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 30th July
Jeeezus, I'm knackered. After spending seven and a half gruelling hours in the car on Friday's outward trip to the Rock & Blues Custom Show, we rose from our pits at 5.30am to beat the motorway traffic. If you've never been to this fine event, I can't praise it highly enough. It's like Donington for grown-ups; not only is it geographically close to Donington Park, you can drink reasonably priced beer out of cans and there's just one main stage, featuring a selection of (mostly) great old-school rock and metal bands.
Although we arrived the day before, yesterday (Saturday)'s bill included The Quireboys, M3 Classic Whitesnake, Hanoi Rocks and headliners The Damned. The weather was nowhere near as glorious as the day before, but still couldn't ruin the show. With all their ususal bonhomie, Spike and company got the party started early, even almost managing to play their biggest hit 'Seven O'Clock' at its alloted time (6.57pm was close enough!).
Despite the sound being blown around the arena like a pice of toilet tissue, Bernie Marsden, Micky Moody and Neil Murray ran through an impressive array of blues-era 'Snake classics, including 'Walking In The Shadow Of The Blues', 'Don't Break My Heart Again', 'Slow 'N' Easy' and of course 'Here I Go Again' and 'Fool For Your Loving'. Hanoi defied the oncoming rain with a super-tight, mesmerising combination of old and new material. 'Delirious' was dedicated to vocalist Michael Monroe's hero Gary Holton, 'Up Around The Bend' and 'Oriental Beat' winding the audience into a frenzy.
Afterwards I was thrilled to be invited into their dressing room for a chat. Although it meant we missed The Damned's event-closing set, it was a price worth paying. Beers were handed out and we were made to feel most welcome. My boys stood and watched in fascination as Monroe, who still looks exactly like he did back in the 80s, gave them gave a demonstration of his skills as saxophonist.
Post-gig we decamped to webmistress Batttttty's house, just a convenient drive around the corner. After consuming Caffrey's, gut-rot cider, vodka and Jagermeister throughout the day (and night), I must've been talking fluent bollocks by the early hours of the morning. What the heck, I'm sure I wasn't alone. (Message from Batttttty - Indeed you weren't! Mind you, that last cocktail of Vodka, Cranberry Juice and Cillit Bang, washed down with lashings of Strawberry-Blond Beer, pretty much stopped the conversation altogether. For future reference, you're not meant to swallow the plastic giraffe - nor are you meant to use the paper umbrella to pick your nose. Some people just have no dammmn class. Blimey)
Talking of 'living life to the full', while checking out to drive back to London a matter of hours afterwards, who should we encounter but Hanoi guitarist Andy McCoy. By then he was in an admirably refreshed state, barely able to speak, let alone navigate the hotel reception's door. What on earth he'd found to do in Pentrich till that time in the morning can only be speculated upon, but it was all part of the lads' rock 'n' roll education!
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Saturday 29th July
Family Ling have uprooted north to Pentrich for the Rock & Blues Custom Show. Sadly, an unexpectedly extended drive caused us to miss opening act Statetrooper, with AntiProduct just winding up as we arrived on site. Making their long-overdue UK debut, American Dog played unpretentious, hard-driving bar-room rock - just like titles like 'Shitkicker', 'Drank Too Much' and 'Sometimes You Eat The Pussy, Sometimes The Pussy Eats You' would suggest. I'm planning to catch the Ohio threesome a coupla times more on this tour, so will waffle about their headline shows another day.
I'll also be seeing Vixen at London's Underworld shortly, so took the opportunity to go backstage for a bevvy or three instead. There was a fantastic moment when my eldest son Eddie asked a bloke I was in conversation with if he intended to watch the next band, UFO, having no clue that he was addressing Phil Mogg. Kids... bless 'em! Beers plundered from American Dog's dressing room, we arrived out front again to catch Vixen's last song, 'Edge Of A Broken Heart'. The band sounded good, but it spoke volumes that I found myself telling the wife although it was their best tune, they didn't actually write it themselves (that honour goes to Richard Marx and Fee Waybill of The Tubes, of course).
As expected, headliners UFO were sensational. Perhaps celebrating the return of drummer Andy 'No Neck' Parker, a certain amount of imbibing had taken place, that ramshackle version of 'Love To Love' being, er... unusual. Avoiding the temptation to preview 'The Monkey Puzzle' (a new CD that's due in September), they stuck to a smattering of tracks from 'You Are Here' ('Daylight Goes To Town', 'The Wild One' and 'Baby Blue') and 'Fighting Man' from 'Sharks'. The rest of the set was built around 'Strangers In The Night' staples 'Mother Mary', 'Let It Roll', 'I'm A Loser', 'This Kids', 'Only You Can Rock Me', 'Too Hot To Handle', 'Lights Out', 'Rock Bottom', 'Doctor Doctor' and 'Shoot Shoot'.
Leaving the site after a few more bevvies, it was cool to see Mogg and Spike from the Quireboys in deep discussion, propped up against one another and obviously the worse for a few shandies. Had one of 'em dared to move, both would've ended up spawling on the grass. A marvellous moment.
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Friday 28th July
Just reviewed Martin Popoff's splendid new book on Dio, Light Beyond The Black (available from: www.metalblade.com), for Classic Rock. Just like his tomes on UFO and Rainbow, it painstaking re-examines the group's album catalogue on a track-by-track basis, as opposed to going down the biography route. This format's nowhere as dry as it might sound. Whilst expanding on the merits of the music, Vivian Campbell leaves us in no doubt of his feelings for both Dio the man and the band (the 'Sacred Heart' album is described as "a steamin' pile of poo"), and there are anti-Ron blasts from bassist Jimmy Bain and drummer Vinny Appice. Not to be outdone, Dio lambasts Jimmy Page, Nikki Sixx and the members of Black Sabbath for failing to participate in his Hear 'N Aid charity project in 1986. "I flew Jimmy in from Los Angeles and we rented a studio so he could lay down his guitar solo," seethes Ronnie, "[but] he never showed up [or] offered an explanation. I feel sorry for him." Although Motley Crue singer Vince Neil and guitarist Mick Mars found their way to the Hear 'N Aid sessions, Dio seethes with the observation: "I guess Nikki had more important things to do - like go to a bar." Given that Dio recently reunited with Black Sabbath to cut new material for a boxed set, the singer's description of guitarist Tony Iommi's technique - "A great rhythm player, [but] as a soloist he left a lot to be desired" - must render the prospect of a tour unlikely.
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Thursday 27th July
A promo copy of Maiden's new single, 'The Reincarmation Of Benjamin Breeg', has arrived and I can't stop playing the darned thing. My pal Malcolm Dome, who accompanied me to the album playback in Reading (see June 21), got to hear 'A Matter Of Life And Death' for the second time a few days ago and confirmed what we both suspected: it's a bit like an onion. The more layers you peel back, the more you discover underneath.
Palace played well in the last night's so-called 'friendly' against Boavista. Some rough tackles went in from both sides, but the Por***gese side behaved disgustingly; rolling around and feigning injury. In my book they deserved to have lost 2-1 merely for being cheats. New manager Peter Taylor got a great reception and we even played some decent football on the deck - a rare occurence in Dowie's latter days. Mark Kennedy, who always performed well against us for his many other clubs, gave the team width, whipped in some excellent corners/crosses and scored with a 25-yard screamer on his debut. If we can hold onto the wantaway Jobi Macanuff, who'd been made captain for the night, our propsects might be rosier than first feared.
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Wednesday 26th July
How absolutely fuggin' hilarious. Richard Fortus of the entity currently masquerading as Guns N' Roses has dismissed newspaper reports that W Axl Rose wouldn't start a gig in Newcastle until caterers prepared him a roast lamb dinner. According to a security guard whose story later surfaced in The Sun, Axl - who let's not forget is a 44-year-old grown man - kept fans waiting an hour and 15 minutes in sweltering heat whilst caterers prepared his nosebag of choice. "The story about Axl refusing to go on until he got a roast duck dinner [is] blatant lies," the guitarist insists. "Don't believe what you read, kiddies!" Could anyone make this stuff up without the benefit of some extremely strong drugs?
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Tuesday 25th July
Not being a regular VH-1 viewer, I'm ashamed to have missed episode #1 of Supergroup last week through not even knowing it was scheduled. But the missus DVD-ed #2 for me whilst I was out at BOC on Sunday and having watched it I'm pleased to say it's everything that Supernova: Tommy Lee's Rockstar is not (i.e. it's extremely entertaining). Love 'em or hate 'em, Sebastian Bach and Ted Nugent are both human trainwrecks, and the band's witheringly untolerant reactions to an embarrassing succession of stylists, PRs and even a human beatbox ("Just because I don't use a drumkit, doesn't mean I don't rock as hard as any member of the Bonham family," quoth the latter, somewhat implausibly) brought in by manager Doc McGee served to add spice to the plot. Call me shallow and predictable (go on - you wouldn't be the first), but this a series I'll definitely be glued to.
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Monday 24th July
Oh dear, now I remember why I stopped going to see Blue Öyster Cult. The double live album 'On Your Feet Or On Your Knees' will always be among my desert island discs, and I was lucky enough to see the New Yorkers at venues intimate (the Venue in Victoria, as Soft White Underbelly) and huge (Hammersmith Odeon, Nuremberg Zeppelinfeld, Castle Donington). But unlike other acts to experience diminishing commercial fortunes, BÖC seem to have gone onto auto-pilot whilst things tumble around them. I last saw them four or five British tours ago at the Astoria, where they turned in a meagre and decidedly lacklustre 90 minutes - this from a band with a dozen-odd studio albums to their name.
On paper things didn't bode well for last night's show, which took place at the same venue, the balcony cordoned off. Fans in Nottingham had moaned the group played for just 75 minutes. But although allowances must be made for the circumstances of last night's show (they performed as a four-piece, keyboardist and guitarist Allen Lanier having submitted a sicknote) there was still something bedgrudging and horribly perfunctory about the group's 95 minutes on stage.
The set-list wasn't the problem - check out 'The Red And The Black', 'OD-d On Life Itself', 'Burning For You', 'This Ain't The Summer Of Love', 'Harvest Moon' (from the underrated 'Heaven Forbid'), 'Harvester Of Eyes', 'Cities On Flame With Rock 'N' Roll', 'Shooting Shark', 'Black Blade', 'Then Came The Last Days Of May', '7 Screaming Dizbusters', 'Godzilla' and '(Don't Fear) The Reaper' - but the songs this once-great band chose to overlook most definitely were.
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Sunday 23rd July
Palace have a friendly game against Boavista on Wednesday - if anything against Portugal can ever be considered 'friendly' again. So with the boys now on holiday I bought some tickets as a treat (imagine how they're treated when punishment's necessary).
Aware that Croydon's Beanos Records - one of the finest second hand record stores in the country - is about to close down, I dropped in to see if there were any bargains. It felt bad to pillage a fantastic store in which I've previously spent so much time and money, but e-Bay and the way in which people now buy their music have little respect for tradition. Ended up leaving with around 15 slabs o'vinyl, plugging a few gaps in my collection, all for the princely sum of a tenner. One of the best acquisitions (for a quid) was Clover's 1977 album 'Love On The Wire', which was produced by 'Mutt' Lange and is a fine example of Thin Lizzy-ish hard rock. The first Poco LP, featuring Timothy B Schmitt of The Eagles, was worth another 100 pence. Also Cozy Powell's 'Tilt', and a solo record from Thijs van Leer of Focus, who I'm interviewing in a day or two. So you could say it's a legitimate business expense (cough).
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Friday 21st July
Caught a great Keith Emerson gig last night. The Astoria wasn't full, which was a relief as the day was hot and stifling. So conditions were bearable if you didn't move around too much. The two and a half hour show was satisfying but didn't begin well. Back in the 1970s Moogs were famous for always breaking down. Tonight Keith's set-up, which looked a little like an old telephone exchange, malfunctioned during the intro to the very first number, 'Karn Evil 9 - 1st Impression, Part 2'. To his credit, he told some anecdotes and bantered gamely while roadies sorted the hitch, but after 10 minutes of procrastination things might've gone pear-shaped. I'm told that Emerson wasn't using his right hand's fourth or fifth fingers due to arthritis, but up in the balcony it was hard to tell this visually or audibly. He sounded tickedy-boo on the last movement from his 'Piano Concerto No. 1' (from Emerson Lake & Palmer's much-maligned 'Works' album), followed by 'Living Sin' - one of several tunes aired from the 1972 classic 'Trilogy'. Guitarist/vocalist Marc Bonilla helmed the occasion rather well, though he doesn't have the voice to sing Dylan's 'Country Pie' - fortunately, very few people do - which of course Emerson recorded with The Nice in 1970s. Mostly, though, the night was based based upon such ELP standards as 'Bitches Crystal', 'Hoedown', 'From The Beginning', 'Barrelhouse Shakedown', 'Touch And Go' and Bonilla's new arrangment of 'Lucky Man', which streamlined the 1970 debut album classic though hardly improved it. Towards the end we got the full 33 minutes of 'Tarkus', followed by an encore of 'Fanfare For The Common Man' and 'Nutrocker'. The show certainly whetted my atteptite for an ELP reunion. Interviewing Emerson for Classic Rock recently, he told me that the ball is in Greg Lake's court. There are issues that can be resolved, but Lake would have to pick up the phone. Well, I spoke to Greg last week about his upcoming solo tour and found that, regrettably, there's little hope of that call being made. Not unless a Live8 scenario - or something equally charitable - makes the proposition a little more attractive. What a shame.
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Thursday 20th July
Last night I attended an album playback for Circulus, the UK-based folk-prog-rockers that I was raving about on Saturday. Held upstairs in a central London pub and including a screening of a 30-minute Swedish documentary on the band, plus two episodes of 70s children's TV show Camberwick Green (I kid you not!), it was a suitably surreal affair. The album, 'Clocks Are Like People', is fantastic - just the sort of stuff that Blackmore's Shite should be playing. Then it was off to a sweltering Borderline for Pig Irön's fifth anniversary gig. Last seen opening for Maiden at Hammersmith, they've come a long was in a relatively short space of time and I'm looking forward to hearing the full-length debut 'The Paths Of Glory' fairly shortly. Rounded off by an encore of 'White Line Fever' by Motörhead, the quartet's hour-long set confirmed they've still a long way to go, but gave grounds for cautious optimism. Bruce Dickinson, who was at the gig and has seen the band a coupla times now, agreed how much progress they've made. Praise indeed.
Before taking up writing about music for a living, I cut my teeth on several fanzines. If journalism is something you find appealing then I'd heartily recommend getting some of your worst work out of the way without being read by thousands of people!! It's also a lot of fun. Why do I mention this? Well, as the beer flowed at the Borderline, a few of us - including Steve Hammonds, now of Sanctuary Records, but with whom I worked on White Lightning back in the early 80s - decided to put together a new 'zine of our own, featuring all the bands that we damned well feel like including. Named in honour of favoured watering hole the Crobar, Cro-Mag will be coming to a photocopier near you... as soon as we can find the time. Please feel free to submit suggestions regarding editorial content or offers of contributions (but take note, you won't get paid!).
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Wednesday 19th July
Yawn. Last night I was bored enough to watch the second of the Supernova: Tommy Lee's Rockstar shows on Sky 1. What a turkey of a programme. If you're unaware, The Crüe's Lee, ex-Metallica/current Voivod bassist Jason Newsted and former GN'R guitarist Gilby Clarke have taken their cue from INXS and are holding televised auditions for someone to front their new band, Supernova. Just how far was co-host Dave Navarro up himself? How many banal clichés trotted out in the interests of prime-time TV? And if, as one spectacularly untalented loser boasted, these are some of "the best singers in the world", then please bring back Lisa Dominique - RIGHT NOW!! All credit to Gilby for being honest enough to have told one of the contestants that he "sucked" on the night before... it's a sentiment I'd extend to pretty much all who'd reached the final stages.
I'm getting a bit worried by this new Slayer album. The more I play 'Christ Illusion' the less I like it; maybe I got a bit carried away in my enthusiasm for the return of God-like drummer Dave Lombardo? I dunno. It certainly has some great songs ('Flesh Storm', 'Cult', 'Jihad', 'Eyes Of The Insane' and 'Supremist'), but also fillers like 'Consfearacy', 'Black Serenade' and 'Catatonic'. Ultimately, it's not much better than their last (Lombardo-less) offering, 2001's 'God Hates Us All'.
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Monday 17th July
The video for Iron Maiden's new single, 'The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg' (due on August 14), has been posted at www.ironmaiden.com. The video's not much to write home about, but what a truly fabulous piece of music.
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Sunday 16th July
Alice Cooper has been reminiscing about the night during the 1960s that the late Syd Barrett effectively departed Pink Floyd. The original Cooper band were playing with the Floyd at the Cheetah Club in Los Angeles on the evening concerned, when during their opening number Barrett hit a guitar chord and seemed to receive some sort of shock. "Then he just stopped playing," Alice recounted sadly, also telling how Syd sat gazing trace-like at a cereal packet over breakfast the following morning. "The rest of the set, he just stood there and stared, for about an hour-and-a-half. Never played another note - just stood there and stared. And the band just played on." Wow.
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Saturday 15th July
Sensational news from Italy where three of the country's biggest football clubs - Juventus, Lazio and Fiorentina - have been relegated from their top flight after being found guilty of match fixing. Juventus were also stripped of two championship titles, fined approximately £50,000 and had a massive 30 points deducted from next seaon's tally - barring a miraculous run of form effectively condemning them to a second season in Serie B. Milan will have been relieved to avoid the enforced drop, but kick off the upcoming season with a points deficit of minus 15. The Italian game is infamous for being riddled with corruption, but this must be one of the biggest shocks in sporting history.
Just received a watermarked promo of Slayer's hotly-awaited new album, 'Christ Illusion' (due August 21). Their first to feature Dave (no relation to Attilio - but just as God-like) Lombardo on drums since the 1991 live set 'Decade Of Aggression', is well worth the wait. Have also been playing Foreigner's excellent 'Live In '05', and the hypnotising newie from Circulus, 'Clocks Are Like People'. The latter are a very unusual band of male/female tights-wearers from here in South-East London, but their whimsically enchanting brand of acid medieval folk/psychedelic progressive rock is surprisingly easy on the ears. No great surprise that their official site hasn't been updated since the last album, 'The Lick On The Tip Of An Envelope Yet To Be Sent', but there's more about Circulus at www.circulus.org
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Thursday 13th July
Here's some news for fans of It Bites. After a lengthy silence following an onstage three-song get together at London's Union Chapel in the summer of 2003, the band's much-touted reunion is to proceed after all. Sadly however, a statement reveals that guitarist/vocalist Francis Dunnery won't be participating, due to the fact that "his personal life and career now largely [being] based in the USA, recording and writing schedules were impossible to co-ordinate". Arena guitarist/singer John Mitchell, with whom keyboard player John Beck and drummer Bob Dalton have been appearing in the excellent Kino, is to fill the Dunnery role, alongside bass player Dick Nolan. Selected concerts will precede the album's release next year, accompanied by a full tour. Kino's live versions of 'Plastic Dreamer' and 'Kiss Like Judas' prove that Mitchell can do a good job with It Bites, but after so many years of waiting and hoping I must own up to disappointment that Dunnery can't - or won't - fit this into his schedule
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Wednesday 12th July
I'm disappointed that Tony Mills has quit Shy to concentrate his efforts on TNT. Hopefully Steve, Roy and the gang will continue with a new singer - it's even been proposed by one wag over at melodicrock.com that they should recruit former TNT wailer Tony Harnell. That'd be hilarious.
It was back to the Underworld last night for Brant Bjork and his band The Bros. I hadn't seen the drummer-turned-guitarist/vocalist since his Kyuss days, though last year's 'Saved By Magic' was a highly underrated slice of Desert Rock-meets-hard drivin' psychedelic blues. The two-hour show was largely pretty enjoyable, but could've been trimmed by at least 30 minutes. I'm all for spontaneity onstage, but sometimes The Bros got stuck into a particular riff or chord sequence and chewed away at it over and over again for minutes at a time, a bit like an old scratched vinyl record. That said, their version of 'Miss My Chick', which segued into Cream's 'Sunshine Of Your Love', was rather splendid.
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Tuesday 11th July
Sorry to hear that Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Keith (better known as 'Syd') Barrett died last week of a diabetes-related illness, aged 60. The Floyd are said to have written the 1975 classic 'Shine On You Crazy Diamond' in honour of Barrett after his alleged LSD dependency and mental instability forced him to depart the band in 1968. Tributes don't get much better than that. Rest in peace, Syd.
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Monday 10th July
Well done French captain Zinedine Zidane, whose headbutting of an opponent in last night's World Cup Final probably cost his nation the trophy. Raised in a government-sponsored housing project, Zidane's stupidity confirms that while you can take the boy out of the trailer park it's harder to remove the trailer park from the boy.
I've been reminded that my band of the moment, Wig Wam (see yesterday's post), are among the quality attractions at this year's Firefest. It's a bit of a sore point, actually. To my immense frustration, the past two Firefests both clashed with crucial Crystal Palace fixtures. Now it's bloody happened again. Peter Taylor's mighty Eagles have a glamour tie (cough) with Plymouth Argyle on October 26, but I'll be zipping up to Nottingham Rock City from Selhurst as soon as the final whistle blows to catch headliners Winger and as much of Gotthard as possible. The rest of the bill includes Bonfire, Fair Warning, the aforementioned Wig Wam, Treat and Nexx, so the thought of being a latecomer is rather upsetting. Check out the festival's website.
However, here's some splendid news. According to Sky Sports, Ro***do McDonaldo is to exit English footie. Let's face it, there was very little possibility of the Portugese cheat returning to the domestic game after those disgraceful World Cup antics of his. Somebody would've burned down his house, or worse. Good riddance to bad rubbish, you slimy little bottle-job.
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Sunday 9th July
'Wig Wamania', the new album from Wig Wam, has been on repeat play since arriving yesterday morning (cheers to Dawn). A refreshing whirlwind of lipstick, stripy strides, bricklayer pouts and (ulp!) sterling musicianship, Wig Wam represented Norway at Eurovision 2005 with 'In My Dreams', coming ninth. Huge stars at home, lead vocalist Glam (real name: Åge Sten Nilsen), guitarist Teeny (Trond Holter), bassist Flash (Bernt Jansen) and drummer Sporty (Øystein Andersen) have released two previous albums; '667... Neighbour Of The Beast' in 2004, and the following year's 'Hard To Be A Rock 'N' Roller'. There are no prizes for guessing that Wig Wam grew up worshipping Kiss, Def Leppard, Alice Cooper, The Sweet, Bon Jovi, Van Halen and Thin Lizzy, songs like 'Rock My Ride', 'Gonna Get You Someday' and 'Kill My Rock 'N' Roll' being wondrously tacky, hook-laden anthems that'll melt on the tongue, not in your hands.
Another album that I simply cannot stop spinning is 'Organised Crime', by the now long-defunct Partners In Crime. I'd not heard this 1985 disc for what seemed like aeons, but bunged it onto the turntable before speaking to ex-Quo drummer John Coghlan last week. With former Mott/British Lions man Ray Majors on guitar, current Manfred Mann's Earth Band singer Noel McCalla at the microphone, and Mark DeVanchque (aka Mark Booty, formerly of Wildlife) on keys, PIC were a band that hardly deserved to have fallen at the first hurdle. Penned by DeVanchque with future FM stars Steve and Chris Overland, 'Organised Crime' is worth owning for its magnificent opening track, 'Hollywood Dreams', alone. And there's plenty more where that came from. Somebody should re-issue this long-forgotten gem on CD.
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Saturday 8th July
Having formed as schoolpals almost a decade ago, Lostprophets now stand on the verge of enormous things. Their latest album 'Liberation Transmission' was produced by Bob Rock of Metallica/Mötley Crüe fame and sits atop the British chart. Come the totting up stage it will surely rank among the definitive pop-rock-metal platters of 2006. Last night I caught the first of two sold-out Brixton Academy shows. I'd never seen this self-confessed "bunch of fucking assholes from Pontypridd" in concert before and won't pretend to have bonded too well with their first two releases, but Jeezus they were good. Thankfully most of 'Liberation Transmission' was featured - including 'Everyday Combat', 'A New Transmission', 'A Town Called Hypocrisy', 'Everybody's Screaming', 'Can't Catch Tomorrow (Good Shoes Won't Save You This Time)', 'Rooftops (A Liberation Broadcast)' and the ballad '4AM Forever' - with 'The Fake Sound Of Progress', 'Last Summer', 'Shinobi Vs Dragon Ninja' and 'Burn Burn' suggesting I should maybe go back and re-investigate those early records. There was a poorly observed minute's silence for the victims of 7/7, but let's not blame the band for some of the morons they attract. I really liked the way that Lostprophets take established musical traditions and turn them on their heads. For example, instead of finishing the set and coming back for an encore, or just skipping the old stage exit rouine completely, the six band members (well, five and birthday boy/guest sticksman Ilan Rubin) sat on the drum riser and joked around among themselves till the crowd reaction reached meltdown. I like these guys... a lot.
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Friday 7th July
It's difficult to believe that 12 months have passed since the awful atrocities in London on 7/7. Millions of British people will fall silent for two minutes at midday to mark the first anniversary. I will, of course, be joining them.
Moving onwards... here's news of a couple of unexpected and (in my book) very cool comebacks. One of my biggest heroes, Bob Seger releases a new studio album called 'Face The Promise' on September 12. A legendary Detroit-based singer/songwiter with 50 million album sales under his belt, Seger and his Silver Bullet Band are best known for the hits 'Hollywood Nights', 'We've Got Tonight' and 'Still The Same', plus the fact that Metallica covered 'Turn The Page' on 'Garage Inc'. Their last album, the patchy 'It's A Mystery', came out some 11 years ago so I'd just about given up hope of hearing anything new. I'll be waiting with baited breath, especially if there's a tour. If you've not listened to Seger before, try picking up the 'Greatest Hits' collection and then move onto 'Night Moves' (1976), 'Stranger In Town' ('78) or 'Against The Wind' ('80) - you won't regret it.
A few days ago I logged onto www.melodicrock.com and was equally shocked (again, pleasantly so) to read that Heavy Pettin, the once Brian May-produced Scottish hard rockers who released three albums in the 80s - also entering the Eurovision Song Contest - are giving it another try. Majestic Rock will shortly exhume a collection of unheard material called 'Prodigal Songs', followed by the band's first new work in 19 years. I fired off an email to Punky Mendoza to find out a few more details; apparently it's likely to be the original line-up as before "only older and more wrinkly... and fatter." Sad to learn that Mendoza himself is still weighing up the reunion's pros and cons, revealing "it's highly possible some other guitarist will be dressed up in my old spandex". Speaking of which, wonder if drummer Gary Moat will still play in those dreadful, grotty Y-fronts of his?
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Thursday 6th July
Well, the shit's finally hit the fan in the Journey lip-synching controversy. Steve Augeri has been sent home from the band's US tour with Def Leppard, Jeff Scott Soto (a formidable individual who sang with Neal Schon's Soul SirkUS project) agreeing to fill in. A statement from the band says: "Steve's been suffering with an acute throat condition since before we kicked off the tour with Def Leppard", something that anyone in the crowd at their show in North Carolina would surely verify. Perhaps knowing they'd be under intense scrutiny, there was no sign of any augmentation (or should that be 'augeri-mentation'?) of their live sound. A man with a huge voice of his own, drummer Deen Castronovo bravely grabbed hold of the situation, coming to the front of the stage to help out whilst a roadie sat in on his kit. As a fan later wrote: "It was immediately clear [from the show's start] that something was wrong. Augeri showed up in Raleigh - his voice did not", though to be fair the same individual also pointed out: "I'll take this over a pre-recorded experience any day." It'll be interesting to see how quickly Augeri returns to Journey - if at all. To be honest, I can't help but feel I've been hoodwinked. How on God's green earth could somebody deliver a superhuman performance the like of which I witnessed at Manchester Apollo on June 5, then be removed from a tour one month later? As much as I want the 'cheating' allegations to be unfounded, I'm just not buying into the band's smokescreen. Sorry.
I was tipped off about the Augeri/Soto development during last night's World Cup showdown between Po****al and France in a phonecall from a very kind individual that I won't embarrass by naming here. His/her bombshell was far more interesting than a largely forgettable game, won from the penalty spot by France's Zinedine Zidane. For a supposed flair team, Po****al's players were busy flailing over the legs of imaginary opponents and being poleaxed by stray gusts of wind from the start - it was absolutely disgusting. Oh, how I relished seeing Fag Boy Ronaldo crying like a baby at the end. Oi, Mr Fancy Stepover Fella... you can officially suck my cock. You're out of the World Cup, now fuck off.
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Wednesday 5th July
There were more highs 'n' lows yesterday. I wasn't able to see the second and final of Alice In Chains' sold-out shows at London's Astoria - the band don't have anything new on the market, so there was no publicist to approach for a ticket - though admittedly I didn't try too hard to obtain one. My pal Malcolm Dome just emailed to say last night's gig was "excellent" and far better than he'd hoped, so maybe I should've pulled out a few more stops.
However, had I been sweating my balls off at the Astoria I'd have missed one of football's most enjoyable moments of recent years - with the dreaded penalty shoot-out looking inevitable, Italy's Fabio Grosso scored with 90 seconds of extra time remaining to send hosts Germany crashing out of the World Cup Semi Finals. As if that wasn't joyous enough, Alessandro Del Piero then added a second with the game's final kick. It was sour grapes, I admit, but I wasn't gonna watch Sunday's final which takes place in Berlin. Now I'll be opening a bottle of vodka and cheering on the Azzurri against either France or Po***gal - hopefully the former, of course.
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Tuesday 4th July
Last night was a bit special. I attended a preview of Pink Floyd's new 'Pulse' double-DVD in London's Leicester Square, followed by a question and answer session with David Gilmour, Richard Wright and Nick Mason. Wow, what a DVD 'Pulse' will be when it hits the shelves on July 10. Filmed during the band's now legendary 14-night run at Earl's Court on the 'Division Bell' tour back in 1994 - one of these shows was among my first dates with Mrs L; she was very impressed by the tasty cherry tomatoes they had backstage - it includes 'The Dark Side Of The Moon' in its glorious entirety. The sound, digitally re-mastered in 5.1 by James Guthrie, and enhanced visuals are simply spectacular, and with a whole host of extras the package now lasts for almost four hours. We didn't witness the complete caboodle, but the edited highlights were enough to leave the audience agog. Guided along by 6 Music deejay and 'celebrity' fan Stuart Maconie, Gilmour, Wright and Mason then fielded some enquiries about the DVD's tortuous birth process. As ever in these situations there was a Belgian idiot who stood up and asked the most idiotic things imaginable, but the band were patient and seemed extremely comfortable in each other's company. "The jury is still out," responded Mason when asked if last summer's Live 8 reunion with Roger Waters had been a worthwhile exercise, adding: "I expect we'll have to turn out in Hyde Park again in a few months' time."
This was, of course, what everyone was dying to ask about. In the latest issue of Classic Rock, Waters revealed that the group have received "an offer of 250 million" to tour again - the fee "guaranteed" - but that he would only consider the idea for a special or significant occasion. Having noticed that Gilmour had sung along loudly and enthusiastically to the DVD playback, a journalist enquired whether 'Pulse' made the Floyd want to do it all again (i.e. go back on tour, without "the grumpy bassist", if necessary).
"Yes," was Rick Wright's speedy and unequivocal response. The others merely fudged the issue as politely as possible. So don't expect it to happen anytime soon. Boo, hiss. However, I was lucky enough to get my invite signed by Wright and Mason in the scrum of exiting the theatre.
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Monday 3rd July
This feels very strange... England is being gripped by a heatwave. After yesterday's visit to the record fair I left my newly acquired vinyl treasures in the car as we grabbed a quick pub lunch, only to return and find 'em warped in the heat. Luckily I'd only bought two fairly cheap ones.

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Sunday 2nd July
So how did you spend the night after England crashed out the World Cup? I suppose I was luckier than most. Instead of merely crying into my beer after one individual's selfish petulance scuppered the dreams of the nation (though a huge amount of blame also lies at the feet of a certain Swedish dickhead), I headed down to the Cartoon in Croydon to see The Jones Gang.
You might ask, who? Well, they comprise members past and present of The Who, Rod & The Faces, The Small Faces and The Law (drummer Kenney Jones), Foreigner, Frampton's Camel and Lynyrd Skynyrd (bassist Rick Wills) and Bad Company (guitarist Dave 'Bucket' Colwell and singer Robert Hart - the latter was also a member of the hugely underrated The Distance), and have made a really, really great debut album. Although still on import in Britain, 'Any Day Now' has been on heavy rotation here at Chateau Ling for the past few months.
The footie result was always going to have a drastic affect on the attendance, as no doubt did the hefty admission charge of £15, but The Jones Gang lived up to my expectations. We got three tracks from the album ('Time Of Your Life', 'Angel', 'Mr Brown'), Bad Company's 'Can't Get Enough Of Your Love', 'Maggie May', 'Hot Legs' and 'Stay With Me' by Rod Stewart, the Small Faces' 'Lazy Sunday Afternoon', 'All Or Nothing' and 'Tin Soldier' and, of course, several Who standards - including 'Can't Explain', 'Substitute' and 'Won't Get Fooled Again'. As Hart rightly summed up from the stage, it was "a sad sad for England, but a great day for rock 'n' roll". Right... today's my birthday and I'm off to a record fair for a 'Lazy Sunday Afternoon' of my own. Wayne Rooney, I hope you're proud of yourself.
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Saturday 1st July
How hilarious is this business of W Axl Rose being arrested and jailed in Stockholm? The way that celebrity gossip website www.popbitch.com tells it, after a Guns N' Roses show that the Swedish press called "an OK joke. No more, no less", the cops were called to the band's hotel at 8am when a scuffle broke out as staff tried to close the bar. Rose is accused of biting security guard Pascal Håkansson on the leg in the ensuing melee. "He was totally wild," Håkansson later told reporters. "He was gonna kill me. 'I'm gonna fuck your life up,' he screamed." The security guard, who was later sent for a tetanus injection adds: "Axl's bodyguard tried to calm him down, but he threatened to fire him if he intervened. That's when he threw a vase into an antique mirror. He was intoxicated, by alcohol or something." As he was led towards the cop car, Rose is said to have screamed at the bodyguard: "You are fired. You are so fucking fired."
Unless the shit hit the fan after I left, there were no such shenanigans at Foreigner's after show party. Mick Jones and company played an excellent gig at a sold out Shepherds Bush Empire last night. Also featuring Jason Bonham on drums and ex-Dokken bassist Jeff Pilson, the group's new line-up simply rocked. New singer Kelly Hansen (formerly of Hurricane and Ling faves Unruly Child) has a powerful voice that sounds enough like Lou Gramm to validate his presence, but he's no mere clone. Bursting out of the traps with a vengeance, Foreigner's greatest hits repertoire began with 'Double Vision', 'Head Games', 'Blue Morning, Blue Day', 'Cold As Ice' and a divine 'Waiting For A Girl Like You'. After a breath for air the pace resumed with 'Dirty White Boy', 'That Was Yesterday' and an amazing, almost acapella rendition of 'Say You Will'. Before a breathtaking, prog-tinged 'Starrider', Mick Jones then addressed the crowd and wished England luck in today's World Cup game against Portugual. The final run-in consisted of 'Feels Like The First Time', 'Urgent' and a rousing 'Juke Box Hero' (including a few bars of 'Better By You Better Than Me', by Jones' previous band Spooky Tooth, and a chunk of Zeppelin's 'Whole Lotta Love'). For encores they played 'Long, Long Way From Home' and 'I Want To Know What Love Is' before being rejoined by original bassist Rick Wills for 'Hot Blooded'. What a fuggin' great night!
More good news: Asia's UK tour dates are in. The reunited classic line-up will play five gigs in late November and early December, with a possible sixth pencilled in. The London show is at Shepherd's Bush... Christmas comes early!