This journal of the comings'n'goings and musings'n'enthusings of Dave Ling
will be updated daily - except after days of stress and nights of excess.
Sunday 31 May
So where did *you* watch the Cup Final? Eddie and headed across to Selhurst for the fifth annual Crystal Palace Beer and Cider Festival. Hundreds of different types on sale on three levels of the Holmesdale Road Stand. Live music... a carnival atmosphere... Arse tearing the Villa a new rectum on the Jumbotron... a keepsake pint glass? What's not to love?
I'd hoped to drop off Eddie on the way home and head up to Tufnell Park for the last knockings of the Titanfest. My old mates Toranaga were playing, with M:Pire Of Evil set to close out the show. Sadly, perhaps inevitably, those plans were doomed to failure.
The Beer Festival was such fun we stayed later than expected. As a cider fuzz claimed its hold, Ed grabbed me by the shoulder and slurred: "Dad… I just wanna say, thanks for making me support this fantastic club!" Aw bless… He then headed off to exchange the last of the beer tokens. Only problem: all of the cider was gone. So he returned with four pints of the most awful-looking bitter-cum-stout-cum ditch water. It was truly repugnant. But we drank it. Caught up in the occasion we even tried to pretend that it was nice.
On the way home we had to disembark two trains as Ling Jnr was convinced he would spew. Which of course he did… twice (though thankfully we made it safely onto the platform on both occasions). He's just come down for brekkie and I asked the lad whether the experience had put him off drinking, the reply was instant and emphatic: "Don't be stupid. Let's do it all again tonight".
That's my boy!
Saturday 30 May
*Pokes his head above the sofa*… "So it was okay? Phewwwww".
I'm happy (and relieved) that reaction to my appearance in BBC4's documentary When Pop Ruled My Life: The Fans' Story, screened last night for the first time, has been mostly positive. The Beeb came to Ling Mansions a few months ago and interviewed me primarily about my love of Iron Maiden, but you never know how these things will be edited. Agreeing to appear in a show about loony fans… it's like shooting fish in a barrel, right? I'd hoped that they would portray me as a harmless, well-meaning eccentric and not some sad, deranged kleptomaniac nut-job. Luckily that seemed to be the case.
A sole gripe with the show was the quote from that tiresome, self-obsessed oaf Mark Ellen: "My definition of the word 'fan' is someone who's completely uncritical in their devotion - they are blinded by affection". Does he really believe that? Commitment to a cause must always be accompanied by stupidity and a set of blinkers?! Some people really are beyond belief. People like Ellen and the equally conceited Hepworth feel they are above being fans, even though they both work in music. The stereotype is inexcusably lame and safe.
BTW, people are asking why I wore my Play Off Final shirt from 2004 (in which Palace stuffed Wet Sham to return to the Premier League) instead of an Iron Maiden garment? 'Cos I knew Steve Harris would see it, of course! Hahaha!
Later on the kids and I switched over from BBC4 to C5 for the Big Brother eviction. Oh fuck fuck fuckety fuck, that wanker that shouts "showbiz!" is back. Imagine Jedward forming a band with Louie Spence, times it by 1,000 and throw in a side order of Katie Hopkins. I am beside myself with aggravation.
Friday 29th May
Though we spend in inordinate amount of time watching Crystal Palace together (and much longer still wetting our whistles), in a musical sense my friend Kevin Denman and I don’t have much in common. So when a band does come along that’s liked by the pair of us, it’s always fun to make the most of the situation. We are both fans of 10cc. We both like the Royal Albert Hall. I had a pair of freebie tickets to see the band playing their 1974 album ‘Sheet Music’ in its entirety… bingo!
After a few pre-show pints we took our seats which directly faced the stage, with the mixing desk a few feet away… great sound, perfect view. This was gonna be good! Followed by an interval, ‘Sheet Music’ filled the first half of the show. Though it hosts a couple of popular singles (‘The Wall Street Shuffle’ and ‘Silly Love’) and former member Kevin Godley popped up on the video screen during ‘Somewhere In Hollywood’, its strains were really only appreciated by the diehards. Howeverm, the gig’s second half couldn’t have been any more different, as one hit flowed into another… and another.
Graham Gouldman is the last of the group’s original members but his current line-up is vocally gifted, covering those oh-so familiar nuances of the songs. As they re-started with ‘The Things We Do For Love’ it was immediately apparent that at almost 70 years old, Gouldman’s vocal parts had been lowered by a key, but hey… the songs remain amazing. ‘Good Morning Judge’ led into ‘I’m Mandy Fly Me’, and they were off: ‘Life Is A Minestrone’, ‘Art For Art’s Sake’, ‘Feel The Benefit’, ‘The Dean And I’ and ‘I’m Not In Love’. By the time we reached ‘Dreadlock Holiday’ it was feeling a tad like the band couldn't wait get to the end, but they returned for a joyous two-song encore. Their acapella rendition of ‘Donna’ was absolutely stunning and the whole of the RAH boogied along to ‘Rubber Bullets’.
Whether you’re an existing fan or merely inquisitively, 10cc’s 2015 show gets a big thumbs up from me.
Thursday 28th May
Here’s a really nice photo from yesterday’s interview with Warren Haynes of Gov’t Mule. I dropped by his Pimlico hotel for a 45-minute discussion that touched upon the Mule, the Allman Brothers, his bulging address book, recreational drugs, those Olympian-level set-lists, the jam band scene, and of course the guitarist/vocalist’s new solo album, ‘Ashes & Dirt’, which drops via Mascot Records on July 24. He’s a really interesting guy.
Wednesday 27th May
What an awesome evening at Selhurst Park for Julian Speroni’s testimonial game, with so many wonderful moments including Speroni playing in goal for both teams and a plethora of ex-Palace players including Supa Al, Johnny Salako, Clinton, Aki, Danny Butterfield, etc.
The seven-goal thriller ended 4-3 to Palace, including goals scored by Yannick Bolasie, Dwight Gayle and Charlie Adam. When 53-year-old Pardew, who spent four seasons at the club as a player, entered the fray on the hour mark, the fans on the Holmesdale end launched into a chant of: ‘If Pardew scores, we’re on the pitch!’ But of course the night was all about Speroni… the latest ‘Hand Of God’ banner made by the Holmesdale Fanatics was amazing, and the warmth towards the keeper that that emanated from the stands was really something to behold.
Fair play to the 1,700 fans that came down to London for the game from JS’ former club Dundee on a Tuesday night – this was a magnificent display on their part. In fact, they made the most noise of any ‘away’ fans during the entire season. The matchday programme, which included my own rock-related tribute to Julian, wasn’t too bad either!
Tuesday 26th May
Although sleep deprivation was becoming a bit of an issue, I really enjoyed last night's mammoth, three-hour-plus show from Gov’t Mule at Shepherd’s Bush Empire. As pictured here the US band was joined by Elliott Randall (Steely Dan/Doobie Brothers), ex-’Snake Bernie Marsden and the veteran saxophonist Joe McGlohon for a moving tribute to BB King with ‘The Thrill Is Gone’. At encore time, Reeves Gabrels of David Bowie fame stepped up for ‘Soulshine’ and ‘A Little Bit Of Love’, a fine nod of the hat to Andy Fraser. Indeed, mainman Warren Haynes explained from the stage that in the months before his sad demise the late Free bass player had arranged to sit in with the Mule on said number… make ya think, doesn’t it? As Skynyrd once sang, so many of the bands out on tour right now really are the last of a dying breed.
Here’s what was played… Set One: ‘Bad Little Doggie’, ‘Mr High & Mighty’, ‘About To Rage’, ‘Broke Down On The Brazos’, ‘Tributary Jam’, ‘Beautifully Broken’, ‘Captured’, ‘I’m A Ram’, ‘Game Face’ (including ‘Mountain Jam’ tease’) and ‘Kind Of Bird’.
Set Two: ‘Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody's Home’, ‘The Thrill Is Gone’, ‘I’ll Be The One’, ‘Whisper In Your Soul’, ‘Thorazine Shuffle’, ‘Mule’/‘Who Do You Love?’, with encores of ‘World Boss’, ‘Soulshine’ and ‘Little Bit Of Love’.
Monday 25th May
And so the madness continued. No sleep till Norwood Junction! Hic! Pre-match drinkies at the Victory Club were followed by a fantastic 1-0 victory over Swansea. Marouane Chamakh's second-half goal lifted the Eagles to tenth in the Prem League with a record points tally of 48. Eddie and I stayed behind for the lap of honour and I took this great photo of Supa Al, a man who is shaping up to be a CPFC legend. Celebrations continued for quite a while… I don’t remember going to bed, maybe I passed out in the chair… who knows, or indeed cares?
PS Steve Bruce, you are a cock! Enjoy life in the Championship.
Sunday 24th May
Saturday night turned into Sunday morning and I returned home from last night’s Warrior Soul gig and a lock-in at the Crobar at the unearthly hour of 10am, bleary-eyed but ready to continue the Staying Up party at Selhurst Park.
As ever, WS mainman Kory Clarke was pumped up and in an effervescent rock ‘n’ roll mood, his between-song patter rambling contemptuously about “the American system of government” and he chattered inanely, almost in a David Icke way about the “lizard bastards” that had given us a bank holiday weekend. Clarke has a voice so gruff that he must gargle with a mix of Dettol and sulphuric acid, so it was no surprise that the show lasted for a little over an hour… he was barely able to speak afterwards – but even though he was playing for less than a hundred people in the front room of a pub (a rather cool venue called The Islington), he gave us everything he had. Sadly, the set’s brevity meant that ‘The Wasteland’ and ‘Love Destruction’ were overlooked, but here’s what was performed: ‘Fuck The Pigs’, ‘Generation Graveyard’, ‘Punk And Belligerent’, ‘Payback’s A Bitch’, ‘The Drug’, ‘Let’s Get Wasted’, ‘Shine Like It’, ‘Blown’ (introduced as “a little space blues from ‘Salutation From The Ghetto Nation’”), ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Genocide’, ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Limo’ and ‘Downtown’.
Saturday 23rd May
There’s good news ahead of tomorrow’s final game of the current campaign, at home to Swansea – Julian Speroni has signed a contract extension until the end of next season. Though this makes me very happy, I’m also a little surprised that the 36-year-old Argentine shot-stopper has done so, as he is unlikely to be guaranteed a starting spot in what’ll be his 12th season with the Eagles. I love that Speroni has gone on record as saying: “This club is my home; I will retire here if I can.”
Friday 22nd May
A few months back Universal Records commissioned me to write some notes for a new budget catalogue CD, to be released in time for fathers' day. And here is the result – 'Rock Legends', a single-disc, 15-song anthology featuring Rush, Quo, the Allmans, Rainbow, Budgie, Lizzy, Cinderella and more – yours for the price of a pint (well… depending on where you buy said pint!). Think I'm gonna save it for the first BBQ of the summer!
Well, I had wanted to see Al Stewart playing his albums The Year Of The Cat' and 'Past, Present & Future' this evening at the Royal Albert Hall, but it seems I cannot get a ticket. So I'm gonna save up my night out till tomorrow for Warrior Soul in Islington. That's pretty much a straight swap, though, right? (*Sarcasm mode off*).
Thursday 21st May
I'm happy to say that the reaction to my David Coverdale interview which appears in the new issue of CR (dated July – the cover stars are Rush) has been mostly positive… strong, direct questions answered in robust defiantly form. Whether or not DV will again ever agree to share oxygen (or even a telephone line) with yours truly is something that only time will tell. I kinda doubt it, sadly.
Gosh, so it's two years since the sad loss of Trevor Bolder? That's unbelievable. RIP to one of the nicest men in rock.
I've just been watching the very final episode of Mad Men and found myself realising just how much I'm gonna miss these characters. I know it's only a TV show… but… my Lord, what a brilliant one. And the ending was just fantastic.
Wednesday 20th May
This piccie is from the 'contribs of the month' panel in the new issue of Classic Rock. As you can see, I'm still holding out for that endorsement deal from Westons.
Oh shit, here's some very worrying news. Chris Squire has been diagnosed with Acute Erythroid Leukemia, an aggressive form of cancer, and must sit out his band's North American summer tour with Toto. The 67-year-old bassist and founder of Yes – the group's only remaining original member – will be receiving treatment in his hometown of Phoenix over the next few months. In the past decade or so I've had write a few dealings with Squire and a good 95 % of them have been hugely positive. I'm keeping everything crossed for a full recovery.
Tuesday 19th May
Oh look, my recent telephone interview showdown with David Coverdale of Whitesnake is online at last. Beware of expletives... darling!
As I type I'm playing 'Old Habits Die Hard', a brand new solo album from the legendary ex-Angel singer Frank DiMino that's due via Frontiers on July 3… complete with appearances from Punky Meadows, Eddie 'Fingers' Ojeda, Rickey Medlocke, Oz Fox, Pat Thrall and more. Five songs in... the voice isn't so distinctive as it used to be, and it doesn't sound very much like Angel – the tunes are pretty good, though.
Monday 18th May
Has anyone else been enjoying The Enfield Haunting? Creepy stuff! I've just been watching part three on Sky+ from behind the sofa! I love just about everything that Timothy Spall has ever done, and this is great; some really harrowing scenes.
And still in the realms of tellyville, the documentary for which the Beeb recently filmed me here at Ling Towers debuts on BBC4 on Friday 29th May 2015 at 9pm. It's called When Pop Ruined My Life: The Fans' Story and professes to "explore the unique relationship between artist and fan, from the Beatles to One Direction". No, I haven't seen it yet. Ulp!
Sunday 17th May
No sooner does one party ended than another began. Yeah, I'm referring to yesterday's televised game at Anfield between Liverpool, whose Stevie G was representing for the final time, and the mighty Crystal Palace. When that biased scumbag Jon Moss, the hapless official who shafted us against the Baggies, was confirmed as the ref, the award of an 89th minute pen had appeared almost inevitable. But it was CPFC that won said spot kick – and the game, despite having gone behind. Out second 3-1 victory of the season over the Reds – that's a priceless double. But was there a shred of post- or even pre-game analysis from the Sky Sports panel? No, of course not. I respect Steven Gerard but the fact remains that his team lost today and all the viewers got was a cringeworthy circle jerk from fawning ex-colleagues and an ex-manager. It made my blood boil. But anyway, once the final whistle blew the Sambuca came out and all was well with the world.
Saturday 16th May
Last night was spent at the Crobar for 18th birthday drinks with Eddie Lemmy Selhurst Ling and assorted drunken loonies… what fun! When I asked the lad what he'd like to do for his first 'legal' libation, there was no hesitation. That everyone had such a fuss of him was lovely to behold. At one point his face was literally covered in lipstick from girlie kisses, and I had to send him off to the loo for a clean-up. Best of all was when Lucy Hellings from CR's ad dept plonked down a glass of something very strong in front of him with the words: "drink this". Lucy is a toweringly, very imposing lady, and poor Ed's gaze started at waist and continued upwards, upwards and upwards. He didn't know what the heck to say, except… "okay."
On a sadder note, it's very hard to believe that five years have flown by since the sad loss of arguably the greatest hard rock singer of all time. What a nice guy, too. I still miss you, Ronnie James Dio!
Friday 15th May
'Very good but not earth-shatteringly great' would be my verdict on last night's gig by the reunited Rock Goddess at the Islington Academy. It had been 32 years since the original line-up – Jody Turner (guitar/vocals), Tracey Lamb (bass) and Julie Turner (drums) – last trod a UK stage together, so excitement abounded; indeed my boozing buddy Andy Beare even took the day off work to facilitate a decent swig-a-thon.
That the show turned out slightly underwhelming wasn't *completely* the fault of the group. Meeting Jody Turner in the pub earlier in the evening, she was making an effort to talk quietly, worrying that her voice might not stand up as fully as hoped. This could explain the brevity of the trio's set… a mere 70 minutes.
But it doesn't allow for the fact that the venue was maybe a third full. After so long away, they really should've built some momentum by playing a smaller club instead of leaping straight back in at Academy level (incidentally, they return to the same hall on December 3). Their first four three songs were ruined by a PA that squawked, buzzed and made farty noises. The group couldn't be blamed for the sound issues, but it certainly affected my enjoyment.
I really enjoyed the new songs they previewed, particularly 'Flying To See You' and 'This Is The Day', and there was some entertaining, lively banter between Jody Turner and a rather boisterous crowd. When instructed to "calm down", somebody at the front committed the sin of replying, "Yes, mum". "Oh that's pissed me off," Jody half-joked. "Fucking mum? I'd rather be a big sister." But the worst was yet to come: "Whaaaat? I'm a milf??!! Is that good or bad? Er… okay, I'll take it."
Yeah, things were well and truly back on track until the 52-minute mark when Turner caused much checking of wristwatches by announcing 'Heavy Metal Rock & Roll' as the night's final song. And the decision to repeat 'Make My Night' was another own-goal. So although the plusses outweighed the minuses, this comeback wasn't quite the rip-roaring success that I'd hoped for.
Here's the set-list: 'Satisfied Then Crucified', 'God Be With You', 'Two Wrongs Don't Make A Right', 'This Time', 'You've Got Fire', 'To Be Betrayed', 'Flying To See You', 'Take Your Love Away', 'Make My Night', 'Drive Me Away', 'This Is The Day', 'Back To You' and 'Heavy Metal Rock & Roll', with encores of 'My Angel', 'Love Is A Bitch' and 'Make My Night'.
Thursday 14th May
My plan to see two shows in the same evening was torpedoed when, after a solid day of emails and texts, followed by calls to the Borderline, I still couldn't determine the start time for the Dana Fuchs gig. After finally getting through to the venue I was informed that Fuchs would begin at 8pm with no support – the exact same as Inglorious. Inside the Borderline, 8pm came and went… as did 8.15pm, and then 8.30pm. Finally she and her band hit the stage at about 8.45 – meaning I could've seen at least half to two-thirds of Inglorious. The word 'furious' doesn't begin to cover it.
Okay, moan over. And what a stellar performance provided by the 39-year-old Floridian, best known for her portrayal of Joplin in an off-Broadway musical called Love, Janis. Fuchs has released nothing new since her previous UK visit to promote 'Bliss Avenue' some 18 months earlier, and I was slightly wary that this show might've been a little too similar to its predecessor. Those fears were unfounded. We were treated to a super-funky version of Otis Redding's 'Ain't Nobody's Fault But Mine' that's earmarked for her next studio album, and the repertoire had something for everybody.
An imposing figure, Dana is a statuesque, Amazonian corkscrew-haired goddess. She spent a large chunk of the show on her knees, bellowing out her lungs in a rage of emotional cleansing, getting so close to the faces of those in the front row that they could smell not only her perfume but also presumably what she'd had for supper. Some did well not to flinch or break her steely gaze.
A 95-minute set swung from blues-rock to honky-tonk country-rock booty call anthems and soulful Cajun blues. She also tapped into her Bible belt roots via the gospel of 'Livin' On Sunday' which bemoans the fact that people will only be nice on one day per week, and the hip-thrusting, mane-shaking, balls-out hard rock 'Keep On Walkin'' saw Fuchs throwing her back in a fantastic Percy Plant impersonation. At the other end of spectrum, a segment of Randy Newman's religion-questioning blues-belter 'God's Song' was delivered without the aid of a microphone. What a voice, what a stage persona… what a future star! Dana Fuchs – remember the name, but be careful how you Google it!!
The set-list was: 'Almost Home', 'Bliss Avenue', 'Handful Too Many', 'Livin' On Sunday' , 'God's Song', 'Nothin' On My Mind', 'Set It On Fire' , 'So Hard To Move', 'Ain't Nobody's Fault But Mine', 'Hiding From Your Love' and a medley of 'Helter Skelter'/'Goin' Down', followed by 'Ring Of Fire' and 'Keep On Walkin''.
Wednesday 13th May
Last night I finished the final chapters of Pete Townshend's excellent autobiography, Who I Am. I really enjoyed The Who guitarist's action-packed, suffer-no-fools style of prose. Never one to waste words, Pete tells a great anecdote about being with Keith Moon, who shocks all in the room by jumping out of the window… only to land on a pile of mattresses placed below. And then, a mere paragraph later, he writes:
"In September 1978 Roger [Daltrey] called me at my studio. He was succinct. 'He's done it'." Blimey, there are many, many ways of announcing the drug-related death of a band-mate, but that really takes the biscuit, doncha think?
Today is a tale of two rather fine lead vocalists – one male, one female. First up, Nathan James & Inglorious will be shaking their thang at the Hippodrome in Leicester Square, followed by a mad dash up Charing Cross Road to the Borderline for a second sighting of wonderful Yank blues-wailer Dana Fuchs, whose Oct 2013 show at the same venue reduced me to a quivering jelly. Can't wait!
Tuesday 12th May
I've just been conducting a phone interview with Butch Walker, the US singer-songwriter and Grammy-nominated producer who's due to play a couple of UK shows in July. Given the fuss that's being made of his current Ryan Adams-produced record 'Afraid Of Ghosts' I don't think he was quite expecting me to have been so interested in his days as a hair-metal rocker with SouthGang, or indeed the late, lamented Marvellous 3. But we got along okay-ish… I suppose.
I forgot to say, thanks very much to manager Adrian Bell and the FM guys for this little beaut, handed over by Mr Overland at the after-show party on Sunday evening. It made a special night sweeter still! Two vinyl-only tracks, too!
A very happy 18th birthday goes to my eldest son and sports bud, Eddie Lemmy Selhurst Ling. Where do the years go?! I'm looking forward to his first 'official' drink on Friday. (Yeah, okay, I admit it… we have had more than a few 'dress rehearsals' for this event!)
Monday 11th May
Apart from the 2 x night buses required to get home following the after-show party, last night's FM/Romeo's Daughter gig was just about flawless (especially as the headliners put 'Frozen Heart' back into the set at my request!) It was great to see so many faces old and new in the pub for the early drinking, and also inside a respectably full Empire (c'mon, it was a Sunday night!).
Romeo's Daughter put on a great display as special guests, resisting the temptation to plug an excellent new album, 'Spin', that's only just been made available. We got two of its excellent tracks – 'Radio' and 'Touch' – plus a winning mix of pre- and post-reunion material, completed by 'Trippin' Out', 'Attracted To The Animal', 'Bittersweet' and 'Alive', winding up with the golden oldies 'I Cry Myself To Sleep' and the Heart-covered 'Wild Child'.
It was interesting to note the amount of newbies among the crowd… not something I'd have expected for a band of such a vintage – they're obviously doing something right.
Ditto FM, whose repertoire now comprises 50 per cent post-reunion material… with no complaints! Steve Overland sang like a bird and tunes from the new album, 'Heroes & Villains' were as good as anything the band have released to date. It was great that FM reinstated the long absent 'Blood And Gasoline', though on a personal level my heart sinks each time they play another track from that same Andy Barnett era, the emotive, slow blues of 'Closer To Heaven', purely because it dates back to my long-gone courting days. It still makes me kinda sad… sorry. Regardless, it was a most wonderful show, rendered more enjoyable still by the fact that Merv Goldsworthy had kept his promise and the bar remained open… hurrah!
The set-list ran as follows: 'Digging Up The Dirt', 'I Belong To The Night', 'Wild Side', 'Closer To Heaven', 'Let Love Be The Leader', 'Shape I'm In', 'Tough Love', 'Blood And Gasoline', 'Frozen Heart', 'Life Is A Highway', 'Crosstown Train', 'Tough It Out', 'That Girl', 'Burning My Heart Down' and 'Bad Luck', with an encore of Keyboard Solo/'The Story Of My Life' and 'The Other Side Of Midnight'.
P.S. Over the evening's course I was amused to note two very differing views on my appearance: the sensibly attired fella who requested a photo together at the after-show: "I wish I still looked like you; I was in bands for 20 years and then I had to get a proper job", and the pissed up twat at Trafalgar Square who got right in my face for no reason at all and slurred: "Oi! You're not Brian May, get over yourself, you're just a c**t". Oh well, it takes all sorts!
Sunday 10th May
*Sighs deeply*. Yesterday there was another masterclass in biased Premiershit refereeing at Selhurst Park. The disgraceful decision to award a penalty to ManUre in the 19th minute could and should have ruined a potentially mouth-watering game – it was a case of ball to shoulder, you blind bastard!! – though Jason Puncheon's glorious second half free kick restored parity. But for the winning goal, the officials looked on as Falcao pushed a Palace defender into goalie Speroni. Big clubs get all of the decisions. M Oliver I hope you are proud of yourself. You'd better hope that we never meet. #wealwaysgetshitrefs
Saturday 9th May
Well, I'm home safely from my second trip behind enemy lines in just four days. The news that Uriah Heep's London show clashed with FM at Shepherd's Bush Empire could mean just one thing - ROAD TRIP!
My original intention had been to visit the South Coast via public transport, but outward-bound I received a text from my pal and fellow Heep aficionado Robert Corich, who kindly offered a lift back to Catford. This meant instead of scuttling off for a train back to East Croydon I could venture backstage... *uh-oh, danger alert*.
The Old Market was small but rather impressive – considering its geographical location, at least – and the pub directly opposite the venue served cheap, potent scrumpy cider. Oh dear!
The set-list was a pure delight. When the band had filmed their show at Koko for a live DVD 16 months earlier, just a pair of tunes from the still-to-be-released 24th studio record, 'Outsider' ('One Minute' and 'Can't Take That Away') were included. This time they added four more – 'Speed Of Sound', 'The Law', 'The Outsider' and 'Can't Take That Away'. Throwing in the rarities 'The Hanging Tree', from 1976's John Lawton-voiced 'Firefly' album, and a full-length revision of the title cut of '72's 'The Magician's Birthday' – complete with the guitar-drums battle between Mick Box and Russell Gilbrook – Heep kept all bases covered.
It was a testament to their crowd-pleasing skills that they recovered when a hardware breakdown stalled proceedings for a full 15 or 20 minutes. Box's amp had begun to emit the most appalling screeches, causing Bernie Shaw to declare a "budgerigar alert!"
As the delay dragged on the band fooled around jamming 'The Girl From Ipanema' and finally Shaw informed the crowd: "I'm blaming Dave Ling from Classic Rock magazine because I know he's here tonight, and he didn't join me for a [pre-show] Piledriver [referring to a brutal cocktail that is the singer's speciality]. Dave, you just can't mess around with history! We always have a Piledriver together… didn't you miss your train home last time we played down here?!" Box grinned: "Just a sip of one of those and you can't do joined-up talking anymore."
Luckily, Adam the super roadie fixed the problem and the show rolled on. For many groups such an interruption would've spelled the kiss of death, but not for Uriah Heep, whose final run-in of 'July Morning', 'Lady in Black', 'Gypsy' and 'Easy Livin'' was nothing less than glorious.
Backstage it was Piledrivers a go-go. Box informed me that earlier dates had included the 'Abominog'-era classic 'Too Scared To Run' – aaarg, I'd love to have seen that! I lost my composure a little more upon being introduced to Terry Brown, producer of all those classic Rush albums. It turned out that though I'd missed them earlier in the evening, Brown's latest protégées were the tour's opening act. As he pressed a CD into my hand I prayed I wouldn't lose it. Struggling from the pit a few minutes ago, lo and behold… thank the Lord, the disc was still in my bag, and the band's name seemed to sum up the mood of the evening: Blurred Vision. Hahaha!
[Edit: The album, 'Organized Insanity', is rather good, mixing some nice Floyd-y moments with poppier elements in the vein of Tears For Fears… I really liked them!]
Friday 8th May
Last night was spent at the Forum in Kentish Town – another show on UFO's latest UK tour. This time we stood a bit further back but it was a much bigger venue than the previous two. A bloody superb gig and I was very happy at Phil Mogg's onstage revelation that the perennial 'Rock Bottom' may be gone on the next tour. Not before time if you ask me. They could play two, maybe three, better songs in its stead. Otherwise, it was the exact same set-list as the gig at Shiteon - see Wednesday for details. A good-sized, lively crowd and plenty of drinks before the show and afterwards… you know it makes sense!
One highlight of the show, which I must not fail to mention (lest my website should suffer an orrible fate, or even worse, disappear altogether) was meeting up yet again with the omniscient, omnipotent and omnibloodyfantastic Batttttty. It never ceases to amaze me how this gorgeous woman continues to stay so energetic, so beautiful, and so scintillating. Oh yes, and so slim. [Damn, I nearly forgot 'slim'. Happppy nowwww?]
Thursday 7th May
What a great night at the Jazz Café in Camden as King King, the fast-rising Glaswegian blues-rockers, launched their third album, 'Reaching For The Light'. Support came courtesy of the Queensland-based, Australian/Irish husband and wife duo Hat Fitz and Cara, whose clutter-free half-hour flew by in what felt like a mere fraction of that time. To compare them to the White Stripes would be lazy though the fact remains that Hat Fitz is a fine, versatile guitarist and Cara Robinson, who also plays the drums, whistles and washboard, has a wonderfully emotive voice. Whether slow, sensitive and moody ('Nobody's Fault But Mine'), dark, mean and lolloping ('Back Cat Bone') or ploughing a more direct furrow ('Power'), the duo's songs are infused with variety and character. If you haven't heard their current album, 'Do Tell', is heartily recommended by yours truly.
It's hard to quantify the excellence of King King. Can a band with three albums still be described as 'new'? Probably not. But if you've a passion for a blues-rock act with Bad Co/Whitesnake overtones then 'Reaching…' should be right at the top of your shopping list. Kilt-wearing guitarist/frontman Alan Nimmo not only projects a warm, welcoming presence but boasts an outstanding set of pipes, and his partnership with Hammond organist Bob Fridzema appears telepathic, especially during a version of 'A Long History Of Love' that reduced yours truly to a quivering jelly. Almost without exception their original tunes are first-class, and the covers of 'Jealousy' by Frankie Miller and Eric Clapton's 'Old Love' fit right in. Their fortunes look unbelievably rosy. The set-list ran as follows: 'Hurricane', 'Don't You Get The Feeling (You've Been Had)', 'Wait In Time', 'More Than I Can Take', 'A Long History Of Love', 'You Stopped The Rain', 'Take A Look', 'Take My Hand', 'Jealousy', 'Waking Up', 'Stranger To Love', 'All Your Life' and 'Old Love', with an encore of 'Let Love In'.
Following such an excellent gig returning home to Catford simply wasn't an option so, spurning the tube's cosure, last orders at the Black Heart beckoned. Mr Beare and I discovered they served pints of a lovely, smooth, still scrumpy cider. No prizes for guessing that my hangover is pretty severe.
Wednesday 6th May
Schhhhhhhh! You ain't seen me, roit?! I'm back in London following a trip behind enemy lines to that unmentionable place on the south coast for yet another UFO gig. Managed to knock off work a couple of hours early, grabbed a bottle of Blue Nun wine – purely because it had seemed like the Pete Way thing to do! – hooked up with some mates and we screamed round the M25 and down to Sussex with alarming haste. There was even time for a real sit-down meal, washed down by a few pints and we timed our arrival at the Concorde 2 to perfection - i.e. just as the final notes from Reds'Cool, the woefully average support act from Russia, rang out.
Considering that Mr Mogg was on home turf, which usually gives him license to behave badly, this time he appeared surprisingly sober. I'm still chuckling at the dedication to Greg Harman, the proprietor of his local fish & chip shop on Madeira Drive – "very good stuff… they use fresh fat, apparently". Uncle Philip will never have to pay for a saveloy again!
The set-list was pretty much the same as I'd seen in Cambridge a couple of weeks earlier (for details go to Saturday 18th April) though the band added 'Messiah Of Love', a third selection from their current disc, 'A Conspiracy Of Stars'. The consensus seemed to be that the newly-tweaked repertoire offered great improvement, especially the Tonka-era tunes. I wouldn't argue but, as I'm prone to drone on about at great length, I still think they could go much, much further (so it's probably best not to ask unless you've got a couple of hours to spare...!)
P.S. I've still got plenty of that Blue Nun left, sadly. Might have to flush it down the loo.
Tuesday 5th May
Check out this YouTube footage of Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammer jamming with Michael Schenker at a very recent gig in California.Very cool! (except that 'Shenker' has a 'C' in his surname and there are two 'Ts' in 'Hammett' – d'oh!) Christ, was it *really* 12 months ago that we made Luis blub on one of my greatest ever nights as a footie fan??!! To that end it's well worth another look at one of the most side-splitting YouTubes that I ever saw!
Thumbing through a file of vintage press cuttings for the letter 'R' whilst researching a phone interview, I stumbled upon this review of The Rods from 1982. This was one of the hottest gigs I ever attended (along with Twisted Sister and Y&T at the same venue). You'll be unsurprised to learn that I have a cassette of it somewhere. You couldn't get away anymore with writing: "The show opened with two new numbers, whose titles I didn't even catch", could you? Hehehe... [Click on the thumbnail on the right to read the article]
Sunday 3rd May
I got up at 8am to put in four hours of work... the KO of the Chelski-Palace game is in approx 90 minutes... I now decare this bar fully open! [Edit: Any of my Facebook friends will by now know my feelings on this game, which turned on a highly debate penalty awarded to the home side. It proved to be the winning goal. In the Sky studio at half time Thierry Henry mused: "Where Hazard was very clever...", referring to the way the Chelski player threw himself to the ground after contract that was somewhere between negligible and non-existent, but had he told the truth he'd have said that he cheated – plain and simple. The favouritism displayed by referees towards the top clubs makes my blood boil].
Saturday 2nd May
Horns up! I always love a bit of power-metal, especially if it's done in a melodic way. Last night Sonata Artica and Freedom Call tore the roof off a sold-out Islington Academy.
Chris Bay, frontman of Freedom Call, was a right old character, overturning the myth that Germans have no sense of humour. "No, no, no – you sound like a bunch of pussies," he griped during a singalong section. "You're supposed to be warriors! This is a heavy metal party." And, focussing on their 2002 album, 'Eternity', that's exactly how it turned out. Headliners Sonata Artica were also doing the album-in-its-entirety thing, this time with 'Ecliptica', their debut release, re-recorded last year on its 15th birthday. Tony Kakko is such an exceptional singer that I exited the Academy wondering why on earth he hasn't been poached by a mega band. The set-list ran as follows: 'White Pearl, Black Oceans…', 'X Marks the Spot', 'Blank File', 'My Land', '8th Commandment', 'Replica', 'Kingdom For A Heart', 'FullMoon', 'Letter To Dana', 'UnOpened', 'Picturing The Past' and 'Destruction Preventer', plus an encore of 'Mary-Lou', 'The Wolves Die Young' and 'Don't Say A Word'.
Oh look… I've just spotted an interesting fact over at Status Quo's Facebook page. Today marks the 41st birthday of 'Quo', AKA The Alan And Rick Album… in my book the most underrated Quo record of them all! I must give it a spin later on. Meanwhile, I'm just back from Lewisham and a clothes shopping exhibition with Eddie. A new pair of skinny black jeans was purchased for the upcoming second leg of UFO's UK tour; an in-joke between myself and Phil Mogg. Chuffed that I can still get into a 32-inch waist!
Friday 1st May
Yet another issue of Classic Rock is heading to the presses. I'm writing up a phone interview I did at extremely short notice several days ago with Duff McKagan, principally to discuss his second book but also touching upon a few other matters. What an easy-going dude, I'd almost forgotten how amiable McKagan was during our conversation – even when I pointed out a factual error in his text. "Wow. You're good, dude." No, not really, I'm sure most British people know that the Princess of Wales wasn't Welsh. She was an English rose. "Oh no, man. I fucked up. Tom Jones was Welsh though, right?" Right… haha!
© 2014 - www.daveling.co.uk - All Rights Reserved
Web design by Frau Fledermaus Sitebuilding, FFS!