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 June
Up with the cockerel… lots and lots to do: I’m splitting the day between dotting Is and crossing Ts on the gig guide for Classic Rock Presents The Blues and yet more green-fingered activities. The former is a pretty arduous, repetitive task that involved surfing around the websites of numerous artists and venues. A dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it!
I have found also the time to update the Playlist and YouTube pages, also to add a few more ludicrous entries to the Quotes pages.

Dave Ling Online

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Saturday 29th June
Once the kids went to bed it was time to watch Channel 4’s documentary The Man With 10-Stone Testicles. OM-fuggin’-G, what a shocker! A real-life Buster Gonad from the pages of the Viz comic, this poor dude from Las Vegas had a scrotum which had swelled to such proportions he was forced to transport it in an upside down hoodie (yes, really). Worse still: said area of his anatomy was enlarging by 3lbs per month. It brought new meaning to the term: ‘Grow a pair’. All joking aside, my heart went out to the fella… luckily he found a surgeon prepared to operate for free… but did they really need to show the surgery in such graphic detail??!! Ugggh. This morning I still feel queasy at the memory. I’m just glad that I’m not having Scotch eggs for breakfast!
Anyway, the gardening frenzy continues. I’ve put in an excellent day's work... Strimmed the lawns front and back; rose bushes are trimmed and weeds cut away. Cue: One homeless fox, who leapt out at me from the long grass! Dunno who was the more surprised – me or him/her. Feeling exhausted, battered and torn but quite proud of myself... Tomorrow I must get on with the mowing before the weather gets too hot.
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Friday 28th June
Just how bewitching was last night’s Bonnie Raitt gig at the Royal Albert Hall?! It was an honour to have attended such an overwhelmingly fabulous show. The Californian-based slide guitarist/vocalist is now 63 years old and has ten prestigious Grammy nominations to her name… basically, in a glittering four-decade career she’s pretty much seen and done it all. Thanks to the popularity of the widely-covered ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’ – a song she discovered though wasn’t actually responsible for writing – it was recently theorised that “the hippest thing an artist can do is cover a song by Bonnie Raitt.” And yet at times her emotion was impossible to conceal. Introducing a shimmering cover of John Prine’s ‘Angel From Montgomery’, when she spoke so eloquently and with such love about her mum who she lost a few years back, in sympathy and shared emotion I very nearly blubbed along with her (for those unaware last year I lost my own mother). The front-of-house-sound was immaculate and the for all of their raucous enthusiasm, the audience was quiet and attentive at all of the right moments, including an understated take on Bob Dylan’s ‘Million Miles’, the delicious ‘You Can’t Fail Me Now’, ‘Not Cause I Wanted To’ and, of course, the aforementioned ‘I Can't Make You Love Me’.
It’s rare that for me to such a statement but I just couldn’t say a single bad thing about this show. Departing after almost two hours a disbelieving Bonnie called it a “gig of a lifetime”, and it was hard to disagree! Based largely on her excellent current record, ‘Slipstream’, the set-list ran as follows: ‘Used To Rule The World’, ‘Right Down The Line’, ‘Something To Talk About’, ‘Million Miles’, ‘You Can’t Fail Me Now’, ‘Come To Me’, ‘No Gettin’ Over You’, ‘Marriage Made In Hollywood’, ‘Not Cause I Wanted To’, ‘Angel From Montgomery’, ‘Down To You’, ‘I Got News For You’ (with vocals from B3 keysman Mike Finnigan), ‘Thing Called Love’ and ‘Feels So Damn Good’, followed by a spine-tingling ‘I Can't Make You Love Me’, ‘Have A Heart’, ‘Nick Of Time’ and a kick-ass ‘A Big Ol’ Hunk O’ Love’ (an Elvis Presley cover, apparently).
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Thursday 27th June
I’ve been an enormous fan of George Thorogood since seeing him on the TV show Rock Goes To College back in ’78 (I remember trying to record it onto a cassette via a hand-held microphone… very silly!). So I was thrilled to accept an offer from CR’s Blues magazine of an interview before last night’s gig at Shepherd’s Bush Empire. GT remembered me from our last encounter at the House Of Blues in New Orleans way back in 1999 and, nicer still, complimented my interviewing technique as I prepared to take my leave.
With some time to kill I strolled to Notting Hill and the Record And Tape Exchange. For a couple of quid apiece I picked up a couple of mint vinyl platters; a self-tiled solo album from 1980 by Procol Harum keysman Matthew Fisher that features John Verity, Rod Argent, Tim Renwick and the late, great James Dewar, plus an interesting-looking obscurity from the Portland-based combo Johnny And The Distractions, ‘Let It Rock’, released by A&M in ’81.
Thorogood’s show was excellent – as usual. The Delaware native has never been one of rock music’s most prolific writers, indeed just three of the night’s 14 tunes were self-penned originals, but his taste in cover versions – including artists such as Bo Diddley, Willie Dixon, John Lee Hooker, The Strangeloves and Hank Williams – is exceptional. Introduced as “the undisputed, undefeated, heavyweight rock ‘n’ roll champions of the world”, the Destroyers ripped through a party-friendly 100-minute display. If George’s dynamite remake of Hank Williams’ ‘Move It On Over’ doesn’t make you want to move your feet then let’s face it… you’re probably a corpse. A searing version of the Elmore James standard he has long since made his own, ‘Madison Blues’, was the perfect choice as an encore. Here’s the set-list: ‘Rock Party’, ‘Who Do You Love?’, ‘Help Me’, ‘I Drink Alone’, ‘One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer’, ‘Cocaine Blues’, ‘Seventh Son’, ‘Get A’ Haircut’, ‘Bad To The Bone’, ‘Move It On Over’, ‘Tail Dragger’ and ‘You Talk Too Much’, plus my highlight of the night, ‘Madison Blues’.
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Wednesday 26th June
Okay, England didn't win but I had a splendid, beertastic soiree at The Oval with Neil Pudney, Paul Berry and my sports bud Eddie Ling. You can’t beat an evening under the floodlights with fours and sixes being belted all over the shop. We must do it again soon!
Just received a package from Rock Candy Records containing re-mastered re-issues from Derringer (‘Sweet Evil’), the self-titled debut from Randy Hansen and ‘Salute’ by Scott Gorham’s post Lizzy band 21 Guns. I’m very happy to own REO Speedwagon’s ‘Nine Lives’ and ‘You Can Tune A Piano… But You Can’t Tuna Fish’ on CD at last – brilliant!!
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Tuesday 25th June
I’m busy writing a melodic rock round-up for the new issue of Classic Rock. Am really enjoying Newman’s newie, ‘Siren’ (to be released via AOR Heaven on July 22) and ‘Underneath’ by Robin Beck (HMMR/Cargo, August 15). But the album that I simply cannot stop playing is Heaven & Earth’s ‘Dig’, a gem of a release that will leave fans of Joe Lynn Turner-era Rainbow drooling all over the carpet. Check it out, it’s on Quarto Valley Records. You won’t regret it.
Within an hour or two I will take a bus ride across South London to The Oval for this evening’s T20 international between England and New Zealand. Can’t wait for the sound of leather on willow, also the taste of Pimms on tongue, for the first time this summer! Must remember to remove the cherry brandy from the freezer before leaving!
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Monday 24th June
In a hugely amusing twist, Shiteon have sacked their manager Gus Poyet without bothering to inform him of the decision. The Uruguyan learned he was out via BBC Three production staff whilst working as a pundit during the Confederations Cup. The saga of the Team From The South Coast just gets funnier and funnier. Just watch them go into freefall. I love the fact that losing to Palace in the home leg of the play-offs was what sent them into a tailspin. Bragging rights for all eternity!
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Sunday 23rd June
I’m *finally* doing some weeding in the garden (!), singing along lustily to a recording of H.E.A.T.’s recent gig at the Borderline – sorry, neighbours. Found myself laughing aloud at the song ‘Heartbreaker’ from the Swedes’ current opus ‘Address The Nation’, which has a line that goes: “She’s a heartbreaker with a heart of stone”... it’s just so quintessentially AOR. “So your main course is heartbreak, would you like a side order of heartache with that?”
Oooh, nice… Romeo’s Daughter have announced a few club dates in the Autumn, including the Underworld in Camden on October 4. Not to be missed.
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Saturday 22nd June
Recovering after a night on the ale in the West End and a lovely curry ‘n’ goss catch-up with a group of friends. Despite the best of intentions I stumbled home on the last train from Charing Cross to Catford Bridge, very much the worse for wear.
I was supposed to be doing some work on the garden today, and of course it’s raining cats ‘n’ dogs outside Ling Towers. The grass has now exceeded waist-high proportions. I guess I’ll have to do my album reviews instead and postpone those green fingered activities for 24 hours. *Please don’t rain tomorrow!!!*
Was hoping to go and see the Wildhearts this evening but I’ve got the kids for the weekend. Oh well, my Saturday night viewing is sorted... the postie has just delivered a DVD Raven’s new rockumentary ‘Rock Until You Drop: A Long Day’s Journey’. Coming to a Loony Asylum near you on July 15, it looks fantastic!
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Friday 21st June
Needed cheering up after a very shitty week here at Chateau Ling, then I’m asked to accompany Motörhead to the Wacken Festival in August and Hammer fling me a fabulous ZZ Top ten-disc boxed set (the complete studio albums from 1970-1990) to review... lo and behold, I’m smiling again!
BTW, for the first time on CD the ZZ box restores the original mixes for ‘ZZ Top’s First Album’, ‘Rio Grande Mud’ and ‘Tejas’. Containing around 100 tracks it retails for around £25 – that’s VFM and no mistake!
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Thursday 20th June
Yay! My guest ticket for Bonnie Raitt’s show the Albert Hall has been confirmed! And it also looks as though I shall get to see George Thorogood & The Destroyers at Shepherd’s Bush Empire… that’s a bit of a result!
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Wednesday 19th June
A frantic few days of rawkenrawllll, how better to relax than to catch up on some TV on the Sky+ box. I’m really enjoying the Sky Atlantic series Banshee, it was another decent episode this week...
Eldest lad Eddie and I were hopping about excitedly by my computer as the new Premier League fixtures were announced at 9am. Palace be entertaining Spuz at Selhurst on the opening day of the season – how exciting!! On the downside, however, aaaaarg - the clashes mount up... we are at home to Fool’Em on the Saturday of Firefest! There are away trips to Stoke and Hull for Hawkwind’s ‘Warrior On The Edge Of Time’ and Black Star Riders shows at Shepherd’s Bush Empire. And it’s a choice between a trip to the mecca of prawn sandwiches (AKA Old Trafford) or Roger Waters at Wembley Stadium. Bloody annoying!
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Tuesday 18th June
With members of Black Sabbath, Motörhead, Saxon, Black Star Riders, Stone Sour, Paradise Lost, Alice In Chains and Asking Alexandria among those subjected to having my tape recorder thrust beneath their nostrils, the Golden Gods was a bit of a hoot. Here I am in conversation with the lovely Doro Pesch.

Dave Ling Online

The other piccie is a rather nice one of my long-time journo buds, ‘Mad’ Malcolm Dome and Jerry Spewing… sorry, Ewing. No alcohol was harmed in the making of this photograph. No thanks to the wag at my Facebook page who posted: “Is this the start of a campaign for The Goodies Reunion?!”

Dave Ling Online

Given his well documented health issues it was great to see Tony Iommi looking so fit and well, but the night’s biggest star was Brian Blessed, who scooped the trophy of Spirit Of Hammer. Blessed is louder than Motörhead, Slayer and Metallica put together. When we spoke he launched into a lengthy monologue about how rock fans are “deeply sensitive and pure”, before reminiscing about coming down on a cattle truck train from Yorkshire to the Old Vic in London with Patrick Stewart – “We were both aged 11 and we stank of piss and shit” – and meeting Richard Burton who gave them both a fiver and front row seats for Henry V. You don’t get such high quality anecdotes from Dani Filth, now do ya?
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Monday 17th June
Okay, I’m off to the IndigO2, the smaller of the two halls of the O2 Arena, for tonight’s Metal Hammer Golden Gods ceremony. I shall be interviewing the winners as they come off stage and into the Media area to face the paparazzi scrum. Though free alcohol is available in abundance there will be no boozing for yours truly, the task can be stressful enough without introducing grog into the equation and my text is due first thing in the morning.
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Sunday 16th June
Awoke at the Best Western in Sandiacre and looked hopefully out of the window. “Oh shit, those rainclouds are still there.” A quick all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet, jumped into a sherbert dab (cab… keep up!) and straight back to the Download site – apart from the straw that had been put down overnight it felt like we’d never been away. Harj and I barrelled straight into the backstage Guest bar. “Pint of cider and a lager please.” “Sorry, gents… no booze for sale until midday” was the response. Thank Gawd for the 1.5 litres of white wine I had secreted in my bag and snuck past security on the way in! “Okay, just two plastic glasses please!”
Making their debut at Donington Park racetrack UFO kicked off the main stage at the unearthly hour of 11am – a full hour before alcohol was (officially) available. “They must’ve thought, shove us on early and at least we’ll be standing up,” quipped a dapper-looking Phil Mogg. A couple of impressive cuts (‘Wonderland’ and the Stones-y ‘Burn Your House Down’) were pulled from last year’s ‘Seven Deadly’ album, but mostly the band stuck with a selection of the songs for which they are best known; ‘Lights Out’, a delicious ‘Love To Love’ (never fails to move me, that one – in fact, I had to wipe away a tear at seeing the band up on a Donington stage at last…), ‘Rock Bottom’ (perhaps an unusual choice given the set’s brevity) and ‘Doctor Doctor’. Just as suddenly as they’d arrived, UFO were gone. Sniff.
Anathema were on my ‘to see’ list but weather concerns prevented a lengthy hike over to the second stage. The sun actually came out awhile for Black Star Riders (the band formerly known as Thin Lizzy) as replacements for Buckcherry on the main stage, though without warning the heavens opened and hailstones plummeted down during ‘Whiskey In The Jar’. Scott Gorham and company are in a classic ‘damned-if-they-do, damned-if-they-don’t’ scenario vis-à-vis the name change, I actually feel a bit sorry for them, especially as they’ve made such a great debut record. True to their word they performed mostly unheard songs from said disc, ‘All Hell Breaks Loose’, and the quality of ‘Bloodshot’, ‘Hey Judas’ and ‘Bound For Glory’ – the latter a shameless yet irresistible mix of Lizzy’s own ‘Waiting For An Alibi’ and ‘Guilty Of Love’ by Whitesnake – was appreciated by a loud, noisy crowd.
I absolutely adore Alive In Chains though they often comes across as surly and sullen. “They’re cutting us off”, William DuVall moaned when stagehands hauled them off a few minutes early. Well, you should’ve been ready on time, you muppets! However, the set-list was a stunning combination of classics (‘Them Bones’, ‘Dam That River’, ‘Again’, ‘Down In A Hole’, ‘Man In The Box’ and ‘Rooster’) and post-reunion material (‘Hollow’, ‘Check My Brain’ and ‘Stone’).
In the 24 years that I’ve followed them – my first sighting was at the Opera On The Green in Shepherd’s Bush in July ’89 – I’ve never seen Thunder play a bad gig. Aside from the enviable writing skills of Luke Morley, Danny Bowes would walk into just about any band you can name – “Hands up if you like sex?” he says before an ode to onanism titled ‘The Devil Made Me Do It’. “Hands up if you don’t like sex.” When a couple of hands are raised: “Weirdos.” Though in a state of “semi-retirement” to quote Bowes, following their recent eclipsing of Journey and Whitesnake, at Download they reminded us that they are simply one of the most consistently entertaining groups this country has to offer.
At the personal request of Steve Harris, Voodoo Six have been supporting Iron Maiden right across the European festival circuit. Closing out the Red Bull tent with a dose of melody-conscious, slightly detuned hard rock, the Londoners lived up to the title of their current disc, ‘Songs To Invade Countries To’. I enjoyed watching them as much as seemed to relish playing.
What to say about Iron Maiden? I’ve seen the band 50 or 60 times and last night’s ‘Maiden England’ set would make it into the top for our five of those. The Spitfire fly-by which preceded the group’s arrival was a masterful touch (later, over a wee dram, we wondered whether the following night’s Teutonic headliners Rammstein might respond with a Messerschmitt?!), and from where Harj and I were stood – just in front of the mixing desk – the sound was loud, heavy crystal-clear… perfect. The band seemed to be having fun, Bruce Dickinson joking about “Turning ze schpotttlights on zee peeeeple” in a Scorpions stylée, the only slightly annoyance being those seemingly endless plugs for Trooper ale. 90,000 satisfied punters, then. The set-list ran as follows: ‘Moonchild’, ‘Can I Play With Madness’, ‘The Prisoner’, ‘2 Minutes To Midnight’, ‘Afraid To Shoot Strangers’, ‘The Trooper’, ‘The Number Of The Beast’, ‘Phantom Of The Opera’, ‘Run To The Hills’, ‘Wasted Years’, ‘Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son’, ‘The Clairvoyant’, ‘Fear Of The Dark’ and ‘Iron Maiden’, followed by ‘Aces High’, The Evil Of Man (Goes On And On)’ and ‘Running Free’ – fucking cool or what??!!
Post-show hours were spent in the Classic Rock tent, swigging, dancing and falling over as the Dark Lord (Hammer editor Alex Milas) manned the death deck – perfect!!
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Saturday 15th June
Perhaps inevitably, the rain clouds held off till my friend Harj Kallah and I had gained access to the arena at Donington Park. Not that we really cared by that point; two bottles of wine between King’s Cross and Long Eaton and some cider in the taxi does tend to foster a carefree, convivial mood. I’ve neither the time nor inclination to provide a detailed breakdown of the bands that we watched; to be brutally honest if I wasn’t reviewing a group or had a particular interest in them, it was much better to be backstage and under cover of the Classic Rock/Metal Hammer/Prog tent, where the beer queues were minimal, or in the Red Bull tent, where Swedish retro-heads Free Fall provided an early highlight of the show.
I’m happy to say that the torrential downpour faded away a minute or two before Uriah Heep took to the stage for their first appearance at Castle Donington since 1982. Was Trevor Bolder smiling down on them? It actually felt like it. Although they took the brave step of opening with two comparatively recent tunes (‘Against All Odds’ and ‘Overload’) the crowd reaction to such classics as ‘Sunrise’, ‘Stealin’’, ‘Gypsy’, ‘Look At Yourself’ and ‘Easy Livin’’ was nothing less than superb.
After last year’s false start when motorway congestion caused Europe to arrive too late to play, Joey Tempest was pumped up, shadow boxing like a loony from the wings before the quintet began with ‘Riches To Rags’ and ‘Firefox’. “We made it! Five punks from the suburbs of Stockholm to the cradle of fucking rock music,” he later bellowed from the stage. Harj had never seen Europe before and stood there with a big, cheesy grin across his face… no surprise, Tempest and company delivered the best of the 40-minute sets that I saw over the entire weekend. ‘The Final Countdown’ is one of those songs that I’d willingly cast into the blast furnace of Room 101, but when Europe played it the crowd went WILD, WILD, WILD!
Having headed back to the CR tent to dry ourselves and grab a couple of beers, we caught the last three songs of what sounded like a stirring set from the mighty DragonForce. It’s always hard to not smile when I watch them play. I smirked all the more whilst recalling an interview I did with Herman Li for the event’s official programme in which he recalled his band bowling up at the Download site several years back in a tour bus previously used on the X Factor tour – still sporting the show’s logo. “People knocked on the door until 4am,” Li laughed, still clearly amused by the notion of anyone expecting to meet Simon Cowell and being faced by co-guitarist Sam Totman in his grots. “It’s not a pretty sight.”
In the wake of such a miserable afternoon and evening a good ol’ dose of new generation Southern Rawwwk seemed just what the doctor ordered. Headlining the second stage, Black Stone Cherry turned in a typically confident and entertaining display. Never has the song ‘Rainman’ seemed more appropriate. They also introduced a brand new tune called (I think) ‘Me & Mary Jane’ from their upcoming fourth album – a prime slice of bump ‘n’ grind if ever I heard it. What a great band – no wonder Gary Rossington recently singled them out as one of the few acts capable of carrying on Skynyrd’s mantle once they are gone.
In the end, though… fuck it… it had been a long day. The warmth of the hotel bar beckoned.
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Friday 14th June
Donington Park-bound. The weather here in Catford at 6.04am is gorgeous, with rain forecast for the weekend can we move the show to my back garden? No? Oh well, see you there...
Last night offered a rare sighting of Michael Katon, the blues-boogie specialist from Hell, Michigan (yes, really), at the Beaverwood Club in leafy ol’ Chislehurst. Former readers of Kerrang! might recall Katon, who created quite a noise at the time of his 1988 album, ‘Proud To Be Loud’. With sunglasses perched precariously atop his head and a jutting jaw-line he looked alarmingly like the adult lovechild of Janick Gers and Desperate Dan, and the music was sublime. Although Katon’s nickname of Uncle Boogieman is well deserved, his set was pretty diverse, flitting from fruity slide guitar numbers (‘Tight White Pants’ and ‘Roadhouse 69’) and the hard-edged 12-bar for which is rightly renowned, he even sang a fragile version of Muddy Waters’ ‘Catfish Blues’ without the aid of a microphone. Somewhat improbably the salacious ‘Barbecue On My Boogie’ included the line: “She spreads BBQ sauce all over my boogie/Hot sauce up and down my ice cream cone”. But my favourite moment was ‘Lucky Lucky Lucky’, a slow blues ode to an ex-partner that was dedicated to “all the divorced folks out there”. I particularly appreciated the line: “Don’t let the door hit you on the ass on your way out, baby.” Well, we’ve all said it (or wished we had)…
Anyway, here’s the set-list: ‘Hard On! (The Boogie)’, ‘Check Out The Blues’, ‘Yeah… But We Can Boogie’/‘Come On Back To Hell’, ‘Lucky Lucky Lucky’, ‘Red Moon Rising’, ‘Diablo Boogie’, ‘Barbecue On My Boogie’, ‘Tight White Pants’, ‘Roadhouse 69’, ‘Two Angels Flying’, ‘Catfish Blues’ and ‘Get On The Boogie Train’.
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Thursday 13th June
The postie has just been, depositing the new ish of Dave Lewis’ ever-excellent Zep magazine Tight But Loose. Focussing on the band’s 1973 tour, it’s another great, in-depth read. He also brought finished copies of some budget CD sampler anthologies that I worked on for Universal Records. Diamond Head’s ‘Am I Evil?: The Best Of’ and ‘Heat Of The Moment: The Essential Collection’ by Asia both feature my sleeve notes, but I’m especially proud of a Creedence Clearwater Revival set called ‘Bad Moon Rising: The Collection’ for which I also compiled the track listing… I gather my selections were run past, and approved by, John Fogerty before it received the go-ahead. They’re available for the price of a pint at your local supermarket.
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Wednesday 12th June
I’m playing ‘Charlemagne: The Omens Of Death’, the decidedly Manowar-esque new album from Sir Christopher Lee – complete with ‘heavy metal arrangements’ from current Judas Priest guitarist Richie Faulkner, it’s completely bonkers. I once had the honour of putting the tape recorder under Lee’s nose for a quote after he won a Metal Hammer Golden God award. When I asked why he liked heavy metal Sir Christopher fixed me with *those eyes* and replied: “It’s the power!”, and again for emphasis with *that voice*, “THE POWER!” ’Twas bit of a life highlight!
Just seen the awful news that Vivian Campbell from Def Leppard is the latest rock star to suffer a cancer battle. Sounds like he’s putting up a good fight and remains in good spirits. I wish him all the very best.
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Tuesday 11th June
I’ve just done my first ever interview with the legendary Danish frontman King Diamond. I asked him about Mercyful Fate’s debut UK show, which took place at the basement of the Hammersmith Clarendon in March 1983 – I’ve even got bootleg cassette somewhere. How amazing that it was three decades ago, also that it cost £1.50 to get in, with Savage as the support act! We also discussed whether or not the singer ever got around removing the curse he allegedly placed on Manowar after touring the UK – very briefly – with Joey DeMaio and company in ’84. You’ll have to read the article to find out. It was a fabulous conversation!
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Sunday 9th June
My Saturday night was spent at a public house in Thornton Heath, a mere stone’s throw from the Home Of Football, as I joined the celebrations for the 40th birthday of my friend Rita Gaughan. En route to the pub I passed CPFC’s Club Shop and loved this new sticker in the window so much that I had to take a photo!

Dave Ling Online

Fucking hell... gardening yesterday, DIY today (the bathroom needed sanding down and re-painting). So un-rock ‘n’ roll it’s just not true. Next stop: How do I get an allotment?! (Only kidding…).
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Saturday 8th June
It feels like a Climax Blues Band kinda day. Am now playing ‘FM Live’, the newly re-mastered version of the 1973 double concert set (via Esoteric Records).
Am also attempting to do some gardening as I can no longer see the house from the window in my office. Question: When does a weed cease to be a weed and become a plant in its own right? This is murderous. The garden was so lovely when we first moved here all those years ago, now the lawn is up to my waist; I might have to pull up everything and start again from scratch. #napalmthewholebloodylot.
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Friday 7th June
On the occasion of my boozing buddy Andy Beare’s 36th birthday (cough, splutter...) a few libations were in order. So it was off to the Crobar and thence onto the Borderline to say farewell to Jackdaw4, who were bowing out at a launch party for their new album, ‘Dissecticide’ – the fourth release of a sadly underappreciated ten-year career.
Known for his exploits with The Grip, The Wildhearts, Honeycrack and more, guitarist/singer Willie Dowling was on fine form considering he had invited us to “witness the death spasms of a great band as the corpse spasms, defecates and expires”. What might have been a solemn affair actually turned out a lot of fun, Dowling exclaiming: “If we could’ve expected this response we’d have split up a lot more often.” The night began with a six-song, half-hour unplugged set that included Willie’s sarcastic take on the world of advertising, ‘We Sold It All’, before an electric display that was based upon ‘Dissecticide’. Along the way we heard a few of our host’s homespun philosophies about the “unholy triumvirate” of Cameron, Osborne and education secretary Michael Gove (“With a special level of hatred for Gove”), homosexual giraffes, Facebook and Twitter “for making narcissists out of everyone”, also the sheer worthlessness of Milli Vanilli, the Spice Girls and Boyzone and all other acts that achieve success by miming and/or dance routines. The main set ended with a sizzling rendition of the new album’s brilliant, Sparks-meets-Queen-esque ‘Why Don’t You Come And See Me When She’s Not Around’, before Dowling returned to the stage unaccompanied and launched into a hilarious snippet of Sinatra’s classic ‘My Way’. How better to see things out than one of the night’s two Honeycrack tunes, ‘Animals’ (the other being ‘Samantha Pope’). The decision to include the latter was hugely vindicated, and here’s hoping it might inspire Dowling to consider staging some ‘A Night With’-style shows, cherry-picking the best bits of career. Intriguingly, he left the stage with the words: “Maybe our paths will cross again”. Here’s the set-list: ‘Happy? (Dumka)’, ‘We Sold It All’, ‘The Day I Wrote The Book’, ‘Jesus Wants My Soul Back’, ‘Karaoke Ballet’, ‘What Comes Around Goes Around’, ‘Abigail’s Last Hurrah’, ‘Foundations’, ‘Frobisher’s Last Stand’, ‘By The Weekend’, ‘Made Of Stone’, ‘Samantha Pope’, ‘Wire To The Wire’, ‘Coming Up For Air’, ‘Why Don’t You Come And See Me When She’s Not Around’, followed by ‘My Way (Excerpt)’, ‘King For A Day’, ‘Life’s A Celebration For The Few’ and ‘Animals’.
I’ve just booked my travel for the Download Festival. This time next week I shall be on board a choo-choo train for Long Eaton, hoping to be on site for Monster Truck at 1pm, followed by Freefall, the mighty Uriah Heep, DragonForce, Europe (what a shame they clash with Down!) and later on a nice bit of Black Stone Cherry. Can’t wait!
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Thursday 6th June
Just saw Bonnie Raitt interviewed on BBC1’s Breakfast Time show. What a talented artist and lovely, modest person (I’ve interviewed her twice – once at length for Classic Rock Presents: Blues). Must go and see her at the Royal Albert Hall on June 27.
I’m very much digging the new Alice In Chains album, ‘The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here’. Roll on the Download Festival! And better late than never, I’ve also just received a finished copy of the wonderful, self-titled debut from the UK-based proggers Lifesigns (it’s been out via Esoteric Antenna since January, apparently…). With cameos from Steve Hackett, Thijs Van Leer from Focus, King Crimson’s Jakko Jaksyzyk and Fish guitarist Robin Boult, it’s a seductive, hugely impressive collection that’s no doubt destined to attain heavy rotation here at Ling Towers.
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Wednesday 5th June
For yours truly, witnessing a gig by Rick Springfield represented something of a ‘bucket list’ opportunity. The Aussie-born singer/guitarist hadn’t played in the UK since May 1985 – long before I became a fan of his. So this was one gig I was not gonna miss.
Rick burst onto the Shepherd’s Bush Empire stage and seemed keen to make up for lost time, exclaiming: “Was anyone at the show we did at Hammersmith last time? We thought it was time to come back, thanks for sticking around for the last 30 years!” His band were tight but unfussy and I had no problem with the fact that he seemed pretty keen to plug his current album ‘Songs For The End Of The World’ as said disc was arguably the best modern-rock record of last year. For me, things started to go slightly awry at around the halfway mark with a medley of tunes that I’d preferred to have heard performed in their own right. A guitar solo and a cover of Robert Johnson’s ‘Cross Road Blues’ also seemed slightly incongruous, but each time a question mark was raised, Springfield came bouncing right back. ‘Don’t Talk To Strangers’ became a joyful crowd singalong, and he invited a cute ten year old called Megan out of the crowd to sing and dance with him, before going walkabout around the entire venue – even high-fiving just about everybody in the balcony! – during an extended, jammed-out take on ‘Human Touch’. And how else to close out the set proper than the brilliant, evergreen ‘Jessie’s Girl’? Those minor blemishes were well and truly forgotten… till Rick came back out for an encore comprising ‘All My Loving’ by the Beatles (!) and a Cheap Trick-esque ditty called ‘I’ll Make You Happy’ that was originally recorded by the Easybeats, later covered on his ‘Shock/Denial/Anger/Acceptance’ album. Talk about an anticlimactic end to a show that I’d waited decades to see!! And all for less than 80 minutes!
Anyway, for better or worse, here’s what was played: ‘Wide Awake’, ‘I’ve Done Everything For You’, ‘Living In Oz’, ‘Celebrate Youth’, ‘Our Ship’s Sinking’, ‘Affair Of The Heart’, ‘I Hate Myself’, ‘Rock Of Life’, ‘Love Somebody’, Medley: ‘Bop Till You Drop’/‘Calling All Girls’/‘Don’t Walk Away’/‘State Of The Heart’/‘What Kind Of Fool Am I’, ‘Love Is Alright Tonight’, ‘Don’t Talk To Strangers’, Guitar Solo/‘Cross Road Blues’, ‘Human Touch’ and ‘Jessie’s Girl’, followed by ‘All My Loving’ and ‘I’ll Make You Happy’.
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Tuesday 4th June
I’m back from Trevor Bolder’s funeral… a beautiful, sad day out at St Mary’s Church in Beverley (just outside of Hull), followed by a wake for family, friends and band-mates past ‘n’ present. The service was just as beautiful as the church and how on earth Mick Box got through that tearful eulogy and the coffinside version of ‘The Wizard’ I have absolutely no clue. What can I say? Band-leader extraordinaire, and an all-round great guy. Here’s a photo I took of three of Trevor Bolder’s favourite drummers; Lee Kerslake, Woody Woodmansey and Russell Gilbrook. Towards the afternoon’s end the booze and stories began to flow. At one point I found myself swigging a pint of cider with a Cointreau depth charge, ahem… As you’d expect, the train journey home was a bit on the messy side… Mark dozed off and for a while thought he’d lost his phone, having awoken in a pool of red wine. I myself dozed off face down in a mountain of pickled onion flavoured Monster Munch! Yeah, Trevor was sent off in style. 1950-2013, RIP.

Dave Ling Online

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Monday 3rd June
Suited, booted and up at stupid o’clock for a sombre sojourn to Yorkshire. Meeting my friend Mark Taylor at King’s Cross and our train departs at the unearthly hour of 6.30am… gruh!
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Sunday 2nd June
File this one under ‘life highlights’… a meeting with bona fide Crystal Palace legend Mark Bright at yesterday’s Beer Festival. I had a lovely day out at Selhurst; tried most of the ciders and Eddie and I ended up hanging around for considerably longer than expected. The fact that the 2-0 victory over Shiteon, followed by the Wembley Final (including extra time, ’natch), were being shown on the TVs in the lounges and also via the Jumbotron might have had something to do with our extended stay, hahaha!

Dave Ling Online

The Orpington Record Fair is on this weekend but I’ve gotta battle through the hangover and work for the entire day, as tomorrow I head up to Hull for Trevor Bolder’s funeral. I did manage to catch this evening’s friendly between England and Brazil at the Maracana Stadium in Rio. Coming back from behind to stun the crowd and take a 2-1 lead, it briefly felt like Hodgson’s men might win the game. Great entertainment!
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Saturday 1st June
Okay, I’ve been out for a run, showered and am ready to depart nice ‘n’ early to meet Neil Pudney and Tina Edmonds at Selhurst Park for the CPFC Beer Festival. There will be photo opportunies with the Championship Play-Off trophy and no less than 30 different types of cider for sale, including Oaky Dokey (5.50%), Lisping Cowboy (5.20%) and Mr Whitehead’s Heart Of Hampshire (6.00%). Coincidentally, it’s three years to the day since the ownership rights to the ground were settled and the club was rescued from financial meltdown, so I predict a bit of an apple-tastic promotion knees-up!
Monthly amendments to the Playlist and YouTube pages are up!