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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Tuesday 31st July
Last night I nipped up to central London for Bonafide’s unplugged mini-set at the 12 Bar Club. A big favourite of Classic Rock’s Ed-In-Chief Scott Rowley, the Swedes offer an excellent brand of AC/DC-influenced hard rawk, so it was about time I saw them in the flesh. ‘I Can’t Get Through To You’ showcased some unexpectedly soulful vocals from guitarist Pontus Snibb and the rather fine ‘1970 Rebel Machine’, one of two new songs aired from the forthcoming album ‘Ultimate Rebel’, segued nicely into a snippet of the Tatts’ ‘Nice Boys (Don’t Play Rock ‘N’ Roll)’. When these chaps invite you to ‘Fill Your Head With Rock’ it would be rude not to accept their advice. I will deffo be at the Borderline on November 28 to investigate a full electric set.
Bumping into fellow South London dude Luke Morley on the train to the show, we nattered a bit about football. Mr Morley is on top of the world now that his beloved Man City won the Premiership on the final day of last season. I, on the other hand, am kinda dreading the start of the 2012/’13 campaign. The Eagles have suffered four big losses in Messrs Ambrose, Clyne, Gardner and Scannell. Selhurst supremo Dougie Freedman now says that his transfer dealings may be restricted to loan captures as the club don’t have the funds to compete their Championship rivals – I’d like to say ‘Doog knows best’, but… Eeeeek!
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Sunday 29th July
It’s mid-afternoon and I’m just home from a fantastic and deeply nostalgic weekend in the West Country which saw my friend Steve O’Connell and I attend the 50th birthday bash of our old school pal Peter Andrew as surprise guests. Neither of us had seen Pete (at the centre of this pic), with whom I attended most of my earliest gigs – including Status Quo at Wembley Arena (1979), Iron Maiden at the Marquee Club (’80) and the Reading Rock Festivals in ’81 and ’82 – for more than 25 years! He almost died of shock to see us walk up his garden path in Great Cheverell, Wiltshire! The evening was taken up by a party in the local village hall, a This Is Your Life-style photo exhibition for Pete and… horrors of horrors… a disco and live band. Frankly, I was appalled by the music but managed to drink enough cider to numb the pain and as the night drew to a close the deejay took pity on us by throwing on ‘Highway To Hell’ by AC/DC and GN’R’s ‘Paradise City’… cue some OTT synchronized headbanging and frenzied air guitar histrionics from the Three Amigos. It must have looked bloody ridiculous, but who cares??!!

Dave Ling Photo Gallery

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Saturday 28th July
So very glad that I opted to stay in on a Friday night and watch the opening ceremony of the Olympics (all except the Arctic Monkeys, obviously – what was that all about??!! – oh, and the puzzlingly gratuitous inclusion of ‘I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles’... what's that got to do with anything?!). Nice to hear Mike Oldfield, the Floyd, Zep, Queen and The ’Oo among others represented. Proud to be a Lononder, and a Brit – though as I type this gone midnight I am quite pissed, it has to be said. Oh, and what on earth was that perched atop Macca’s head??!!
Surfing around the net I was amazed to discover that Ted Nugent has finally outdone himself in the foot-in-mouth stakes by claiming that the recent Batman-style cinema gun massacre in Colorado might have been prevented had moviegoers been armed. I despair. How about if **nobody** had guns except those that really need them??!! Or, as my Classic Rock/Metal Hammer colleague Tommy Udo has just observed so sagely on my Facebook page: Let the Americans have their guns if they must… just make it impossible to buy bullets. Haha! That might work!
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Friday 27th July
Still buzzing after yesterday’s great phone interview with one of my all-time heroes, the coolest man in rock ‘n’ roll, Mr Rickey Medlocke of Lynyrd Skynyrd and Blackfoot fame, I decided to end the day with some Thursday night drinks in the Crobar. Perhaps inevitably it all got out on control and I was lucky not to have lost my bag on the way home – especially as it contained a couple of book bargains from Fopp Records, namely Mick Wall’s unauthorised biography of W Axl Rose (for a quid!) and a hardback edition of Steven Tyler’s autobiography Does The Noise In My Head Bother You? (for three quid). I’ve also received copies of Martin Turner’s No Easy Road: My Life And Times With Wishbone Ash And Beyond and Led Zeppelin : From A Whisper To A Scream by Dave Lewis, so the bedside reading matter is beginning to pile up.
Well, it’s been a Southern Rock kinda day. Just been re-spinning the excellent ‘Brother To Brother’ by the Van Zant siblings (Skynyrd’s Johnny and Donnie of .38 Special), followed by a wonderful charity shop gem, the self-titled debut from the Ozark Mountain Daredevils. I’d forgotten how much I love this song by the Van Zants. With a night before the telly planned as the London 2012 opening ceremony takes place, I’ve just been out to buy lemonade, oranges and mint (can’t stand cucumber!) to accompany a bottle of Pimm’s bought for me for my birthday by Wendy Campling. The sun might just have tipped the yardarm.
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Thursday 26th July
Ever since hearing whispers of its existence almost a year ago I’ve been dying to hear Steve Harris’ debut solo release, ‘British Lion’, which is due for release on September 24. Been doing a little digging around for a Classic Rock news story and was pleasantly surprised to learn that Simon Dawson, previously of The Outfield and more latterly a member of Airrace (RIP), is the project’s drummer. I’m really glad for Simon – a very good player and a darned nice bloke. More info here.
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Wednesday 25th July
With the scorching summer weather having finally arrived, I rounded up eldest son Eddie and snuck away from my desk to meet my friend Neil Pudney and imbibe a few jars as a warm-up for Crystal Palace’s pre-season game at Dulwich Hamlet. We ended up in a nice, friendly boozer called the Draft House in Lordship Lane, a short walk from Champion Hill, Hamlet’s ground. Whilst there I was privileged to meet Steve Browett, one of the CPFC 2010 consortium responsible for saving my beloved football club a couple of seasons ago – he seemed like a genuine and likable fella.
A good turnout of Eagles faithful filled a crowd of 1,312. With Palace fielding a team of youngsters, triallists and bit-part players the game wasn’t up to much, especially in the first half, though the announcement that Selhurst boss Dougie Freedman would be donning his boots to play the last ten minutes was greeted with great excitement. Freedman performed extremely well, setting up a goal for Reise Allassani and striking a post as the visitors claimed a comfortable 3-0 victory. It was a great night. Roll on the new season, especially if Freedman is able to secure the signing of striker Alexis Allart, a Frenchman available for the affordable price of £300K who’s been training with the team. Eddie and I reckon those YouTube clips look a bit tasty!
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Tuesday 24th July
Well, that’s a bit of first – last night was spent in The Ivy, a watering hole of the upper crust that’s frequented by celebs, and later on in the more familiar environs of the Crobar… talk about getting the best of both worlds! Free drink and canapés were being served at The Ivy as part of the London launch of Papa Roach’s new album, ‘The Connection’. Must confess, I’m a bit partial to a bit of Roach now and again and it was nice to sit and natter awhile – or more accurately, try to get a word in edgeways –
with frontman their Jacoby Shaddix, who turned out to be a bit of a chatterbox (in a nice way, natch).
See pic here.
Am still working though a whopping great newly arrived package from Derek Oliver that contains Rock Candy Records’ newest re-mastered re-releases, including FM’s ‘Indiscreet’ and ‘Tough It Out’, ‘Hot Tonight’ by Lionheart', Fastway’s fabulous s/t debut, Paris’ s/t debut, Harlequin’s ‘False Move’ and a couple by the Johnny Van Zant Band (‘Round Two’ and ‘Last Of The Wild Ones’). Oh Mr Oliver, you are spoiling us!!
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Monday 23rd July
Although I was attempting (in vain) to recover from a sleep-deprived weekend of excess, I was glad that my eldest lad awoke me at 7.30am with the question: “Dad, do you want to come with me and watch the Olympic torch come through Catford town centre?” I must confess the Games hadn’t really been on my radar till a couple of hours ago but I admit that the procession and its colour and vibrancy made me feel pretty patriotic. The arrival of such an iconic image amid a scenario of everyday life was hard to resist. Somebody had even brought along a cardboard cut-out of the Queen… that’s either very cute or extremely tragic. Haha, I’ll have to get back to you on that!
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Sunday 22nd July
Last night was spent among a group of drinking buddies at the Novotel in Wolverhampton where Reuben Archer of Stampede was celebrating his 70th birthday. Archer clambered onstage to perform some songs with his blues band and then threw in a couple of Stampede numbers (‘Send Me Down An Angel’ and ‘Moving On’) for good measure, though much hilarity ensued when the poor fella sang into the wrong end of his radio mic… With a guest list that included Spike from the Quireboys and Magnum’s keyboard ace Mark Stanway, it all went downhill from there. By 6.30am I was in my hotel room draining a bottle of Samuca – the second of the night – in the esteemed company of Malcolm Dome, John Dryland, Reuben’s daughter Lauren and Tyrina Gallagher. Wonderful fun! For pix go here and here.
On the journey home I managed to finish off the new paperback edition of former Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley’s autobiography, No Regrets: A Rock ‘N’ Roll Memoir. It’s an excellent, honest read. There’s no love lost between Ace and his former band-mates. During a segment based upon the risible Kiss movie Phantom Of The Park, Frehley says of Gene $immons: “This was the spark that got him thinking he could become a movie star. In fact, Gene did a few more films afterwards, too, mistakenly thinking that he could act.”
Towards the book’s conclusion Frehley writes of his belief that Kiss’ “lust for money outweighed any sense of fairness” on the part of Stanley and $immons, who Ace claims have edited out close-ups of the Spaceman on DVDs and generally tried to “erase” him from the group’s history. And how does he feel about that? “They’re just a bunch of dirty rotten whores.”
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Saturday 21st July
Gavin Rossdale is a human quote machine! Last night I sent a half-hour chatting on the phone with the frontman of the English-born, California-based post-grungers Bush. Rossdale’s publicist had stressed that while Gavin was “happy to discuss Bush and all things music-related” I was asked "to refrain from questions about his family/personal life”, though it wasn’t too difficult to steer him into discussing his ego and the paparazzi that pursue the singer and his wife Gwen Stefani (of the band No Doubt) on a daily basis. However, I was surprised by his admission of: “I know that those scumbags are there purely because of Gwen, also that [the whole media circus] detracts from my standing as a musician.”
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Friday 20th July
Last night I paid a visit to the Merton Manor Club in South Wimbledon, where NWOBHM veterans Praying Mantis were warming up for an overseas trip. Cheap booze… great music… fine company – what more can you ask for? The Merton Manor is a hive of inebriation; I will be returning soon!
The crowd was quite large and very enthusiastic. Extremely playful, too. When Tino Troy announced that we were in the presence of his old school friend Paul Newson, responsible for having authored the lyrics to the song ‘Praying Mantis’, the guitarist couldn’t resist adding: “Bet you’ve had no royalties for it.” When, quick as you like, a voice in crowd fired back with: “Neither have you!” there was no comment from the stage! I was somewhat disappointed that the band’s 75-minute display didn’t include the classic ‘Lovers To The Grave’ though the set list was still pretty impressive nonetheless. Check it out: ‘Children Of The Earth’, ‘Panic In The Streets’, ‘Praying Mantis’, ‘Turn The Tide’, ‘Borderline, ‘Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark’, ‘Dream On’, ‘Highway’, ‘Time Slipping Away’, ‘Turn The Tables’ and Captured City’.
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Thursday 19th July
Yesterday’s highlight? A second phone interview with Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Gary Rossington within the space of just a coupla months. Gosh, there are times when I love my job! I’m thoroughly enjoying Skynyrd’s new studio album, ‘Last Of A Dyin’ Breed’, which is out on August 20. Am really looking forward to seeing them again at Shep Bush Empire on November 12 as part of a second batch of UK shows.
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Wednesday 18th July
Am still sniffling and snuffling from a summer cold following last week’s somewhat grim visit to Hyde Park. However, I wasn’t gonna let such a minor ailment prevent me from saying ‘au revoir’ to The Treatment, who last night prepared for a two-month North America tour with Kiss and Mötley Crüe by playing an excellent warm-up show at (of all places) the Crauford Arms in Milton Keynes. Understandably, excitement filled the air, unspoken yet omnipresent. What a God-given opportunity for the young lads, who have come on in leaps and bounds these past few months. Besides revealing two brand new tunes that I think were titled ‘Burn On Fire’ and ‘Get The Party On’, an hour-long set cherry-picked their best-self-penned tunes (‘Drink! Fuck! Fight!’, ‘I Fear Nothing’, ‘I Want Love’, ‘Just Tell Me Why’, ‘Shake The Mountain’, ‘Departed’, ‘The Doctor and the video song ‘Nothing To Lose But Our Minds’) plus a couple of tunes by their manager Laurie Mansworth’s former group More (‘Road Rocket’ and ‘Way Of The World’) and a revision of Hurricane Party’s ‘Killer’ with three outstanding covers – ‘Get Down And Get With It’ and ‘Take Me Bak ’Ome’ by Slade and ‘Motorbiking’ by Chris Spedding. I wish them all the best for their Stateside adventure. On such form they have nothing to fear.
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Tuesday 17th July
Most of the last 24 hours were spent crossing the Ts and dotting the Is upon an interview with Rikard Sjöblom, the vocalist, keyboard player and chief composer Swedish band Beardfish, for the next issue of Prog magazine.
As I type I’m paying Deep Purple’s ‘Stormbringer’ album in honour of the lovely Jon Lord who died yesterday, aged 71 (9 June 1941 – 16 July 2012). Some classic Whitesnake (maybe ‘Lovehunter’?) is up next. Jon was the consummate gentleman whenever I had the good fortune to have dealt with him. A glass or two was raised in honour of the moustachioed maestro last nite. RIP to one of one of rock’s finest talents. Check out the tributes here.
P.S. I’m in firm agreement with Neil Murray’s fascinating Facebook post: “If the original members of Whitesnake and Deep Purple could bury their differences to play a tribute concert to Jon Lord, I’d be there in a flash.”
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Monday 16th July
“Vodka… just bring me a whole fucking bottle.” Jon Oliva was having a bad evening at London’s Garage. The now 50-year-old former Savatage leader no longer sings notes that only dogs hear and his band Pain were playing on rented equipment during a full-length 25th anniversary revision of the ’Tage’s celebrated fifth album, ‘Hall Of The Mountain King’. When Jon attempted to play the usually dramatic intro to ‘Gutter Ballet’ all that his electric piano would parp out was a limp-sounding ‘plink, plink, plink’. It was enough to make a grown man cry, or at the very least swig from a bottle of Smirnoff. Not only is Oliva unable to reach the super-high notes, some of the lower ones are now also beyond him, though things improved gradually. Excitement built as the four-piece group delivered what almost amounted to a Savatage-only set; barring a rendition of Doctor Butcher’s ‘Don’t Talk To Me’ and an ill-advised stab at Deep Purple’s ‘Child In Time’ that served as a prelude to ‘Believe’, the Savatage standard to which Trans Siberian Orchestra eventually awarded full blown stadium-pleasing status. At almost 15 minutes long, an indulgent guitar-based noodling of ‘Ghost In The Ruins’ was a rare nadir. Last night’s gig should’ve been a disaster but against all the odds Oliva pulled it off. Here’s the set-list: ‘Sirens’, ‘Gutter Ballet’, ‘Edge Of Thorns’, ‘Don’t Talk To Me’, ‘Power Of The Night’, ‘Ghost In The Ruins’, ‘24 Hrs Ago’, ‘Beyond The Doors Of The Dark’, ‘Legions’, ‘Strange Wings’, ‘The Price You Pay’, ‘White Witch’, ‘Devastation’, ‘Prelude To Madness’, ‘Hall Of The Mountain King’ and Medley: ‘Child In Time’/‘Believe’.
I’m disappointed that Darren Ambrose has left my beloved Crystal Palace. Most Eagles supporters will remember Darren’s stay at Selhurst for **That goal** at Old Trafford, but he’ll always be in my heart for the simpler but no less well-taken strike that he notched at Hillsbrough on the last day of the 09/10 season, a goal that not only kept Palace in the Championship but... debatably... helped to keep the club in business. Cheers for everything, Dazza.
And still in SE25, how’s this for an unlikely news story: Eddie Izzard has become an Associate Director at Crystal Palace FC. The former transvestite comedian has been a fan of the Eagles since 1969 and says: “All I really want is for Crystal Palace to win every game from now until the end of time. That’s all.” Couldn’t agree more…
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Sunday 15th July
Last night was spent among a bunch of fellow pissheads as Classic Rock, Metal Hammer, Prog and Blues publisher Chris Ingham celebrated his fourth decade on planet Earth. With Jerry Ewing and Tina Saul acting as deejays, killer choons echoed around the Sanctum Hotel as grown men (and women) thrashed at air geetars and sank unfeasible quantities of strong booze. The accolade was much deserved. Mr Ingham and myself don’t always see eye to eye on everything but he’s done an inspired job of developing the branding of Future Publishing’s rock titles… credit where it’s due.
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Saturday 14th July
The abrupt cancellation of Pete Waterman’s Hit Factory Festival three days ago confirmed the full extent of London’s sogginess, the laying down of wood chips for the Hyde Park Calling weekend failing to improve things too much. Luckily, the weather was kind to Black Stone Cherry [7/10], whose bottom-heavy Southern rock inspired plenty of lusty crowd singalongs among the day’s the early birds, notably during ‘White Trash Millionaire’ and ‘Blame It On The Boom-Boom’.
Returning after an absence of three decades, Cold Chisel [9/10] are one of Australia’s biggest bands but they don’t mean a great deal here in the UK – a situation that’s bound to change before too long. Excited to be seeing them for the first time I pushed my way to within three rows of the stage where the sound was actually pretty good. The set-list of ‘Standing On The Outside’, ‘No Plans’, ‘HQ 454 Monroe’, ‘Cheap Wine’, ‘My Baby’ (sung by guitarist Ian Moss), ‘Rising Sun’, ‘All For You’, ‘You Got Nothing I Want’, ‘Merry Go Round’, ‘Flame Trees’, ‘Khe Sanh’ and ‘Bow River’ was simply wonderful, causing my pal Jerry Ewing to wander back into the guest area drooling over “one of the best hours of my life”. Poor Jerry doesn’t get out much (except to the Crobar)… hahaha!
As the rain worsened a discreet nip from my Music For Nations hip flash of Jägermiester did its best to stave away the dampness. With Ginger Wildheart watching them in wonderment a few yards away from yours truly, Iggy Pop & The Stooges [7/10] charged onstage and burst into the classic ‘Raw Power’. You always know what to expect from the bare-chested and nothing less than iconic Iggy, who careers around the stage Max Wall-style and whips himself with the mic cord. A smiling Jimmy Page was shown on the big screens at the side of the stage, inspiring a huge roar. One of the day’s best moments came when Iggy leapt down into the photo pit and asked a security guard: “Will you carry me over there [about three feet away, to a dry patch of space]; I don’t want to get muddy.”
Soundgarden [5/10] started as they meant to go on, foolishly beginning with a catalogue track, ‘Searching With My Good Eye Closed’ (from the ‘Badmotorfinger’ album) instead of a crowd favourite. By this point the rain was teeming, the crowd were leaving in their droves and, until he hit his stride, Chris Cornell’s voice was decidedly croaky. Attempting to find somewhere where the sound wasn’t completely weedy I wandered behind the mixing desk only to make the shocking discovery that that the vast majority of an arena capable of accommodating 80,000 attendees was maybe a quarter full… Jeez. Alone and soaked to the skin, had I not volunteered to review the day for Classic Rock an early exit would have been the only sensible option. Amazingly, I bumped into an old tape-trading buddy, Andy Adams, to keep me company during two hours of professional adequacy, sporadic bursts of inspiration such as ‘The Day I Tried To Live’, ‘Outshined’, ‘Black Hole Sun’, ‘Jesus Christ Pose’ and ‘Rusty Cage’ serving to punctuate an experience that at times felt tortuous.
Take it from me: I shall never attend a gig in Hyde Park again.
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Friday 13th July
I’m off shortly to see Frowngarden, Iggy & The Stooges, the one and only Cold Chisel and Black Stone Cherry in London’s Hyde Park. The sun is currently shining: Please God, let’s keep it that way! My old Music For Nations hip flask is full of cold Jägermiester. A notepad and functioning pen have been located. I’ve found an old pair of trainers that can be thrown away, also packed a bin liner as a makeshift sou’-wester. And some fresh underwear is at hand just in case Jimmy Barnes sings as well as expected.
The feud between Queensrÿche and their now former singer Geoff Tate is now getting completely out of control. The remaining members recently posted an extraordinary statement detailing their side of the split which is well worth reading, but if you can’t find the time then this YouTube clip of Tate spitting on drummer Scott Rockenfield says just about everything you need to know. The incident happens at 3:58. How repulsive. [Edit: OMG… Jason Slater, the producer of Queensrÿche’s ‘Operation: Mindcrime 2’ album is now claiming that only Tate and Mike Stone, a guitarist later sacked, played on that album. Is there no end to this insanity?]
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Thursday 12th July
A small part of yesterday was occupied by a phone interview with Marillion’s bassist Pete Trewavas, who spilled the beans on ‘Sounds That Can’t Be Made’, the band’s 17th studio album.
I’m starting to take this running malarkey a bit more seriously. Have just joined a four-week ‘10km maintenance course’ in the local park that’s supposed to improve one’s speed and endurance, possibly building towards a half-marathon... ulp!
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Wednesday 11th July
Yesterday marked what would have been the 70th birthday of Ronnie James Dio. According to a new interview with Heaven And Hell band-mate Geezer Butler, it’s also the date on which Dio would have considered retiring had he not been taken from us back in May 2010. “Ronnie should have been celebrating and probably would have been if he’d had his health checked regularly,” explains Geezer. “I once asked if he’d ever thought about retiring. He said he would make that decision on his 70th birthday. That’s why today is so poignant. I think I know what his decision would have been.”
They say that you learn something new every day and until last night’s phone interview with Matt Sorum of Velvet Revolver I had no idea that Ian Paice of Deep Purple is missing a large chunk of one lung thanks to a childhood illness. This fact makes Paice’s speed around the kit, also his endurance, all the more astonishing. I had to go away and look up the facts. Found an interview in which he revealed: “I have more than one lung [but] I do not have two complete lungs. When I was six years old we were living in a house with no central heating. I came down with a case of pneumonia, which quickly turned into a case of tuberculosis. In those days there were no drugs to fix it. So they had to open me up and they had to take the little infected parts away. I lost the lower lobes of the left lung.” Wow… incredible.
I was very happy that England won the rain affected final game of their one day series with a piss-poor Aussie side. The home side’s dominance was crushing and complete. As captain Cook pointed out during his post-match interview, throughout the entire series England’s No 7 batsman didn’t even get a knock. The Aussies were well and truly clobbered.
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Tuesday 10th July
A relatively quiet 24 hours of listening to music, transcribing interviews and, finally, an evening phone chat with Ethan Miller; leader, guitarist, singer and composer of the outstanding retro-rock band Howlin Rain, who once admitted attempting to blend Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Electric Ladyland’, ‘Gaucho’ by Steely Dan and Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Darkness On The Edge of Town’ into a style of their own. If you’ve not heard Howlin Rain’s third album, ‘The Russian Wilds’ (which boasts Rick Rubin as Executive Producer), now would be a good time to put that straight.
Aaaaaaarg. My accreditation for the Hard Rock Calling festival on Friday is in and Red White & Blues are onstage at the same time as Cold Chisel. FFS! It’ll be the first time I’ve seen Frowngarden, er… Soundgarden, since the opening night of the Shepherd’s Bush Empire on the ‘Superunknown’ tour back in 1994... Jeez, that's hard to believe.
With the rain pounding down outside my office I have just been playing the new Y&T double-CD, ‘Live At The Mystic’, on the exercise bike. Might as well give the neck muscles a workout, too!! It’s available from the band’s website.
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Monday 9th July
Woke up fully dressed on the bed, still wearing my glasses, clothes and trainers soaked to skin… sheesh. What on earth happened last nite? Oh yes… I went out drinking with Andy Beare and Harj Kallah, returning home just in time for breakfast… that’s what!
After catching up a bit of work I sped down to the Celebr8 prog-rock indoor all-dayer at the Hippodrome in Kingston-On-Thames – a great venue with excellent views of the stage, first-class sound and, critically given my frail condition, plenty of armchairs and chill-out areas. Arrived just in to catch the farewell performance of Tinyfish, a great li’l neo-prog group with some fabulous tunes and a wonderfully British self-deprecating wit. I was sorry to see them depart in both a physical and metaphorical sense; a forced retirement due to increasing bouts of tinnitus suffered by lead guitarist/singer Simon Godfrey.
Aware that Andy Murray had already won the first set of his Wimbledon Men’s Singles Final against the automaton Federer, I decided to find a pub and watch the conclusion of the match. The Wheelwright’s Arms seemed a friendly enough place. My intention had been to remain sober, but as the game slipped from Murray’s reach a few voddie and Diet Cokes steadied the nerves and soothed the disappointment. Oh well, Andy… you gave it your best shot. You can go back to being Scottish now. :o(
Arrived back in the Hippodrome in time for the closing stages of Touchstone, followed by Magenta, who were both received with rapt appreciation by a generously proportioned crowd. The great news was that the first Celebr8 actually broke even financially speaking, which makes it highly likely to be staged again in 2013. Well done to organisers Geoff Banks and Mr Twang for pulling it all together.
My prime reason for attending show #1 was, of course, Sunday night headliners It Bites. Aware that they were potentially being viewed by quite a few IB virgins, the band opted to deliver more of a career-based set-list than of late. What they served up was indecently excellent. The technical problems mattered not a jot and I wandered back to the station grinning like the proverbial loon. And why not with a set-list that ran as follows: ‘Ghosts’, ‘Oh My God’, ‘All In Red’, ‘Send No Flowers’, ‘Meadow And The Stream’, ‘Underneath Your Pillow’, ‘Cartoon Graveyard’, ‘The Last Escape’, ‘The Wind That Shakes The Barley’, ‘Old Man And The Angel’, ‘Midnight’ and ‘Kiss Like Judas’, followed by an encore of ‘Calling All The Heroes’.
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Sunday 8th July
Here’s a valuable lesson re-relearned: Don’t venture into the East End of London, get hideously hammered on an empty stomach and go shooting your mouth off. Last night I paid a visit to the Bridge House in Canning Town for a gig by the reunited NWOBHM group Tytan. After a hard day’s work at the PC I enjoyed a bottle of wine en route – big mistake. Deep Machine, a rather fine Judas Priest-influenced metal combo that included covers of ‘Running Wild’ and ‘Hell Bent For Leather’ during their set, kicked off the show. However, the sound mix was **awful**, a fact that I’m told that I voiced loudly and rudely towards the desk in between songs (the words “Fuck off” and “c**t” might possibly have been used…) much to the chagrin of an aggressive relative of said individual (his cousin?). Meanwhile, up on the stage singer Lenny Baxter had decided he too had had enough of this farcical situation, demanding: “Who wants a fight?” I had brief nightmarish visions of one of those Wild West barroom-style confrontations, though an apology to the mixer-man from yours truly and some invaluable de-ruffling of feathers and purchasing of drinks by my good friend Harj Kallah would facilitate an exit with all limbs intact. Phew. Thank again, Mr K.
On the ‘up’ side: Tytan were absolutely blood superb. On paper, the absence of lead vocalist Kal Swan might have been disastrous but newcomer Tom Barna is one hell of a discovery, and with Steve Mann (Liar/Lionheart/MSG) on guitar they sounded nothing less than magnificent, combining metallic muscle with wonderful, insistent radio-friendly choruses. I could have listened to them all night, though sadly with just a solitary album to their name (‘Rough Justice’, issued posthumously back in 1985) the band ran out of songs after around 50 minutes. Highlights included ‘Blind Men And Fools’, ‘Money For Love’, ‘Far Cry’, ‘Cold Bitch’, ‘Women On The Frontline’ and ‘Far Side Of Destiny’, with an acapella ‘Find The Cost Of Freedom’ bringing things a delicate close. Man-mountain former Angel Witch bassist Kevin Riddles, who cheekily dedicated ‘Don’t Play Their Way’ to “all the Crystal Palace supporters in the room”, assures me that Tytan are now working on a follow-up album. I’m dying to wrap my lug’oles around it.
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Saturday 7th July
As part of a set of re-issue sleeve notes, on Friday morning I conducted a great interview with keyboard player John Sinclair (Heep/Ozzy/Lion) about his days with the Heavy Metal Kids, focusing on the recording of the much underrated ‘Kitsch’ album from 1977. He told me: “A big mistake was that when we got to France [to work with Mickie Most on the RAK Mobile Unit], we realised that they serve wine with breakfast!”
During the evening I took the kids to the cinema for The Amazing Spider-man. I’d give it a solid [8/10]. To the ‘youths’ that repeatedly stood up and shouted inane comments during the quiet bits... frankly, an Uzi would be too good for you. Had my lads not been with me, these whippersnappers might not have been so smug. I’ve gotta say that it’s hard to see too much of a long-term future for cinemas. Friday nite in Bromley; a film that had been out for just a few days, and less than 50 people in the house…? And of those 50, maybe ten or so had an interest in the movie. That’s pretty pathetic.
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Friday 6th July
OMG... I’ve just had the misfortune of hearing Aerosmurf's newie, ‘Legendary Child’, on the radio. Has a song ever been awarded a less fitting name?? Considering that the band used producer Jack Douglas in a quest to bring back “a little bit of 1975”, to these ears it's a huge disappointment. After such high hopes, what an unmitigated pile of poop!!!
Now I admire Zakk Wylde as much as anyone else, but in naming his new-born son Sabbath Page Wielandt Wylde – ‘Sabbath’ after the group, ‘Page’ after Sir James Patrick and ‘Wielandt’ in honour of his World War II veteran father – I fear that Zakk and his ever-patient missus Barbaranne have over-stepped the mark. I mean… Sabbath as a Christian name??!! That’s little short of child abuse. It makes my eldest lad’s full name, Eddie Lemmy Selhurst Ling, seem positively tame.
P.S. The Playlist and YouTube pages have been given their monthly updates.
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Thursday 5th July
My gig withdrawal symptoms persist. I’d decided against the cattle market mania of Kiss at the Forum, settling instead for Gov’t Mule’s Thanksgiving special as part of the UK’s Blues Fest. However to my dismay, a domestic scenario prevents me from venturing too far away from Ling Towers for the next few days. Grrrr. With cameos from former Steely Dan guitarist Elliott Randall (the man that played Jimmy Page’s all-time fave guitar solo on ‘Reelin’ In The Years’), Bernie Marsden and Paul Jones, it sounds like I missed an all-time classic Mule performance.
I’m equally pissed off by the latest comments from the oafish Boris Johnson, who in the lead-up to the Olympics has described working at home as “an excuse for general malingering”, suggesting that conducting one’s business away from the office amounts to “sitting wondering whether to go down to the fridge to hack off that bit of cheese before checking your emails again.” What a patronising fuckwit. As a supremely self-motivated individual that works 365 days a year, without a holiday or the sweetener of a six-digit salary (**especially** without a six-digit salary!), let alone a top of the range pension, I wouldn’t mind betting that I spend more hours at my desk than London’s so-called Mayor. More often than not I find myself searching in vain for a reason **not** to work than the reverse. The clown Johnson never fails to make my blood boil.
Ooooh look… Prog Magazine has its own awards show, set to take place in September. Very cool.
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Wednesday 4th July
Bah… an unexpected night in. I was all set to attend a gig by Diamond Head and the reunited Tytan when an email from DH mainman Brian Tatler warned that the hospitalisation of drummer Karl Wilcox would render a trip to Islington pointless. [Edit: Brian informs me that Wilcox **doesn’t** have a blood clot after all but is suffering from internal bleeding. Get well soon, Karl].
My extensive sleeve essay for the Spider boxed set is now complete and has been sent to the four band members for their approval and/or corrections. What I’ve seen of the artwork, designed by bassist Brian Burrows, looks great. I’m so happy that the group’s unreleased final album, ‘Raise The Banner’ (1986), is gonna be made available at last as it’s an exceptional piece of boogie-rock.
Faced with a night before the tellybox the Sky+ was plundered for a series recorded some months ago. I was captivated by Homeland, a tense thriller which tells the tale of a US marine Nicholas Brody (played admirably by copperknob Brit Damian Lewis) returned to American society after eight years of captivity in the Middle East. Has Brody been ‘turned’ by al-Qaeda? What is CIA Agent Carrie Mathison (the delectable Claire Danes) bunny boiler obsession with him? And why is that big eared Brit guy David Harewood (Fat Friends, Silent Witness, New Tricks) putting on such a fake US accent? Its twists and turns enthralled me; I sat and watched all bar two of its episodes back-to-back, savouring the story’s conclusion this morning once the kids had done to school. A second season of 12 episodes has been commissioned – I can’t wait.
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Tuesday 3rd July
My 32nd birthday (COUGH!) passed by in an agreeable yet unusually sober manner. After a nice lunch in Croydon with the delightful Wendy Campling, I mooched around the area’s last few remaining record stores, picking up a mint-condition double-vinyl of Bob Dylan covers. I’m no Dylan fan – far from it – but besides the no-brainers (Jimi’s ‘All Along The Watchtower’, ‘A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall’ by Bryan Ferret and The Byrds’ remake of ‘Mr Tambourine Man’) it’s kinda cool to hear the likes of Jason & The Scorchers, George Thorogood, Bonnie Raitt, Ron Wood, Richie Havens and Ry Cooder lending their talents to some less well thumbed areas of Zimmerman’s catalogue. Well worth the 50 pence that I shelled out! The evening visit to a local pizzeria with my two sons set the seal on a lovely day.
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Monday 2nd July
Ho-hum… It’s my birthday (again). Aware of my love of the Irish entertainers, my two sons have bought me a talking card with those grinning fools Jedward on its front. What a pair of gits. Under the circumstances would it be deemed ungrateful to burn the darned thing, I wonder? I've already ripped out the mechanism that generates the sound of their voices.
England won the cricket with ease and I had a wonderful day out. My inebriation levels were such that I decided to walk back to Catford from The Oval in a bid to sober up. Epic fail. Realising the foolishness of my ways I sat and alone at the top of One Tree Hill, lost deep in thought, and watched the Sun go down with a bottle of cider. A pleasant evening.
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Sunday 1st July
Well, it’s 6.30am and once I’m up with the cockerel to kick-start the PC, winding up the transcription of my two Lynyrd Skynyrd interviews. In a short while I shall be heading off to The Oval for England’s one day game with Australia for a pre-birthday celebration. I’ve found my old Music For Nations hip flask and filled it with ice cold Jägermiester… this is gonna be fun. But gotta finish the Skynyrd copy first.
My Saturday evening was spent quietly (well, by my usual standards…) and here in South London over a few jars with Andy Beare. Walking through the park resplendent in my red ‘Shout At The Devil’ tour T-shirt I overheard one young kid turn to his mate and announce in barely concealed tones: “Oh look, there goes Marilyn Manson’s dad”. It’s a new one, at least…