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)

Back to the Diary Archives

Saturday 31st July
After four pre-reason friendlies, I’ve **finally** seen Palace score a goal. Eddie and I arrived at Brentford in time to visit each of the pubs on the corners of Griffin Park before taking root in the Griffin. There were quite a few Palace fans who kept the noise going throughout the ninety minutes, including some vicious ditties about former boss N**l Wa***ck. Surprisingly, a close to full-strength Eagles side went behind to a goal from former Shiteon & Homo Albion wankbag Nicky Forster and in all honesty could have been three or four behind at half-time, but Kieron Cadogan saved face by nodding in a scrappy equaliser after an hour. There were quite a few plusses to be taken from the performance, but with just the industrious but profligate Calvin Andrew up front we still need a decent striker to put away the chances that are being created.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Friday 30th July
It’s lunchtime and I’ve just arrived home from a very entertaining face-to-face interview with Vince Neil. The Mötley Crüe frontman was in fine form and it was great to catch up with Dana Strum, the former Slaughter/Vinnie Vincent’s Invasion bassist that Neil employs as a member of his solo band and as a personal assistant. I hadn’t seen Strum in twenty years… where does the time go?
Heading back towards Charing Cross station my friend John Dryland, who works for Frontiers Records, the company that issued Vince’s recent solo album, ‘Tattoos And Tequila’, chased me down the street and proposed a swift half. ‘Why the heck not?’, I thought. The sun was over the yardarm and in an hour or two I will be heading off to Brentford for palace’s pre-season friendly. The weekend starts here…
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Wednesday 28th July
Not only are my beloved Crystal Palace are due to exit administration during the next few days but star striker Darren Ambrose has spurned all approaches from QP-Haha to ink a new three-year deal. With both of these great pieces of news in mind, last night eldest son Eddie and I made the short journey across south London for a pre-season with Bromley. Although Ambrose was among the Eagles’ starting line-up the game finished goalless – how on earth I’ll never know, though it says plenty that Bromley’s keeper Foderingham was the Man Of The Match. I cannot wait for the 2010/’11 campaign to begin in a little more than a week.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Tuesday 27th July
Today’s postal haul included a copy of All Pens Blazing Volume II, Neil Daniels’ second book of interviews with music writers. The sequel includes many of my workmates past and present, including Phil Alexander, Robyn Doreian, Paul ‘Chesney’ Rees, Scott Rowley, Steve ‘Krusher’ Joule, Jon Hotten, Chris Ingham, Darren Sadler and Mick Wall, also Harry Doherty, Metal Hammer’s first editor and the man who – for better or worse – was responsible for ‘discovering’ me in the employ of a pop magazine at IPC Magazines during the mid-80s. “We did get drunk quite a lot,” Doherty tells Daniels of those apocalyptic early days working for the Hammer, a declaration of almost unparalleled understatement. I will never, ever forget Harry interrupting one of Hammer’s legendary alcohol-fuelled editorial meetings to take a call from Sandra Casali, a lovely PR for EMI Records. “Yeshhh, Shhaaaandra, we’d love to do an interview with Marrrrillll…. Marrrr…. Maaahhh”, he said, unable to get his tongue around the word he sought, finally opting for: “Fish’s band” instead. If Volume II is half as fascinating as its predecessor it’ll be well worth reading.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Monday 26th July
I’m absolutely shattered. During the last part of my journey home from High Voltage day #2, having trudged what must have been miles from stage to stage during the previous 48 hours, it was all I could do to place one aching foot in front of the other. However, exhaustion didn’t affect the happiness I felt. The first HV was a big, big success. Okay, some glitches need ironing out but that’s the same with any inaugural festival.
Unlike day #1, which I’d earmarked for settling in and doing some socialising, yesterday involved reviewing a few bands. However, my resolution of ‘no drinking, it’s work time’ didn’t last long. The day felt much better for a hair of the dog Diamond White as I travelled site-wards on the Docklands Light Railway. First up on the Prog Stage, The Reasoning put on a strong display, their potency going through the roof as the front of house adapted to the group’s depth of sound. Talking to Roy Davis of Shy and his wife Jacqui at the Main Stage in wait of the Quireboys, who I was set to cover for Classic Rock, the day’s first major annoyance arrived. The stage times had been changed. F**k! So I turned tail and dash back to the Prog Stage to catch a few numbers of Martin Turner’s Wishbone Ash. By this point my pal Andy Beare and I had been joined by Mrs Ling, who wanted to hear MTWA’s tribute to ‘Argus’ – our ‘courting’ album (ahem… apologies if that conjures up any uncomfortable images – it seemed to do so when I informed Turner – LOL!!).
With former manager Phil Mogg watching stage-side, The Quireboys were the perfect act to kick-start Day #2 on the Main Stage. “Good afternoon, let me see you raise your glasses in their air,” cried the irrepressible Spike, slurring: “If you clap your hands, Guy Griffin will by you all a drink.” Having dedicated the excellent ‘I Don’t Love You Anymore’ to fallen snooker ace Hurricane Higgins, ex-guitarist Guy Bailey (“Yes, he’s still alive!” giggled Spike) joined in for the final singalong of ‘Seven O’Clock’.
My heart went out to UFO, whose set was plagued by equipment problems. No sooner had Monsewer Mogg vowed to cut down on the chatter and squeeze in as many tunes as possible than Vinnie Moore’s guitar gave up and died during the intro to ‘Only You Can Rock Me’. “You see, this is why we never made it onto The X Factor,” remarked Phil drily. But with roadies running around everywhere, a minute became two, then five, then six, and one began to fear the problem would not be fixed. Not so, thankfully. But with the guitar continuing to drop in and out of the mix, the band had to somehow nurse their set over the finishing line. Mogg crossed his fingers theatrically towards the audience as Moore prepared to launch into ‘Rock Bottom’s legendary guitar solo, and when the sound failed once more the guitarist quite rightly threw his hands in the air. Aside from the gremlins, the injustice was two-fold. Why on earth were a band of UFO’s quality and popularity so low on the bill? Let’s have them back next year to show what they can **really** do.
One of the day’s funniest moments came when I introduced my friend Neil Pudney to Fish: the look of ‘New-underpants-please’ incredulity as he realised whose hand he was shaking was a genuine picture. Sadly, I could only watch a few numbers of Bachman & Turner, but they were fabulous; all cowbells, stomping riffs and grizzled vocals. I would urge anyone that liked BTO to pick up Randy and Fred’s album when it drops next month. Caught a bit of Ted Turner’s solo set in the VIP area… a mixture of slide guitars and bongos – not what I expected. Over at a packed-out Prog Stage, Uriah Heep, on the other hand, offered everything I’d hoped. Revising their classic ‘Demons & Wizards’ album in its entirety for the very first time with the sterling assistance of Micky Moody on slide guitar, their set was one of the day’s revelations. Much to the amusements of Messrs Beare, Pudney and Prog magazine’s Nick Shilton, I came over all misty-eyed and had to seek refreshment in the beer tent.
After watching a couple of songs by The Strawbs in the VIP area, it was back to the Main Stage. The fact that Joe Elliott’s Down ‘N’ Outz were up against Opeth and Agent ensured a surprisingly sparse crowd, but the music was excellent. “These songs have waited 35 years for an audience, and we’re proud to bring them to you,” beamed Elliott. Ian Hunter joined the band for ‘Once Bitten Twice Shy and ‘Why Do You Love’, but by that point I was already looking at my watch. The band had used 78 of their allotted 80 minutes and still hadn’t played ‘All The Way From Memphis’, ‘Roll Away The Stone’ or ‘All The Young Dudes’. I turned to Andy as said: “It would take a big man to throw Joe Elliott and Ian Hunter off a stage”, but that’s exactly what happened. A disembodied voice announced: “Thank you very much, Down ‘N’ Outz”, and the power was cut. Joe and Ian looked gobsmacked and for a moment I thought Hunter was gonna swing his acoustic at somebody’s head. In football parlance, no doubt it went off in the tunnel afterwards, also in the dressing room. The miscalculation was the band’s own fault, but the ugly way their set was terminated – the mics could at least have been turned back on to allow them to say goodbye – was utterly disrespectful.
Adding insult to injury, the stage remained empty for 10 full minutes once it had been readied for Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s first gig in 12 years. Having seen them just once before, this was to be my own crowning moment at High Voltage. Things began messily, opener ‘Karn Evil 9 First Impression Pt 2’ being ever so slightly rushed, not to mention slapdash thanks to nerve damage in Keith Emerson’s right hand causing some fluffed notes. But by ‘Bitches Crystal’, things had settled down nicely. Like the rest of the crowd I was gobsmacked by Greg Lake’s girth, also the seemingly casual power and richness of the bassist’s voice. The set-list was all over the place, though. ‘Take A Pebble’ morphed into a piano solo from Emerson before Lake and Carl Palmer picked things up again with ‘Stones Of Years’, from ‘Tarkus’, ruining all hope of seeing the masterpiece performed the way it was done in 1971. Worse still, the cantankerous Lake was engaged in proving that ELP were/are prima donnas, petulantly bellowing: “Feedback! Feedback! Feedback!” during the latter. However, the inevitable encore finale of ‘Fanfare For The Common Man’ and ‘Rondo’, complete with Palmer’s drum solo and a bout of knife-keyboard interaction from Emerson, was simply out of this world. Will we see ELP onstage again? Frankly, given the group’s body language, also the fact that they have always been their own worst critics (which is indeed saying something!), I doubt it.
On the other hand, High Voltage 2011 is already being booked. I, for one, will not be missing it for all the cider in Taunton.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  

Sunday 25th July
I’m home from the first day of the High Voltage festival – just enough time to grab some food, clean my teeth, check the emails and head straight out of the door for day #2, so will keep this short and sweet. My biggest advance concern – the crossovers of so many stage times – was indeed an annoyance and will need to be fixed for the 2011 event, but it’s better to have too many good bands, as opposed to the alternative, right? Despite the crowds outside my friend Andy Beare and I gained admission to the site with ease (the advantage of a VIP pass), just in time to join the early-birds in watching Touchstone. Their sound was a bit thin but I liked them a lot, and two or three songs was all it took for Monsewer Beare to fall in love with their flame-haired lead singer Kim Seviour.
Black Spiders clashed with The Union, which was frustrating, so we watched a few numbers by the former (who, it must be said, rocked heartily), before heading to the Main Stage to check out Mr Morley’s new outfit. It seemed as though Peter Shoulder had enjoyed a few pre-gig sherries, but f**k me… what a voice. The band’s debut album has struck a major chord with yours truly, and it was great to hear its selections performed with such conviction. Arriving in the VIP area we were greeted by none other than an extremely chirpy Fish, snapping away with his camera. Bigelf sounded amazing on the Prog Stage, but there was only time to hear them play ‘The Evils Of Rock ‘N’ Roll’ before Gary Moore began. And here’s where it started to go pear-shaped. I’d been led to believe that Moore was playing a hard rock set. Sadly, and perhaps inevitably given the way he did the exact same thing at the ‘indoor’ Monsters Of Rock in 2003, he seemed sworn to do the least possible rocking in the maximum possible time, going through the motions in a quite shameless manner and even signing off with ‘Walking By Myself’. Having committed myself to watching this tripe, a major pitfall of HV quickly became evident: Make one ill-judged decision and the distances between the stages ensure that you blow the chance of watching two more decent bands.
Foreigner were, for me, the group of the day – in fact, possibly the whole weekend. Playing a solitary song from their new album, ‘Can’t Slow Down’ – its excellent title cut – and ending with a choir-enhanced ‘I Want To Know What Love Is’, their energy, enthusiasm and sheer pizzazz provided the perfect antidote to Moore’s snoorefest. Thank the Lord.
The guys from UFO arrived in the VIP area a day early for their Sunday appearance, along with their webmistress Batttttty (the very kind and long-suffering individual who also oversees these very pages – three cheers and a box of Ferrero Rocher, etc). Drummer Andy Parker was heartily amused by my union jack shorts, even texting his wife at home in America with a photograph. Bastard.
The much-anticipated farewell to Heaven And Hell was enjoyable, though perhaps less stellar than I expected. The outpouring of love from co-frontmen Glenn Hughes and Jørn Lande did Ronnie James Dio proud, as did Wendy Dio’s tearful speech, and the show was a good send-off, but sparks didn’t fly – not for yours truly. However the set’s conclusion did provide HV with its own ‘Jarvis Cocker at the Brits’ moment when Down’s Phil Anselmo, who’d been watching side-stage ran on and seized the microphone from Hughes during the encore of ‘Neon Knights’. Despite putting his arm around the tattooed, muscle-bound interloper and gazing imploringly into the wings, Glenn seemed to mistake Anselmo for some punter who’d made it onstage, his phased expression seeming to cry out: “SECURITY!” Almost as chucklesome as the part which saw Hughes sing into the wrong end of the microphone – true! However, the tribute show was performed with 101% conviction and sincerity. Somewhere, somehow, I’m sure Ronnie James Dio will have been looking down and smiling.
Under cover of darkness, headliners ZZ Top made enough mistakes to scupper the it’s-all-on-tape conspiracy theorists (and, believe me, I know quite a few of those!). I liked the way their roadies came out and lit a cigar for each band member during the final song, ‘Tush’, but despite rounding up their hits and the best bits from the classic albums the group’s 90-minute display was just a little too one-paced for its own good – losing significant momentum with an extremely tedious Jimi Hendrix tribute segment.
On the whole, though, a stupendous day…
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  

Saturday 24th July
I’ve been a fan of Swedish proggers Black Bonzo since my friend and neighbour James Endeacott tipped me off about them circa their self-titled debut album in 2004. The quintet have now cut three albums of a delightful, Heep-influenced brand of psychedelic hard rock, but last night was my first opportunity to witness them onstage.
Upon entering the Luminaire, a fairly small venue in Kilburn, a familiar ditty tickled the earlobes. “Who’s that covering ‘Dust In The Wind’ by Kansas?” I wondered. It was none other than current Frost*/former Darwin’s Radio frontman Dec Burke, already midway through an intimate one-man solo show. Then, unexpectedly, ‘Dust…’s fragile beauty was interrupted by an angst-ridden, sustained vocal note – “aaaah, I forgot the chord!” – and the place erupted with laughter. ‘Saline’, from Frost’s second album, ‘Experiments In Mass Appeal’, was performed in stripped-down form, followed by Transatlantic’s ‘We All Need Some Light’. Besides being a gifted singer, Burke is also something of a comedian, it seems. “Hello Mr Piano, you bastard,” he exclaimed, switching his attention from the acoustic guitar. Ending with a creditable attempt at ‘Black Hole Sun’ by Soundgarden’, this was a performance I wish I’d have known about in advance.
Black Bonzo began to a painfully deafening silence, but despite the tentative entrance and a tendency to venture too far into territory already explored by Heep (check out ‘Lady Of The Light’ and ‘New Day Dawning’ for examples of classic Uriah-style shuffles in the ‘Easy Livin’’ vein), in the long run their set was excellent. With short hair and sporting a sparkly scarf around his neck, Magnus Lindgren didn’t exactly project the conventional rock star image – indeed, guitarist Joakim Karlsson is the only band member you’d mistake for a musician – though Lindgren displayed sufficient charisma, facial grimaces and physical contortions to keep things interesting. The highly rhythmic ‘Iscariot’ reminded me a little of It Bites (never a bad thing!), but mostly the group’s sound is indebted to the multi-part vocals and swirling Hammond organ of Hensley-era Heep, not forgetting a smattering of King Crimson, Deep Purple and, at their most gentle, Wishbone Ash. A three-song encore, concluded by the end segment of David Bowie’s ‘Memory Of A Free Festival’, surprised the event’s compere and many of the homeward-bound crowd, but was richly deserved. This was only the group’s second visit to the UK and their debut show within London’s boundaries, which explained the miserly turnout, but I hope they’ll be back – soon! Here’s what was played: ‘The Well’, ‘Fantasy World’, ‘Iscariot’, ‘Because I Love You’, ‘Zephyr’, ‘Guillotine Drama’, ‘Where The River Meets The Sea’, ‘Lady Of The Light’, ‘Sudden Changer’ and ‘Supersonic Man’, plus ‘New Day Dawning’, ‘Jailbait’ and ‘Memory Of A Free Festival (Excerpt)’.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  

Friday 23rd July
Attended yesterday’s Wishbone/Heep rehearsal for a while, which was fun, though didn’t get to stay for as long as I hoped. In the evening I went to the newly refurbished Borderline to see Joe Elliott and the Down ‘N’ Outz. Elliott’s tribute to all things Mott is heart-felt undoubtedly altruistic, and I’m pleased that ‘My Re Generation’ has been picking up some positive reviews. The band certainly has fun onstage, and their thunderous rendition of Elton’s ‘Funeral For A Friend’/‘Love Lies Bleeding’ is a great way to commence any show. “This is a song we might well do on Volume Two’ [of ‘MRG’],” Elliott announced before the group tore into ‘Whizz Kid’, from 1973’s ‘Mott’. The best bit came during the three-song encore. Joe kept beckoning someone at the side of the stage to come and join in; indeed, somebody that saw a printed set-list told me it mentioned a mooted guest appearance of Brian May. Finally, though, Ian Hunter strode on and took the mic for ‘All The Young Dudes’, sending the sold-out venue mad with joy. “This is how to finish a gig,” beamed Joe. Quite right, too. Here’s the set-list: ‘Funeral For A Friend’/‘Love Lies Bleeding’, ‘One More Chance To Run’, ‘Golden Opportunity’, ‘Storm’, ‘Overnight Angels’, ‘Whizz Kid’, ‘Shouting And Pointing’, ‘Who Do You Love’, ‘One Of The Boys’, ‘England Rocks’, ‘By Tonight’, ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Queen’ and ‘Good Times’, plus ‘All The Way From Memphis’, ‘Roll Away The Stone’ and ‘All The Young Dudes’.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  

Thursday 22nd July
Must keep it brief as the clock is ticking and there’s plenty to pack in. After lunch I shall be taking a sneaky peek at Uriah Heep and Martin Turner’s Wishbone Ash rehearsing their sets for the weekend’s High Voltage Festival. Heep are, of course, going to be playing ‘Demons And Wizards’ in its entirety, with a slide guitar cameo from Micky Moody, whilst MTWA and guest star Ted Turner are set to revise the classic ‘Argus’. Afterwards I have a 4pm meeting about a very exciting, top secret project, and then it will be time to enjoy a few liveners before Joe Elliott’s Down ‘N’ Outz’ own HV warm-up at the Borderline. Busy, busy, busy!
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Wednesday 21st July
Ooooh, how exciting. Release details of the recordings of Opeth’s recent 20th anniversary concert in London (for the Ling verdict see Diary, April 6) are available. Confusingly titled ‘In Live Concert At The Royal Albert Hall’ (‘In Live Concert…’??!!), Roadrunner are to issue three separate formats on September 21, including a boxed set featuring a double-disc DVD and four x 180-gram vinyl platters of the entire gig, plus a 20-page booklet and signed lithograph. Classy, baby!!
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  

Tuesday 20th July
For the past couple of evenings, with no gigs on the horizon, my nose has been super-glued to the pages of an excellent biography of one of my all-time favourite groups, The Sweet. Dave Thompson’s Block Buster! (Cherry Red Books, £14.99) tells the band’s story with affection and honesty in a nice free-flowing style. I only met their now long deceased drummer Mick Tucker on a couple of occasions, but he’s my kind of tell-it-like-it-is rock star. Famously, Sweet were forbidden by songwriters Chinn and Chapman from playing on their earliest hits. So nobody could blame Tucker for a display of gallows humour when a former label attempted to trump the release of the group’s debut LP, ‘Funny How Sweet Co Co Can Be’, by cobbling together a cash-in collection of long-lost, flop 45s. “It must have been awful being a Sweet fan in the early days,” grimaced the percussionist sagely. “Two albums to chose from, and they’re both shit.” Brilliant stuff.
Having reviewed it for the upcoming issue of Prog, I cannot stop playing the first new music from Spock’s Beard in four years. To be issued in Europe via Mascot Records on August 30 and titled ‘X’, it’s the US neo-progressive act’s tenth studio release – their fourth since the departure of Neal Morse. Superb songs, wondrous vocals, immaculate musicianship, crashing highs and contemplative lows… this has it all.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Monday 19th July
What a pisser – it seems that Pearl Jam are **not** going on an extended hiatus after all. A few days ago, winding up a show in Portugal that signalled the end of the Seattle band’s current world tour, Eddie Vedder told the audience: “Thank you coming to our last show. Not our last ever, but our last for a long time.” There was I preparing the bunting and looking up the number of the off license – I cannot abide Vedder’s woeful, whiny, tembly voice or his endless self-pity – when a publicist had to spoil it all. “[Eddie] says that at the end of all tours because the tour has ended,” reveals the heartless flunky. “The remark may have gotten a little lost in translation.” FFS!
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Sunday 18th July
A quick word about Chelsea fans – a conceited, ignorant and despicable bunch of supporters (that last word is used with extreme license) that now run Manure pretty close in the ‘Kill the whole fuggin’ lot of ’em stakes’. Actually I take that back; I do know a handful of decent Chelsea fans that are genuine fans of the game, but they represent a tiny minority. New money traditionally brings out the worst in people and Chelski, whose spoiled followers yesterday descended upon Selhurst Park (many from within walking distance), are no exception. In the pubs and clubs we had to endure their loud and smug debate of how many goals they would murder Crystal Palace by. “Oh, at least six.” “Fuck that, I’ll go for ten.” This was for a pre-season friendly, remember.
In the end, Chelski won by a solitary 60th minute goal from Michael Essien. With the same player lashing a hefty shot against the bar it could have been more, though Palace had second half chances of their own to restore parity. We are going to have to sign a striker or two before the season begins. Both sides were below their usual strengths, though being back at Selhurst in glorious sunshine with a crowd of more than 20,000 was an enormous amount of fun, and I loved singing “We support our local team” and “Where were you when you were shit?” at the opponents, who benevolently declined their share of the gate receipts. For that, if nothing else, I hold the current Premier League Champions in high esteem.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Saturday 17th July
The new issue of Classic Rock is here. I sat in the garden and enjoyed some sunshine whilst flicking through its contents, the newly arrived 25th anniversary edition of Uriah Heep’s ‘Equator’ audible via the open kitchen window (my neighbours love me!!). I’d love to see the look on W Axl Rose’s face when a butler reads him Geoff Barton’s two-page review of the alleged Guns N’ Roses performance at the Sweden Rock Festival – talk about dealing it out with both barrels, Geoffrey. But, I suspect, every word is true. Elsewhere, Boss Barton also found the time to visit Warsaw and view ‘The Big Four’ of Thrash’s decimation of Sonisphere, hanging out with all the participants. Once again, tremendous reading. Dom Lawson has awarded the new Iron Maiden album (their 15th) nine out of a possible ten. Dom loves Maiden (almost) as much as I do, though I’ve yet to clock ears on ‘The Final Frontier’. I will admit to being disappointed by ‘El Dorado’, a track that the band allowed to be downloaded for free, so here’s hoping that Dom will once again be proven correct on August 16.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  

Friday 16th July
Last night was spent enjoying some gossip and supping vast quantities of white wine at central London’s Crobar. Thanks to my old mucker Steve Hammonds, I returned home clutching finished copies of the first Tokyo Blade album and Little Angels’ ‘Too Posh To Mosh’, also the new deluxe, double-disc edition of Magnum’s ‘On A Storyteller’s Night’, all of which have sleeve notes penned by yours truly. A package from Derek Oliver containing two new Rock Randy Records releases has also just dropped onto the mat. I’ve had the vinyl of Steve Walsh of Kansas’ ‘Schemer Dreamer’ and the self-titled solo debut from Boston’s Barry Goudreau for aeons, it will be good to hear them in re-mastered form.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  

Thursday 15th July
I’ve just received two pieces of astonishing news, both of which I’m unable to share at this stage. Sorry. One is rather shocking and concerns the Heavy Metal Kids, the other made me grin from ear to ear. In fact, I almost donned my near-legendary pink suit and frugged around the room with joy. All shall be revealed as soon as possible, you have my word.
Yesterday’s schedule included a phone interview with Justin Hayward. I’d very briefly met the singer of the Moody Blues thanks to an introduction from John Payne, but our first interview was great – the 63-year-old is an intelligent and immensely likable bloke. I will make a point of checking out his band at the O2 Arena on September 24.
In the evening, having had my ear bent in the pub following last Friday’s FM gig, I jumped on a bus to the New Cross Inn to check out a local band called Six Second Silence. Though still unsigned, the quartet have a decent repertoire of songs that nods in the direction of Nickelback, Alter Bridge, Papa Roach and early Lostprophets. They’re still some way off the finished article, that’s for sure, but a few ciders were sunk in the company of my mates Kev McDempster and Andy Beare during a great night out.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Wednesday 14th July
I dropped by the Crystal Palace box office en route to last night’s pre-season with Crawley Town, my first visit to Selhurst since the club’s much publicised financial problems were resolved. It was reassuring to know that the place is still standing. Picked up some tickets for the weekend’s game with Chelski. Down at Crawley I shared some pre-game drinkies with my fellow Eagles fanatic Neil Pudney and a good buddy from Liverpool, deejay Kevin McDempster, who was in town for some business meetings. The game was absolute pants. Despite fielding a fairly strong side with a nucleus of 1st teamers (the faithful Speroni, Neil Danns, Paddy McCarthy, Alan Lee…), a wonder-goal from Matt Tubbs ensured that Palace lost 1-0 to the Conference Leaguers. But it was good to see the team attempting to keep the ball on the deck. The mix of old, new and assorted trialists will take a while to knit; Rome wasn’t built in a day.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Tuesday 13th July
I’ve been working my way through a huge pile of advance CDs. Simply cannot stop playing the self-titled debut from Bachman & Turner (Cadiz Music, September 6), which has several absolutely corking songs that make me just want to dash out and buy a new wardrobe of checked lumberjack shirts. The long-awaited, eponymously-named first album from The Union (Payola Records, August 30) is another first-rate release. I’m struck with wonderment by ‘Alive’, a solo record from Ed Kowalczyk, frontman of Pennsylvania’s Live (Edel, August 23). NWOBHM-ers Marseille are back with ‘Unfinished Business’ (Gas Station Music, September), as good-time a metal record as you’re likely to hear in 2010. And last but not least, ‘Red Velvet Car’ (Eagle, August 30), the first new studio album from Heart in six years, has become another turntable regular here at Ling Towers.
P.S. The new issue of Prog is here, with a magnificent Rush cover. It offers so much to read (ELP, Transatlantic, Mike Oldfield, Hawkwind, Bigelf), I barely know where to start. Sadly, there’s also an interview with odious Scumwall bigot Danny Baker, but you can’t have everything.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Monday 12th July
Paul the octopus called it right – again. It says plenty of a decidedly lacklustre World Cup 2010 that a so-called ‘psychic’, aquarium-dwelling mollusc could became one of its biggest stars. Paul was such a media phenomenon that his ‘draw’ – choosing a mussel from one of two boxes bearing the flags of the final’s competing nations – was actually covered on live TV. Kinda puts the contribution of Wayne Rooney, who did absolutely sweet FA in South Africa, into context… doesn’t it?
But I digress, Paul was once again correct and last night the Spaniards lifted the trophy in extra time, a strike four minutes from time by Andres Iniesta avoiding the distasteful prospect of seeing the trophy awarded a brand new home via the lottery of a penalty shoot-out. Although I had started out supporting Holland, the Orangemen’s strong-arm tactics were appalling and by the end my allegiance had switched. Spain’s diving and petulance were equally repugnant though, and for a so-called showcase fixture it seemed like too much time was spent with the players kicking lumps out of each other or theatrically falling over and trying to get their opponents booked. The beautiful game? I don’t think so. Roll on Crystal Palace’s 2010/11 campaign in the nPower Championship… **that’s what I call football!**
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Saturday 10th July
Awoke dehydrated, fully clothed and feeling dog-rough on the living room sofa at 5.30am after last night’s FM gig. With temperatures having reached 23° here in the South-East, yesterday was the year’s hottest day so far. I may well have over-compensated with the cider, hahaha. But what the heck, the show was brilliant. With Leigh Matty in outstanding voice, Romeo’s Daughter set the bar for the night’s entertainment. Their eight-song display was based upon the 1988’s wondrous self-titled debut (‘Heaven In The Back Seat’, ‘Velvet Tongue’, ‘I Cry Myself To Sleep At Night’, ‘Wild Child’, ‘Hymn (Look Through Golden Eyes)’ and ‘Don’t Break My Heart’), but also including one track from the second album (‘Attracted To The Animal’) and a preview of a brand new record that’s due next year (‘Bittersweet’). That they took to the stage in virtual silence but departed with the Islington Academy’s cheers ringing in their ears says it all to me.
The hall had filled up nicely by the time that FM arrived, slightly earlier than advertised, and it was hard to find fault with a 90-minute set which included five tracks from the acclaimed comeback disc, ‘Metropolis’. Steve Overland’s singing was simply stunning throughout and guitarist Jim Kirkpatrick is looking more and more at home with each passing gig. I swear the earth moved during an encore rendition of ‘Frozen Heart’. Afterwards, in the Weatherspoons pub across the road, in between arguing about which was the best FM album – ‘Indiscreet’ or ‘Aphrodisiac’? – my friend Andy Beare and I also mused upon whether the group was superior in its 1980s heyday or current reunited state. Given the way the alcohol impaired our usually finely honed debating skills, it was impossible to reach a mutually satisfactory verdict. But one thing’s for certain: There are few better live attractions in this country than the mighty FM right now. Here’s the set-list: ‘Wild Side’, ‘Face To Face’, ‘That Girl’, ‘Don’t Stop’, ‘Only The Strong’, ‘Blood And Gasoline’, ‘Hollow’, ‘Metropolis’/‘Over You’, ‘Flamingo Road’, ‘Hard Day In Hell’, ‘All Or Nothing’, ‘Burning My Heart Down’ and ‘American Girls’, plus ‘Frozen Heart’, ‘Bad Luck Finding A Lager’ and ‘Heard It Through The Grapevine’.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Friday 9th July
There I was making my son’s sandwiches for school and grooving around to ‘Move It On Over’ by George Thorogood & The Destroyers on Alice Cooper’s usually excellent Planet Rock Radio breakfast show. “Alice is playing some great music today,” I thought. Then without warning I leapt across the room to snap the ‘off’ button as the irritating strains of an REM song began to fill the kitchen. Why on earth do Planet Rock do that?!? I fail to understand why they insist on giving precious air time to acts such as REM and U2, who are featured on just about every other radio station in existence. The whole point of Planet Rock is to play classic rock music, surely? Not nauseating pop with delusions of grandeur. It makes me mad! You might have noticed. At least the postie just delivered a double-disc of Hawkwind’s rather good new studio album ‘Blood Of The Earth’, which has my sleeve notes. Along with the prospect of some serious cider guzzling at tonight’s FM/Romeo’s Daughter gig, that removed the sour taste from my mouth.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Thursday 8th July
So it’s Holland or Spain for the 2010 World Cup. I drank some lovely ice-cold wine during last night’s semi-final between Germany and the Spaniards, cheering loudly as Carlos Puyol’s bullet header rippled the German net. Having played such a superb passing game, to which their opponents had no real reply, Spain’s victory was thoroughly deserved. The Germans homeward bound, I don’t really mind who wins Sunday’s final. With a brand new name to be etched onto the famous trophy, all I’m hoping for is a good, entertaining game.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Wednesday 7th July
More than a week since my last live gig, I was champing at the bit for last nite’s show from Garcia Plays Kyuss. Vocalist Garcia has received a hit and miss response to his Kyuss-themed European run, some dismissing it as a shameless rip-off, but here in London there were enough excited punters to pack out the Electric Ballroom in Camden. This may have had something to do with the fact that earlier in the trek, at the Hellfest in France, John was joined onstage by bassist Nick Olivieri and drummer Brant Bjork, thus reuniting three-quarters of the desert-rockers’ classic line-up. Garcia had dropped some very broad hints of further Kyuss action, but in the end the show’s only special guests was Orange Goblin’s Ben Ward who sang on ‘Supa Scoopa And The Mighty Scoop’ and ‘Allen’s Wrench’… no disrespect to Ben, but a bit of an anti-climax all things considered. Nevertheless, the 100-minute set-list was well selected (its only non-Kyuss offering being a final goodbye of ‘Pilot The Dune’, by Slo Burn) and Garcia’s backing musicians – guitarist Bruno Fevery, bassist Jacques de Haard and drummer Rob Snijders – were tight and enthusiastic. Like me, some of the Metal Hammer posse felt that they were perhaps a little too clean sound-wise, but as Art Ed James Isaacs so rightly points out: “the Kyuss vibe was very of its time and hard to replicate without a petrol generator and a head full of peyote!” The place went absolutely bananas for GPG, bellowing out all the lyrics, my only real complaint being that Garcia spoiled the surprise of Holland’s fine World Cup victory by revealing the score (most likely in honour of his band-mates; with surnames like Snijders they had to be Dutchmen). Here’s the set-list: ‘Molten Universe’, ‘Thumb’, ‘Hurricane’, ‘One Inch Man’, ‘Freedom Run’, ‘Asteroid’, ‘Odyssey’, ‘Gloria Lewis’, ‘100°’, ‘Spaceship Landing’, ‘Demon Cleaner’, ‘Supa Scoopa And The Mighty Scoop’, ‘Allen’s Wrench’, ‘Whitewater’, ‘Gardenia’ and ‘Green Machine’, with encores of ‘El Rodeo’ and ‘Pilot The Dune’.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Tuesday 6th July
Justin Hawkins has shot down rumours spread by The Sun that the Dorkness are on the verge of reuniting. “Whoever paid this ‘source’ should really ask for their money back, because what they have bought is essentially horse shit,” tweets Hawkins. Phew! I believe in a thing called eardrums, and I’d rather keep mine intact without your Goddamn squawking, thank you very much.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Monday 5th July
Due to the Wold Cup and the festival season gigs have been somewhat thin on the ground of late, though things are starting to get busy again with Garcia Plays Kyuss on Tuesday night, also a couple of FM shows in Cardiff and London. I’ve been asked to point out that anyone wishing to view the online feed of the Romeo’s Daughter concert at Winstanley College on Wednesday can do so by logging on here and following the links.
Last night I spent some time in front of the gogglebox. BBC4’s Forever Young: How Rock ‘N’ Roll Grew Up, a documentary that attempted to probe why so many musicians are still rocking in their sixties, was fascinating. Its premise seemed to be that Live Aid extended the lifespan of a whole generation of artists, making them sexy again. Besides using footage of The Who singing “hope I die before I get old” then and now, many of the ‘usual suspects’, including Lemmy, Rock Wakeman, Iggy Pop, Robert Wyatt, Eric Burdon, Procol’s Gary Brooker and veteran writer Nick Kent, were interviewed. “How is it possible to stop?” responded Lemmy to a question from the background interviewer, adding: “[This is] not what I do anymore, it’s who I am.” I had to admire the honesty of Iggy Pop, who volunteered: “I don’t think I can write a rock song like I used to. I can sing it good, but writing a new one, it’s hard. You don’t have the same amount of animal energy.” The fact remains, though, that the rock ‘n’ roll rule book is being re-written with every passing day. “In two hundred years’ time, will people be sitting around in aquatic shopping malls, listening to ‘Comfortably Numb’?” wondered Robyn Hitchcock. “I dunno wait and see.”
I also watched, and enjoyed, ITV’s Gazza’s Tears: The Night That Changed Football, which used a not dissimilar theory to suggest that Italia 90 – which saw Bobby Robson’s initially reviled England side progress to the Semi Finals of the World Cup – helped to reinvigorate the supposedly beautiful game of today (Premier League, all seater stadiums, etc). Watching that free kick from outside the box loop horrendously into the air and sneak under Peter Shilton’s crossbar, it all came flooding back. I almost welled up. Is it really 20 years since it actually **meant something** for the players to pull on an England shirt? I guess so…
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Sunday 4th July
Picked up some nice bargains at the Orpington Record Fair; a mint condition vinyl of Spirit’s third album, 1969’s ‘Clear’, for 50 pence, a Chicago collection that I didn’t own, the self-titled debut from Aviator (featuring ex-Tull drummer Clive Bunker, not the US AOR gods of the same name) and, most amusingly of all, a horrid-looking record from Steelover, a German metal combo from the ’80s that featured original Scorpions drummer Rudy Lenners. Its sleeve illustration of a female vampire temptress, on her knees, chained and sporting fishnets and thigh-high boots, was so embarrassing that I didn’t dare remove it from my bag on the bus. I bet it will be excruciatingly bad, destined to be played once then filed away between Steelhouse Lane and Steel Panther, but for 50p I had to have it.
Receiving plenty of CDs in the mail, I tend to concentrate on vinyl at record fairs. This time, with birthday dough burning a hole in my pocket, I invested in some interesting-looking live releases, including a Nazareth disc (‘Telegram – Live In London, 18th June 1985’), ‘All Proud, All Live, All Mighty’, a double set of The Almighty’s February ’08 gig at the Astoria, and ‘Live In The USA’ by the John Payne-fronted line-up of Asia. On closer investigation of the latter, I was annoyed that discover I already owned it under an alternative title of ‘Live In Philadelphia’. To quote Derek & Clive, if only people would fucking label things properly…
On the trip home I was perplexed to read that Fabio Crapello is to remain in charge of England despite a disastrous World Cup campaign. Paid a whopping £6 million per year, the 64-year-old made the nation a laughing stock… how many of us would retain our jobs if we underperformed the way the Italian’s representatives did in South Africa? Answers on a postcard…
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Saturday 3rd July
Unable to decide which team I wanted to win – or, more honestly, the one that most deserved a darned good stuffing - I passed on this afternoon’s Word Cup Quarter-Final to watch England’s final one-dayer against Australia. Big mistake. The Aussies eased past Strauss’ men to make the result of the already conceded series look semi-respectable. On the other hand, the highlights of Germany 4, Argentina 0 (yes, big fat zero) looked fabulous. Oh, how I savoured the look of astonished woe plastered across Ma****nna’s face at the full-time whistle. The Krauts were worryingly good, but I am behind the Netherlands for the rest of the competition.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Friday 2nd July
Not only is it a gloriously sunny day here in London it’s also my birthday so having been granted a little extra time to deliver my High Voltage programme copy, I’ve been taking it (slightly) easy. Mrs L has bought me a fantastic T-shirt sporting the letters C-P-F-C in the AC/DC logo. I cannot wait to wear it to the pre-season friendlies which begin next week at Crawley Town. After watching my youngest son’s sports day for a while I sat down in the garden to read a book. A few weeks ago I picked up Rat Salad: Black Sabbath, The Classic Years 1969-1975 for four quid at the Record & Tape Exchange. It’s a good, thorough read, examining the minutiae on Sabbath’s first six albums, pointedly excluding ‘Technical Ecstasy’ and ‘Never Say Die’, both of which deemed too “lacklustre” for inclusion by author Paul Wilkinson. Wilkinson knows his subject better than most. He points out that only five words exceed two syllables on entire ‘Black Sabbath’ album… taking attention to detail just a little too far, possibly? And yet, one has little alterative than to admire Wilkinson’s pummelling, relentless enthusiasm.
Could’ve done without the gratuitous, all-too-graphic description (“I am amazed how the nipple grows under my touch”) of his youthful encounter with a babysitter, though. Thought I’d strayed into a Jackie Collins novel or something.
A few hours ago Brazil were eliminated from the World Cup’s last eight by a plucky, resilient Dutch team. Holland came from behind to vanquish just about everybody’s favourites for the tournament. As a spectacle the game was a bit scrappy, punctuated by a succession of niggly fouls and yellow cards (also a red for Brazil’s Felipe Melos) but the final minutes were really exciting and as someone that always makes a point of backing the underdog I thoroughly enjoyed watching the game.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Thursday 1st July
Dearie, dearie me. Ozzy Osbourne’s new single, ‘Let Me Hear You Scream’, was just played on Planet Rock Radio. It’s ghastly – unforgivably mediocre. According to a recent online report, the 61-year-old is to surrender himself to a team of geneticists. The St Louis boffins hope that by studying Osbourne’s genes they can determine how it’s possible to survive several decades of drug and alcohol abuse. Maybe they could also take a look for his long-lost Mojo whilst they’re in there poking around? It’s been so long since Ozzy recorded anything halfway decent, an abacus is required.
P.S. The usual monthly amendments have been made to the Playlist and YouTube sections, also a few new quotes added here.