'Soldiers Under Command', 'To Hell With The Devil' and 'In God We Trust' - selling eight million records around the globe in the process. 'Reborn' (issued via MTM Music on August 29) is their first all-new studio effort since 'Against The Law' in 1990, and offers a few surprises. Michael Sweet still has a quite incredible hard rock voice, but rather than recycle the past they've followed Europe's example and given their sound a blistering, modern rock twist. It's not what I expected, but the quality is indisputible.
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Saturday 30th July
Yesterday, what a 24 hours! After a convoluted trip to Pentrich in Derbyshire, the Tygers Of Pan Tang were already well into their stride by the time I arrived at the mud-caked site of the Rock & Blues Custom Show. Despite featuring just one original member in guitarist Robb Weir and having released a succession of piss-poor live albums, I found myself enjoying songs like 'Euthanasia', 'Hellbound' and 'Slave To Freedom' - especially as the first drinks hit the back of the neck.
Pete Way and the rest of Waysted arrived as the Tygers were finishing. With Skinny Molly failing to show, they agreed to go on early. Pete was looking noticably slimmer and revealed that he'd been jogging as well as cutting out the booze. What about today though, Pete? "I'm not drinking, but I'm not not drinking" was the somewhat quizzical response. Waysted actually hit the stage sober (by their standards), delivering a focussed and enjoyable performance that included 'Toy With The Passion', 'Won't Get Out Alive', 'Hang 'Em High' (dedicated to all terrorists by vocalist Fin Muir), 'Heaven Tonight', 'Night Of The Wolf' and a riotous and well-received rendition of 'Too Hot To Handle' that made UFO's absence harder still to bear.
Next up were one of my all-time favourite acts, Frank Marino & Mahogany Rush. Beginning with 'The Answer' and 'I'm A King Bee', they soon hit an incredible groove. However, wandering around the arena I could see that the extended soloing during 'Poppy' and 'Strange Universe' resulted in more than a few bored faces. On the other hand, yours truly lapped up 'Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame', 'Who Do Ya Love?' and 'Electric Reflections Of War'. It only confirmed my suspicion that Mahogany Rush ain't exactly what you'd call festival-pleasers. Pete Way's comic yet straight-faced observation that they're more of a University Challenge band than Waysted prompted Fin to guffaw: "No, Pete. We're more what you'd call universally challenged."
I'll be honest, I'd been pressmistic of a Rickie Medlocke-less Blackfoot, but boy was I left eatin' my words. Ex-Axe man Bobby Barth is a darned fine deputy. I didn't catch the band's headline set in its entirety (hell, you don't turn down the chance to meet Frank Marino in his dressing room every day - nor relieve him of his beer!), but Blackfoot's versions of 'Good Morning', 'Wishing Well', 'Got A Line On You', 'Queenie (Every Man Should Know)', 'Left Turn On A Red Light', 'Flyaway', 'Train Train' and of course 'Highway Song' were right on the money.
After that it was back to the hotel for a few more shandies and some persiflage (yeh!) with the indefatigable Batttttty, Fin and Waysted drummer Paul Haslin, and various members of the band's crew. Fin's early morning version of 'Just A Gigolo' brought the house down, and with the poteen (triple-distilled, extra-strong grain spirit) I'd consumed at the site threatening to make its way back up again, I left them all to it.

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Friday 29th July
So the IRA have promised to put down their weapons. I'm only marginally more inclined to believe that Jerry Ewing would abandon the grog, but what truly incredible news. I'm just putting aside some music to listen to whilst travelling to the Derby Rock & Blues festival. Since it arrived, my promo of the new Rasmus album ('Hide From The Sun', released Sept 12) has barely left the death deck. I'll also be taking Opeth's staggeringly good 'Ghost Reveries' (due on August 29), plus the magnificent Forty Deuce debut, which is (if you'll allow me to tap my own album review) "snarling, pant-wetting, air guitar-inducing, modern rock of the highest calibre". And don't forget the most important item of all - a large bottle of Jagermeister. Yee-hah!!
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Thursday 28th July
Last night I took the family to a sold-out Selhurst Park for Palace's first big pre-season friendly - against Inter Milan, no less. We succumbed to a goal of differing quality in each half, but losing against such a great team was no hardship. The Internazionale purred through an exhibition display and could've been two-nil up inside the first five minutes. Although the gulf in class was apparent, the Eagles nevertheless gave a decent account of themselves. New winger Jobi McAnuff looked skillful and enthusiastic and despite having been signed from Scumwall, Darren Ward put in a few decent tackles and headers at the back (with that barnet, I bet he's a bit of a rocker - I could end up warming to him in the end). Andy Johnson played well during his spell on the pitch, but was kicked up in the air every time he got the ball. He was substituted early and there were still disturbing mumbles of a switch to a rival London club for £9 million. The sooner that bloody transfer window closes the better.
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Sunday 24th July
Surveying the garden this morning, Catford is a battle-zone. Bottles, cans, crisp packets, fag butts, half-eaten sausage rolls and artificial limbs are piled knee-high. Yesterday was Lingfest, a party to celebrate the Lings' 10th wedding anniversary (you can get shorter terms for murder these days). We'd bought a huge water container in which to keep the beer cold, and as people arrived they were cordially invited to deposit their booze in Aly's big green butt - it was a joke I enjoyed repeating. Jerry Ewing finally met Jerry The Chicken, and a life-long friendship began when the latter deposited a poo in the former's hand. It was almost like a blood ritual.
The festivities also included a men vs women footie game that ended up a full-blown murderball riot. And as things wound down, Colin Harkness (ex-rhythm guitarist of Spider) whipped out a geetar and amplifier for a bit of a sing-song on the lawn. If the neighbours didn't know the lyrics to 'Whole Lotta Rosie' and 'Hey Jude' they certainly do now. The night's starlet was Michael, son of Chariot bassist John Smith, who proved to be a chip off the ol' block by entertaining us with a few well-strummed songs of his own.
The 'metal BBQ' at a weary end, Mr Harkness and I grabbed a bottle of champagne and invaded the 'indie BBQ' that was still going on next door at the home of my neighbour, Rough Trade Records man James Endeacott. If my memory serves me correctly, we both pontificated at length to anyone who'd listen of the merits of Led Zeppelin and Status Quo. We quickly found ourselves alone in the kitchen!
PS: if any of our attendees lost their sunglasses at Lingfest, please let me know. We found no less than three pairs whilst clearing up!
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Friday 22nd July
Phew! Back on terra firma. Wing-walking with the Quo yesterday was a wonderful experience. Daredevil Rick Parfitt enjoyed the experience so much that he went up several times, complete with guitar! Francis Rossi and the rest of the band, who'd been mocking Rick for his stupidity, then wanted to get in on the act. Here are my pix from the shoot; there should be some awesome arial shots soon, from another plane that accompanied us each time.
Complete with American Football cheer-leaders and glamour models dressed as nuns, the video will look stunning. To be honest, it felt very strange to be larking about in a Gloucestershire airfield in the blazing sunshine with one of my all-time fave bands while security alerts were going on in London, but I was also there to do some interviews and in those situations all you can do is get on with things.
Truth told, at first hearing I wasn't too crazy about 'The Party Ain't Over Yet...', the Quo's 33rd album (!!!), but obviously I didn't mention that till the stunt had taken place - those harnesses have a nasty habit of slipping! The band really turned the corner with the 'Heavy Traffic' album, and I'd hoped they would really push on and make a hard rockin' follow-up.
As Rossi and Parfitt both said, 'The Party...' is more diverse than its predecessor. But the more I play it, the more I like it. The song 'Gotta Get Up And Go' is definitely a cousin of the classic 'Softer Ride', which can't be a bad thing.
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Thursday 21st July
This afternoon's gonna be very strange indeed. A few days ago I received one of the most surreal phone calls ever. It was from Chris, Status Quo's publicist, innocently enquiring whether I had any plans for Thursday, and if not did I fancy attending a shoot for the first video from the band's new album, 'The Party Ain't Over Yet...' (due September 19th)? Coincidentally, I did happen to be free, but was dumbstruck when he informed me that said video will involve Rick Parfitt 'wing-walking'; moving along the wing of a plane in flight. Furthermore, the band were looking for a willing journo to join Rick in this daring - some would say bonkers - airborne activity. My name had been put forward. Stupidly, I agreed. What the fugg have I let myself in for?! Let's hope there's a diary entry for Friday 22nd.
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Tuesday 19th July
I'm a voracious reader of rock biographies - in my line of work you've gotta be - and over the past coupla months I've devoured The New York Dolls: Too Much Too Soon by Nina Antonia (which made me want to play their records again; always a good sign) and Star Man:The Right Hand Man Of Rock 'N' Roll (a tawdry though compulsive tell-all tome by former Bon Jovi, Cher, Kiss security chief Michael Francis, co-written with ex-Kerrang!-ster and all-round good bloke Paul 'Gooner' Elliott). I'm currently digesting Martin Popoff's UFO musical history Shoot Out The Lights, and the early signs are good.
I've just completed Jon Bon Jovi:The Biography. Laura Jackson has already written unofficial biogs on Bono, Ewan McGregor and members of Queen, and is a skilled researcher. Her JBJ book cost just a quid and, not exactly being the biggest Bon Jovi fan anymore, expected it to be tedious and arse-licking. It's actually a decent read. I wondered whether Jackson would mention my 1994 RAW Magazine interview with bassist Alec Jon Such, and sure enough she did refer to Alec's oft-repeated quote: "Jon tells me I suck all the time". What she didn't and indeed probably couldn't have added was that the next (and final) time I spoke to Jon, he snottily informed me that I was "off Alec's Christmas card list" and tried to imply that the interview had never even taken place. Strangely enough, however, Alec had also given Dave Reynolds some almost identical quotes for a Kerrang! story.
In my experience, Saint Jon is a nasty piece of work. It wasn't my first negative encounter with him, and it has been difficult to covering Bon Jovi with any degree of objectivity ever since. So I try to avoid writing about him at all - how's this for a co-incidence; I even declined the possibility of an interview with him this very day. However, I'll definitely make a point of posting the Alec Jon Such interview at this site.
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Monday 18th July
Remind me never to visit Koko (formerly the Camden Palace) again on a Sunday. A night bus home is hardly a good way to start the week! However, despite being forced to pull a few numbers due to the show's late-running, headliners Napalm Death still tore the roof off the place. They really are one of the most consistent bands I've ever encountered. And it was good to see special guests Cancer again, the recently reunited Brits blasting though a short yet crushing set that included such grisly classics as 'Cancer Fucking Cancer', 'Tasteless Incest' (is there any other kind?!) and 'Hung, Drawn And Quartered'.
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Saturday 16th July
Last night, with much trepidation, I went to Hyde Park for the penultimate show of Queen + Paul Rodgers's European tour. I'd heard mixed reports of the alliance but needed to make up my own mind. I'd feared it would be awful, Rodgers being no Freddie Mercury. Then again, Paul brings very different attributes to the table. It's like comparing apples and oranges; you've just gotta go with personal taste. Rodgers sings most of the Queen catalogue convincingly; 'Tie Your Mother Down', 'Fat Bottomed Girls', 'Another One Bites The Dust', 'It's A Kind Of Magic' and 'I Want It All' among them. On the other hand, where 'I Want To Break Free' demanded decadent vampishness, Rodgers sang it like a supremely gifted but self-conscious pub singer.
Sadly, the atmosphere also went comparatively flat each time the band ran through Paul-related standards like 'Wishing Well', 'Feel Like Making Love' and 'Can't Get Enough Of Your Love', though at least the Pims-drinking dickheads around me seemed to recognise Free's classic 'All Right Now' - though perhaps only as a chewing gum advert.
On the plus front, Roger Taylor sang not only a brilliant 'I'm In Love With My Car' but fronted out 'These Are The Days Of Our Lives' and 'Radio Ga Ga' with aplomb. Brian May also conducted a stirring singalong during '39' and 'Love Of My Life'. The group had invited more than 6,000 members of London's emergency services to attend the show in honour of their sterling work on 7/7. And the finale, which kicked off with Freddie Mercury singing 'Bohemian Rhapsody' on the video screens, before the current musicians - and Rodgers - kicked in, tapped into the growing mood of sentimentality. Paul sang 'The Show Must Go On' with soul and power, but the real tear-jerker of a moment followed 'We Will Rock You', when May dedicated 'We Are The Champions' to "the men and women that brought London back to life, the real champions of this hour". Even typing this after the event, it remains a bit of a choker.
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Wednesday 13th July
You'll be pleased to know that the (barely) human Jerry Ewing was "honoured" to learn of his namesake, Jerry The Chicken. Jerry The Fowl, on the other hand, is "most dishonoured" to find out that he was named after such a foul reprobate and has informed us of his intention to change it by deed poll as soon as age permits.
Last night I went back for another look at The Blue Van (see April 28), an excellent garage rock band from Denmark. Weaned on The Who, they're a rather splendid live act and great fun to drink to. On the way up to the Metro I killed time devouring the excellent Pink Floyd & The Story Of Prog Rock, the latest Q Magazine special (thanks, Mark!). It's a quite brilliant read. I loved Carl Palmer's admission that Emerson Lake & Palmer "only made a few good albums - the rest were all rubbish", (funny... the only one I'd call rubbish is 'Love Beach'), and Steve Hackett's candid observation that after he departed Genesis they "threw the baby out with the bathwater" in their quest to conquer the charts. If you cherish a copy of 'Tales From Topographic Oceans' or like me have ever wished you owned a sequin-encrusted cloak just like Rick Wakeman's, you're advised to invest in a copy before it sells out.
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Monday 11th July
I've been deluged with emails (two or three of 'em at least) wanting to know more about our chickens. Well, poultry is the new rock 'n' roll - it's official. We've now got a half-dozen more little chicklets, all very cute indeed. Watching the fluffy little things develop from hatched eggs is very interesting; you have to teach them everything. When they're first born, with eyes that can't yet open, it's even necessary to dip their beaks into a bowl of water and show them how to drink. One of their number didn't require any tuition whatever in the art of imbing; funny enough, we quickly decided to name him - what else? - Jerry after my esteemed Classic Rock colleague Mr Ewing. Here are some pix of Jerry the chicken and his pals.
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Friday 8th July
From joy to despair. With the G8 gathering going on up in Scotland, yesterday's terror attacks on London weren't exactly unexpected, but they were truly shocking. The TV footage of the red bus with its upper level blown to smithereens was the saddest and most sickening thing I've seen in years. At the last count, 37 people were dead and many more on the critical list. I abhor the actions of these perverted, sick individuals. Well done to the capital's superbly-drilled emergency services, and to Londoners in general for their bravery.
Like the rest of the UK (and indeed most of the globe), my attention was so drawn to the TV that it was pretty hard to concentrate on work. Consequently, I completely forgot to stay in touch as England's cricketers annihilated Australia by nine wickets in the first of the one-day internationals. The victory represented a small chink of daylight during an otherwise pitch-black day.
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Wednesday 6th July
I've poo-poohed the idea of London hosting the Olympic Games in 2012, but that was before it stood a realistic chance of becoming a reality. With the contest emerging as a two-horse race, between good ol' London and Paris - where let me remind you, nobody washes and it's okay to eat frogs legs and urinate in the street - I was gradually beginning to warm to the idea (especially as I still own a property in Stratford, where the stadium is to be built). Coming after loathsome French premier Jacques Chiraq's latest anti-Brit outburst, it seemed invitable that the committee would snub the UK. So I had to wipe away a tear a few minutes ago as it was confirmed that Paris had lost, and that the Games will come to London for the third time (we held them in 1908, the year my friend Malcolm Dome was born, and again in 1948, six years after the formation of Magnum). Within moments of the announcement, my mobile had received a jubilant text from my Palace-supporting mate Mark, stating: "F**k the French! Olympics coming to London 2012! I hate the French! This is great for us, sod the French! France has never been good at combat!" Couldn't have put it better myself.
Chirac, take that... you tiresome, smug, garlic-loving, beret-wearing, petanque-playing twat! Your garcons took a hell of a beating!
How about this.... New infrastructure = £ 1 Billion. Transportation upgrades = £ 2 Billion. The look on Chirac's face .... Priceless
p.s. Just noticed that Scumwall's latest chairman Jeff Burnige has resigned after less than two months in control of the rusting 'fortress' that is the New Den (ho ho ho). Can today get any better?!

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Sunday 3rd July
Feeling awfully groggy after last night's launch party for 'Magic Never Dies', the third album from UK-based power metal combo Power Quest (www.power-quest.co.uk). Seeing as it was my birthday I'd started boozing pretty early by spinning a few classic AOR gems with my pal Jerry Ewing at his afternoon show on TotalRock Radio; things like Roadmaster, Starcastle and Prism. It was always gonna go pear-shaped after that. From what I recall, the Power Quest album sounded excellent - strong songs, good musicianship and loads of keyboards, without sacrificing heaviosity. Must check the band out live before too long.
Worked off my hangover by picking up some bargains a record fair. The best was an Iron Maiden bootleg CD called 'Lost Treasures'. Released on Neighbour Of The Beast records (you've gotta love that!) it includes the three tracks from 'The Soundhouse Tapes', the band's legendary 1979 Friday Rock Show session ('Iron Maiden', 'Running Free', Transylvania' and 'Sanctuary'), plus the three tracks that Bruce Dickinson sang at his audition. Also picked up the only Lynyrd Skynyrd album I've been missing, 1976's 'Gimme Back My Bullets', and a couple of mint condition Elton John albums (1972's 'Don't Shoot Me, I'm Only The Piano Player' and 'Rock Of The Westies' from 1975) among others, all for a quid apiece.
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Saturday 2nd July
Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me. Yes, I'm 32 again today (cough!). Actually, I feel younger than ever and it's because last night I went to see Peter Frampton at Shepherd's Bush Empire. How pleasant it was to sit among so many bald wrinkly gits; I felt proud to reach my balcony seat without the aid of a Stannah Stairlift. Now 55 years old himself, Frampton himself raised a few giggles by cracking gags about his age, but the focus was an amazing collection of tunes. Among the best bits were 'Lines On My Face', 'Wind Of Change', 'I'm In You' and the three peaks of 1976's seminal 'Comes Alive' double concert set; 'Show Me The Way', 'Baby I Love Your Way' and 'Do You Feel Like We Do'.
For a birthday pressie, Mrs L and the boys had bought me a shirt signed by last season's entire Palace squad - including Andy 'The Messiah' Johnson. How great is that?!