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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Monday 30th June
I’m a wee bit behind everybody else due to spending Saturday watching some real live music on Clapham Common, and Sunday recovering from alcoholic abuse and the longer than expected journey home afterwards – I had tried walking to Brixton from where I knew I could get a bus to Catford but got completely and utterly lost and ended up walking as far as the Oval, before finding a route home – but I’ve been catching up with Metallica at Glastonbury on the Beeb’s iPlayer. Despite the controversial build-up the San Francisco vets tore the place a new rectum (just like the Quo did a few years ago – let’s not forget that). I loved the part where guitarist James Hetfield playfully dedicated ‘Sad But True’ to “all of the British heavy metal bands that have been dreaming and still dream of playing this stage” – a barbed comment that could have been directed at a number of high profile detractors including Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson, Rob Halford of Judas Priest or indeed both.
This evening I’m looking forward to seeing my old mate Mark ‘Barney’ Greenway from Napalm Death, who I’m led to believe will be in attendance at a playback party in Camden for Flood Of Red’s new album, ‘Throw’. Besides being a godfather of my two sons, Barney is every bit as bonkers about footie as myself. I wonder who’ll be the first to bring up the subject of Palace doing the double over his beloved Aston Vanilla in 2013/14? Chortle.
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Sunday 29th June
In spite of the weather I had a fabulous day at the Calling Festival on Clapham Common. Arrived in time for a couple of ciders in the VIP guest bar, before being informed that booze was free in the press area (though not till 7pm – boo!). Almost the first person that I bumped into was Luke Morley from Thunder, and several mins later I chatted with Peter Shoulder, looking very young with his new haircut, who like myself was sheltering from the rain beneath the VIP canvas.
Richie Sambora’s ‘Stranger In This Town’ is a Desert Island Disc for me, but despite beginning and ending his set with Bon Jovi tunes (‘Lay Your Hands On Me’ and ‘Wanted Dead Or Alive’ respectively) Richie’s portion of the show was a bit of a letdown. Sure, we got the title track of ‘Stranger In This Town’ but Sambora’s six-piece line-up included three guitarists, including himself and the fast-rising Orianthi – none of whom could be heard very distinctly during a lacklustre and slightly faltering 45-min display. RS was still sporting the same Dolly Parton T-shirt he’d worn the previous night whilst guesting with Dolly at the O2 Arena… I wouldn’t have been surprised had he not even gone to bed since then (you get my drift, I’m sure).
Had Sambora sought a masterclass in the art of being a frontman, one look at Danny Bowes would’ve shown him how it’s *really* done. Bowes, and Thunder, had the crowd in the palm of their collective hands from the opening chords of ‘Dirty Love’ to a cowbell-festooned au revoir of ‘I Love You More Than Rock ‘N’ Roll’. During ‘Low Life In High Places’, when the first of numerous singalongs is slightly disjointed, Bowes grinned and shrugged: “Angelic… but quiet!” and took things up several notches to the next level. There are few better live bands than Thunder. In fact, were you to put me up against a wall with a firing squad ahead and demand that I named my ten favourite rock groups of all time, Thunder’s name would almost certainly be on that list. Here’s what they played: ‘Dirty Love’, ‘River Of Pain’, ‘Higher Ground’, ‘Low Life In High Places’, ‘Back Street Symphony’, ‘The Devil Made Me Do It’, ‘Love Walked In’ and ‘‘I Love You More Than Rock ‘N’ Roll’.
Sadly, I didn’t get to see Joe Bonamassa who I’m told played an absolutely blinding hard rock set. Instead, Mr Beare and I were escourted by my CR pal Peter Makowski into Aerosmith’s inner sanctum where we spent quite some time chatting with Joe Perry, and managed to get this very cool photograph taken with JP and Richie Sambora… doncha think the latter looks a little like Mike Myers? Hehe.

Dave Ling Online

Truthfully, my expectations of Aerosmith weren’t great but Andy and I ventured back out into the crowd carrying a bag loaded down with free tins of beer and a quarter bottle of dark rum as we waited the arrival of the headliners, a group I hadn’t bothered seeing live since the 1990s. Blimey… they were superb. Perry had shown us the set-list backstage but it wasn’t until hearing them crank out one stone-cold classic after another that the full extent of their greatness sank in. What a truly wonderful way to pass a night in drizzly ol’ Sarf London.

Dave Ling Online

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Saturday 28th June
Wouldn’t you just know it… in a few hours I shall be heading across Sarf London to Clapham Common for the Calling Festival and the weather’s overcast and grim, with heavy showers predicted. For me day is all about seeing Thunder (the band – not the meteorological phenomenon!) with their guest member Peter Shoulder of The Union, who is depping for the ailing Ben Matthews. That should be interesting. I’ve also been invited to a meet & greet with one half of Aerosmith’s Toxic Twins, guitarist Joe Perry, as part of the promotion for his new autobiography. Very cool…
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Friday 27th June
How exciting! The morning began with a pair of phone interviews… Tony banks and Mike Rutherford of Genesis – like you do. Before finishing the day I placed a call to New York City, the legendary Handsome Dick Manitoba of influential New York proto-punks the Dictators. “Call me Richard,” he insisted. “Nobody calls me Dick unless they’re pissed with me.” We had a fantastic and very lively chat about the group’s first UK shows in a whopping 37 years (their last visit to Britain was at the Roundhouse in 1977). Ross The Boss, once of Manowar, remains a part of the current line-up but it seems that there’s no love lost between Richard and Andy Shernoff, the band’s co-founding guitarist and principle writer. “I’m very glad Andy isn’t a part of this band anymore,” the singer told me, “it means we can have fun onstage again.” Ouch! Really looking forward to seeing them in London on August 7.
In the evening, once the kids had turned in, I watched and enjoyed Louise Mensch’s Sky Arts documentary on AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson. How many times did Jonno call her “me darlin’”? It was great to see him bladdered and telling it like it is in her interview. A lovely bloke, so modest and down to earth! He was exactly the same when I met him ten years ago.
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Thursday 26th June
OM-fucking-G. Those melodic hard rock icons Survivor are coming to the UK at last, including a gig at Shepherd’s Bush Empire on October 13. I am almost lost for words. If it they play this song, I will quite literally swoon.
Must admit, I’ve been a bit slow in latching onto Rival Sons, cover stars of the new issue of the current (Summer) issue of Classic Rock. They’re certainly an interesting bunch, and Dave Everley’s excellent story is a great read… it made me request a copy of the newest album, ‘Great Western Valkyrie’ – kindly supplied by my pal Dan Tobin on gatefold vinyl. I’ve spun the thing four or maybe five time and its undeniably their best work. But does it merit the fuss that’s being made over them? I’m afraid that’s still just a ‘maybe’… And is it just me that keeps expecting ‘Open My Eyes’ to segue into Zeppelin’s ‘Your Time Is Gonna Come’ each time I hear it?
The finishing line for the bumper issue #200 of Classic Rock is *finally* within sight but now the staffers are being asked to name our favourite album released in the magazine’s lifespan (i.e. since Nov 1998). Now let me see… what year was ‘Brave New World’ by Iron Maiden? Opeth’s ‘Blackwater Park’ and ‘Watershed’ are both contenders, no doubt. To these ears Steven Wilson’s ‘The Raven That Refused To Sing’ is by far the best record of recent years, but is it *THE* finest within the timeframe? Hmmmm. ‘Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes From A Memory’ by Dream Theater would sneak in. And then there’s FM’s ‘Metropolis’, ‘You Are Here’ by UFO and the brilliance of It Bites’ ‘The Tall Ships’. Magnum and Skynyrd have been on a bit of a run... Oh shit, I predict a sleepless night.
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Wednesday 25th June
How splendid! Mr Big are to play Koko on October 17, and their singer Eric Martin drops by the Underworld on December 12 as part of an unplugged trek. Put me down for both of those! Fellow fans should check out this fabulous YouTube clip of a full Mr Big gig from 1992.
Great news… the Quo’s manager Simon Porter has signed off the text for the Frantic Four coffee table book with “virtually nothing in the way of amendments and the comment that he ‘thinks that it’s great’”, I’m told. I was allowed to write the ending the way I wanted. That’s made my day!
Though Jeff Scott Soto was on at the Borderline – another of those annoying gig clashes! – last night was spent at Shepherd’s Bush Empire, my fave London venue, for a third sighting of the wonderful Royal Southern Brotherhood. With its top balcony closed off and plenty of empty seats in the stalls and on Level 1, the Empire was too big for a band with just two full-length studio records to their name, the most recent of which being the newly released ‘Heartsoulblood’. But by heck, save for the lame bass and drum solos really took the wind out of the band's metaphorical sail?, they put on a good show. Frontman Cyril Neville looked dapper at the front of the stage whilst adding extra percussion and with Devon Allman and Mike Zito showing off their differing styles as guitarists, there was always something to hold the attention. At encore time support act Laurence Jones returned to the stage to jam on ‘One Way Out’, the Elmore James standard popularised by the Allmans on ‘Eat A Peach’. Soulful, groove laden, rootsy Southern rawk really doesn’t get much better.

Dave Ling Online

The set-list ran as follows: ‘Fired Up’, ‘Moonlight Over The Mississippi’, ‘Groove On’, ‘World Blues’, ‘Back To You’, ‘Sugar Sweet’, ‘Could Get Dangerous’, ‘Shoulda Known’, ‘She’s My Lady’, ‘Running Water’, ‘Ritual’ and ‘Rock And Roll’, followed by ‘One Way Out’ and the Stones’ ‘Gimme Shelter’.
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Tuesday 24th June
Well, that's a first. I switched off from the sheer tedium of already homebound England’s final World Cup game with Costa Rica to channel hop to the nail biting climax of the test match against Sri Lanka. England had looked like surviving to claim an unlikely draw till Jimmy Anderson edged a simple catch with just two balls so go. FFS!
Shaking my head sadly, I headed off to the Beaverwood in Chislehurst to take a look at Moreland & Arbuckle, the up ‘n’ coming roots-swamp-blues rockers from Wichita, Kansas. I’d heard incredible reports of their previous show at the Beaverwood but on this occasion the football worked against them. With the crowd smaller than expected the vibe was a bit flat, and I found the first of their two sets a little workmanlike and unremarkable. After a short beer break they returned and things got much, much better. ‘The Devil In Me’ saw lead singer Dustin Arbuckle abandoning his harmonica, an instrument I’ve ever had too much time for, in favour of a traditional bass guitar – for a large chunk of the show guitarist Aaron Moreland had played an unusually looking gizmo fashioned from a cigar box that allowed him to perform the low-end parts along with searing slide leads… at times the bearded man mountain Moreland played both simultaneously, which was really something to behold. They played songs from all of their records and even introduced a brand new tune (I didn’t catch the title, sorry) and ran through Muddy Waters’ ‘Long Distance Call’… by the end of their 105-minute display I was beginning to understand what the fuss is all about.
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Monday 23rd June
Resisting the temptation to hang out with my gimp mask-sporting birthday boy pal Jerry Ewing in the Crobar I opted for a night in, catching up on some telly. Aw, what a sad ending to the final episode of Wallander. I also loved the conclusion to Channel 4’s Fargo – another truly fantastic series. Martin Freeman as a serious actor, why knew? And Billy Bob Thornton was just superb!
England’s World Cup campaign isn’t going too well (slight understatement), but at least Glenn Hughes is lucky enough to be in Brazil and experiencing things first hand. Check out this photo emailed by the California Breed man with the message: “England’s first game… win, lose or draw... We celebrate the beautiful game!” Jammy git! (But then again, he is a Wolves fan and must be used to defeat… hehehe).

Dave Ling Online

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Sunday 22nd June
Phew… Thank God for the air con, Winger’s gig was hotter than hell. It was Kip’s 53rd birthday and the show had a real air of celebration. After those awe-inspiring versions of ‘Miles Away’ and ‘Headed For A Heartbreak’ I may need the electric sander to remove my undergarments! I was critical of the band’s disappointingly tepid new album, ‘Better Days Comin’’, but the two songs they pulled from it both worked well in a live environment. There was perhaps a little too much between song chatter, and the drum and guitar solos interrupted the show’s flow, but Reb Beach is a really underrated riffmeister, and Kip offered a cool display of the spontaneous way the band comes up with its material, inviting the guitarist to churn out something new for our delectation… “Okay Reb, write us a riff!” For the final song, a riotous cover of the Van Halen classic ‘Ain’t Talkin’ ’Bout Love’ the band invited a lucky fan called Pete from London out of the crowd to play bass – a nice touch! Here’s the set-list: ‘Midnight Driver Of A Love Machine’, ‘Easy Come Easy Go’, ‘Hungry’, ‘Pull Me Under’, ‘Down Incognito’, ‘Deal With The Devil’, ‘Stone Cold Killer’, ‘Rat Race’, Drum Solo, ‘Miles Away’, ‘Headed For A Heartbreak’, ‘Can’t Get Enuff’, ‘Blind Revolution Mad’, ‘Madalaine’, Guitar Solo, ‘Seventeen’ and ‘Ain’t Talkin’ ’Bout Love’.
I’ve just transcribed my recent chat with George Thorogood. Though it was conducted by phone George remembered our last encounter in a dressing room at Shepherd’s Bush Empire from almost a year ago, signing off with the words: “It’s always a pleasure to be interviewed by you. If you’re ever in the States and come to another of my shows, please take the time to come backstage and say hi… we’ll talk about rock and roll again.” If only all rock stars were such gents.
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Saturday 21st June
Beware all the single ladeeez of Wembley Stadium. Eddie has just left Ling Towers for some hideous all day affair called the Capital FM Summertime Ball with his best friend Johnny. The bill looks *beyond dreadful*... Miley Cyris, Cheryl Cole, Jessie J, Rita Ora, but it’s his first unaccompanied gig and it was great to see him so thrilled about music (in the loosest possible sense). If he comes back bladdered I’ll skin him alive.
Me? I’m off to the Islington Academy to see one of my all-time favourite groups… Winger.
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Friday 20th June
The result of last night’s World Cup game: Uruguay 2, England 1. Barring a miracle that, quite frankly, they wouldn’t deserve, Hodgson’s squad will ne back in their own beds before you know it. Despite logging on to find a playful email from a Scotman (Fish) that said: remember drink doesn't solve anything :-)
I feel better this morning. I’m a more of a ‘club’ than a ‘country’ man, and nobody died. I do feel very sorry for Eddie, though. The poor blighter couldn’t sleep with the disappointment of it all. Then again it his first major tournament. He will learn. :-(
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Thursday 19th June
Obscure fact of the day: Eric Bloom from Blue Öyster Cult is a big fan of The Antiques Roadshow. He tells me: “I just love the idea of someone going to a street fair, picking up an ashtray, finding out that it’s Chinese and getting fifty grand for it.” [When I posted this on my Facebook page, Phil Ashcroft came up with the response of the day: 'Fireplace Of Unknown Origin'... brilliant!]
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Wednesday 18th June
There's huge excitement here at Ling Towers as the new Premier League fixtures are announced. Palace are away to the Gooners on the opening day (that means beers with Bruce Osborne, Gerry Rassool and Clive Aspinall!), and at home to Swansea as the curtain comes down. It could have been a lot, lot worse! And, best of all, we are away to WBA for the final Firefest – Yesssssssss! Kieran Dargan… the first round is on me!!!
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Tuesday 17th June
Classic Rock asked me at attend last night’s Golden Gods Awards, the honours ceremony of their sister title Metal Hammer. My brief was simple: ‘Here’s an AAA pass, go along and see what you can bring back’. As usual, the backstage / production areas were full of people running around like headless chickens, either that or drinking and getting in the way (I never consume booze at these events). The Steel Panther dudes reckoned I have “bitchin’ hair” (at least mine’s real… hehe). Michael Monroe, who had flown in from Finland to collect the Inspiration award on behalf of Hanoi Rocks, told me that the band could never reform. “Why should I even need to?” he smiled, claiming that his current solo group is “more of a band” than the unit that Hanoi became during their second incarnation.
I had a very cool chat with Mikael Åkerfeldt from Opeth, who was trying to keep tabs on his two daughters amid the pandemonium, in addition to picking up the night’s top honour, the Golden God. We laughed at the fact that a few days earlier he’d taken his offspring to see One Direction (!), and he seemed pleased when I voiced my approval of the ’Peth’s forthcoming album, ‘Pale Communion’. “That kind of feedback is great from someone who’s been there since…” he began, before faltering, “someone who’s…”. “You mean that an old bastard who’s loved the band for ages?” I interrupted, putting the Swede out his misery. “Exactly.” Haha.
Michael Schenker’s son Tyson has just sent a sneaky photo that he took of me interviewing his dad after Schenker accepted the night’s Icon gong from Aerosmith's Joe Perry. We stood around and chatted awhile after the tape went off. It was great to see Michael on such friendly, lucid and happy form.

Dave Ling Online

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Monday 16th June
That’s a nice, lively way to begin the day – a bloody great phone interview with Ian Anderson at 9.30am. Start things as you mean to go on, eh?
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Sunday 15th June
Naturally I’m gutted by yesterday’s 2-1 defeat to Italy. Hodgson’s men played a surprisingly competitive game and on another day either they could have won or claimed a draw. The second game, against Uruguay, is now bigger than ever. Call me Mr Blind Optimism, but I still think we’ll reach competition’s the last 16.
Till then… work, work, work… I must knuckle down and finish the final chapter of the Frantic Four coffee book.
Oh, look what those cheeky Linglets have bought me for Father’s Day, a cute T-shirt with the warning: “Coming to a pub near you”. As a strict teetotaller, I’m insulted beyond belief!

Dave Ling Online

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Saturday 14th June
As you’ll have gathered, there’s no Download Festival for yours truly in 2014. Getting away for a weekend is becoming harder and harder and over the last few days the already tense atmosphere at Ling Towers has escalated to painful proportions.
Luckily England’s World Cup campaign begins today and I’ve plenty of work to keep me occupied / distracted, having filled my Friday with three phone interviews – Kansas drummer Phil Ehart, Gary Louis of The Jayhawks’, the alt-country rockers whose albums ‘Hollywood Town Hall’ and ‘Tomorrow The Green Grass’ are massive here at Ling Towers, and finally the living legend that is Todd Rundgren.
Meanwhile, as the build-up towards tonight’s game with Italy continues, the first three Led Zeppelin re-masters have arrived! Back of the net!

Dave Ling Online

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Friday 13th June
Back to the Islington Academy for the third time in less than a week for the mighty Tesla. The Sacramento-based quintet turned in a wonderfully paced set that was well worth missing the opening night of the World Cup for! Amid a barrage of heyday-era tunes we also heard ‘So Divine’ and ‘MP3’, two songs from the fantastic new album ‘Simplicity’, before Tesla slipped into a softer segment of the show with a soothing, uplifting ‘What You Give’. Closing with four belters from their 1986 debut ‘Mechanical Resonance’ they almost tore the roof off the Academy. Though usually a remarkable asset, Jeff Keith’s voice became a wee bit raspy during the closing stages – which explains why the set was only marginally longer than 90 minutes – but, heck,
you sing like that for 30 years and you’re a lucky guy. Mostly he sounded great, as did Frank Hannon and Dave Rude, who play with such tone, clarity and precision that it’s almost like having two Michael Schenkers in the same band. Here’s what they played: ‘Live Before I Die’, ‘Hang Tough’, ‘So Divine’, ‘Heaven’s Trail (No Way Out)’, ‘Mama's Fool?’ (including Hannon’s solo), ‘Into The Now’, ‘MP3’, ‘The Way It Is’, ‘What You Give’, ‘Signs’, ‘Love Song’, ‘Getting’ Better’, ‘Modern Day Cowboy’, ‘Little Suzi’ and
sizzling encore of ‘Cuming Atcha Live’.
All this and a mid-afternoon phone interview with the Quo’s Rick Parfitt, too, the contents of which will appear in the Frantic Four coffee table book.
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Thursday 12th June
One of the reasons that I love my job so much is that it presents the opportunity to interview so many of my musical heroes. And here’s another to tick off on the bucket list – yesterday evening I spoke to Eric Moore of The Godz, who’s now in his 60s. These guys are so much more interesting and quotable than their younger counterparts. On being unafraid of death: “When you’re closer to the end than the beginning you think about your demise much more clearly. And I know that whichever place I end up, there’s gonna be a great house band.” If you’ve never heard The Gods then click this link and do it NOW!
In the morning I had a great chat with Alan Lancaster for the Frantic Four book. Nuff had just returned home from the funeral of his good friend Doc Neeson the The Angels and was in a talkative, reflective mood. I also had a laughter-filled conversation with Glenn Hughes, who was in a cab en route to LAX for a flight to Brazil to watch England in the World Cup.
One of my questions *completely* flummoxed the lucky bastard, much to the amusement of his wife, who was travelling with him. You’ll have read the results in the bumper Issue #200 of Classic Rock, which hits the stands on July 16.
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Wednesday 11th June
It was, quite simply, one of the most special gigs I’ve ever attended. Last night the funk-rock behemoth that is Dan Reed Network rolled through London as part of an ongoing reunion tour. It’s wonderful to have them back. How many rock concerts have you attended which close in a Gospel singalong (to
‘Long Way To Go’)?! When two songs in, the band stopped for a moment, the audience reacted with a roar of appreciation that brought up goosebumps, a little like the response to a 90th minute FA Cup winning goal. The band were having a ball, re-enacting a fluffed chord struck by guitarist Brion James
during ‘Ritual’ (“It’s a J Sharp!” giggled the axeman) and throwing in snippets of unrehearsed tunes such as ‘Taming The Wild Nights’, ‘Mix It Up’, ‘Lover’ and ‘Doin’ The Love Thing’ as the audience called them out. I was flattered beyond belief that Reed included my name in a list of dedications that featured his former manager Toni Medcalf, Andy Copping from Live Nation and my Classic Rock colleague Paul ‘Gooner’ Elliott before launching into ‘Rainbow Child’. File under ‘life highlights’. Better still, Reed revealed that the band are “discussing making a new record together next year” before correcting himself: “nobody makes records anymore – we’ll be back with some new digital files!” I can’t wait to hear what they conjure up!! Here’s the set-list: ‘Cruise Together’, ‘Under My Skin’, ‘Forgot To Make Her Mine’, ‘Baby Now I’, ‘Rainbow Child’, ‘Come Back Baby’, ‘Take It Easy’, ‘Baby Don’t Fade’, ‘Ritual’, ‘Taming The Wild Nights (Excerpt)’, ‘Mix It Up (Excerpt)’, ‘Lover (Excerpt)’, ‘Doin’ The Love Thing (Excerpt)’, ‘Stronger Than Steel’, ‘The World Has A Heart Too’, ‘Seven Sisters Road’ and ‘Get To You’, plus an encore of ‘Tiger In A Dress’ and ‘Long Way To Go’.
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Tuesday 10th June
It’s been yet another day of tape transcript hell, though I stepped away from the routine of ‘stop, rewind, play, stop, rewind, play’ to talk to Francis Rossi and John Coghlan for the new coffee table book on Status Quo’s Frantic Four line-up. As Rossi pointed out, Spud can be a bit quiet in interview scenarios, but he spoke at length about both tours, spilling his thoughts on Rossi’s reservations on the first tour and telling a couple of great historical anecdotes. Francis never misses an opportunity to wind me up about my barnet. Before hanging up he said: “Now don’t forget… when you’ re planning your funeral you will need a separate box for the hair. They’ll be able to say, ‘There goes Dave, and there goes his hair’.” Sarcastic git! He’d only need half a box for his!
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Monday 9th June
So the phone rings.
“Hi Dave… are you ready to go with the interview?”
“Absolutely, fire away.”
“Okay, he’s here. I’ll pass you over.”
[The line goes silent for a moment].
“Right! ’Ow the bloody ’ell did your lot finish above West ’Am in the Premier League. Tell me that?”
Me: “It always helps when one’s team does the double over their relegation rivals!”
I *love* a bit of banter with Steve Harris! Also had a natter with Bruce Dickinson, too!
Still on the subject of Palace, the Eagles are being linked with an attacking midfielder called Diniyar Bilyaletdinov who played for Everton. A pretty good player from what I understand. That’s encouraging!
And on a darker note, RIP the one and only Rik Mayall. Thanks for the many, many laughs, you will be sadly missed.
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Sunday 8th June
This story about the D-Day veteran going AWOL from his care home to attend the anniversary celebrations in Normandy is quite possibly my favourite of 2014 (except for Palace saying up, of course). I can even forgive the old coffin dodger’s place of residence. Just.
Yesterday evening I managed to pull myself together from the gruelling depths of hangover hell to speak to Alice Cooper. During the previous week there had been quite a few false starts, postponements and cancellations so it was relief to finally hook up (albeit by phone). Alice is a genuine hero of mine, one of the few stars that I’ve been nervous to interview, but he’s very good at putting people at ease and, of course, those witty anecdotes and colourful soundbites, simply drip from the man’s gob. Which is just as well, as I felt like dogshit on a shovel.
And talking of which… England 0 Honduras 0. Yes, you read that right. In their final World Cup dress rehearsal Roy’s men drew a blank against lowly Honduras – despite their opponents being reduced to ten men. I’m starting to feel very worried indeed about Brazilia 2014.
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Saturday 7th June
I cannot remember the last time I slept in till 1.30pm, but then again I didn’t get back to Ling Mansions till what…? 6am?! It was light, certainly. Andy Beare’s 50th birthday was done in style. Didn’t realise how ‘refreshed’ I was till getting off the night bus home from the Crobar. Two steps forwards, one back / to the right / left / into a hedge / garden / drain / alleyway / car. A journey that would normally have taken six or seven minutes required almost an hour. Lucky there was no plod around. Happy b-day Mr B. Now… how am I gonna get my shit together for the Alice Cooper phoner in a couple of hours??!!
Earlier in the evening, before things got completely out of hand, I stopped off at the Islington Academy for the return of former Ozzy Osbourne/Badlands guitarist Jake E Lee and his new group Red Dragon Cartel. I was surprised by how little they played of their rather good self-titled debut release, focussing instead on a whole heap of Badlands tunes and a couple from the Ozzy days. Sadly, none of the album's guests turned up; I’d wondered whether Paul Di’Anno (who sang on ‘Wasted’) might have been around. Lee proved that he can still shred with the best on ‘Rumblin’ Train’, a heavy ten-minute blues workout from the first Badlands record. Despite getting off to a calamitous start in his early shows with the group, former Harem Scarem drummer Darren Smith is developing into a pretty decent frontman. Jake had sgiven out mixed messages about the future of RDC, though Smith revealed: “We are working on a new record, so this is possibly the last time we'll get to play some of these Badlands songs..” I’m glad I was there to see it. Here’s the set-list: ‘The Ultimate Sin’, ‘Deceived’, ‘War Machine’, ‘High Wire’, ‘Shine On’, ‘Shout It Out’, ‘In a Dream’, ‘Rumblin’ Train’, ‘Sun Red Sun’ and ‘Feeder’, followed by ‘Bark At The Moon’.
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Friday 6th June
Interviewing Michael Sadler from Saga is always a pleasant experience. The Canadian band’s newie, ‘Sagacity’ (the title actually means actually means wisdom and cleverness, something I didn’t know until reading the accompanying biog), is a bit of a grower. I wasn’t too keen upon first hearing, truth told, which is pretty unusual as I’ve been a fan for decades. I must’ve had my head somewhere else that day – up my arse, maybe?
I knocked off work a couple of hours early to head to Hammersmith for a drink with my old friend Caroline ‘Funky’ Gibbons, who’s over for her annual visit from Los Angeles. We found a rather nice, quaint boozer down by the banks of the Thames and proceeded to catch up over old times until the bell rang for final orders. A very pleasant evening indeed!
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Thursday 5th June
The score of last night’s World Cup warm-up in Miami: Ecuador 2 England 2. With another such game to go before the tournament’s commencement there were some positives to take away, but the defence is worryingly rickety and porous.
Thanks to my friend Mark Palmer for sending a package of finished CDs and vinyl from Nuclear Blast Records, including the deluxe edition of the new Edguy (which is bloody brilliant!) and Nightwish’s concert double set, ‘Showtime, Storytime’. The latter is a beautiful double-gatefold edition. Gorgeous!
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Wednesday 4th June
My ribs still ache a little in the wake of today’s phone interview with UFO singer Phil Mogg. The guy really should consider a parallel career as a stand up comedian.
The rain is really pissing me off… I can’t run in this godawful weather so about to hit the office exercise bike for the Special Edition of Blue Öyster Cult’s 1978 live album, ‘Some Enchanted Evening’. “Atlanta, Georgia, are you ready to rock and roll...?” Hearing it again takes me back to my schooldays, though in fairness I wouldn’t complain if I never heard the song ‘(Don’t Fear) The Reaper’ again.
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Tuesday 3rd June
Episode II of Up With The Skylark And Chained To The Desk… Deep Purple’s Ian Gillan wanted to do his phone interview at 8.20am (UK time). With George Thorogood calling at 9pm it felt like quite a long day, especially as the Keith Emerson interview was a bit problematic (to say the very least), but by heck it was productive. Finished the Classic Rock news pages, wrote some reviews for the new issue of Prog magazine and helped my dad to fix the boys’ bedroom door, which had been torn off its hinges during the latest fit of temper (oh yes… life is never, ever dull here at Chateau Ling).
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Monday 2nd June
So… the latest working week starts with a bang – phoners with Rick Wakeman and Europe’s Joey Tempest at 9am and 10am respectively. That was the plan, at least. However in the truest, purest Grumpy Old Man fashion, Wakeman was getting irate at the internet as I called, having been trying to purchase an item online and realised he had mistakenly ordered three of them, plus something completely different, upon reaching the transaction’s checkout stage. Great entertainment (for me, at least…). As was his interview, once Wakeman’s comical temper tantrum had subsided.
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Sunday 1st June
I’ve been having a bit of a prog-tastic afternoon. Had forgotten how much I used to love ‘…And Then There Were Three’ by Genesis. What an underrated little gem of an album. Okay, ‘Snowbound’ is one to skip but I shall never tire of hearing ‘Burning Rope’, ‘Deep In The Motherlode’ and ‘Many Too Many’. It was one of the first of theirs that I bought, actually, and worked backwards. So it holds a special place in my heart for that reason alone.
BTW, the Playlist and YouTube have been updated as usual.