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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Thursday 31st March
I’m now reading Who Killed Kurt Cobain, by Ian Halperin and Max Wallace, a team who won Rolling Stone magazine’s award for investigative journalism. Haven’t got to the nitty-gritty of it yet, but I did laugh aloud at the story of Cobain – clearly far from the sharpest of knives in the drawer - attending his first ever gig, by Sammy Hagar (yes, Sammy Hagar). Over to you, Kurt: “On the way to the concert we drank a case of beer and we were stuck in traffic. I peed in my pants. When we got there, people were passing pipes of marijuana around. I’d never smoked pot before and got really high. I took out my Bic for one of those lighter tributes at the end of the show and the next thing I knew I’d lit myself on fire.” Classic!
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Tuesday 29th March
Diary Of A Rock ‘N’ Roll Star completed, I bought three more books at a charming store in Lowestoft. Potentially the best of them is Giants Of Rock Music, a thin yet fascinating tome first published in 1970. It contains interviews with various stars of the era, including Eric Clapton, Frank Zappa, Jefferson Airplane, Canned Heat, John Lennon and Yoko Ono. How idealistic many of these conversations now seem; Zappa wanted to use his music to “modify society to the point where it works properly”, while Lennon and Ono were more naïve and deluded still. Grilled whilst setting up a three-day peace festival in 1970, Lennon talked forcefully of “unprogramming” society to dismantle its warlike traits, and of the Plastic Ono Band’s recent debut gigs. “We had the whole Delaney and Bonnie band, George Harrison, Keith Moon from The Who, and various others,” relates John. “It was a 17-piece band. We did two numbers that lasted one and a half hours. The simple-minded pop people didn’t understand, but it was a groove.” It sounds excrutiating.
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Sunday 27th March
Making the most of the Easter Bank Holiday the Ling family is taking a few days away in Norfolk. With a couple of World Cup qualifying matches lined up, facilities for the kids and a well-stocked bar, we’re having loads of fun. Yesterday, England put four goals past a Northern Ireland side that capitulated badly in the second half. For reading matter, I saved a copy of Ian Hunter’s Diary Of A Rock ‘N’ Roll Star that I’d bought specially on e-Bay. Documenting Mott The Hoople’s five-week US tour of late 1972 it’ll never challenge the Crüe’s The Dirt but remains entertainingly quaint reading. Apparently the band’s biggest vice was visiting pawn shops – that’s pawn, not porn – and buying up as many old guitars as possible. All these years later, Hunter’s language seems archaic. It’s strange to read of him meeting “spades”, and meaning ladies of colour, as opposed to gardening utensils.
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Monday 21st March
With Southampton achieving the unlikely and defeating Middlesbrough yesterday, the Eagles dropped back into the bottom three. My only consolation was watching a topsy-turvy gig at the Astoria in the evening. Dare opened the three-band bill in fine style, though the Les Holroyd-fronted incarnation of Barclay James Harvest represented tedium incarnate. Thank the Lord for Asia, who turned in a quite magnificent display. Mixing the best tracks from the latest 'Silent Nation' opus ('What About Love?', 'Ghost In The Mirror', 'Silent Nation' and 'Long Way From Home') with such vintage classics as 'Wildest Dreams', 'Here Comes The Feeling' and 'Time Again', Asia at least vanquished the relegation blues for 100 parp-tastic minutes.
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Sunday 20th March
Yesterday my friend Harj and I attended Clive Aid, a benefit show for ex-Iron Maiden drummer Clive Burr, now suffering from multiple sclerosis. En route I had one ear tuned to the radio for Palace's progress at Stamford Bridge, and as we entered the Ruskin Arms was stunned to discover the game being shown on their jumbo screen. Better still, as we headed barwards Aki Riihilahti scored an equaliser! It didn't last, and WBA's own victory left me tearing out hair by the handful. Bernie Torme and John McCoy played together again for the first time since 1981, and I almost had to wipe away a tear as the wheelchair-bound Burr was pushed to the front to watch his mates strutting their stuff through 'Star', 'Wild West' and 'Ball And Chain'. Stray and Chariot both delivered equally enthusiastic sets, but a hapless sound engineer effectively screwed them both. With nobody from Maiden showing up, I made my excuses and left early during a woefully inept headlining spot from tribute act Ironically Maiden.
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Saturday 19th March
After a week of being rocked like the proverbial hurricane, what better than to finish early on a Friday, trot down the Underworld (via the Record & Tape Exchange), and enjoy some free drinks and nosebag during a preview of Nevermore's forthcoming album? We heard five tracks from 'This Godless Endeavor', which producer Andy Sneap told me he'd been up mixing till the early hours of this morning. Newies 'Born', 'This Godless Endeavour', 'Final Product' and 'Bittersweet Feast' were all included in the set that followed, a stonking, bastardised rendition of Simon & Garfunkel's 'The Sound Of Silence' sending everyone home smiling.
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Friday 18th March
Last night was the second Judas Priest/Scorpions gig at Hammersmith. Attended the latter's press conference during the afternoon. There were some funny stories, most of which revolved around the group's bafflement at performing so early in the evening. The night before, drummer James Kottack had finished the show, returned to the hotel and attempted to find somewhere to party. With the bar full of suits he went outside and hailed a cab, only to be told: "I think there's a gig going on at Hammersmith Odeon, mate." It was cool to stand up in the balcony and absorb all the detail I missed on the first night. The Scorps swapped 'Still Loving You' for 'Wind Of Change' and 'Loving You Sunday Morning' for 'Lovedrive', and added 'Hit Between The Eyes' to their show. Priest stuck to an identical set; with no sign of 'Exciter' on either night, unfortunately. Rob Halford's voice didn't stand up too well to the stress of a second consecutive two-hour performance, but watching KK Downing and Glenn Tipton playing each other's guitars during 'Breaking The Law' was almost as hilarious as the singer's ludicrous stage raps.
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Thursday 17th March
"Ladies and gentlemen... children of all ages, please welcome The Scorpions!" I'd been waiting to hear those words for quite some time, having been out of the country when they last played the Astoria in 1999. And the reunited Judas Priest closing the show? That's a heavy metal banquet in anyone's language, washed down with a bucketful of Jagermeister. The Scorps played for an hour, including just one song ('Love Em Or Leave Em') from their excellent current album 'Unbreakable', and cramming in as many classics as possible. They kicked off with an excerpt from 'Coming Home', heading into 'Bad Boys Running Wild', 'The Zoo', 'Loving You Sunday Morning', 'Tease Me Please Me', 'Blackout', 'Big City Nights', 'Dynamite', 'Still Loving You' and of course 'Rock You Like A Hurricane'. Fan-f**king-tastic.
The Priest were as scintilating as I'd hoped, blitzing through four newies from 'Angel Of Retribution' - all of which held their own in a set rammed with quintessential metal. How else to start but 'The Hellion'/'Electric Eye', followed by 'Metal Gods', 'Riding On The Wind', 'The Ripper', 'A Touch Of Evil', 'Judas Rising', 'Revolution', 'Hot Rocking', 'Breaking The Law' and a somewhat unusual choice from 'Ram It Down', the iffy 'I'm A Rocker'. 'Diamonds & Rust' was played acoustically, the whole band joining in at the end, before the final run-in of 'Deal With the Devil', 'Beyond The Realms Of Death', 'Turbo Lover', 'Hellrider', 'Victim Of Changes', 'Green Manalishi (With The Two-Pronged Crown)' and 'Painkiller'. Rob Halford appeared on his bike to sing 'Well Bent For Trevor' looking like a pearly queen, and an exquisite show wound up with 'Living After Midnight' and 'You've Got Another Thing Coming'.
During the afternoon I accepted an offer from my pal Malcolm Dome to sit in on a Totalrock Radio interview with Andy Scott of The Sweet, and to chip in with a question or two. What fun. I believe it's repeated a week on Saturday (the 26th), between 8-9pm.

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Sunday 13th March
After a fortnight of r'n'r excess, and with no gig to attend (I'd wanted to check out Hatebreed and Crowbar - especially Crowbar, but domestic matters intervened), how better to recharge the batteries than a lazy afternoon spent with the wife 'n' kids and soaking up the first three classic Star Wars movies (now of course named Vols 3-5)? The boys decided to draw some pix of their daddy (See Arnie's sketch HERE and Eddie's sketch HERE). At the moment they're more Bernard Matthews than Rodney Matthews, but they'll get there in the end!
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Friday 11th March
It definitely feels like a Red Nose Day. Thunder played a sold-out Shepherd's Bush Empire last night and I enjoyed a few too many white wines. A great set from a band really coming back into their own. And I don't say that just because of 'Arry's football affilations. TotalRock made today a Tommy Vance tribute. They aired some lovely tesimonies to a nice, sincere bloke. Pete Way rang in at around tea-time (presumably he'd just got up), and said a few nice things, ending his call with the words: "Thank-you London". Priceless. Wonder if he says the same thing to the bloke in the off-license. "Thank-you Birmingham, you've been great vendors of alcohol this evening. I'll see you again tomorrow."
P.S. Fans of It Bites might like to know that I spoke briefly to John Beck, that band's keyboard player, this evening. It seems that he, Francis Dunnery, Dick Nolan and Bob Dalton have finished writing their reunion album and are now trying to co-ordinate schedules to record it. Can't wait. Beck's gig with current project Kino at the Astoria 22 should also be a bit special.
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Thursday 10th March
I'd never seen The Donnas till last night, though I own three of their albums. They're four gals from California who, in a Ramones-like twist, all call themselves Donna (in fact, their real names are Allison, Maya, Brett and Torry). They tell us from the stage how cool it is that they've sold out the Astoria, but there's plenty of standing room in the balcony. The music is a cross-pollination of rock, metal, pop and punk anthems with innuendo-charged song titles ('It's So Hard', 'Is That All You've Got For Me', 'Take It Off' and 'You Make Me Hot', although '40 Boys In 40 Nights' is overlooked, unless they did it in my toilet break). It's all perfectly competent, but within 15 minutes you've seen and heard all that's in their locker, if you'll pardon the phrase. The chunky bassist, Donna F, is one of the ungainliest movers I've ever witnessed on a stage; she really should re-name herself Donna Kebab. I doubt I'll cross paths again them again anytime soon.
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Wednesday 9th March
Last night I went to see Nile, a great band from America who play Egyptian-themed death metal. It's a lot better than it might sound. The Electric Ballroom was quite full, but not sold out. What Karl Sanders and his boys played was excellent, including several tracks from a soon-to-be-released new album, 'Annihilation Of The Wicked', but 60 minutes onstage was less than I'd expected from a band of such standing.
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Sunday 6th March
You don't get many days like yesterday. Palace took on the might of M*******er U****d, a team of whingeing, ego-crazed millionaires that just assumed we'd roll over and die to accommodate their title ambitions. Even with their 12 men (including the ref, of course) and our own 10 (Lakis was harshly sent off with a third of the game to go), and depite the introduction of 'Shrek'-alike Rooney and that raving fag-boy Ronaldo, they couldn't find a way past King Kiraly. My, how Ferguson, Shrek, Giggs and Keane threw their toys out of the pram. Afterwards it was off to the off license and straight up to Milton Keynes for Waysted's first headline gig in almost 20 years. The combination of Waysted - in a pub - with a night in a hotel, and having stolen a point from ManUre was just too much, I'm told I stumbled around uttering the words "nil-nil, we murdered 'em nil-fucking-nil" to anyone that'd listen. Signed into the hotel as David Ling Roth, as I'm prone to do in such circumstances. Having hooked up with Batttttty, Adrian from Majestic Rock Records and Cargo's John Dryland, not to mention the lovely Faye and Tracy, we set about drinking the bar dry. I was then helped/dragged/carried to my room, breaking wind profusely and with much personal merriment. It got better still. This morning Adrian dropped me in Orpington, where there was a record fair going on. Walking through the park, hungover but happy, life couldn't seem to have got much better. Then the mobile rings. Charlie Andrews informs me that Tommy Vance is dead. Aw, bollocks. That's friggin' awful news.
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Saturday March 5
"Well, that's the last time you'll see those guys playing for £14 a ticket," reckoned my mate Mark as we exited the Astoria last night. How right he was. If their penultimate show at the Mean Fiddler suggested it, this one screamed out the fact: ALTER BRIDGE WILL BE HUGE. They have everything... songs, power and the best young singer I've seen in aeons (think a younger, even more matey and humble version of Danny Vaughn). You've gotta love the band's choice of covers. At the Mean Fiddler they played Deep Purple's 'Highway Star' and 'Rock And Roll' by Led Zeppelin; last night it was a medley of 'Baba O'Riley' and 'Rock And Roll', plus an encore of the Ozzy standard 'Crazy Train'. The only blot on an otherwise perfect evening was a somewhat alarming discovery concerning my old friend Jerry Ewing. I'm worried to learn he may be becoming a homo. Jerry's been spotted under the influence of alcohol and kissing other men... Enjoying it - with tongues and everything! He even admits to the fact. But Ewing's a Chelsea fan, and they're all churney ferrets of the first order, so whaddya expect?!
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Friday March 4
Last night I attended a highly interesting gig. Commemorating the 100th anniversary of Norway's independence, the Fresh Air festival took place at a central London venue called the Fabric. Surrounded by hip-hop bands, jazz combos and others with unprounceable names (try AsbjørnSlettemark for size), Satyricon performed a quite awesome 55-minute set of their finest black metal. Played at blistering volume but with crystal clarity, 'Walk The Path Of Sorrow', 'Repined Bastard Nation', 'Fuel For Hatred', 'Angstridden', 'Filthgrinder', 'Possessed', 'Forhekset', 'Hvite Krists Død' and 'Mother North' all sounded truly incredible in such close confines. And a cover of Bathory's 'Raise The Dead' a nice tribute to Quarthon (RIP).
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Wednesday 2nd March
Tried something a bit different last night - well, slightly unusual for me anyway. Tim Bowness (of art-rockers No-Man fame) had a gig at Bush Hall in Shepherds Bush, with support from current Porcupine Tree/former Japan keyboard player Richard Barbieri. Both turned in excellent peformances; Tim's 'My Hotel Year' album is really growing on me, and Barbieri did a convincing act as a human octopus, pushing buttons and flicking switches as he went into parp overdrive. The night ended with a 55-minute unplugged set from Anathema, with cellist Dave Wesling filling out the sound. The Liverpudlians have come on in leaps and bounds in recent years, leaving their roots as a death metal band firmly behind them. Last night they were magnificent, and I'll be there early when the open for Porcupine Tree at the Astoria on April 2.
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Tuesday 1st March
What a rollercoaster of emotions last night's game between Manchester City and our relegation rivals Norwich City turned out to be. I watched the TV horrified as the home side (Norwich) stormed into a 2-0 lead, only to be pegged back. At half-time, a tired and emotional Delia Smith went onto the pitch to address the crowd. Hilariously, the Norwich chairwoman's state prevented her from saying the word "football", her amazing rant ("We need a 12th man. Where are you? Where ARE you? Let's have you. Come on! And who's fuggin' round is it next?") making it onto all the regular news channels this morning. Better still, Man City scored an injury time winner - sending all Palace living room viewers into rapture!