Dave's Diary
This journal of the comings'n'goings and musings'n'enthusings of Dave Ling will be updated daily
(except after nights of excess)

Back to the Diary Archives

Sunday 31st March
So how exactly does this work again? I bought five Easter eggs for other people and got absolutely zilch in return... That ain’t fair! (#Sniffs#).
Last night’s phone interview with Mr Parfitt went brilliantly. He really got into the spirit of talking about the Glasgow Apollo shows in 1976 and, at the end of our chat he also waxed lyrical about playing many of the songs from the ’76 set-list again during the recent Frantic Tour. “We can talk all day about Scottish audiences being loud, but those two Hammersmith shows… I’d never heard anything like it,” Parfitt glowed. How satisfying to know he shares the audience’s unbridled joy at this piece of musical history.
Thanks to Hugh Gilmour who kindly sent my copy, a luscious six-disc boxed set called ‘On Air: UFO At The BBC 1974-1985’ is now on heavy rotation here at Ling Towers and is likely to remain so for the rest of the bank holiday weekend. That final DVD disc, containing clips from The Old Grey Whistle Test, Top Of The Pops and the Oxford Road Show, is gonna be brilliant! (#Licks his lips!#)
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Saturday 30th March
I write having walked home from Selhurst Park in a bid to sober up for a midnight phone interview with Rick Parfitt, to be used for the sleeve notes to the new expanded edition of ‘Quo Live!’… and luckily, it seems to have worked. (Quo are in Australia at the moment).
I’ve no words to sum up the farce of this afternoon’s game between Palace and Birmingham City. Even typing the words ‘it’, ‘ended’, ‘four’, ‘nil’, ‘to’ and ‘Brum’ makes me feel like I’m entered some kind of parallel universe. All sorts of hatred, bickering and anti-Holloway bile is spilling over at the CPFC Bulletin Board. It was without doubt a gutless and uninspired display from the Eagles but the visitors had four shots on target and somehow managed to put them all away. Those days sometimes happen in football. It doesn’t make the result any easier to swallow, though. Not at all…
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Friday 29th March
“Right, where were we?” smiled The Union’s singer/guitarist Peter Shoulder last night as his band returned to the Islington Academy to complete a gig abandoned recently after just two-and-a-half songs. Shoulder was once again in fine voice and, having warmed up with a few prints of Weatherspoons’ special Scrumpy in the company of Mr Beare, it felt as though the Academy’s ciders were barely touching the back of the throat.
It had taken me a few more spins than usual to get into the slightly more laid-back strains of The Union’s third album, ‘The World Is Yours’, but now that its quality has worked its way beneath the skin there’s no turning back. It was especially great to hear them play ‘Tonight I’m Alive’, the one that sounds more than a little like Soundgarden covering Tom Petty’s ‘I Won’t Back Down’, alongside a hatful of catalogue tunes that are sounding more and more like world-beaters with every passing day. Here’s the set-list: ‘Step Up To The Plate’, ‘You’re My Jesus’, ‘Tangled Up In You’, ‘The Perfect Crime’, ‘The World Is Yours’, ‘Obsession’, ‘Saviour’, ‘Tonight I’m Alive’, ‘Black Monday’, ‘Fading Out Of Love’, ‘Black Gold’ and ‘Siren’s Song, plus ‘Come Rain, Come Shine’ and ‘Watch The River Flow’.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Thursday 28th March
Can’t believe that I won’t be able to attend any of this week’s gigs by Joe Bonamassa (not that I wasn’t invited to do so – circumstances simply prevent it). Luckily, I’ve already seen JB at all four of the London venues that he revisits this week (namely the Borderline, Shepherd’s Bush Empire, Hammersmith Apollo and the Royal Albert Hall), indeed my FB / C Palace / blues-rock bud Simon Eldridge just jogged my memory by posting a review of the Borderline show from 21.9.06 that I wrote for Classic Rock. It ends with the words: “As long as his development continues, wherever Joe Bonamassa chooses to go from here is completely up to him. The world is at his feet.” Y’see… sometimes I do get it right!!
Crystal Palace’s goal machine, Glenn Murray, has signed a three-year contract extension. Having netted 30 times this season – all but one of those coming in the Championship – the country’s leading marksman was linked with several bigger clubs but snubbed them all to pledge renewed allegiance to the Eagles. I may just have to open a bottle of cherry brandy to celebrate.
P.S. The club have also signed Aruna Dindane, a free agent who made some waves in the Premiership with Pompey a couple of years back and has 67 caps for the Ivory Coast, till the end of the current campaign. The YouTube clips look encouraging!
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Wednesday 27th March
’Twas another of those annoying conundrums: England’s vital World Cup Qualifier against Montenegro or the London debut of British Lion, the side project of Iron Maiden bassist Steve Harris? In the end I tried to cover both options, watching as much of the game as possible in the pub, then dashing home to watch the pre-recorded second half. Show-bound, England looked on course for an important victory after Shrek Rooney’s early header handed them the lead. It was all they deserved…
Truthfully, the British Lion album had underwhelmed me. More honestly still, despite being a rare opportunity to witness ’Arry up close and sweaty, I probably wouldn’t have bothered attending the gig had I not been asked to review by Metal Hammer. Steve mouths every lyric whilst prowling the stage – there’s no doubting his commitment to an act that he began mentoring, then managed and produced before finally transforming them into a full-blown side-project. However, the decision to overlook Maiden material was pretty brave, as was the inclusion of four new songs the audience wouldn’t know. One of these, ‘The Burning’, was the type of ode to spitting in the face of adversity that Harris has made his own, but another, ‘Guineas And Crowns’, was very much a poor relation. Of the material the crowd would recognise, ‘Lost Worlds’ had some Maiden-esque ‘woooaah woooaah’s and ‘Karma Killer’ and ‘Us Against The World’ employed good, rousing choruses. Additional brownie points were awarded for having the good taste to cover UFO’s ‘Let It Roll’ and ‘Do Ya Do Ya Want Me’, the latter from Trevor Rabin’s 1981’s ‘Wolf’ album. Would I go and see British Lion again? Hand on heart, ‘no’ would be the answer. It would be a gross exaggeration to describe them as awful. The problem is that they are far from exceptional. The set-list ran as follows: ‘This Is My God’, ‘Lost Worlds’, ‘Karma Killer’, ‘Father Lucifer’, ‘The Burning’, ‘The Chosen Ones’, ‘These Are The Hands’, ‘Guineas And Crowns’, ‘Last Chance’, ‘Us Against The World’, ‘A World Without Heaven’, ‘Do Ya Do Ya Want Me’ and ‘Judas’, followed by ‘Let It Roll’ and ‘Eyes Of The Young’.
Fearing spoilers, I refrained from switching my phone back on again whilst dashing back across London to find out about the footie. Typically, the second half was as poor as the first had been strong; a 77th minute equaliser returning the home side back to top of the group. FFS England! Why can we not perform well over 90 minutes?! Not making it to the World Cup in Brazil is not an option!
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Tuesday 26th March
There’s an interesting post over at Aaron Aedy’s Facebook page. The amiable guitarist has just pointed out that his group, Paradise Lost, are 25 years old on this very day. So here’s a photograph that I took of them back in 1992 atop a hill looking over Jerusalem during a particularly memorable assignment for RAW Magazine (looking back, wearing my Deicide T-shirt during a visit to the Wailing Wall was not one of my brightest ideas!). But I digress… Happy birthday, fellas. Anyone capable of putting up with the miserly Andy Farrow (PL’s manager) for that long deserves a pint or three!

Dave Ling Online

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

Monday 25th March
Very sad news – one of my favourite bands, Jackdaw4, are to split up with a farewell show at London’s Borderline on June 6. Leader Willie Dowling explains the decision with a typically flamboyant and entertaining video announcement here. Annoyingly, te gig clashes with Megadeth at the Brixton Academy, but I’m pretty sure that I know where I shall end up.
Classic Rock have sent a rather weighty self-published book for review, entitled Budgie’s First Three Albums. Over 298 pages, with the help of vintage photos, flyers, tickets, pic sleeves, press cuttings, press releases, set-lists, publishing contracts and even royalty statements, author Chris Pike does an unbelievably meticulous job of re-examining the Welsh trio’s earliest days, dissecting the minutiae of ‘Budgie’ (1971), ‘Squawk’ (1972) and the utterly brilliant ‘Never Turn Your Band On A Friend’ (1973), which houses my own all-time fave Budgie song, ‘Parents’. Along the way we discover a few interesting facts, including that Metallica paid “six figures” to record their songs, little of which trickled back to the group. There are isolated moments of levity. In discussing the first album’s ‘Nude Disintegrating Parachutist Woman’, New Zealander Pike reminds Burke Shelley that the Stones had a song titled ‘Parachute Woman’, only for the bassist to respond in best Spinal Tap ‘This One Goes To 11’ fashion: “Yeah, but my one’s nude.”
This summer’s Download Festival becomes more appealing by the update. Black Stone Cherry, DragonForce, Masters Of Reality and Red White & Blues have just been added to the weekend’s bill. So too have Little Caesar and Satyricon, though both play on the Sunday by which time I shall be heading back with all reasonable haste to London (Rammstein, 30 Seconds To Mars, The Gaslight Anthem and Limp Bizkit? Um… no thanks)
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Sunday 24th March
Annoyingly, various domestic issues contrived to ensure that I witnessed just one show on FM’s latest tour, but boy… what a gig. With Vega and It Bites in tow at my favourite London venue, Shepherd’s Bush Empire, the bill could not have been any more Ling-friendly had it tried.
Though their sound was somewhat indistinct and muted – from five rows back, at least – Vega used their 30 minutes very well, mixing and matching songs from both albums and ending with two stone-cold crowd-pleasers in ‘White Knuckle Ride’ and ‘Hands In The Air’.
As regular visitors to this page will know only too well, there are few bigger It Bites fans than moi. With mix and volume improved appreciably the quartet began with golden oldie ‘Kiss Like Judas’ they then focussed on more current matters with ‘Ghosts’, ‘The Big Machine’, ‘The Wind That Shakes The Barley’ and ‘Cartoon Graveyard’. ‘Midnight’, from ‘Once Around The World’, was up next and in obligatory fashion they closed with “the hit”, ‘Calling All The Heroes’. “These two love this song so very, very much,” quipped John Mitchell, nodding to original keysman John beck and drummer Bob Dalton: “Just look at their little faces when they play it.” I thought that IB were excellent, though it’s pretty indisputable that they were on the wrong bill here.
FM just keep getting better and better. I’m convinced that their current incarnation is the band’s best yet. I’d love to have heard a lot more from their excellent newie, ‘Rockville’ than just ‘Tough Love’ and ‘Crosstown Train’ (“A song that we almost left off the album ’cos we’re so clueless” quipped Steve Overland), especially as they had been including ‘Only Foolin’’ earlier in the tour. However, with my friend Andy Beare on beer roadie duty you might say that I had good luck finding a lager during the 95-minute display, which concluded with former keysman Didge Digital making another welcome cameo – complete with flashing sunglasses – during ‘Other Side Of Midnight’. It was a truly great night’s entertainment. Here’s the FM set-list: ‘Tough Love’, ‘I Belong To The Night’, ‘Don’t Stop’, ‘That Girl’, ‘Love Lies Dying’, ‘Hot Wired’, ‘Let Love Be The Leader’, ‘Closer To Heaven’, ‘Metropolis’/‘Over You’, ‘Bad Luck’, ‘Burning My Heart Down’, ‘Does It Feel like Love’ and ‘Heart It Through The Grapevine’, plus ‘Crosstown Train’ and ‘Other Side Of Midnight’.
And here’s the most inevitable news story of the day: Glenn Hughes has Tweeted: “Just so it’s crystal [clear], Black Country Communion is over. Joe [Bonamassa] left and will not allow us to keep the name. Nice, huh?” It’s a somewhat ignominious end for a band whose three albums were all massive hits here at Ling Towers. For details check out the story here.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Saturday 23rd March
Just got off the phone with SQ’s “invisible fifth member”, the one and only Bob Young. It was a great interview. Like Bob I am getting Frantic Four withdrawal symptoms. Was it really a week ago that the band played at Hammersmith...??!! Talkin of which, this lovely photograph of Frame and Nuff (snaffled from Facebook) really sums up the essence of the Frantic Four’s reunion.

Dave Ling Online

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

Friday 22nd March
I’ve just entered the date of October 28 into the Desk Diary in big, capital letters. One of my fave bands, Camel, are to perform their classic 1975 album ‘The Snow Goose’ at London’s Barbican Centre. It’s a welcome return to the stage for one of the nicest men in rock music, guitar player Andy Latimer, who has been battling some well-documented health problems. I had the immense and rather humbling pleasure of talking to Latimer – who had once been told he had just 20 months to live – for Prog magazine three years ago. Back then he told me: “I’m getting progressively better and I’m starting to think about getting out there and doing some gigs again.” It’ll be wonderful to see him perform again.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Thursday 21st March
Shall we play a quick game of Guess The Interviewee?
Subject: “So how are you, old son? Still a devastating redhead?”
Moi: “No. I’m more of a silver fox these days.”
Subject: “Aaaaah… David, David. You can’t have everything in life, dear boy.”
Me: “So this is just a general chat-cum-catch up to promote the tour. And by that I’m not trying to chat you up…”
Subject [interrupting]: “David, my number is 1-800 Bad Boy!”
Any guesses? Okay, here’s another clue: “When Sykesy and I and came up with that gag about 1-800 Bad Boy, we had absolutely no idea that it was a gay helpline.”
Yes of course it was the ever-quotable David Coverdale, born 61 years ago in the Borough of Redcar & Cleveland, N Yorks. Say what you like about DC (and I’ve been quite negative about certain aspects of his career in the past, especially recently), as rock stars go he’s among the last of a dying breed. We had an excellent chat – almost every word of it was printable.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Wednesday 20th March
Last night I accepted a very kind offer to attend an intimate gig by St Jude over at John Henry’s Studio in North London. Witnessed by just a couple of hundred fans who’d been part of the band’s Pledge Music campaign, and some key industry bods (including Thunder-ites Danny Bowes, their manager, and Ben Matthews, who was working the desk), the evening consisted of two sets – one unplugged, followed by a quick break, then a full-blooded electric rock set that included ‘Little Queen’, ‘Leave The Light On’ and ‘Soul On Fire’ among its highlights. The music was great and, as we are starting to realise, Lynne Jackaman really is an outstanding vocal talent. I had to leave before the end, though. Was still feeling f**ked after Quo’s end-of-tour ‘do’. Somebody handed me a glass of white wine and after just one sip I nearly spewed. Getting a bit too too old for this, I think.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Tuesday 19th March
Yesssss… the new issue of Classic Rock Presents AOR is here! My seven-page story on Tesla looks great, and it’s cool that Geoff Barton has also gleaned an extract from Brian ‘Shredded’ Wheat’s upcoming autobiography, currently being prepared with Peter Makowski. I love that Brian would say of his relationship with Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott: “He’s Fat Bastard Number One, and I’m Fat Bastard Number Two”, though I guess JE will be less thrilled by the declaration’s frankness! For full details on the magazine click here.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Monday 18th March
Re: the outcome of yesterdays clash with Palace’s biggest rivals I’ve absolutely no comment save to say the players let the fans down *unforgivably*. Following the beamback my afternoon was spent drowning my sorrows in the Clifton Arms in Selhurst, before the pilgrimage to Wembley Arena.
There was time to down quite a few cold bottles of Becks in the VIP Lounge before the music began. Laurie Mansworth, manager of support act The Treatment, arrived and remarked that I was correct to have nagged him about inserting ‘Nothing To Lose But Our Minds’ in the set of his young protégés (indeed, later in the evening singer Matt Jones actually managed to get most of the Arena waving its arms in the air along to the song).
“Got any more good advice?” Mansworth asked.
“Yeah. Play the damned thing twice!”
There was a bittersweet mood as the four-man Quo took to the stage; last night of the tour, the show wasn’t sold out and of course Wembley remains a bit of cattleshed, despite the venue’s refurbishment. It was also seated. Then of course there was the crowd to consider. Being the last London show to have gone on sale – the old school diehards having snapped up the tickets for Hammersmith – it was more of a latterday Quo audience than a pumped-up Frantic Four crowd. Inevitably, the atmosphere was pretty stilted (shame, as it was being filmed for DVD and BluRay). My friend Harj and I managed to chug back quite a few lagers during the set – £18 for four small bottles? Bargain! – and before we knew it we were waving ‘Bye Bye Johnny’ to the FR for what could possibly be the very final time.
“Shall we go back to the VIP area and see who’s around?” I asked Harj, adding, “I promise we’ll only stay for one drink. Two max. After all it’s a Sunday night and they’re working on the Jubilee and Metropolitan lines – it’s gonna be a bastard of a journey home.”
“It sounds like a plan to me,” he replied with typical good nature.
So you can guess what happened next, right? After supping large glasses of white wine for several hours (well, they were complimentary!!) I’m afraid I had to be assisted back to Ling Towers by the long-suffering Harj and my friends Jeff Gilbert and Philippa Douglas. It was lucky that J&P had brought their car or the chances are that I would’ve been typing this missive from beneath a bush in Stanmore. Vomit can leave such a persistent stain.

Dave Ling Online

Dave Ling Online

Dave Ling Online

But what a fabulous night! I’m not completely sure whether Francis Rossi showed his face but Messrs Lancaster, Parfitt, Coghlan and Bob Young all turned up and laid into the free booze. A couple of hours into proceedings Joel O’Keeffe of Airbourne, in town to do some press for his band’s new album ‘Black Dog Barking’ (due on May 20), seemed to appear from out of nowhere. As he laughed and joked with the Treatment guys – it seems the two groups are mutual fans – I asked where he’d been all night. Joel, who had two FF T-shirts hanging from his belt (just in case he got pissed and lost one) simply glowered: “Listen mate, when a door needs to get kicked in… it’s going to get fucking kicked in.” At the time it seemed like a perfectly reasonable explanation.
I grabbed a quick word with Coghlan at the bar. “If the Frantic Four tour again then great,” he commented. “And if we don’t, we don’t. All I can say is that I’ve loved every minute of the last few weeks.”
And so say all of us. Thanks for the memories, guys. It was fan-bloody-tastic.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Sunday 17th March
Three shows into the Frantic Four tour (for me, at least) and last night was all about watching Sir Alan of Lancaster. What an utter hero. I’m glad that my friend Steve ‘No Relation’ Way and I made it into the venue in time to see The Treatment, who – in stark contrast to so many support acts – have been warmly received by the Quo Army. I was also chuffed that they listened to my advice and included ‘Nothing To Lose But Our Minds’ in the set as it was arguably their most popular number. ‘No Relation’ was kind enough to give me a lift back to Catford, too. Very useful as I was close to blacking out after a long day’s boozing and rocking out. Now where’s the kebab shop again?!
This evening the tour moves across London to Wembley Arena for its swansong. I shall be heading over there from Selhurst Park and a beamback of Palace’s game against the Team From The South Coast That Cannot Be Mentioned. Hopefully I can grab a pint or two with Col harkness and Sniffa from Spider, who will be at the show after performing a new numbers at a pub in Hammersmith (such a shame it clashes with the Shiteon game). Thanks to Quo's PR man, Chris Hewlett, who has provided a couple of passes for Wembley's VIP Bar, the day promises to be emotional beyond belief. I still cannot believe the tour is almost over.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Saturday 16th March
Ouch! My neck aches after Frantic Four in London show #1. Once again we had tickets in the balcony, but the sound was amazing and the audience reaction nothing less than completely amazing.

Dave Ling Online

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

Friday 15th March
Really looking forward to seeing the Frantic four again at Hammersmith tonight, also the chance to hook up with Steve O’Connell, Paul Gillooly (and his brother John) and Dean Dukelow among many, many others - it's amazing to think I met this dodgy trio sleeping overnight outside the Odeon queuing overnight for Quo tix more than three decades ago.
First, though, I’ve a busy day of album reviews and phone interviews, beginning with Deep Purple’s Don Airey at 10am, then Danny Bowes at lunchtime, and Purple’s Steve Morse before dashing out the door to the Odeon (*Not* the Apollo)… so I’d better get on with it!
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Thursday 14th March
Aw, that’s nice. On the way back to London I took a call from Bob Young who’d seen me in balcony and wanted to ask how I enjoyed the show. He seemed pleased by my still-disbelieving demeanour. Bob reckons the band are getting better and better with each performance but insisted “the rough edges will never be rubbed away”, which is how they – and the fans – want it to stay.
Returning to earth with a resounding thump, I was sorry to hear that former Iron Maiden drummer Clive Burr has finally lost his battle with Multiple Sclerosis. I didn’t really know Clive but these glowing tributes from former band-mates and fellow musicians say everything necessary.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Wednesday 13th March
My first sighting of the Frantic Four reunion tour was all I hoped it would be… and more. Seeing Francis Rossi, Rick Parfitt, Alan Lancaster and John Coghlan on a stage together again after 32 years – without interruption from keyboard player Andy Bown – was my own personal Led Zeppelin at the O2 Arena moment: One of those things that you thought could never possibly happen. From our places in the balcony – front row, dead centre – my friend Kevin McDempster simply sat and looked on in gleeful, disbelieving rapture.
Earlier on, The Treatment had warmed the Apollo up nicely with 35 minutes of spirited hard rock that included a Leppard-esque newie called ‘Emergency’. Though Quo’s audience is traditionally hard to please, the Cambridge quintet – who were not even born when the Frantic Four ruled the roost – went down very well with those that came in early, though meeting the band and their manager Laurie Mansworth in the pub afterwards I complained long and hard at the puzzling omission of their best-known tune, ‘Nothing To Lose But Our Minds’. “Okay, we’ll put it back in for Hammersmith,” promised Laurie. We shall see.
Arriving to an edited sample of Jackie Lynton’s legendary greeting from the 1976 ‘Live!’ album – “Is there anybody out there that wants to rock?” – the headliners played at deafening volume – to be fair, they had to do so in order to be heard above a crowd that chanted “Quo-oh-oh-oh-oh” during any break in the audio assault. Incredibly, when Rossi finally addressed us with the words: “I can’t think of anything to say except… Alan Lancaster and John Coghlan” the noise levels somehow escalated by a few extra decibels – and stayed there for a couple of minutes. With a purist-friendly set-list – nothing released after 1976 – and hits such as ‘Caroline’ and ‘Rockin’ All Over The World’ omitted, Quo barrelled through an hour and a half of volume-charged, pure blues-boogie nirvana (with a lower case ‘n’, obviously). I’d like to have heard them play ‘Mean Girl’, ‘Slow Train’, ‘Paper Plane’ and the entire ‘Mystery Song’, but the inclusions of ‘Blue Eyed Lady’ and ‘Oh Baby’ made such complaints sound churlish. Alan Lancaster looked steadier on his feet than I’d been lead to believe, roaring out the words with all the power of old, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house when former road manager Bob Young strode from the wings to play some stirring blues harp on ‘Railroad’ (the unexpurgated version!) and ‘Roadhouse Blues’. And robbed of the safety net of Bown’s keys, Rossi upped his game with a truly blistering display of hard rock guitar. It was, quite simply, one of the best performances I’ve seen in more than three decades of gig-going. They cannot go back to trotting out ‘B****ng Br***es’ and ‘Ma****ita T**e’ after something as wonderful as this, surely?
Anyway, for those that don’t know, here’s the set-list: ‘Junior’s Wailing’, ‘Backwater’/‘Just Take Me’, ‘Is There A Better Way’, ‘In My Chair’, ‘Blue Eyed Lady’, ‘Little Lady’/‘Most Of The Time’, ‘April’ Spring, Summer And Wednesdays’, ‘Railroad’, ‘Oh Baby’, ‘Forty Five Hundred Times (Edit)’, ‘Rain’, ‘Big Fat Mama’, ‘Down Down’ and ‘Roadhouse Blues’, followed by ‘Don’t Waste My Time’ and ‘Bye Bye Johnny’.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Tuesday 12th March
After 32 years the day of reckoning has finally arrived. As an appetiser for their three London shows I’m off to the Apollo (no… not Glasgow, where the fabled ‘Live!’ album was recorded, but Manchester) to see Monsewers Rossi, Lancaster, Parfitt and Coghlan in the fine company of Kevin McDempster and Nige Roberts. So excited that I could barely sleep last night! All together now: “Is there anybody out there that wants to rock?!”
[Plucked from my FB page: Monday nite, 8.55pm… Dead centre, first row of balcony… Frantic Four with pints lined up – fuck me, dreams do come true].
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Monday 11th March
It took a few days but I’ve finally completed Duff McKagan’s autobiography, It’s So Easy (And Other Lies). What a fantastic read. Of course, I’m familiar with various other GN’R-related tomes on the market, including the ones by Slash and Steven Adler, but McKagan’s memoirs are by far the best of the lot. No punches are pulled, and what a life the bass player has lived. How he has reinvented himself through drug issues, band breakups, divorces, etc etc, to become a pillar of the economic and literary communities is pretty staggering when you come to think about it. His book really is an inspiring piece of work.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Sunday 10th March
Yesterday’s result of Crystal Palace 2 Leeds 2 wasn’t ideal, especially given the classy football played by the Eagles. After so many years of hoof ‘n’ hope mediocrity, or during the Freedman years of parking the team coach across the goal-line and hoping to nick one on the break, it’s a source of incredible joy to see a team that’s comfortable on the ball in every area of the park. Luckily, with just about all of our promotion rivals losing their own games, the point earned can almost be termed priceless. (However, applying ‘glass half empty’ realism, had Palace actually beaten Leeds – as their dominance deserved – they’d have ascended into second place… grrrr).
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Friday 8th March
I just can’t get enough of The Western Sizzlers, a fine, fine band recommended for fans of the Georgia Satellites (whose own Rick Richards plays in an uncredited capacity on their album, ‘For Ol’ Times’ Sake’). Check out the video for the song ‘I’ll Die A Happy Man If It Kills Me’ and get ’em over here soon for some gigs please, Mr Pete Feenstra!!!
Off to the West End for curry and beer with a motley crew that includes Teresa ‘Terri’ Weston, David Boyce, Cliff Evans, Chris Dale and Paul Newcomb. The weekend starts here!!
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Thursday 7th March
Cheers to Dutch Michaels for this killer pic of yours truly with Steve Overland at yesterday’s FM album launch party, which took place at the smaller of the two rooms at London’s Islington Academy. What a great night! What a monster hangover! Besides the ‘Pledgers’ that had pre-paid for the album the promise of free booze (or gin and tonics in the case of FM guitarist Jim Kirkpatrick) attracted quite a gathering of media, press, deejays and fellow musos – including Luke Morley of Thunder/The Union, FM bassist Merv Goldsworthy’s ‘better half’ Leigh Matty, Planet Rock’s Paul Anthony (him again!) and Mia Klose.

Dave Ling Online

‘Rockville’ sounded great over the full-sized PA and after it was finished the band took to the stage. “You’ve heard the new album so were going to play a few old favourites,” said Steve Overland. It was great to stand a mere five or six yards away from the stage, multiple pints in hands, as the band cruised through ‘I Belong To The Night’, ‘That Girl’, ‘Closer To Heaven’, ‘Hot Wired’, ‘Dangerous’ and ‘The Other Side Of Midnight’. With hindsight, heading over to the Crobar for a nightcap on the way home to Catford wasn’t such a good idea.
I didn’t stay out too late, though. Arriving back at Ling Towers, my office was the immediate port of call. Firing up the PC and with a slight sense of trepidation I headed over to the Status Quo message board to find out how the first night of the Frantic Four’s tour had gone. Blow me down… the reports were excellent. Frankly, I couldn’t believe the set-list and upon watching this I almost had to wipe away a few tears of joy.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Wednesday 6th March
Okay… I was so, so wrong about Kevin Phillips. Last night the 39-year-old striker scored a hat-trick in nine minutes to put Hull City to the sword as the Eagles moved to within two points of the automatic promotion places. The result of 4-2 was immensely flattering to Hull, who were steamrollered out of sight in the second half. And morale-wise, well… what a boost for Holloway’s men.
I cannot stop laughing at the result from Old Trafford, where the home side gave away the lead to tumble out of the Champions League. Last time I looked there were 5,936 ‘likes’ at the latest thread on the ‘I Hate Man Utd’ Facebook page. Better make that 5,937!
Back to music – I wish that I could be in Manchester for the first night of the Frantic Four’s reunion tour, but there’s no way in hell I’d miss the launch party for FM’s new album, ‘Rockville’. FF... I am with you in spirit – break a leg!
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Tuesday 5th March
Still trying to regain my composure after Steven Wilson’s gig at Royal Festival Hall. The new album, ‘The Raven That Refused To Sing’, was performed in its entirety, with perfect sound by a band that included Guthrie Govan, Marco Minnemann and Nick Beggs. The word ‘stunning’ springs to mind.
Who gives a flying f**k about Manure vs Madrid?! Tonight is all about the six-pointer between Crystal Palace and Hull at the *real* home of football, Selhurst Park. Olly pits his wits against the judas Flatnose St**e Br**ce (just back from gardening leave) – that’s proper football. Boozing to start as soon as Eddie gets home from school, and we're off to SE25...
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Sunday 3rd March
Using the fact that he wanted to hand me a newly burned CDr of their new album, ‘S.O.S’, for review in my melodic column for Classic Rock, I nipped over to the Orpington Record Fair to meet Greg Hart of the (fairly) recently reunited UK-based melodic rockers Moritz. Pickings were fairly slim at the fair but like its critically praised predecessor ‘Undivided’, ‘S.O.S.’ is a good, strong record, characterised by crisp, pure AOR with punchy choruses and strong harmonies. It’s cool to have Moritz back after all these years.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Saturday 2nd March
What a fantastic result for Crystal Palace last nite. I was busy watching Threshold and Enochian Theory over at the Underworld but eldest lad Eddie kept me up to date with developments on the pitch at Pride Park. Annoyingly, the support act – who have received the thumbs up from both Bruce Dickinson and Steven Wilson – came on earlier than scheduled, but I really enjoyed them. Palace took the lead during the first half and held on to secure a first away win in eleven games, but not without a major scare. When, as Threshold were playing ‘Staring At The Sun’, Ed texted: “Aaaarg! Pen to Derby in 86th min”, followed by “Saved!!!” I admit to leaping into the air! The folks around me must’ve thought I was loopy!
Despite the technical issues endured by guitarist Pete Morten, Threshold played a wonderful set that focused on their current disc, ‘March Of Progress’, and a smattering of songs from its 2007 predecessor ‘Dead Reckoning’, plus a handful of oldies such as ‘Mission Profile’, ‘Part Of The Chaos’, ‘Angels’ and ‘Long Way From Home’. With a recording history that dates back to the early 1990s, they can lay claim to being among this isle’s most enduring and important progressive metal acts. After amassing nine consistently strong and interesting studio albums, they have one of the best lead singers in the business – step forward Damian Wilson – and deserve far better than playing to 500 fans in a medium-sized club. As proven by the immaculate ‘Pilot In The Sky Of Dreams’ and a magnificent encore of ‘Slipstream’, they certainly have the songs to match those dazzling levels of musical ability. Now that their record label (Nuclear Blast) has a UK office, it’s high time they were given the tools to do the job.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Friday 1st March
Having been impressed by the Swedish singer’s debut album, ‘London’, last night I thought I’d go and take a look at Mia Klose’s gig at the Barfly in Camden. Though I had mild reservations, on the whole it was a very enjoyable experience. Now based here in the UK’s capital, Klose seems fairly charismatic and driven offstage on the occasions our paths have crossed. On it, she is diminutive and cute, prone to Axl-style sashays and covered in leather and fishnets. On the evidence of a 30-minute display her material is pretty decent, from the Aerosmith-esque ‘You Drive Me Crazy’ to the GN’R-style ballad ‘Living For Tomorrow’, though I felt that her final two tunes, ‘Lady Killer’ and ‘Never Too late’ were perhaps a bit on the disposable side. It was certainly brave of Mia to have hired such a noisy, propulsive band as there were times when they were guilty of drowning out what sounded like a rather good voice. In future I’d like to hear (and see) more of Mia and less of her backing group trying to pin the audience to the wall.
P.S. This month’s Playlist and YouTube updates have been made. Just click on the links.